ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ Herman's blog

The two kinds of writing

There are two kinds of writing. Writing for yourself, and writing for others. Both of these can, naturally, be broken down into various subcategories. For example:



I've written rather extensively on the idea of keeping a daily journal (personal). But while I have written a decent number of blog posts (public), I haven't really touched on why I write a blog.

There isn't one overarching reason as to why I write in public. However, there are a few things that happen when I write for others.

It's a way to formalise my thoughts

I'm sure you've heard the adage that "writing is thinking". This is an oversimplification, but still rings true. Writing is the process of structuring and expressing my thoughts. I find that writing helps me better understand the underlying material and forces me to query it in a critical manner.

The mere process of writing leads to better retention (hence why note-taking has been done for centuries), and so when I write about a topic, not only do I understand it better, but I can recall the nuances with greater fluency.

It's a way to connect with people

Quite a few years ago I deleted all my social media accounts. Since then I have focused on in-person relationships, and tried my best to break free from the doom scrolling of the modern internet. There is, however, something to be said about having a low-touch circle of acquaintances with common interests.

This has historically been expressed by letter writing, especially amongst academics, who would write to others in their field to explore ideas and exchange information.

To a certain extent, my blog functions in a similar way. I regularly receive emails from my readers who expand on, and challenge my understanding of the world.

It also allows people who are close to me to follow what I'm working on and thinking about, but in a less snipped-up manner than Twitter permits. I much prefer this kind of digital relationship to Twitter followers since the context of the communication contains nuance by default.

It's a way to share something I've learned with the world

Tangentially related to the last two points, when I learn something new, or stumble upon a novel idea and write about it, not only am I learning and internalising it by structuring my thoughts. I'm also creating new material on the topic, adding my own interpretation, and distributing it within my circles.

In a world where ChatGPT generated content is quickly becoming the norm, it's more valuable than ever to have an honest, human-crafted writeup on an interesting topic. In a way I think ChatGPT has made human writing even more precious.

It makes me a better writer and communicator

The only way to become a better writer is to write. My journal isn't the medium for this since no-one reads it but me. But when I write online I have to ensure that I am making sense, and that people are engaged. In-so-doing I become better at my craft (hopefully).

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