One of the biggest purposes of my blog is to improve my writing and find out in which direction I should go with it. Now that I have a vague idea of some rules I like to set for myself and this site, I wondered how I could make it work this time.
I had a couple of blogs in the past, all of which are offline now. I wrote in bursts… there might be a few months where I posted a lot, but then there would be silence for the rest of the year. The question is: What can I do to improve this? I thought about reasons I did loose interest in continued writing on my blogs. I always enjoyed it, but why was I not able to keep up? I thought about some points:
I’m a Tinkerer
Every time I set up a blog, I wrote some posts and immediately found a couple of points where either the process of posting could be improved, the theme could be tweaked or some feature could be added. Last year I created a whole new page design using Hugo from scratch. The posting process was pretty easy considering all the tools I used in the background. But after everything was set up and smoothed out, the number of posts went down.
I took a different approach this time. I started tinkering around for a new blog yet again, until Jack Baty wrote that he just wants everyone to start blogging again. It hit me… what am I doing here? Playing around with stuff that doesn’t matter. So I went to the Hugo page, looked for a new, very simple design I liked and put it on my server. There is no process of posting. It’s very manual and requires me to log into a server and run some tools on a command line. Something probably nobody else would like to do. But maybe this is the part for the tinkerer inside me that keeps me concentrated on writing instead of improving the process to death.
Enough tinkering. More writing.
I Put Pressure on Myself
I always felt like I have to put something out there… I just needed to! I wanted people to read all the things, all the time. I thought about all the topics I could write about, ending up in a really long list that would never get touched. Once I started working on a series of posts on a single topic and talked to friends about it. I didn’t necessarily want to finish these posts, now I needed to finish these posts. It wasn’t just for fun anymore. In a way I committed myself to finish the story. Two years later that story is still only a draft.
It’s a hobby and again… I do this for myself, for fun. Sometimes committing to do something, going out there and telling people what you work on, can help to get it done. For me, when it comes to writing, it’s hindering me. There won’t be any commitments anymore. I won’t overthink everything too much. Let’s go from one post to the next and see where the journey takes us.
Less commitments. More writing.
I Stared at the Stats
When using Wordpress, it’s easy to get the basic numbers of interest: how many visitors, from which part of the world etc. The next level is Google Analytics… what a plethora of settings and numbers! I stared at them all the time after a new post went up, it was exhausting. I thought about which posts get more visitors, what times are better to publish etc. It’s not directly the problem why I didn’t write more regularly, but it’s a reason why I don’t care about any stats anymore: it’s a distraction. There are no Google Analytics or anything enabled, and if I want analytics back at some point it will be something else.
Less thinking. More writing.
There’s Always Another Pet Project
I’m a software developer and used to play around during my spare time a lot. I worked on an app here and there, looked at ways to improve my toolchain or learned about new techniques. It all took time and it all was well worth it, but is also took away time I had left to write. Since our recent addition to my family, priorities changed and I don’t look at any pet projects anymore. Work and family does not allow for any side projects at the moment. This means, that even if it’s a small amount, I can dedicate a lot more time than before to writing.
More time. More writing.
I’m Not a Journalist
A good blog post is long, profound, good to read and just excellent in general. At least that‘s what I told myself. I wanted the text to be as good as I can make it. Of course my capabilities were limited, but I tried hard. Part of the pressure I put on myself came from the fact that I often tried to write a journalistic article instead of just getting something out the door. And already while writing these lines I can feel it sneaking in: reading back ten times, moving things around, changing sentences, adding more bullet points… let’s wrap this thing up.
Less perfection. More writing.
So… these are of course just some issues I had in the past. Thinking about them and finding ways to cope with them in the future will hopefully help to keep up the writing mood I’m currently in. And to not give this blog a theme of self-treatment, I’ll better leave the introduction phase with this. I should start blogging now! On to new adventures!