Jeremy Keith has assembled a compelling collection of writing about writing online.
Several people are writing
It sounds easy to make writing a habit, but like every other habit that doesn’t involve addictive substances like nicotine or dopamine it’s hard to start and easy to quit.
Anyway, here we are, on my blog, or in your RSS reader. I think I’ll do weaknotes. Some collections of notes. Sometimes. Not very well written probably. Generally written with the urgency of someone who is waiting for a baby wake up.
Bottom line; please place any idea worth more than 280 characters and the value Twitter places on them (which is zero) on a blog that you own and/or can easily take your important/valuable/life-changing ideas with you and make them easy for others to read and share.
What you write might help someone understand a concept that you may think has been covered enough before. We each have our own unique perspectives and writing styles. One writing style might be more approachable to some, and can therefore help and benefit a large (or even small) number of people in ways you might not expect.
Even if only one person learns something from your article, you’ll feel great, and that you’ve contributed — even if just a little bit — to this amazing community that we’re all constantly learning from. And if no one reads your article, then that’s also okay. That voice telling you that people are just sitting somewhere watching our every step and judging us based on the popularity of our writing is a big fat pathetic attention-needing liar.
The web can be used to find common connections with folks you find interesting, and who don’t make you feel like so much of a weirdo. It’d be nice to be able to do this in a safe space that is not being surveilled.
Owning your own content, and publishing to a space you own can break through some of these barriers. Sharing your own weird scraps on your own site makes you easier to find by like-minded folks.
At times I think “will anyone reads this, does anyone care?”, but I always publish it anyway — and that’s for two reasons. First it’s a place for me to find stuff I may have forgotten how to do. Secondly, whilst some of this stuff is seemingly super-niche, if one person finds it helpful out there on the web, then that’s good enough for me. After all I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read similar posts that have helped me out.
My advice after learning from so many helpful people this weekend is this: if you’re thinking of writing something that explains a weird thing you struggled with on the Internet, do it! Don’t worry about the views and likes and Internet hugs. If you’ve struggled with figuring out this thing then be sure to jot it down, even if it’s unedited and it uses too many commas and you don’t like the tone of it.
Maybe you feel more comfortable writing in short, concise bullets than at protracted, grandiose length. Or maybe you feel more at ease with sarcasm and dry wit than with sober, exhaustive argumentation. Or perhaps you prefer to knock out a solitary first draft and never look back rather than polishing and tweaking endlessly. Whatever the approach, if you can do the work to find a genuine passion for writing, what a powerful tool you’ll have.
I want to finally begin writing about psychology. A friend of mine shared his opinion that writing about this is probably best left to experts. I tried to tell him I think that people should write about whatever they want. He argued that whatever he could write about psychology has probably already been written about a thousand times. I told him that I’m going to be writer number 1001, and I’m going to write something great that nobody has written before.
Maybe I’m weird, but it just feels good. It feels good to reclaim my turf. It feels good to have a spot to think out loud in public where people aren’t spitting and shitting all over the place.
I write to understand and remember. Sometimes that will be interesting to others, often it won’t be.
But it’s going to happen. Here, on my own site.
A lot of people seem to be talking about writing; more often, more thoughtfully, more purposefully. Jeremy Keithwhich, in their several ways, make the point that writing regularly is a habit, that it may help others but mostly helps yourself and that you should write whatever you want. All good and true. None of the people Jeremy singled out says much about setting constraints, except perhaps for Patrick Rhone’s plea that anything over 280 characters should be “on a blog that you own”. Recently, however, I have seen other people remark on the value of a set constraint, usually a number of words. The morning brain dump folks set a minimum of 750 words, and no maximum. Others like a set number of words, no more, no fewer. And that reminded me that ages ago, when blogging was still new and exciting, I took part in a little challenge.
I tagged my entries 50 x 100 x 50. Fifty posts of exactly 100 words on 50 consecutive days. Of course I passed these over when bringing old stuff into the new CMS, because they’re quite fiddly to repurpose. But now, I think there may be merit in bringing them back to life. Not one at a time, though. That does seem like hard work. Maybe five at a time. Or ten.
There will definitely be difficulties in tracking down some of the decade-old links that those posts included. Could be fun though too. I discovered that I copied the idea from Blue Girl in a Red State, and that she got it from Out of Context whose Blogspot, I now discover, is by invitation only. Hey ho.
Here, for fun, is the first of those posts.
This could be the start of something
Originally published 10-03-2008
Little and often has such appeal. Write 500 words a day and you’ll have a decent sized book, with revisions, in under a year. With weekends off. Scan 10 slides an evening and before you know it those giant boxes of unsorted images are sitting up on Flickr just itching to be ignored. But life gets in the way. Always. Miss just one day and you’re done for. This time it is going to be different, not least because I refuse to announce my intentions. Blue Girl knows. And maybe OOC, whose friend is a contraction. Not me.
Flickr photograph by horizontal.integra tion
Several people are writing adactio.com/journal/14333
So many of these points ring true, which is why I love writing adactio.com/journal/14333
Several people are writingadactio.com/journal/14333
Several people are writing adactio.com/journal/14333
Must-read: “Several people are writing” — adactio.com/journal/14333
I should try this writing thing again… adactio.com/journal/14333