Why do you write?

Everyone has their reasons but I write so I can think:

Writing is not simply a way of saying what someone knows but one of the most effective ways to unveil what there is to say. As Baker (1985) suggests, “in fact, writing creates a thought and the capacity to think: with writing you discover thoughts that you barely knew you had”

  • Baker, S. (1985). The practical stylist. Harper and Row. p. 2-3). 1

But what slows you down?

I’ve been running this site, and writing slowly since 25 January 2014. For the first nine years it really lived up to its name, because I posted very rarely. The reason, I reasoned, was that the WordPress front end and I just didn’t get along. It was a room of my own, sure, but it wasn’t comfortable. It just didn’t feel like a room I wanted to spend time in.

The author Virginia Woolf wrote about how women need a room of one’s own to write in. But that still left the rest of the world to the men. Jane Austin wrote at the kitchen table of a busy household, and it wasn’t ideal. Capitalism gives us hot-desking - not even a table to call your own. So your virtual environment really matters. A UI of your own? Not likely.

And what speeds you up?

Eventually, after complaining about WordPress for five years, and having tentatively connected the site to micro.blog (not before eight months of procrastination) while still hosting it on WordPress, I finally switched completely to micro.blog as the host. This meant the front-end editor also changed completely. Now I just had a plain box to write in, with a couple of options for simple categories. Often though, I just wrote in a text editor and copy-pasted as necessary. The outcome was stark. This shift resulted in a dramatic increase in writing frequency, which given the name of the site is a little embarrassing. On 27 January 2023 I wrote:

“Don’t worry, whatever happens I’ll still be writing slowly.

Between 2014 and 2022 I had only written 26 posts. But following the big changeover I wrote 194 posts and counting, in a single year. As a result there’s now about 33,000 words on this site. And here are the latest statistics.

So what’s the right speed for you?

I admit it then: I’ve sped up. Yet I still maintain that writing slowly is the way to go. A little every day or two adds up to a whole heap. Never mind the quality. Just look at the size! Maybe I’ll change the name of this site to Writing Bigly.

“Don’t worry, whatever happens I’ll still be writing bigly.”

Well clearly that won’t be happening. Meanwhile, though, I wish you a very big writing year ahead. Let me know in the comments what you’ve achieved, and what you have planned. Exciting!

More on writing and blogging

  1. Quoted in Cruz, Robson Nascimento da Cruz, and Junio Rezende. “A escrita de notas como artesanato intelectual: Niklas Luhmann e a escrita acadêmica como processo.” Pro-Posições 34 (2023): e20210123. English PDF↩︎