Photo by Pixabay
Photo by Pixabay

I’ve been blogging on and off for several years, and I’ve read a lot about why people should blog. This includes building a personal brand, monetizing clicks, creating a unique voice, etc. However, I primarily blog to create things that I want to read, and there are a few other useful things I get from blogging.

The Joy of Writing

James Baldwin famously said:

The terrible thing about being a writer is that you don’t decide to become one, you discover that you are one.

My love for writing is probably only eclipsed by my love of reading, but reading takes far less labor than writing. So, I have read a lot more than I have written. However, my blog is a way for me to regularly enjoy writing with very low stakes.

I do a lot of writing for work, but that doesn’t satisfy my utility function for writing. I don’t get a lot of choice in what I write for work, and I often have to write in a way that isn’t aligned with my voice. So, my blog is the place where I can write in my own voice about things that interest me.

If no one reads my blog, that’s fine. I write to record things that I can’t find written anywhere else in the world. The primary reader is me, and that is enough.

Playing with Design

The design needs of my blog are modest, but I enjoy laying out the posts. I even like looking for stock images to put amongst the words. I’ve gradually changed the design of my posts over the years by modifying how I use Markdown, and I’m just now getting to the point where I’m happy with how things look.

To be clear, I would never call myself with a designer. That would be an insult to the amazing designers I’ve been lucky to work with over my career. However, I enjoy exploring design thinking in how I lay out my blog posts and the general look of my site.

My Back Up Brain

I also blog to remember things that I may want to recall later. This can be how I set up different pieces of tech around my house, processes I’ve found useful after working at multiple companies, or remembering events in my life.

There have been several times when I had to do something and realized that I had already written a blog post about it. Instead of starting from scratch, I can find the post and build from there.

Not Having to Repeat Myself

Just like my blog is my back up brain, it’s also a good automatic responder. I often get requests from people to help them understand some concept. These requests are often in written form, and I usually have to provide a written response. I used to write a fresh response to each question, but I soon realized that this didn’t scale very well.

Now, when I get a request for something, I write a blog post about it and send it to the requestor. I can then share that blog post for any subsequent requests. I’ve found that this is a much better use of my time and also allows me to provide an answer in a shorter period of time.

Flex My Tech

The blog you’re reading now is a Jekyll site hosted on GitHub. Maintaining my blog requires me to have a general understanding of HTML, CSS, javascript, VS Code, and elements of GitHub flow. I don’t get the chance to use these lanagues nearly as much as I did early in my career, so this blog is a way for me to at least get regular chances to do something technical.