I realise it's a bit odd to be posting this on week three, not week one, but I'm still getting a feel for what this blog will be.
I wanted to start blogging for a while. I should say restart, as there was a half-hearted attempt last year which I undertook with no real sense of direction and no plan or structure. That didn’t last long.
This time around though I have a structure. Sort of.
I have a list of potential topics to write about, from design to motorcycles, to habits, to philosophy and more.
And I have two fixed rules:
1) post once per week, ideally on a Sunday, without fail.
2) keep following rule #1 for at least one year. After the year, if it’s going well and I’m still enjoying it, keep going. If not, then that's the end of the blogging experiment.
As to the why I want to write, I’m still not exactly sure. There’s definitely something in me that wants to create and share ideas. Most likely, that's an overflow from my generally creative outlook on life and work.
I’ve written on-and-off for years. Occasional short stories which have since been (thankfully) lost to time. Sporadic periods of journalling. Half-started but never executed blog ideas. Hundreds and hundreds of different documents, notes and stray thoughts. Thought up, jotted down, expanded upon, but all forgotten.
I think that’s the main driving force behind this. I seem to keep writing these things so I may as well record them, if only for my own sake of being able to look back in the future.
But then why publish it? Publicly, on my own website, no less? Well, this is where I thought it could become not just a creative output but also a tool for self-improvement.
There are many benefits I can think of to writing regularly (and publicly) and very few downsides. Here’s what I’ve managed to come up with so far:
Regular writing will improve my... writing. This goes without saying, but best to get it out of the way. Forcing myself to write a lot (and not only the 52 blog posts I’ll come to publish but all the drafts, edits, non-starters, etc. that will come before them) will improve my writing. It will also help me to develop my own voice and become a better storyteller. This, in turn, will make me a better conversationalist, and that will have a knock-on effect far outside of this blog alone.
Regular writing will also clarify my thinking. If you want to explain a subject or a point of view plainly, first you have to actually understand it. Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough”. If I’m going to write about a subject, I want to know it well enough that I can explain it simply. It also means I have to consider what I’m writing about subjectively. In the Headspace meditation app, there is an exercise where you ask yourself “What are you resisting right now?”. Note that the phrase is *you*, not *I*. It works to make the monologue you’re having with yourself more like a dialogue. It makes the topic more subjective. It helps you remove ego from the equation.
As well as improving my writing and thinking, blogging will also develop my creativity. I enjoy creative thought, playing with ideas and seeing what comes from them. I resisted cooking for the best part of twenty years, but when I finally did start to cook, I realised how creative an endeavour it was, and I loved it. I’m not the best cook in the world (far, far from it) but I like experimenting with new recipes and flavours. Discovering new things and seeing what happens when you merge two ideas (or recipes) together. Writing allows me to play in a new medium, to push my creativity and be creative in new ways in new fields.
The rules I’ve put in place will build my discipline. As I said above, I set myself the goal of publishing once a week, without fail. This means that whatever else happens, I have to write. I have to post on time. This is easy to say and hard to do. This post, in particular, was very hard to write. All week I was very busy at work and felt completely uninspired to write. I told myself I’d dedicate the weekend to writing instead. I’d sit in front of my laptop, drink lots of coffee, and words would appear on the page.
That was the plan, then, on Friday morning I got some personal news which threw me off my game a bit. Nothing that would directly affect the blog, but it took my attention. Then, on Saturday evening, I got some different, unrelated, personal news which distracted me even more.
So now it’s Sunday afternoon, and after the week I’ve had, all I want to do is go to the pub and drink. But I’m not doing that. I’m writing the first draft of this blog post. Once I’m done with this draft, I’m going to go for a run to clear my head, come back, do some yoga, finish the edit of this blog post and post it online.
The other thing with writing regularly, is you have to find things to write about. And you can’t write about any old thing, it has to be interesting. Or else, why bother? One way of doing this is to write about my personal experiences that many people reading this may not have done, such as ride a motorcycle or live abroad. Another way to do it is to find things I’ve wanted to do but never done, and go and make myself do them, specifically to write about in this blog. This is a problem for me because I have huge anxieties about the unknown, but two great ways to tackle anxiety are 1) face your fears, and 2) talk about them. Hence blogging.
To read more. If I want to write a lot, I feel like I need to learn a lot. This ties into the idea of doing interesting things and gaining more experiences. I love reading. And what I love about reading is it sparks new ideas and leads me from one book to another to another. It adds new thoughts and ideas to existing thoughts or problems.
Finally, hopefully, I’d love to see this blog help me build an audience and draw traffic to this website. And with that, I’d like to develop opportunities for collaboration, to work with other awesome creatives and make great art.
And that's the "why". The main reason for writing this was for my own thought processes, I hope it reads well for anyone other than myself. If you've made it this far, thanks for reading.