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Thoughts on Blogging

May 22, 2012

After writing “The Great Sellout,” I had a crisis. I became convinced that I’d said everything that I’d wanted to say. That post, in particular, summed up my beliefs about my generation and, to some degree, about technology itself. Of course, as anyone who knows me will tell you, I never shut up about anything. Perhaps, after all, I had sunk into a creative rut.

I’ve spent the last few weeks researching an article on Big Data. While I found the topic fascinating, I couldn’t figure out what I could contribute to the dialogue. There I was, falling into the oldest writing trap of all, asking: “What can I say that hasn’t been said one hundred times before?” Why bother?

This forced me to step back and re-examine why I was writing in the first place. Had I deluded myself into believing that I had authority and expertise? Was I playing at being a real journalist? Suddenly, I just stopped. That piece on Big Data sat there unfinished, taunting me. You don’t know enough to finish me, it said. You’re a terrible writer and you know it. You’re pathetic.

Despondent, I gave up on it. At least I thought I had. Something about it kept nagging me. Just leave me alone, I told it. I don’t know where I am going with you, so stop torturing me. I knew then that I’d let the Resistance win. Whether because of fear, timidity, or cowardice, I dropped the whole project altogether.

This story does not have a happy ending. I wish it did. The sad truth is that I defeated myself. Here I had this brilliant plan, but in trying to achieve it, I violated the first rule of blogging: always write for yourself. The lesson? Don’t just write because you want to write; write because you have to.

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