I’ve been looking to establish more routines in my life. The fact that the midway point of the year just passed by seems like a good excuse to do it, just the same as how I view a new year as a good time to set all these goals and try do new things or better myself.
I was recently reading back through some of Austin Kleon’s blog posts, and I returned to one that always gives me a little jolt of inspiration. He talks about blogging being a forgiving medium, and I love what he had to say about it.
His words make me want to dedicate myself to the routine and discipline of blogging daily. Not for anybody in particular, not for metrics or anything like that, but rather I’d do it for myself.
That’s hard for me when I write all day, every day, for work, but I want to write for myself. I want to write for fun, because I do find it to be fun. I don’t want to stress about growing readership, like I might with my newsletter. I don’t want to hear the virtual crickets of putting every waking thought on my Twitter feed. I just want to feel the sense of pride in setting a goal and sticking to it, and when it comes to writing for me, the lower the stakes the better.
From his blog, Kleon said:
I am on Twitter, still, despite my better judgment, and it seems to me to be The extremely unforgiving medium in my life.
It is risky compositionally. You can delete a tweet, but you can’t edit a tweet. You can add to a tweet, but it’s hard to improve upon it.
It is risky socially. Every tweet is an invitation for scrutiny if not consultation if not correction if not misunderstanding if not rancor. Forgiveness, even if we agreed it still existed in the wider culture, I think we could probably agree it doesn’t really exist on Twitter. (“Never Tweet” is not terrible advice.)
Later in the same post, he wrote:
But most importantly, I want to be able to be wrong. I want to change my mind! I want to evolve.
Being wrong publicly is the easiest way to learn what you need to know. The trouble is: it’s also the easiest way to get yelled at or shamed or “canceled,” as they say.
To do the exploration that growth and change requires, one needs a forgiving medium… but what one really needs forgiving readers.
Every newsletter I send, for example, is a gamble. It can’t be edited, only issued a correction in the next one. But my readers, on the whole, tend to be a caring bunch. (If they didn’t care, they wouldn’t subscribe.) Corrections are often made privately, over email.
I want the same things for myself as someone who endeavors to be creative.
Another concept he talks about in yet another blog post about blogging is the concept of “stock and flow.” I need this kind of workflow, I think, because I too often sit and wonder why I can’t come up with any ideas.
In another post, he wrote:
The idea started out from my anxiety about “stock and flow.” As Robin Sloan wrote seven years ago: flow is the feed (“It’s the posts and the tweets. It’s the stream of daily and sub-daily updates that reminds people you exist.”) and stock is the durable stuff (“It’s the content you produce that’s as interesting in two months (or two years) as it is today. It’s what people discover via search. It’s what spreads slowly but surely, building fans over time.”)
Perhaps the most convincing of his arguments for daily blogging is this one:
1. To leave a trace.
Here’s what William Kentridge says in Six Drawing Lessons about why he thinks he makes art:
An insufficiency in the self, the need to be a snail, leaving a trail of yourself as you move through the world. Hansel, leaving a trail of crumbs to lead you home.
On a single post of this blog you’ll find a form of navigation known as “bread crumbs” and if you click here the hyperlink will take you to the blog’s “home” page.
This is my home online. It’s where you can find me. If you want to know me, knock on the door, and I’ll let you in.
So this is me, trying to get my creative juices flowing by imposing a little bit of routine into my life and embracing the joy of freely writing about whatever catches my attention.