I’ve had this blog since 2012, and I’m only now getting close to my 100th post. All because I’m a perfectionist, which sure as hell didn’t make me a better writer.
I love writing, and I feel like I’m getting better after every piece I write - be it publishing blog posts, journaling, countless design docs, navigating email politics, or writing a book. I write a lot, about many different topics - if I’m interested in the topic for at least a few hours - you can bet I’ll write about it.
Then how come this blog barely gets one post per month?
I meticulously research and edit, generously discard drafts, and it often takes me days strung across weeks to put something together. Something that I feel is worthy of being displayed next to my name. Perfectionism at its core, attached to hobbyist web content.
I struggled with this when writing Mastering Vim too - the first edition was rushed out by the publisher long before it was ready, with various errors and inconsistencies in it, and a few downright unfinished bits. It took over a year of me avoiding even thinking about the book and two more editions to become comfortable with merely sharing that I published a book.
And all of this sucks the joy out of writing. I’m not a for-profit writer. It’s not part of my career path, and I obviously didn’t go to school for it (not that I went to school for anything else). And it sure as hell shouldn’t be grueling to have to come up with what to write.
This blog has a rather modest following - it brings in around 3,000 readers a month, with a few regulars sprinkled here and there (honestly - I would love to meet at least one of you weirdos someday). I don’t target a particular market niche, I don’t have a content or SEO strategy, and I opportunistically monetize to cover the website running costs.
What’s crazy is that nearly half of that traffic is organic search for a quick note I jotted down back in 2013! I could spend weeks putting together a literary love child and not even get a fraction of attention this back of the napkin screenshot received.
Back in 2012 I used this blog as a way to categorize my discoveries about developing software, and later what I’ve learned about working with people. Over the years I gradually expanded to travel (including that time I lived in my car for a year), and general things I like - like keyboards or tabletop role playing games.
I’m putting this together to remind myself that I love writing and why I started this blog. That not every piece of content requires hours of research, or even have a clear audience in mind for that matter.
I wouldn’t have blinked an eye flooding this blog with unfiltered thoughts, perspectives, and experiences if it wasn’t attached to my real world persona. It’s easy to throw out something I perceive as “unworthy” anonymously. It’s mortifying to publish such a piece at my-first-name-last-name-dot-com.
So here it is, the first post I wrote purely for fun! I’m still taking a light editing pass on it, and drastically cutting it down in size - I’m not a savage! But unlike in my usual writing, there’s no clear value I’m providing or a skill I’m trying to teach - and that’s a huge step for me. Feels good!