Why do I write?
This post was originally sent to my newsletter on August 12, 2021. I originally didn't plan to blog about it, but given the reactions that I received, I decided it would be good to share it with a larger audience.
This is going to be a slightly different style of newsletter than you're used to. I'm not going to blog or tweet about this, I just want to share these thoughts with you, because you can hit the reply button and let me know your feedback, one on one.
So: why do I write? "Being a content creator" has been a hobby of mine for many years now (I actually made Minecraft videos before writing a blog, believe it or not) and I've always wanted to stay true to myself. My number one rule is that I only write about what I want, when I want to.
Yesterday though, my colleague Sebastian sent out a new edition of his newsletter that made me stop and think about where I am today. You should totally subscribe to Sebastian's newsletter by the way, I'm always happy to receive one of his mails in my inbox.
Anyway, Seb wrote about how we live in a culture where it seems that everyone and their grandma is working on a successful side-project, and how that affects him. He called it the the monetization trap — a must read!
I immediately told him I felt the same way he described in his post, and we had a small conversation about it. During our conversation, he shared an awesome blog post — another must read — and I must admit it struck a nerve with me. Here's a quote from that post:
I see a lot of ["fast food content"] on the web sadly. People who once had something to say that are now trapped in an endless cycle of recycled content, month after month, year after year, saying the same thing, over and over and over again.
I felt at least a little shame: I've done this myself. Maybe not to extremes, but I have written blog posts in the past, because I knew people like to read them, because I knew they have a high chance of going viral and giving me an adrenaline rush for a day, maybe two.
I was suddenly reminded of my number one rule, and came to realise that I might not always have followed it, even though I thought I did.
Now, I don't regret writing those kinds of posts, in fact I like to believe some of them have had a significant impact on people's professional developer's life (some people have told me it did). And yet, those aren't the posts I'm most proud of.
In fact, the ones I'm most proud of are actually the least popular ones.
Looking back, not following that one rule might have caused some levels of added stress these past few months, and I'm thankful for Seb's and Manu's writings to make me realise that.
Having named the problem and knowing it's there is actually very comforting, it means I can now work on it. It'll be good to focus on things that I want to, instead of things I must. We'll see what the future brings.
Having written all of this, I'm actually thinking of reposting it on my blog one day, because maybe there are more people out there experiencing the same pressure — consciously or not. I want to see your responses first though, so feel free hit the reply button if you have any thoughts! I'll try my best to answer soon.
I'd like to ask you — the blog reader — the same: if you have any thoughts to share about this topic, please send me an email (if the mailto link doesn't work: firstname.lastname@example.org). I'll try my best to answer all mails, it might take a while!
If this post resonates with you, please consider sharing it with your audience. I think there's an important message here, but I'll let you be the judge of that.
Thanks for reading! This post is part of my "Dev Diaries" series where I write about my own and personal experiences as a developer. Would you like to read some more?
- How I plan
- Why do I write?
- Opinion-driven design
- Don't get stuck
- Don't write your own framework
- When I lost a few hundred leads
- How to be right on the internet
If you want to stay up to date about what's happening on this blog, you can follow me on Twitter or subscribe to my newsletter: