Monday, February 25, 2008

What am I writing?

I started the year with a resolution to write more frequently. Specifically I had set myself a goal to write four blog entries a month and thereby work up a total of 52 by the end of the year. As the second month draws to a close I am three entries short (if I count this one as well) and trying hard to catch up. The question is, what do I write about?

I had a discussion with a friend where the same question popped up. I mentioned that I was not sure what to write. He suggested that I ask myself this question: "What would I discuss with a friend if we had 30 minutes to spare?". The question yielded instant results (not entirely surprising given my propensity to talk). There are indeed a bunch of things I would like to talk about with my friends. Here is a partial list.
  • Learning (How to have a day job *and* find time and energy to learn; learning "methodologies")
  • Programming (how to use it as a tool to help learning)
  • Hobby - Miniature Wargaming
  • Hobby - Music (practice, objectives, tips and tricks)
  • Tackling the rest of my life (Post Three-Oh blues)
  • Movies and Books
  • History
  • Current Affairs
  • Living in Bangalore
  • Travel plans

You may have noticed that whatever I have written so far falls under just a few topics in the above list. In retrospect it is evident that I have been writing only about those topics which I thought "people would want to read about". This is not helpful for many reasons. First of all it forced me to think about guessing what "people" liked to read rather than focusing on what *I want to write about*. Such a filter also impeded writing frequently and making enough mistakes to learn from and improve.

Also I have found that writing something down crystallises my thoughts. The absence of writing frequently leads to vague, half-baked ideas and thoughts.

To make up for my mistakes I have decided to actively implement my resolution in the coming weeks and months. I will try my best to write at least one entry a week. Expect to see me back shortly.


James said...

as someone who blogged for a year I would say always write for yourself....I used to use it as a way to order my thoughts or let off steam sometimes.
I was always happy (amazed!) to receive comments but they were not my aim..
One thing puzzles me is when you talk about "improving" ?
My blog to me was always throwaway stuff whith my thoughts/interests like boats passing over the surface of my mind...but we are all different.

Manoj Govindan said...

"as someone who blogged for a year I would say always write for yourself"

You are right of course. I never enforced this principle until recently.

"One thing puzzles me is when you talk about "improving"?"

I meant improving my writing. I have always had an interest in developing my writing skill even though I have done very little about it. Writing blog entries gives me an opportunity to practice (perform?) writing in small doses and thereby improve.

"My blog to me was always throwaway stuff [snip] ...but we are all different."

We evidently have different motives for blogging. I find my blog useful as a tool that lets me write in small quantities without having to rely on the traditional formats (article/essay etc.). It also gives me an opportunity to rant from time to time ;)

James said...

Improving writing..yes that makes sense now you have explained it.
RE: ranting? Yes a good rant can work wonders.