Getting Started

I’ve been meaning to start writing and posting here for years, yet nothing has gone up on this site. It’s not that I haven’t been writing - I have, in bits and pieces - but perhaps it’s more accurate to label it as journalling. It’s been for me, and me alone, because it turns out writing is a lot easier without the (self-imposed) pressure that comes with letting other people read it.

Not publishing means not worrying about writing anything interesting. It means not worrying about editing. It means not worrying about looking back in the future and finding myself embarrassed by a previous post. Perhaps more importantly though, I think writing with the intention of publishing just fundamentally changes the nature of how I write.

When I write for myself, it’s not about the final words. I’m not trying to create something and I rarely look back and read what I’ve written. Writing just helps me think. When I have a bunch of small scattered thoughts that feel related but I can’t yet see how, writing helps me weave them into something more cohesive, discovering the threads that connect them as I go. When I’m working through a challenging decision or considering my perspective or opinion, writing helps me work through a logical argument and reveals the shortcomings of my internal dialogue. It’s raw and pure in the sense that it lays the stream of consciousness out on a page and reveals just how messy my thoughts usually are. It gives me insight into myself. I find that incredibly valuable.

Writing with the intention of publishing is different. It’s hard. It requires finding dedicated time to focus and yet is only one of many things competing for my attention. It kicks my perfectionism into overdrive. Pretty much all the writing I’ve done in my life has either been “mandatory with a purpose” (e.g. assigned papers in school) or “stream of consciousness for myself” (e.g. journalling), and I don’t think I’m alone in that. Writing to publish without any external pressure to do so is something I haven’t practiced much and it often feels unapproachable. Yet I still find myself wanting to write for my website, and there are a handful of reasons for that.

I don’t really have a social media presence. I do have some accounts for specific purposes (LinkedIn for career development, Strava for sharing my runs, etc.) but I deleted all my “general purpose” social media accounts a few years ago and I don’t really miss them. I like that I no longer sink my time and energy into them for no return. I like that I no longer fall under the illusion that I’m somehow still connected to people I haven’t spoken to in years just because I occasionally see their posts. But sometimes I still want to share updates about what I’ve been thinking about, working on, or exploring. And this feels like the right place to do that.

There’s also something about posting onto my own site that’s appealing to me. It’s a little corner of the internet that’s just mine which I can shape however I like. There’s no feedback on whether what I write is being read or by who, there’s no algorithm, there’s no ads. I can just post and move on, knowing it’s here. In a way, it almost feels like shouting into the void. I’m not sure why I like that, but I do.

Travel has been on my mind for a while. I haven’t really spent time outside of Canada since 2018, and after a few years of living through a pandemic and, more recently, some pretty major changes in my personal life, I’m off to Central America for a couple months. I’m writing this as I sit on a plane from Vancouver to Orlando. I want to share updates on my trip but minimize how much time I spend messaging people and focusing on home. Maybe that’s what prompted me to start this.

I’ve found the phrase “the first step is the hardest” to be generally true in many pursuits. So after years of good intentions, I’m starting. I have no idea if it’ll stick, or what I’ll write, or how often I’ll publish. But here is it: a start.

714 Words

2024-02-16 16:00 -0800