As you can see, I’ve recently started writing more frequently. I want to do this because I often have thoughts which I’d like to explore and develop further, but rarely do. I find writing hard because it forces me to organise my thoughts and look at how substantial they really are, or aren’t.
There is truth in the saying that “to know a thing you need to be able to teach it 1 “, and writing well has several similarities to teaching. Can I really copy a collection of thoughts from my head to yours?
I remember watching Inception and hearing that the most resilient parasite is an idea. I think that’s mostly true, and the older I get the more I believe that ideas matter2. They have so many subtle consequences. They are the first dominos.
I don’t expect writing regularly to become a permanent habit - it doesn’t need to be. But I do want to focus on it for a while so that I become significantly better. It’s a skill that has too many benefits to be ignored.
I realised that the blogs I remembered most were focussed and unapologetic about their priorities. Most of them have a lot of text and do not focus on design. They make it easy to read text, and don’t spend time or attention on header images or styling.
Before I redesigned this blog I had default settings that asked me to supply an image for each post, and for a summary, and a suggested tweet. None of it was necessary, and whilst they all tried to make the blog better they ended up making it worse because they added complexity and distracted from the main thing.
These features are still there if I want to use them, but they are not set up to be used by default anymore. They’ve been moved to the background, and if I forget they exist then that is OK - it just shows they weren’t as important in practice as I thought they’d be when I was Yak Shaving.
You Ain’t Gonna Need It, mate.
- wikipedia article, and some extenal validation ↩
- and also, that asking the right question is more important than finding the right answer. I guess asking the right question is always necessary, but finding the right answer is only sometimes sufficient. Sometimes you can get the answer a bit wrong if you asked the right question, and still get enough benefits to avoid the problem. ↩