I’ve now been writing at this blog daily-ish for 100 days now. It’s probably dumb. It certainly would look that way—stupid. Idiotic. Irrelevant. Corny. Cringe. So cringe. (I suspect the youth look at blogs the same way they look at Lin Manuel Miranda.)
Blogging is dumb, in a sense. Not only because people just don’t blog anymore, but because this infrastructure isn’t around to support it the way it used to. I know this in my bones, as a marketing executive for software companies, and also as an editorial studio head, that I’m not optimizing for my business objectives here. I write books, and in order to do that, I need to build an audience.
I could’ve written weekly blog posts with more SEO research that would’ve made a greater impact, I could’ve written daily at Twitter, I could’ve tried TikTok or Instagram. I could’ve done all of these other things. I would certainly not have advised clients, on a marketing basis, to do as I did.
But still, here I am, blogging. Even with this one. For 100 days, and I’ve missed maybe 7 of them.
When there’s no RSS or Technorati or BlogCatalog anymore, in a world run by Substack and Ghost and Medium, when WordPress is losing market share and Webflow is so cool, when Google SEO is a nightmare, when many subreddits don’t allow links, when everyone is busy like me and I myself am listening to podcasts when I wash dishes.
Still writing. At my blog.
It’s my 15th year of on-and-off blogging, and honestly it’s probably the first year I started to understand blogging again. It’s so simple: it’s just really fun.
The curse of getting good at something is being afraid of looking bad at it. There’s just too much reward for being good at it, and there’s a fear of inadequacy. I can harp on and on about cool results I’ve gotten from writing at my blog, like these millions of impressions I earned from this tweet (which actually started as a blog post, or making $100+ from what was essentially a rant on notes—worth considering, but that’s beside the point!), I can also spin it into a long-term writing play (“I can build SEO authority! I can collect emails from my pop-up which I feel bad for putting up but want to keep in touch with people who like my work!”), but the best result is this:
I’m happier when I blog.
I write for myself, I write however long I want, I put pictures in if I like and don’t if I don’t, and I don’t actually care about the results. That’s the beauty of writing at my own website: I’m doing it for myself, maybe for a couple of people I’ll send a link to. Maybe even to advise some clients! But not for hearts, not for comments, and not for shares. Mainly just for fun, for the process, not the results.
For me, that joy of blogging far outweighs the fear of looking dumb. But that’s an insight that only comes from the other side of blogging for 100 days.
The counterpoint is this: it looks dumb for me to expect business results when I blog, and I’m super happy for it, and that’s going to be how I approach my writing moving forward. Sure, there are always elements of content creation and self promotion—I’m a marketing executive, how could I not?!
But it isn’t dumb. It makes me happy.
I want to find a blend between creative hobby and making money from passion, but I believe the hobby always has to come first. For me, there’s no point in writing stuff I don’t like—that’s just work, like any other job. (If this resonates with you, check out my book with Holloway, Creative Doing.)
There’s this saying in scientific discovery, that I’ll need to properly cite later, a lot of interesting experiments start with, “Hm, that’s interesting.” I believe that a second equivalent to this is now, “This is probably dumb…”
Not as a period, but with a set of ellipses, to open up a new idea or revisit an old assumption that you’ve made about something. But also, to give yourself permission to try something and to allow your inner judge to quiet down for a second, and for the creative and artist to speak up.