I’ve wanted to write for public consumption for a while now. A few fits and starts. I’ve bought a few different personal urls with this goal in mind over the years, and have one live now. If you’re reading this, you found the site!
My plan is to dedicate an hour a day to writing. That’s a maximum time commitment, although I reserve the right to add an extra 5 minutes to wrap up a sentence or thought. And there is no minimum – I am not going to force myself to recap the minutia of my day for example to fill the time. I do that on my own, but I don’t want to subject readers to that.
Another point to clarify is why I’m doing this. For a few reasons. First, I have been convinced that being an effective communicator via writing is an important skill to have. It has been for centuries, and will continue to be. At this moment in time, it’s probably the number one or number two skill to posses depending on how much you value coding. I’ve been writing in a deliberate way for at least a year now. Usually in the form of a daily journal entry, 30 minutes. It ends up being somewhere between 1200-1600 hundred words, but there’s a lot of rambling and stream of consciousness happening there, and I wouldn’t want to go that long for no reason here. I hope that writing for an audience tightens up my writing, and makes me more clear and concise. I care about my readers!
That’s the first, and most important reason – I want to improve my writing since I think it’s an important life skill. I’m already doing this, but want to take the writing to the public sphere now – why? A couple different reasons here. Here’s the more altruistic one first. I have read and been influenced by a lot of blogs, newsletters, and tweets over the years, more recently over the last couple years. There seems to be tons of people venturing out on their own to doing things under their own name on the web. What a revelation! I’m not necessarily talking about social media and influencer type things, more blogs, newsletters, tweets, etc. I don’t know if it’s fair, but someone I draw a distinction between video and instagram influencers and writers, assigning more value to the writers. I need to think about that, not sure if it makes sense. I don’t necessarily want to join the ranks, and build a commercial venture out of my personal brand, but I don’t want to be invisible either! Right now I’m a voyeur, never engaging with others online. Across the board really – twitter, reddit, Quora, etc. I’m even reluctant to write reviews on Amazon or Goodreads! I consume a lot, but contribute nothing. The only internet channel where I am even somewhat active is Linkedin for networking purposes. I am the equivalent of the twitter blue egg. This carries more disadvantages than advantages in my view. The biggest being, I am limited in my ability to reach out to people with any type of expectation for a response. If I mailed or tweeted a person who’s perspective I’ve enjoyed, it seems safe to assume they would check to see who I am or what I’m all about. I’m a stranger after all, and there needs to be some type of vetting. Since I have been so closed off online, there is little for them to refer to, which greatly reduces the odds of me connecting with anyone I’d like to. Friends, potential collaborators, etc. I want to build out a library of content to address this issue – so people can get a sense of who I am. That’s the altruistic reason for going public. Another one that’s kind of altruistic is maybe I will cover topics and provide perspectives that can be valuable for others. Since I haven’t produced much I can’t say that definitively. If I start talking about what I had for lunch every day nobody is going to care. And my last reason is I want to network – maybe this is the same as my first one? But I am thinking about this in more of a “personal branding” context. Put myself out there and see what comes of it – content marketing, affiliate links, podcast guest, who knows!
None of those reasons are particularly groundbreaking, and I have been thinking about this for years now. Why haven’t you been able to get it off the ground then? That’s a fair question. The first reason is a deep distaste for self-promotion and personal branding. I am not sure where this comes from – I am an introvert, but even then. I have always been turned off by Facebook and Instagram not so much from the advertising and data mining, but by what I’ve seen it do to me and others as well. Cultivating an image, portraying themself in a certain way for am anterior motive. I hate it, but at the same time was consuming so much of the content, which made me hate myself! If it’s so bad why do I like it? I can’t say I’m not going to cultivate a certain personal brand here at a subconscious level, but I will try to be honest with my thoughts and opinions. Next, I am scared about people I know, specifically family and former colleagues, reading these posts for entertainment and judging me worst case, or at a minimum getting a much better perspective on who I am and what I’m thinking about. I do think there are real advantages of keeping yourself anonymous. To use a sports analogy, there is no film of me, so they can’t prepare! But of course there is a cost to using this approach too which I mentioned at the start – no film, so how can anyone trust me either? Last, would be the general inferiority complex. This is the newsletter bonanza and I read a lot of really good ones. I don’t think I am as strong a writer, as profound a thinker, as good a person, etc as many others. That’s something I will have to contend with, I think that is simply the reality of the situation.
To summarize, I want to improve my writing, for my own purposes and to put myself out there a little more to enable new online connections. I have been reluctant to do so in the past because of my fear of judgement, inferiority, and dislike for self-promotion and branding. But I am going to get past those fears now, at least temporarily, and commit to writing everyday for an hour for the next month. A content vault of 30 hours! I will also look into some of my archives to see if there is anything worth posting.
In terms of process, I am going to write the daily entry in Notion since I am familiar with the interface and I like it, then I’ll post to my site. I need to find my password! After the entry is posted, I will send out a promotional tweet. As I get better at this (hopeful!), I might gather up enough courage to send out links directly to some people I really admire via Twitter. But for now, and let’s say at least two weeks, my goal is to build out a library of content and work on the writing.
In terms of what I plan to cover, I don’t want this to become a rambling summary of my thoughts, emotions, and activities for the day. I will try to focus on providing information – maybe data for the first few days. What blogs, newsletters, podcasts, and music do I consume? What do I do with my time? What are interesting articles and videos I’ve seen. Cools gifs and memes? Ok, this is already getting a little out of hand. I will think about this some more, but I am envisioning some type of prompt – whether that’s a topic, article, video, etc – that I respond to in writing. That should give readers the opportunity to see how I think. That’s what I want this to be since my primary goal, again, is to improve my writing and provide others with insight into who I am.
Another question, why now? Why Not Today? I brought it all the way back! I’m not sure. If I was to attribute it back to one specific thing it would be the transcript of an interview I saw on Twitter, reiterating the importance of having “proof of work” for people to see. My personal writing has been useful to me, but not from the perspective of others. I’ve known this for a while, but maybe that message hit me at the right moment. And in that same transcript, the interviewee spoke about the need to self-promote, and to not be too self-conscious about it. I don’t think I am benefiting by being completely invisible. I don’t have much to show for it to be completely honest, outside of some internal code of honor and ethics. So I’m willing to try, more than willing, I am excited to try. Practice reps if nothing else.
Ok, that’s it! Talk to you again tomorrow. 1610 Words.