A personal journey of lifelong learning, sharing resources, creating things, and trying to be better.

Tag: Life Lessons Page 3 of 5

On Second Thought

Technician in a Bangladesh LaboratorySource

Working Towards Something Better

THE INTERNET IS a remarkable utility that has changed humanity forever. Never in history has information been more freely available. Past generations wouldn’t have been able to fathom the amount of personal freedom that the Internet has given us. Because while the availability of content to consume is ever-present, what’s even more important is the fact we ourselves have the ability to create, to freely voice our opinions and creativity.

I’m starting to wonder what I’m doing on Medium, with my writing. I enjoy writing because it’s creating something. This has been at the heart of my identity — of who I think I am — for as long as I can remember. I want to discover or contribute something important to the world — that’s what I’ve set as my purpose in life.

And I’ve tried my best to find the most efficient way of creating good. Voltaire popularized the aphorism that perfect is the enemy is good. Confucius, similarly, is attributed to having said that a diamond with a flaw is better than a pebble without.

What I’ve realized, is that it’s far easier to find a diamond in the rough when you have more rough to work with. To reserve less judgement on myself and what I create and post more freely. I can’t wait for perfect — or try to reinvent the wheel — I need to publish what I have, I need to work harder.

But then I have to ask myself, what exactly am I working towards? Having a lofty and high-level ambition might be good, but it’s a nebulous direction. I need a more structured and rigid plan. Who am I helping? How am I helping them? Those are the kind of questions I have to answer if I want to do something that matters.

I need to create a uniformity between what I have planned — a wide variety of interests including writing, web development, photography, music production, etc.

The projects I’ve created in the past have been their own entity, but I realize now that dilutes efforts. I believe that it is far more effective to work towards a single and essential goal, rather than try to multitask. There are a multitude of components that come into play when trying to be successful online. Who you are, your identity, also becomes a brand.

Stay tuned.

Hiatus

EmptinessSource

Sometimes, you disappear.

For while now, I have been in hiding. It has been a long while since my last post here on Medium. Since I began my first semester in college in September, I decided that my personal writing was to become a lower priority. I’ve had a near month off, returning on the 9th of January, and decided I’d write something up before the new year began.

It feels hypocritical of me to stop, after being such an advocate for writing every day. I have been working diligently — sure, but by pouring my energy solely into academia, I’ve found a lack of balance. I need to create a new system, one that includes creative writing in my daily routine.

And so, with things becoming so quiet, I decided I needed to return — to write out my thoughts once again. Things need to be re-examined.

Bubbles of Thoughts

Looking back on the year, and my entries, I realize I need to take a deeper look into the focus of my writing. What do I actually want to say? What’s my mission?

The truth is, I initially began to prove to myself that I could create a blog. And I did do that. I wrote out the bubbles of thoughts that had been inside my head for quite awhile, and I sort of just stopped when I had run out of those.

In doing so, I’ve built myself a platform. It’s not a popular one, but that’s fine. It’s a place where I can write things I think are important, and where people can read those things, if they want. And this was a liberty that was important for me to advocate — that everyone should have their own personal space within the web to express their thoughts, no matter how mundane.

Focus

So I have to figure out what I want to focus on. The multitude of nebulous topics I have found myself writing about are too often repeated. I think that it is important to realize that hard work and vulnerability to write about specific, quantifiable things.

It takes original research, dedication and passion. These aren’t things you can effortlessly create or automate from other sources.

In the coming weeks, I’ll begin to flesh out a more detailed and unambiguous mission plan for this blog and it’s entries. I already have ideas, maybe I’ll even create separate projects in the coming year.

Words

It’s difficult to attempt to talk about the year as a whole. More than anything, it has been been the year of outliers. It was the year I decided to blog.

From March to June, which is when I did the bulk of my blogging, I wrote 30,000 words in more than two dozen stories. And I believe anybody can accomplish that kind of quantity if they tried.

Here’s to even more words in 2017!

How to Blog

HES on an IBM 2250 Mod 4 | Source

Attempts at Online Writing.

Most often, what I see when I visit a blog with an exciting premise or topic, what I find is an introduction post that was written months or years ago. If I’m lucky, there’s also a second post apologizing for not writing more frequently.

Depending on what statistics you look at, there are an estimated 150–200 million blogs in the world. Only a fraction of those contain actual posts, and only a fraction of those contain frequently updated content.

— What is the reason for this?

The answer most often is due to feeling demotivated. It takes work to create original content, more than people can think initially. In addition to this, people can feel further deterred that their work receives little-to-no attention. After this, people consciously or unconsciously move on, neglecting or procrastinating to write anything more.

I think that there’s a perception that creating a blog is not only easy, but a lofty source of secondary, passive income. This is not the case in reality.

If you want to be a successful blogger — in the most accepted definition of “success” regarding blogging — you have to have extensive marketing knowledge and work hard to sell yourself. You have to research You have to reach out to a multitude of different bloggers and pitch yourself. You have to be diligent on social networks, write e-books and create online courses/webinars. It can take hours of work per week.

This isn’t what most people want to hear — most blogs that write about blogging (especially to beginners) try to avoid focusing on how important and necessary marketing is (while doing it diligently themselves).

While this personally disappointed me initially, I do not think it’s a bad thing. There’s nothing wrong with teaching yourself marketing skills, and if anything it would prove to be useful in the long-run.

But this isn’t what blogging should be. Idealistically — and perhaps personally — I believe that writing things you’re passionate about is all that matters at the end of the day. That is the definition of successful blogging.


Helpful Tips

  • When embarking on trying to create a new blog, searching how to write non-fiction instead of how to blog. Learn to write well, not how to blog well.
  • Research a specific topic that you sincerely enjoy. You don’t need to be an expert to start writing about it, document your growth from the beginning.
  • Don’t worry about stats in the beginning. As I’ve said before, the law of serendipity states that those who attempt something longer are more likely to find desired results.
  • Reach out to those who write about similar things, but do it for the sake of conversation, not favors.
  • Keep at it. Regardless of metrics, you’ll have produced something meaningful and that will last a long time.

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