In the past, it has been difficult for me to publish blogs at a constant pace. I would subconsciously try to write a masterpiece each time, and struggle to create something up to my personal standards. Writing great pieces is a perfectly reasonable and respectable goal, but if you think about it, it's a chicken and an egg problem. In order to become a great writer, there isn't much of an option other than writing a lot along the way.
As amateur writers, we will inevitably write a lot of poorly written articles. For some, including myself, this can potentially be difficult to accept or tolerate. Then the next challenge becomes:
"how do I accept the fact that some things I write will be so-so, but encourage myself to keep writing despite possible shortcomings?"
I think Facebook's engineering mantra, "Move Fast, Break Stuff", is a perfect fit for this dilemma. Applied to blogging (and writing in general), it means that we should voluntarily overlook the shortcomings and potential problems in our writing, and keep shipping articles (with any virtues) at a high pace. If there are flaws in our writing (and there obviously will be), then we can take the feedback and improve those aspects of our writing going forward. The key is to publish a lot, push the boundaries of our comfort zone, and keep learning each time we publish.
I recently published a blog titled, Money, where I tried to argue that (1) we trade our time for money, and thus we should not spend money on frivolous things, and (2) we should not lock ourselves into situations where we have no choice but to earn lots of money, since that will force us to sacrifice our freedom in order to keep paying the bills. I chose a rather unusual syntactical style in the blog, which spurred a friend to remark,
"you became a poet?"
But as a side effect of trying out this style, the effectiveness of my argument itself was compromised. In particular, I should have added a few sentences to introduce and make a case for argument (2) above. But I'm glad that I shipped the blog out and realized these shortcomings quickly. I could instead have brooded upon it for many days and eventually even given up on publishing it altogether. I shipped it out, it wasn't perfect, and hopefully my writing will improve a little bit in the future.
If I keep at this for a few years, maybe I can become a decent writer.
Interestingly, I have an easier time publishing my Japanese blogs quickly compared to my English blogs, despite my English being better than my Japanese. I think this may actually be because of my relatively better understanding of English, which causes me to endlessly brood over a better way to organize and express my thoughts.
Crossposted from my main blog