I’d Rather Build a Blog than Blog

I’m a tinkerer, not a writer. I keep telling myself, “I need to write more!” I’m constantly hearing that I need to write, journal, or blog for this reason and for that. In fact, I really am convinced that writing more often would be akin to an apple a day.

said this morning that it’s far more enjoyable to read blogs about being productive than it is to be productive. The same holds true for me and writing: I’m far more excited about the medium than I am the craft. As a matter of fact, this is the very reason I have chosen Medium as the platform to jump-start my writing (I’m pretty sure the name “Medium” wasn’t a coincidence); Medium lets me focus on the writing — and nothing else. This is difficult for me, but I’m convinced it’s really the only way I’ll move forward for now.

However, Medium won’t last me long. Eventually I’ll want a space to call my own. I already have a home over at chrisbalt.com, but of course I’m not happy with it (evidenced by the lack of content, broken links, and an experience I’m slightly ashamed of). I’m obsessed with the medium and, in its current state, it’s not a medium of which I am proud. As a product manager focused on the web and user experience, (EDIT August 27: Sooner than anticipated, a new site!)should be judged by not only the content of my presence online, but the medium by which it is presented and shared.

Getting over the hump is the hardest part

For me, the hump is the medium — the platform. Maybe I’m lying to myself, but I’m convinced that once I have a platform and an experience of which I can be proud, I’ll start writing more often. I’ve halfway-started and kind of finished several iterations of my website, but now I’m determined to build a foundation on top of which I can grow — and tinker. It is getting over this hump that’s killing me.

Take this last week: I’ve been going back and forth between WordPressJekyll (Octopress), Middleman and Gumdrop. To the end user, it won’t make a lick of a difference. If the front end and the experience is a priority, all of these options will appear exactly the same to you, the reader. For me, however, it’s an exercise of tinkering — and an enjoyable exercise. I’m learning something new by playing around with Ruby, and it seems like all the cool kids are ditching PHP and WordPress.

This is not a bad thing

Kenneth Reitz of Heroku wrote about something similar last month. He could not have summed up the problem well enough:

Medium really is a great platform if you just want to write. Unfortunately, for me, that just wasn’t my problem.

For me, a blog is not just a place to share experiences, but to be a sort of testing ground for technical capabilities and design concepts. After all, I don’t think my management would be happy if I started hacking & chopping up the Microsoft.com homepage on my own.

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