March 6, 2021
In March last year, I decided to keep a journal of my thoughts during what seemed like short health emergency—and in doing so, I realized how much I had been missing the journal as a creative outlet. Back in 2018 I had switched my website to a new platform, killing the blog in favor of a more polished article showcase, but that only resulted in the stakes becoming too high. I effectively stopped publishing anything.
To bring back a blog in 2020 seems… anachronistic for sure, but I’m finding that it works: Creativity, to me, always feels like an enterprise, and this thing helps me trick myself into thinking that it’s easier than it is.
So here we are, almost a year from the inception of that humble journal, and there are a few lessons I’ve come to notice:
- Praise the tool. A blog is a darn powerful tool. No matter how sophisticated it is, if it allows you easy capture, easy publish, and easily share what you’re doing, you’re halfway there. It creates affordances, it eliminates the friction of taking an idea and running with it.
- Persistence beats effort. This is hardly a revolutionary insight, but writing something gradually is much, much easier than doing it in one go. Little things add up and habits are built.
- Hard things are still hard. All those tricks help, but they don’t do the work. You can’t outsmart every challenge. I still find it difficult to weave together complicated thoughts into longer, more ambitious essays. Hopefully, as the creative muscle builds up, it’s easier to do the heavy lifting—but there’s definitely a limit to what you can accomplish by just trying to wing it with an easy-to-use tool.
- A good archive does wonders. I couldn’t do much of this writing if I didn’t keep the ideas I find across the web saved somewhere, or had my old posts to go to for reference. Much writing depends on the cross-pollination of ideas, and it’s crucial to keep those ideas ordered.