About my blogging customs

They suck.

Ok, I was going to post something more elaborate than this.

My previous post was the first in a long time, and as such, it required some special treatment. It took me several days to write it: I wrote three versions, the first one of which was long and confusing; the second one was four pages long, mainly due to some spice and anecdotes here and there, which I didn’t like; and the third one being the one I posted. I chose to just write the points, in a more terse style. Of course I then edited a bit. Among other things, I wanted to test whether a terser style could work, as it takes much less effort to write and get right, and it’s less risky, too. This surely has to do with having recently read the novel “Silk” by Alessandro Baricco (which I heartily recommend to you) — which is proof that austerity and terseness in writing can be incredibly strong.

In the end, I liked the style, and there were a couple of strong stylistic points (at least to my taste). It was also a nice departure from my usual style, and the usual style on tech blogs. I thought I should probably try to write things in different styles, to learn how they result, and be able to apply them consciously when I want to. Like when learning to play an instrument, or any other discipline for that matter, your best bet at mastering it is to do everything in all possible ways until you can control all the subtleties.

I received quite some feedback in the form of comments and emails, plus having it linked to from a few different places (not too many). Some of the feedback has been positive, as it resonated with some people. Other people, like Gavin Bowman, rightly pointed out some of the absurdity behind it (“I’ve made it through almost 10 years (1 month to go) trying to do absolutely everything every single day… why should I change now? Oh yeah… more successful, and happier… good point… Tomorrow, I shall aim to achieve NOTHING!!!”).

All in all, I was left with the feeling that something was left to be desired with the post. It’s not as when you post an article you end up totally satisfied about. I had to think through what the reason was. You see, when I write about topics I really know about, like many aspects of programming, I’m drawing from solid experience and knowledge. On the other hand, if I write about personal productivity, or about how I feel, or about my “journey”, then I’m not an expert at all, but I’m sharing my experiences, reflections, and decisions. It’s completely different. Now I know better where the point in my previous post fits: it was my reflection adequate to my current circumstance. It can be useful in certain situations, and other situations require different treatment. That should have been part of the “staging” and the point itself if I was to have a more solid post.

I could decide to write only about areas I really know about, like programming, and the part of selling software I’ve already got some experience on. I would save some of the embarrassment, but I don’t really want to go that way now. I like posting about more personal issues, and I think it can be helpful to others out there, even if it’s not the ultimate insight on the treated subjects. I also get to learn from the posting act myself — there’s something in airing out your doubts and reflections.

For the past few months, apart from being busy with the various projects, I’ve often ended up not posting because I felt I had to write “the Great American Blog Post”. It’s not good to post every minor thing, which will end up alienating readers, but it’s no good to have such a high threshold that you don’t post in months. I’m trying to lower the threshold a bit, while keeping in mind that blog posts should be at least worth their time and attention to readers.

(This makes me think again about the concept “Everything takes incredibly longer than it seems it will take”, which I’ve taken so seriously lately — a blog with only great posts is just a fulltime endeavor by itself — it’s good to realize this early before I start investing time in something I can’t afford!)

The next thing I post about will very likely be an update on the status of all my projects, which are in a very interesting point right now, and which will be more on-topic to the blog, too.

Good luck with your own projects too!

4 Responses to “About my blogging customs”

  1. Gavin Bowman Says:

    Hey Jon, now I’m really sorry I didn’t check back to the comments after a few days… I thought your last post was good, I had my tongue firmly in cheek and was bashing on my own inept approach to things :).

    I totally agree that breaking things down and having simple targets usually gets much more done. I tend to flap around a lot, and a lot of the time I just end up with noise and bluster. I definitely didn’t want to leave you questioning the value of the post… that’s the kind of thing I love to read, it helps me calm down and refocus.

    I guess I forgot that sarcasm doesn’t always come over in plain text, no matter how hard you try :).

  2. Jon Says:

    Hey Gavin, no problem!! Your comment made me think. In some stages of my life, I was trying to achieve everything every day, and it worked. It just doesn’t work any more for me, most of the time, and I’m finding alternatives. I’m sure I’ll have 100% busy days with dozens of things done, but that has to be an exception, rather than the rule.

    And the article would have been nicer taking that into account.

    So, actually, I’m glad you posted the sarcastic comment (I got the sarcasm, I just thought there was a valid criticism behind it).

    I’m happy to be posting these reflections in public and having interesting conversations from which I learn more than I would if I kept them private.

    Also, hope you’re doing well with the games!!

  3. Gavin Bowman Says:

    (I checked back this time :)).

    I’m glad, I guess I agree that the article could have balanced both sides… but often articles that do that get too long and wordy, and they lose the focus on the really important point they were trying to make.

    And yeah, offloading all my other projects to work on the games full time was the best thing I could have done at the time, I’m much happier these days. I’m even enjoying having a blog again!


  4. Jon Says:

    Thanks for checking back 🙂 I often forget that with blogs, myself.

    And congratulations on enjoying your games initiative!! When you find what you truly love, life becomes so much nicer and simpler!

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