Announcement : Writing More

Lately, I have noticed that blogging has become harder than it should be. Even when I have a decent post outline ready, I still spend 30 minutes obsessing over every sentence, never sure if it’s good enough. This kills the “flow” and results in a stilted writing style. In short, I’ve fallen victim to premature self-editing.

The solution? Writing more, of course 🙂 From now on, I will attempt to consistently post at least three times per week. Preferably four, if that’s feasible. I may also post more about some topics that I have previously ignored.

Sidenote : 3 posts/week may not seem like an awfully ambitious goal, but I feel it’s right in my case. For me, writing blog posts is a hobby.  I don’t want to become someone who blogs every day. I want to get better at blogging, not make it the focus of my life.

The rest of this post discusses the why’s and how’s, and how it affects you – the reader.

Why Write More?

Practice. In the immortal words of comrade Lenin : “Practice, practice and practice again!” If you ask any experienced writer how to get better at writing, chances are the first advice you’ll get will be “write more”. To improve a skill you must exercise it.

“Get into the groove”. Whether you want it or not, what you do on a day-to-day basis affects how you see the world around you and what opportunities you notice. Right now, I mostly view the world through a programmer’s lens. When I look at something, I see ways I could automate and simplify it. I see software to build, algorithms to invent, object hierarchies to map. It comes naturally. I want to get the same effect for blogging.

Clean out the idea list. It’s good practice to note down any interesting ideas that cross your mind. Then you can refer back to your notes if you ever run out inspiration or hit the writer’s block. The flip-side of this is that comprehensive idea lists can “go stale” – over time, the great ideas get implemented and the shitty ones get thrown out, but the “maybe’s” stay on the list. Instead of a source of inspiration, the list becomes a wellspring of self-doubt (“Is this article idea good enough? Should I try this project or just forget about it?”).

The solution is to find and eliminate stale ideas, either by implementing them or discarding them. This is what I intend to do – take some of the blog posts and post ideas that have sat on my idea list for a veritable eternity, and actually write them. More room for new ideas.

Cast a wider net. Finally, covering more topics and moving into new niches increases the probability of accidentally stumbling upon something great.

Why (This) Blog?

Now you might wonder : why not use a private notebook or text file instead of a public blog? Alternatively, why not start a new blog? Worry not – I have several unquestionably convincing arguments and justifications lined up.

  • Doing it “for real”. If you want to become a better blogger, it’s common sense that you should train in a maximally realistic environment – i.e. posting on an actual blog.
  • Getting real-world feedback instead of relying on biased self-evaluation. We’re all lousy critics when dealing with our own texts. If you want an unbiased opinion about something you’ve written, you need to show it to other people.
  • Making a public commitment creates accountability and increases motivation.
  • Finally, I’m too lazy to set up another blog.

What To Expect

So what does all this mean for you as a reader?

Believe it or not, but I have a pretty high standard for what is worthy of a blog post. In general, I’ve tried to stick with only posting stuff that is likely to be of practical use to someone – namely, software (plugins, addons, scripts) and tutorials. This can lead to long pauses between new posts when I’m working on a new software project (these take a long time) or when I run out of tutorial ideas. As a result, my posting schedule is sometimes very messed-up.

To have any hope of consistently meeting the 3-4 posts per week goal, I’ll need to change the criteria and post things that I normally wouldn’t. You can expect to see more opinion pieces, software/service reviews and pseudo-philosophical rants. To illustrate what that could be like, here’s a small selection of my earlier posts that fall into one of those categories :

Of course, I will still post about WordPress and other tech-related stuff, too.

Gimme Ideas!

Got any questions about WordPress/PHP/etc that you’d like to see answered in the form of a blog post? Leave a comment on this post (or shoot me an email)!

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