Reigniting The Blog

Over the summer I created a project tracking app to help index and search the work I’d done over the years. As I started cataloging these old projects it struck me how much I use to love blogging just for the sheer fun of it. Sure the writing wasn’t great, but I had a passion for the subject matter that made up for its naive insights. So what happened? Why did something that used to be so effortless become a dreaded chore I eventually abandoned?

I stopped enjoying blogging around the same time I started freelancing full-time. Being new to the freelance world I had no idea how to find clients. So in my usual fashion, I set about absorbing every article, video, and testimonial I could get my hands on in an attempt to become the “ultimate” consultant.

I attended local meetups and read copyblogger like my life depended on it. I recited the virtues of content marketing with the confidence of a man that had just discovered the meaning of life. The best part, the rules were so simple:

  • Everything you put out to the world needed to be “on-brand”.
  • If the content didn’t ultimately contribute to a down funnel sale you were to be flogged.
  • Stay with safely vetted topics and keep it under 500 words.
  • Title optimization, keyword density, and social signals were the ingredients to the secret elixir paving your way to digital riches.

But why do we need to follow any rules? Can’t I just write about something I love? No, at least according to Google. Writing articles with any kind of personality is pointless. You were given a simple formula by your search engine overlords and expected to follow it. Screw spontaneity, subtlety, paradox or ambiguity. You were now required to forever chase the fickle Google algorithm or you might as well not even exist.

No wonder I stop wanting to write for fun.

Trying to suck-up to a robot isn’t worth the effort. I choose instead to embrace a free-range creative process that doesn’t reward appeasement to outside influences. Follow the natural flow of your work and it will lead you to wonderful things.

I understand now that following the “rules” caused me to self-edit any joy out of the process.

So, going forward I see this site as an excellent platform to help reinforce and test my ability to clearly explain challenging concepts. If you can’t explain difficult abstractions clearly then you might question whether you actually understand them yourself.

Navigating the world of software development is an incredible adventure. It will test your fortitude and humble you like nothing else. I look forward to documenting my journey, warts and all.

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