Writing more about life

I am going to write more about life.

It took me a while to get used to this idea. I started blogging as a way of taking notes – source code, class lectures, and so on. That makes sense to write down. It’s useful. It might even be useful to other people. I’m comfortable with writing through decisions and sharing what I’m learning from life, particularly if I can geek out. But everyday stories? Should I write about those when I could, say, write tips or draft presentations instead?

Reviewing my print-outs of past blog posts, though, I find myself coming back to the memories. The tips I’ve written up for other people (or for myself) are handy. They’ll be the nucleus of a book someday. The technical notes I keep help me save time re-solving problems. The memories are the entries that improve with age, becoming richer and more layered over time.

The friends I’ve made through writing about Emacs, Drupal, and other technical topics also have plenty of insights on life, education, crafts, and other things. The experiences and perspectives I bring to life turn everyday experiences into geek explorations. I think it will all work out.

What it comes down to is this realization: These everyday moments are worth writing about, learning from, and sharing. I might think they’re ordinary now, but they anchor my experiences and make it easier to remember whole chunks of life, fleeting sensations, elusive thoughts. Like the way that even rough drawings help me see and remember more clearly, words will be the white pebbles dropped by this Gretel to find her way back. And who knows? Memories trigger other memories. I’m sure I’ll learn from other people, and I might help other people along the way.

2011-04-09 Sat 22:09

3 responses to “Writing more about life”

  1. Eric Boyd says:

    Sacha – thanks for articulating this. I’ve kept a blog for over 10 years (before they were even called blogs), but my blogging behavior has changed enormously over time. Early iterations were kind of like a journal. Later I backed off that and kept a link/commentary blog. Then I had a very academic blog, talking about ideas and reviewing books. Now, my blog is now basically a “writing about life” blog, though I wasn’t think of it like that. But I totally agree that this everyday stuff is worth writing about, and that I really enjoy looking back at my older blog posts – it’s a good compliment to my photo collection. I also feel like spending the time on my blog provides much more lasting impact than writing updates for facebook or twitter, which are soon forgotten and/or unreachable.

  2. Charles Cave says:

    Sacha,

    Maybe i fall into the group of “friends I’ve made through writing about Emacs”.
    What has happened to your Emacs book? Have you dropped that project?

    @Eric – I really like your observation on how writing an blog entry is more useful than
    tweeting or commenting on Facebook. I started this year with the intention of weekly blogging but that has fallen by the wayside. I need to restart this practice and be inspired by Sacha’s daily blogging.

    Charles

  3. Sacha Chua says:

    Charles: You definitely are. =) Thank you for all the thoughts you’ve shared throughout the years!

    When I realized I was too distracted by the fun (and work) of hacking Drupal to focus on writing a book about hacking Emacs, I passed the torch (and the paperwork) to Ian Eure. I think life may have interrupted him, too, but he still writes about Emacs more often than I do.

    As for writing everyday: You live everyday. That’s the part that requires all the work. Writing is just a little bit more effort to get a lot more value from it, and to learn so much more too. =)

    Eric: I see that too. =) That’s why I tend to blog more than I share on Twitter or Facebook – I don’t trust my ability to find things again on other systems.

    Thanks for sharing!

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