James Gallagher

writing for myself

Published on June 4, 2020 in writing

On this blog, I often remark on how I write for myself. If you're a loyal reader, you may be sick and tired of hearing me talk about how this blog is a place for me to think through the ideas in my mind. In case you're not sick and tired of this, let me tell you again: this blog is a place for me to think.

Why does this matter to you?

This is a place for me to think, and so what I write here should always be taken with a grain of salt. Seldom will you find a piece of writing here that is fully complete and worked out, with no flaws in logic whatsoever. Most of my writing is rough, but I like it that way. My thoughts are rarely worked out when they first come out of my mind, and so if I was to write a masterpiece every day, I'd be concerned. I'd know that I wasn't expressing myself in the right way.

You should also understand that this is a place for me to think so that you don't take what I say as advice. I have enough trouble figuring out what I should do. Who am I to tell you what to do and how to live your lives? I think you'll get some value out of what I write, but I encourage you to scrutinize every word from your perspective. Use your knowledge and experience to determine whether or not what I say applies to you. You'd be surprised how often it doesn't, and that's okay.

(Although I'd appreciate it if you still came back and read this blog anyway!)

Alright, that's enough context. What I am writing this blog post to tell you is that I have been doing a lot of writing for myself lately, and I have noticed that some of my pieces are getting more personal. I have a lot to figure out in my life, and writing is one of the ways that I think. As a result, I wanted to notify you, loyal readers, that I may not be publishing every day.

I am going to try to hit publish as often as I can, but right now I am in a period where publishing does not matter as much as processing my thoughts. I wouldn't want the quality of my writing to be impacted by the fact that I feel pressured to write for an audience.

I try my best to be honest and authentic when I write for this blog, but there are some things that I'm still not comfortable sharing with this Next.js app, and you, readers. You can find the source code to this blog online, but some parts of my mental source code need to remain hidden, because even if you were to read those lines of code, they would be a horrific mess. Nobody likes to read messy code.

If you're looking for an "actionable insight" from this blog post, let it be this: writing doesn't have to be something you do for a blog. I love writing for this blog because it holds me accountable. I literally built a graph to make sure that I don't not publish every day. That graph was the first thing that came to mind when I realized that what I started to write today is not really useful to my readers.

Write for fun. Write to think. Write to share your ideas. Write for whatever reason matters to you. You don't even need to publish what you write.

That's why I love writing so much: there really are no rules. I can USE ALL CAPS in this sentence for seemingly no reason, and that's okay. Or I can make an intentional typo. (Oh, wait, I can't do that. My mind won't let me. I digress.) What are you going to do if I break writing conventions? Send me an email and complain? (Feel free to do this, because it shows that you've read this far!)

Write how you want to write, and don't feel like you need to share what you have written. You'd be surprised what share of the best writers' work that you have read actually doesn't make it out into the world. To quote Hemingway, "I write 99 pages of crap for every one page of masterpiece." If it's true for Hemingway, I'm inclined to think it is at least somewhat meaningful.

As a reminder, because I have rambled on a bit: if I don't hit publish one day, that's fine. I will likely still be writing. It's just that I don't need a graph to tell me if I have written every day.

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