nilspace

Why I Write

December 12, 2019 • ☕️ 3 min read

I asked myself: “Why would I write?”

I’ve written before: on Medium, on my uni blog, and for publications.

But I published rarely and writing for an audience didn’t really stick as a habit.

Why? I didn’t know.

I wanted to understand better before investing time writing again.

Motivation A: “Write about what I know.”

This is not a good motivation for me.

It’s tough for me to claim knowledge of a Thing or an Idea. I get a sense that I’m impersonating an expert.

I am comfortable saying that I know something when my personal combination of experience is a fit. This happens mostly when I’ve invested enough time on that subject or in that space.

The amount of time I feel is “enough” can be hugely variable. In most cases, using this reason to write will throw fuel on my impostor syndrome 🔥🔥🔥

So, “Write about what I know.”

Motivation B: “Write to share my interests.”

My interests are many, scattered, and range from the superficial to the obsessive. Which do I write about?

I’m interested in coffee (it’s recent development). But that only extends as far as knowing just enough to make myself a decent café au lait. It’s a shallow level of interest.

I’m interested in climate change. But I leave it to more driven folks to forge a path, and I’m happy to follow their lead.

Then there is the stuff about which I give a damn. Here is where I invest my time, in the hope that my effort contributes to its progress: open source, ethics, design, distributed (aka, remote) work, privacy, security.

I’m getting closer to a good motivation, but it’s not there yet. Strong interest doesn’t answer the question: “What is publishing on the web worth to me?”

I wrote “Anyone Can: Set up your own VPN” mostly to document a process for me to reference later. Yes, I’m interested in security and privacy, but it wasn’t enough to publish it on the internet. I decided to go one more step and publish because it would surface the results of my digging for others looking for help (like I had done myself) doing the same thing.

So, speaking for myself, “Write to share my interests” isn’t enough of a reason.

Motivation C: “Write about stuff about which I want to connect with people.”

Spoiler: I chose this.

This is what I’ve decided my blog is for.

This is why I publish on the internet.

Yes, I know something about a Thing or Idea. At minimum, it’s enough to ask questions and get answers from others who may have them.

And yes, I’m interested in the Thing. Enough to give a shit about how the Thing evolves and what we do with it.

But most of all, I want to have a conversation about the Thing with you, the Reader.

My personal blog is for sparking conversations I would like to have. The sort of conversation I wouldn’t mind having if a stranger tapped me on the shoulder at a social and said “Hey, I’m interested in the Thing too! Do you have a few minutes to chat?”