Years ago, when I had a (lamentably lost) personal journal, I wrote about a number of personal topics. At the time, I was reading many technical blogs, sharpening my knowledge, but when I sat down to write, it was almost invariably non-technical. I thought occasionally about adding my voice to the programming world, but, really, what did I have to say? Anything I could think of to write about, I could easily find better examples of elsewhere online. Any challenge that I had solved recently was usually with advice found on other blogs, and didn’t seem worth talking about.
Since I was young, I’ve been compelled, driven to write. Writing has always been a part of my life. So it seems natural to me to combine my love of the written word with my love of my profession. But again, I am drawn back to the question, why does it make sense for me personally to write in a public forum?
Whenever I could, I tried to support and encourage others in their blogging. I believe the world is better the more voices that we have contributing, and selfishly, I am genuinely interested in others’ perspectives and experiences. I’m one of those who believe everyone should have an online writing outlet, and one not ceded to the giants of social media. Even if no one is listening, it is still worthwhile to have a voice and a platform for that voice. Yet, why encourage everyone else if I don’t follow my own advice?
When I did write on topical subjects, I found that often the mere act of assembling my thoughts on a page sharpened them. I would arrive at conclusions, deepen convictions, or question my assumptions. Writing clarifies.
So, when I think of technical blogging, I think what it comes down to is this: competence.
Before, I did not have confidence that I had anything worthwhile to add. I was not confident in my competence. But there are two possibilities: either I am competent enough to write on a subject or I am not. It’s not always easy to tell. Yet, if I am, then I have something of a moral obligation to share online what I can. If I am not, then the act of writing will inform and develop that competence, either through the act of creation, or making it available for correction.
Writing can only make things better.
There is another aspect, and that is that writing, like anything, takes time. Exploring an idea often takes a long time outside of the act of writing and editing, time that is not directly reflected on the page. We all have to choose where to spend the currency of our limited time.
For the time being, this is one place I choose to spend my time. It is important to me, and even if to no one else, even if I am speaking to an empty room, I personally will benefit. If I can make a small addition to the competence of the world, so much the better. For the time being, I will be writing here.