I surpassed the year mark since I started to actively maintain this blog. What has this milestone enabled? What lessons have I captured?
Initially, I didn’t have a particular mission or audience. I simply wrote on a diverse set of topics I already found of notable interest. I already had a tendency, albeit inconsistent, of writing on such matters across journal entries or more formally, but still for personal use. In the back of my mind, I wrote some of the content with the intent of possibly publishing it in some form later.
For a while, I refrained from launching a blog of this nature, as in doing so, I was committing to a certain frequency of content published, and I wasn’t feeling too confident in making that commitment. Then I also experienced what many do, a sense of loss of privacy. After all, much of what I’ve published in this blog corresponds heavily with what I’ve written exclusively for myself, but now I would expose this content to a wider audience - the entire internet, or anyone who happens to glance. Then again, I made no plan to actively divulge any of the content.
Another concern of arguably greater importance was the publication language. Much of my journal and draft content I had written in varying languages, English least of all, short of the most formal writings. I wrote in a language most applicable to me at the time given the location or my language mission. English, despite the technical superiority, least interested me. In fact, it least interests me today. However, I could not get myself to commit to publishing content containing silly accidental grammar irregularities.
I knew that I could carry any one language to a point of sufficient quality control if I were to commit. But I didn’t wish to commit. I enjoy the freedom to write how I please, which works for most except not necessarily publishable situations.
I also considered the reality of the matter. Were I to heavily mix languages all over the place throughout these posts, considering the already considerable variability of content, the venture would not attain any palatable form I could envision with hope. So far.
With that in mind, I set to write most of the blog content in English, sacrificing my aspirations to consistently write in secondary languages. I also tossed aside any privacy considerations, and launched the site for everyone and at the same time for no one, with no formal campaign to attract readers, with no concern for elaborate features, metrics, or agenda. I set forth to simply publish material that intrigues me as it crosses my mind, added some concrete form, such that it didn’t resemble a pure stream of consciousness but seemed at least semi-palatable for online reading.
Much of what I published, however, resembled precisely a stream of consciousness. I didn’t always care to have a traditional beginning, clear structure with appropriate transitions, and an all encompassing finale. Much of it resembled an excerpt of some larger publication of unclear genre. I wanted to experiment and see where this content will evolve if left to it’s natural device.
Sometimes I felt in the mood for theoretical computer science, in other occasions for techniques in life simplicity, success, and productivity. Some of it pertained to music, literature, and foreign languages. Other content appealed to entirely abstract thought.
Once or twice, I observed the site statistics to determine what content experienced most popularity. This intrigued me as I hardly ever divulged the site except by word of mouth. The data didn’t surprise me. The posts and publications on computability, the informative and to-the-point Linux-related posts, and a handful of lifestyle-related posts attracted the most attention.
I can’t say these types of posts necessarily represent my preference. I enjoy all topics equally, and particularly enjoy mixing formal topics with off-topic stream of consciousness. Interestingly enough, something I do most consistently - travel, is something I don’t write too much about. The idea of traditional travel-related posts doesn’t occupy that much head space.
With respect to consistency, have I satisfied my expectations? Yes, and no. I wanted an average of a post every 4-5 days, or about 6-7 posts per month. This I established not for the question of site popularity, but for the consistency in and of itself, which, in turn, maintains the writing muscle actively engaged. On average, looking at the numbers, I reached or surpassed the monthly consistency, but with high variability among days between posts. Sometimes I would let much time pass and suddenly publish a simultaneous batch of posts. Other months, I didn’t write nearly as much.
With the year at an end, overall, I’m quiet pleased. In spite of slight lapses in consistency, I’ve satisfied my expectations in longevity. Not only was I able to continuously write more often than not, I maintained the practice for over a year now, having much relaxed the concerns of privacy and language. It has become a normal practice that I expect of myself. It has taken concrete shape and has become part of my identity, which conforms with what I’ve previously discussed:
Take something that’s not yours, external to you, and assimilate it. Make it an irreplaceable part of you. Then it no longer represents some grand challenge or journey of unimaginable proportion. It represents pure routine that you expect of yourself and project onto others.