A programmer-turned-blogger shares the insecurities and obstacles he faces as he attempts to maintain his blog.
Writing for the explicit purpose of writing—as opposed to hacking away at the keyboard on a social media site—is rather daunting. Suddenly, there is an expectation that you tell a story in a longer form. The barrier seems to be mostly in the mind, however. I have racked up over 3,000 posts on one of my social media accounts in a very short time. Producing a large amount of text every day was never the problem, and I can pull that off effortlessly.
When expectations are low, it's easy to write something. When you're trying to produce a longer pience of text that somebody actually wants to read, that's something else. But is it? It has been said that you must produce a large amount of bad material before you can produce anything good.
Being the writer of a blog that no one has heard about could actually be an advantage. Perhaps it is more important to say what comes to mind than to try to satisfy some kind of ideal about good writing. Perhaps it's more important to rattle off something incoherent than to not say anything at all. The worst thing that can happen is that you get to practice your writing skills.
I've been a computer programmer all my life, but expressing myself in writing has always come naturally. It would be easy to take this for granted—after all, a programmer is also a sort of author—but I've met plenty of programmers and IT workers who don't have an aptitude for writing at all. Forming words and sentences into a coherent and fluid whole requires a different set of skills. While there are rules of good writing, strictly following them will not turn you into Shakespeare, and might—in fact—make your writing come off as stiff and unnatural.
Apart from getting started, one of the toughest challenges found in long form writing is the conclusion. Sharing your trains of thought on social media does not prepare you for conclusions. What is it you are ultimately trying to say? I have never been what you might call a decisive person. Leaving things a bit open and ambigious has always been a habit of mine, for better or for worse.
In conclusion, writing is hard.