I’ve made two different attempts in the past to start, and more importantly to maintain, a website, but it never stuck. My last attempt was in 2015.
Over the years I’ve thought about why I wasn’t able to stick with maintaining a website, and I thought it would be fun to outline those reasons and also what is different this time that will hopefully allow the habit to stick!
I approached the website as something I “should” do
So many impressive people have websites. Some of these people have had websites since they were teenagers! I wanted to be impressive, so I figured I should have a website too. My second website was largely motivated by a job hunt. As with other things in life, these “shoulds” sap my willpower and energy, and while I had good ideas for blog posts, I’d never write them. After a few years had passed, I just let the domain expire and moved on.
For the past couple years, I’ve organically been writing more (mostly journaling, thinking through software ideas, and a little bit of creative writing), and I’ve enjoyed how taking the time to write and to critique my own writing has resulted in clearer thinking. I’ve also started following some really great writers who share their reflections on life on substack and twitter, and I was really inspired by their vulnerability and willingness to share with others, and how they use their writing to think through ideas and to engage with others about their ideas.
This time around, I’m approaching the website with a more organic writing habit and a feeling of inspiration from others, instead of approaching it as a “should”.
Technology choices matter
While the specific blog technology might not matter (Jekyll, Astro, Hugo, etc), the editing experience absolutely matters. My first attempt at a website involved writing raw HTML, and my second attempt used Angular. Neither felt natural, at least to me, for writing. Even when I tried writing markdown, which was a better experience than HTML or an app framework, I found that writing in monospace in my code editor didn’t feel natural either.
This time around, I wanted something where I could write my posts in something like Markdown, but without it feeling like I was writing code. I took the time to customize my code editor to render markdown in a non-monospace font so that it feels more like writing text in a tool like Notion.
Editing takes time
Luckily, I actually write a lot! I journal several times a week. The challenge is in taking musings from a journal entry and turning them into something I feel good about posting.
In recent years, I’ve tried being less of a perfectionist, which has helped me be okay with posting things that I wouldn’t have posted in the past.
Honestly, I think the biggest barrier to writing more blog posts is not having some kind of writing habit or schedule that I hold myself to. It’s too easy to let other things get in the way. However, I have a habit of, well, overusing habits. I try to maintain too many habits at once and I get burned out.
So I’m trying not to be too rigid about forcing myself into a new “blog every week” habit. Instead, I focused on removing barriers to writing and fostering a more organic interest in writing.
Time will tell!
Time will tell if I’m successful this time around. Thanks for reading :).