(Hat tip on this to Julien Smith)
Lots of your time and mine is spent thinking about commerce and engaging in it.
It was thus refreshing to read this NYT piece from a former US Marine named Maurice Decaul. Check it out – it is REALLY worth your time. Having returned from Iraq, he has found solace in writing. It is not about getting over PTSD or other horrific scars of war. Nor is he trying to sell books. Instead, Decaul writes because he “needs to now.”
We are bombarded by social media and marketing literature that tells us to blog. There are tonnes of sound commercial reasons to do so. Truth be told, this blog is partly motivated by a desire to make more cash.
However, there are a lot of non-commercial reasons to blog. These are generally of equal or more value than commercial reasons. Here is a short list:
- Writing thoughts coherently is a problem solving exercise for most of us. Rare is the writer who can just throw it down on a page in one go and succeed. Words, flow, grammar and syntax present the chance to work out the mind and hone problem solving skills. Do these skills have commercial applications? Of course, but they have non-commercial ones too.
- Maintaining a blog requires being creative re topics. I have found that the most effective way to find topics to blog about is to go to unlikely sources of info that are still of interest to me. This means reading magazines/news pieces/books and consuming other media that have NOTHING to do with the topics I blog about or my day to day work. This accumulation of “other area” knowledge is rewarding in and of itself.
- The oft cited “self actualization” reasons for blogging are true (at least for me). It feels good to finish a task regularly. Moreover, the learnings/benefits accrued via finishing what we start (and every post on a blog is an example) are not limited to commerce. Again, are there commercial benefits? Yes. But there is intrinsic value to the good feelings and sense of accomplishment.
Why do you write? Is it purely for commerce or are there things you get from it that are applicable in other realms?