I happened to drop by a “classic” blog of a friend of a friend, and I was just floored. It has an archive that goes back all the way to August 2001.
At this point, I find myself feeling a sense of loss. I wish that were me. It could’ve been. I know that I used to blog when I was 13 or 14 years old, on a service called Diary-X. 2000-2005. All of my content was wiped out in some sort of tragic server accident, which left me very demoralized. I then moved over to LiveJournal. It took me a while to get started again.
I blogged there for several years, from 2005 to 2007 or so. And then eventually I got tired of that, and started a WordPress blog, visaisahero.wordpress.com. I wanted to be more public facing. I started writing essays about popular social issues.
It’s easy to look back on these now and cringe, but I think I should think about them fondly, as a part of my development as an writer. I remember being particularly active during the 2011 General Elections, which felt important and meaningful to me at the time. On retrospect I’m not so sure how much of a difference I made. But I practiced and got better at my craft.
Around 2012-2013, I started to get tired of my sociopolitical writing. I found that I was pandering a lot – I felt that I was overly motivated by the responses of others. I was preemptively thinking about how other people would respond to something I wrote, and subconsciously wrote things in a provocative, sometimes condescending tone.
I initially felt like I was doing a good job “speaking truth to power”, but on retrospect, we no longer have a shortage of people do that. So I thought that I wanted to “go upstream”. I wanted to spend less time rabble-rousing and more time thinking clearly and calmly. I wanted to have more nuanced perspectives. I wanted to better understand the positions of the people I was attacking. I remember posting a bit from a Captain America comic strip – “We’re not fighting for anything any more, we’re just fighting.” I felt lost and overwhelmed, and so I stopped.
(I was also writing for Poached Magazine at the time. There were a couple of decent posts, but overall I felt like I was suffering from the same malaise – trying to be opportunistic rather than digging deeper about what I really cared about, what really mattered to me.)
In the years since – 2013 to 2017 – most of my writing has been private. I’ve written hundreds of thousands of words over at @1000wordvomits, trying to get better with words. I think I’ve achieved that, mostly. I’ve still got 30% of the project to go, and I’d like to finish it.
But in the meantime, I think I’d also like to begin a practice of writing “a blog”. What does that mean? I’d like to think of it as a sort of public correspondence – a little less public than the posturing of my teenage days, but a little less private than my personal journaling or my “not-for-public-consumption” word vomits.
It’s funny – prior to writing this, my blog was shaping up to be a set of notes and essays, rather than blogposts. But this is scratching some sort of itch as I write it, and so I’m going to hit publish. And I’ll try to do this regularly.
At this point I’m wondering. I’ve written 500+ words. Should I try and expand it to 1,000 and turn it into a word vomit? I could. It would let me hit “+1” on my word vomit counter. Which would feel good. And this has been a fairly clear-headed post so far. Is there a way for me to do both? I think yes! I could tag these posts as “blogposts” within the context of my word vomit project. And maybe I could export them later on and put them on my “blog”, or my “archives”, whatever. The point is just to write it so that it’s been written.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently, and thinking without writing. I have some thoughts for a blogpost that I articulated in a group chat earlier – I should really copy that stuff out so that I can re-use it. A part of me is frustrated with myself for not keeping better track of anything, but another part of me thinks, “Hey, it’s better to have good thoughts and be a little sloppy in keeping tracking of them, than be perfectly organized and not have good thoughts”. Of course, those aren’t the only two options. One could imaginably be both organized and thinking good thoughts. That might lead to a compounding of good thoughts, since well-organized good thoughts have better opportunities to cross-pollinate.
Well, there’s only one way to find out – by doing it. Let me pop over and… done. I’ve saved the snippets of a draft that I can later expand into an essay if I want to.
I’d like to get more organized, but I’d also like to be writing and publishing at a regular schedule. I think of the two, the bigger issue for me is that I’m not currently publishing regularly. I got a little fixated on the idea of taking time off – I can’t remember why exactly – but I think I’m ready to sit down again and crank out paragraph after paragraph. So I’ll begin again with a base of word vomits. I’d like to publish at least one every day.
I’ve said this several times in the past, so realistically it’s probably not going to happen. But hey, the whole point of this sort of thing is to try over and over again until I get it. I’m 27 now. I’ve been working out – bench, squat, run, deadlifts, squats – 5 times in the past couple of weeks. I am ready to kick things up into high gear again.
Let’s do this, Visa. Let’s start over. Let’s go hard, go fast. Let’s do that for about 10 weeks. Let’s make these 10 great weeks. And then we can take a break. What do you say?