This is part of one of the blog chains here, titled “Rethinking the Internet” but instead of using numbered titles, I have decided to continue with unique ones.
If you’re someone who writes or reads online, you know that newsletters are the hot trend for a while. While I totally understand why it’s so popular and fits better for different ideas and projects (like the one I do with NewsLabTurkey and Tuhaf Gelecek), I never managed to write my personal one regularly. I could explain why with many different reasons —not being able to plan, can’t find new things to write regularly, being over-critical of my writing, having too much work in my hand— but after reading Cory Doctorow’s recent piece “Memex Method” I know why I couldn’t write a regular newsletter: because what I actually want to do is blogging.
Since I started using internet regularly, I always had blogs. It’s my natural state of being online —even though I spend way too much time on Twitter. I feel comfortable writing for my blog and enjoy the experience in general. I can work on my half-baked ideas without much pressure, because now everyone expects newsletters to be fully finished ideas and articles. Although it’s an understandable expectation, not really what I want to do.
Quoting from Cory, this is what I prefer doing:
“Blogging isn’t just a way to organize your research — it’s a way to do research for a book or essay or story or speech you don’t even know you want to write yet. It’s a way to discover what your future books and essays and stories and speeches will be about.”
This is especially important if you consider the fact that almost all of the work I do can be summed up as “reading, researching, taking notes and writing stuff”. I know some people prefer to call what Cory describes as blogging “digital gardens” but I’m having a hard time to understand why it’s not just called blogging. For my personal practice people usually describe as digital garden are either blogging but more linked together or how I use my private Roam Research graph for. There’s a good chance I might be missing something too.
Returning back to newsletter and blog thing, Dan Hon wrote about Cory’s piece on his newsletter and said something important: “But a blog post would be different. Medium posts are different. The setting is different. The place is different. The context is different.” This is quite important because what I couldn’t manage that newsletter keep going is mainly because I wasn’t doing something unique for that setting but instead trying to blog with a newsletter. That’s why I felt limited, not really fitting.
And of course there’s the thing about making an income out of your online writing. Right now creating a paid newsletter is the easiest way to almost anyone online but because I can’t create a Stripe account that’s not an option for me. I have a Patreon that’s been going on for a really long time but because I couldn’t figure out how to use that and a newsletter together, it never really took off. But if I decide to go with a blogging focused writing, I can make more use out of it and make sure people supporting me can have something more visible in their hands. For example, I can simply turn any post here patron-only and people supporting my work can read it with one click.
What I’m trying to say —both to you and myself— is that blogging is my real home online and I’m going to be using here more actively from now on. I’m still not sure what I’m going to do with the newsletter but I’m thinking about turning that into a semi-regular announcement channel about the work and blogging I’m doing. Or maybe I will come up with an exciting experiment in the future.
Let’s end this with another quote from Cory about why blogging is important for anyone who’s job is similar to mine and his:
“There’s another way that blogging makes my writing better: writing every day makes it easier to write every day.”
PS. I’ve recently updated my RSS Reader page here if anyone is interested in that.