Like, I expect, the majority of bloggers, I started a blog for mostly selfish reasons.
However, unlike (I expect) most bloggers, I have no grandiose presupposition that the world needs my lone voice of reason, my cunning insights, my charming humour or even my superb prose added to it’s already heaving blogosphere. Nope, I wanted to write for myself.
I began to see writing as the next logical step in not only my professional development, but my personal development. Spurred on by articles like Jeff Atwood’s, I’ve decided to publish an article every Friday and Tuesday from today onwards.
So what were my main motivations, if not fevered dreams of internet fame?
1. To crystallize my ideas
In the past, I’ve found that writing in depth about a subject I care about has given me precious insight into that subject that I would not have developed otherwise. So, by writing regularly about programming, technology, music, the internet, and life, I hope to sharpen my mind and build a deeper understanding of the things that I have chosen to devote my time to.
2. To improve my communications skills
When I was at college, I was forced to communicate with a large number of people every day, many of them strangers. Now, I spend far too much time sat in front of a computer and my social graph has become much more… stunted. As a consequence, I’ve felt that my ability to convey ideas and manipulate discussion has suffered. By interacting with an audience (potentially the entire internet) through this blog, I want to learn what the content that people actually read and engage with looks like, and apply those skills to my everyday life.
3. To represent myself online
To someone who doesn’t know me and wants to know more about me, perhaps a potential business partner, employer, event organiser, or friend, my blog will serve as a much better judge of character than any simple CV site could. I never enjoyed writing about myself anyway (it feels too narcissistic), so writing a blog is the best thing I could think of that would help put myself out there.
4. To chart my personal growth
I plan to contribute to this site on a regular basis, indefinitely, and in that time I will accrue a large amount of content that will essentially be a record of my thoughts and projects from the past. I imagine looking back through the posts will be like looking back through old photographs, reflecting on who I used to be and how my mind has since developed will be in itself a great learning process.
5. To be the worst person in the room
I read a quote in Chad Fowler’s great book The Passionate Programmer that has really stuck with me.
“Always be the worst person in the room”.
After going to my first programming conference this year, Bath Ruby 2015, and experiencing that sensation very strongly that quote has solidified itself in my mind, and informs many of my decisions.
The idea is to put yourself in positions where you are the least experienced, or “worst”, person in the room. I came away from that conference feeling enlightened. I learned so much from being around smart, passionate Ruby programmers that I am still digesting some of the information today – being the worst person in the room at is not a bad thing – it’s brilliant. Somehow, the cumulative knowledge seeps into your mind by osmosis and just by being present you gain enough XP points to send you up another twenty levels. It’s a great feeling!
So, by being here, following in the footsteps of famous and well-respected tech bloggers like the aforementioned Jeff Atwood, I am introducing myself as the worst person in the room.
But hopefully, I will come off better for it.