I read a blog post on Coding Horror this morning, where Jeff Atwood, its author, writes about how he inculcated his blogging habit to the extent that it has come to change his life, net him book deals and speaking opportunities, and makes him some money. While the last bit is not something I usually pay attention to, his overall success struck me. I’ve had a blogging habit for the past decade myself – at least that’s what I’ve been telling myself. I have two active blogs at the moment (excluding this one); one has over 3,000 followers and the other, almost 100. Both together, I’ve published over a thousand posts for collective thousands of views.
However, over the last year or so, I’ve slacked off and haven’t published much. This wouldn’t bother me if it weren’t also for the fact that I’ve not been paying attention to it, instead thinking of myself as a successful blogger still. I’ve started to bask in the glow of my dying habit and haven’t been writing as much as I should be. When I read Atwood’s post, I realised what I was able to do and what I stand on the brink of losing now. I need to shed my pride and work towards getting it back.
Both of my old blogs were mostly about science journalism (my profession) and scientific research. This one on the other hand is going to be about (re)developing my writing habit. But that’s now why I’m not publishing in one of my established blogs. I’m publishing here because of the obscurity it brings. This isn’t me trying to hide from public gaze but me deliberately choosing to labour in obscurity for as long as it takes for my output to be discovered and appreciated organically. I need to be able to acknowledge this blog’s purpose without giving myself the luxury of a pre-existing audience. As Atwood writes, I need to “always be jabbing, always be shipping, always be firing.”
Speaking of shipping, I also got distracted in 2017 by teaching myself to code. While the exercise was partly successful, I didn’t put in enough work and ended up learning a little bit about
a lot of some things. This grates at me even more because now I’m left with one habit broken by my callous, overconfident attitude and another habit that’s really not a habit at all. I’m ashamed to admit this. So as a step forward, I’m going to start publishing one post on this blog every day for as long as possible– actually, for a year at least. It’s good to have closed and meaningful deadlines instead of open-ended and flexible ones.
This is the first post for today. I’m not going to let the posts be just a few lines long, commenting about an image or a quote I found on the internet. Each post will be meaningful in that it will present at least one idea in as many words as it takes. I think this is a useful constraint because it requires me to be able to come up with one idea a day, and for which I must read more, talk to people more, and consume more in general. This is fascinating to think about because it shows how only the movement of ideas between people can create more ideas, which in turn will have to be set in motion for even more ideas to be born.
Anyway, here we are… and here we go!