Getting Started (and a thank you to Scott Hanselman)
It's been quite the journey to get here. What spurred me to build a blog on my personal page was this video by Scott Hanselman, the "Mr. Rogers of software" as he is affectionately referred as by the community. In it, Scott talks about https://www.keysleft.com/, a website he made where he provides insight about being intentional with your key strokes since, like heartbeats, we have a finite amount that we'll get in our lifetime. On the site there is a live "countdown" of how many key strokes we have left, along with how many things we have left to create with those key strokes, like emails, tweets, books, even "emails to your boss." Watch it for even just a few seconds and you'll see that number go down. Live intentionally, and don't squander your time.
As an addendum to this salient point he also emphasizes the importance of owning our words. Platforms like IG, TikTok, Twitter, while valuable in their own right for particular reasons, technically own your keystrokes! They go down, then your keystrokes dissappear forever. Debating about the likelihood of such an event, while admittedly low (or is it?) is not the point here. The point here is the habit of ownership. Own everything you do; hold onto the control of all that you create.
A part that really stood out to me from Scott's site:
"Rather than answering every email, consider blogging the answer and emailing them the link to your post. Perhaps a knowledge base or wiki would be a better place for your work to live.
Assuming you want your message to reach as many people as possible, blog it, don't email it."
And there it was. So clearly and simply stated. So obvious, yet still so profound -- at least in it's effect on me. Make your writing public. Make everything you work on and create and build public, so that others may benefit from there being access to it. Just like Scott has done for so many years, we can all make it a point to put ourselves really out there and just do it all in public. There's even a big #buildinpublic initiative on Twitter where people make it a point to share deep and sometimes intimate looks into their experiences as new developers, SaaS founders, etc. All I needed was that switch, something to help me feel safe to do just that. I mean, it's the internet we're talking about here so for every 50 supportive people there will be maybe 5 that just seek to denigrate and bring down, and of course that minority seems to have a stench that lingers and penetrates and fogs up the wonderful inspiration of those who seek to support.
On this new journey to building my own blog, the biggest obstacle -- grandfathered in over quite a few years -- was what niche I should commit to. It needs to be only one, right? Only one to ever have even a sliver of a chance of building a readership with. If I write about too much, no one will read. If I try to make it about everything, then it will actually be about nothing, right? But then a key piece to what I left Scott's video with came into play: authenticity. It's all about being yourself, and if being myself involves my blog being "anti-niche", then that's exactly what my blog needs to be. Not only that, but this blog needs to address my needs first, much like one puts their own oxygen mask on first before tending to others.
So I stopped worrying about a niche. I know when I get to creating my first soft software product or SaaS offering, we'll need to revisit the importance of finding a niche. Contextually speaking, though, concerning myself with a niche now will only hinder my forward movement. Later, it will be the guiding force to delivering something that provides actual, real-world value to people. And so, I was able to move past any preoccupation with how to "best focus" this blog. A lot with be on talked about on here. Just to name what comes to my head: software development, tech tutorials, documentation of varying degress, personal development writing, philosophy, cooking, vegetable gardening, music theory, electric bass, cosmos, the Universe...and much more.
A blog needs to be exactly what the blog owner needs it to be. As the writer, I need to feel unimpeded in my process. As discussed in the previous section, this blog is a channel I own to broadcast what I have to say, to transmit what I've learned so that others may rise up with me, to stake my claim and plant my flag on this corner of the internet, my corner of the internet, where all who wish to connect with me have access and are welcome.
Imposter Syndrome Dragon Defeated (For Now)
And so here we are. My personal site, with a blog, now being compiled via Nuxt and the
@nuxt/content module, and styled with
TailwindCSS. I'm going to dedicate a separate post to cataloging how that process went -- switching from Jekyll, to Jigsaw, to considering a different route, back to Jigsaw, and finally landing on Nuxt-- speed bumps and all. Running into difficulties with getting this blog put together definitely flared up my imposter syndrome. I thought about giving up and just using an already-established platform like dev.to or hashnode or any of the wonderful blog sites in existence. But then I thought about Scott's clear imperative of owning your work, owning your key strokes.
For anyone reading this, I appreciate your time. This may never see anyone else's eyes but my own (and my incredible wife who is always so willing to be my proofreader). And that's the most important take away here: it doesn't matter. Not in a "I'm too cool to concern myself with that kind of stuff" type of way, but in a constructive, encouraging, "do it anyway" type of way. Who knows, someone's random google search may bring them here, and these words and the way I've chosen to express my experience may inspire them the way Scott's video inpsired me into action. And honestly, that's a good enough reason for me.
So here's to the start of something wonderful.
Find Scott Hanselman's work at https://www.hanselman.com/ and follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/shanselman.