Zac Anger's Blog

on blogging

2016-01-08

Tags: blogging, writing, language, communication, meta

this is, i think, the first post of this year. happy 2016! i'm not blogging a whole lot, but really just trying to kill a few minute while my brain rests. lately i'm working a lot in new technologies that i've never touched before--react, which i still find irksome (though as before, i do get it), coffeescript (to play with the atom editor), firebase (still more magicc than really cool, but it does what it does, and we need what it does, so i'm using it), and some other new things. but i wanted to take a minute off to talk about writing.


i'm not a writer. i'm okay with words, and i know a lot of them, and i use them, frequently. usually pretty well, i think. i don't usually know what i'm going to be saying before i start writing, though. half the time i'm taking notes on something, and realise later on that my notes might be useful to someone, at some point, maybe a little bit. you don't need to know what you're trying to achieve when you start writing, especially if we're talking about a blog post. you don't need an outline, a muse, a spark of inpsiration, an addiction, a message, a mission, or even an attention span. it's okay to ramble. it's okay to not know what you're doing. a lot of the time, writing things down is a really good way to figure that bit out. i had no idea how i felt about certain technologies until i started trying to explain, in words understandable to other people, how i felt about them, and why. things make a lot more sense when you can read your own thoughts, see them in front of you, and see which ones make zero sense.

blogs are a really great way to learn things. they don't necessarily have to take the form of tutorials for that. think about the last time you took notes on something while trying to learn it. could those notes be helpful to someone else? why? is it because you're an expert on the subject? probably not. it's probably because someone could have a chance to see how you learned something, how you came to understand it. that's pretty cool. words are all about describing things. kind of why the exist, and stuff. finding the right words to accurately, thoroughly, and concisely describe something is a powerful skill. if you can do that, you should, even if you don't think you have anything worth talking about. let people learn from your notes.

i'm gonna go ahead and just put a nice quote in, here.

language accelerates learning and creation by permitting communcation and coordination. a new idea can be spread quickly if someone can explain it and communicate it to others before they have to discover it themselves. but the chief advantage of language is not communication but autogeneration. language is a trick that allows the mind to question itself; a magic mirror that reveals to the mind what the mind thinks; a handle that turns a mind into a tool. with a grip on the slippery, aimless activity of self-awareness and self-referene, language can harness a mind into a fountain of new ideas.

well, that's pretty cool.