Blog every day for 2 weeks.
Jan 20, 2021
I've been considering / thinking about / wanting to start my own blog for years.
I messed around with blog tech to avoid writing
Over the years, I've made various attempts to set up a blog, including:
- A self hosted Ghost blog
- Statically generated blog using a Gatsby site consuming Ghost's GraphQL API, hosted by Netlify or Vercel (I don't remember which one)
- A brief investigation into a blog built on Cloudflare Workers + Notion, where the serverless workers generate a HTML based on content served by Notion's private API
In hindsight, that's some top-tier procrastination to avoid writing. The closest I got to writing was using Ghost or Notion, but making the frontend statically generated just added a tonne of complexity to the whole set up.
I remember writing a blog post about the Gatsby + Ghost set up and getting confused for a moment about how it all pieced together. That's one hell of a red flag for any project.. let alone a simple personal blog 🤦♂️
It was so bad.
Pick somewhere to write and then just... write
To blog, I'll simply be writing in Notion. The posts won't get published anywhere yet and that's just fine.
I've set a 30 minute window in my calendar every day (10 am to 10:30 am) for blogging so I don't forget after a couple of days.
If I complete the challenge, I can set up whatever blog set up I want (ideally something fast and simple) and blog about it if I so choose. But that's off limits until I've written 14 new blog posts.
I'm keen to hit a middleground between using something simple, robust, and reliable vs learning something new. However, there is a real value to learning new things so I don't want to totally disregard that aspect (after all, I am more of a software engineer than a writer 🤷♂️).
My current thinking is Eleventy (a simple static site generator) fetching content from Notion and hosted on Linc so I can get some experience with Cloudflare Workers. It isn't simple but should require zero maintenance after it's set up.
Another option for Cloudflare Workers + Notion is a script provided by Fruition. It seems to proxy your Notion pages behind Workers so you have your own domain with zero code. It could be a good MVP solution to set up in 10 mins. Let's see how I feel about it in 2 weeks' time.
Leverage your ebb and flow of motivation
Sometimes I feel the flow and can write for an hour or more at a time (which is a nontrivial task for a non writer like me) and other times I have to drag myself to push out a paragraph. That's okay. I don't need to use blogging as an exercise of willpower so I don't need to force myself into writing a masterpiece every day regardless of circumstances.
Instead, think about your goal. My goal is to publish a post every day. For me, that means writing multiple (incomplete) posts when I'm feeling the flow and then doing more editorial work (ie turning a 90% ready draft into a published post) on days where I'm not feeling that creative surge.
There's a famous quote by someone about inspiration striking at 9 am every morning “I only write when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes at nine every morning.” (the top result on Google claims it's from William Faulkner).
That might work for some people but it hasn't worked for me historically (given my abysmal track record of sticking to a set writing structure like that).
Just tonight I published one blog post (this one) then wrote 90% of my upcoming post about Dungeons and Dragons as a beginner (because we just finished a D&D session and the contents are fresh on my mind). If I'd waited until morning, I'd be starved of ideas.
I'm considering pushing my writing schedule to the evening (because I generally feel more creative / motivated in the evenings) but I'll see how 10 am goes for the next two weeks before making any drastic changes. Having that 'hard set' event at 10 am each day may become a nice ritual to start off the day.
Goodnight. See you tomorrow.