Why I write

Do you have a blog? Why do you write? Have you thought about it?

A picture of someone writing in a notebook. The photo just shows from the shoulder down.

I recently wrote about my friend Horia and I mentioned his blog. He had a post about why writes. It made me think about why I write. My reasons are very similar to his. I decided to expand upon them more here.

Writing helps me to:

  1. Document what I have learned for my own reference. Look at the beginning of the blog, there are a few announcements, but its mostly how to articles about things that I was learning. Over the years I have referred back to those posts many times. Anytime I start learning something new, I start a blog post, and it is there for posterity.
  2. Get the most out of books I read. Taking the time to write a book review helps me to get the most out of a book. It forces me to focus in on what the key point of the book is and make sure I really understand the message the book is trying to convey.
  3. Clarify and develop ideas by getting feedback. When i have a new idea, throwing it on the blog is a way to clarify it. Writing it down forces you to be very clear. Publishing it allows me to get feedback from the community as well. That feedback adds so much richness to my ideas.
  4. Attract a following of like-minded people. This is not a popularity contest, rather having more followers gives me more people to bounce ideas off of.
  5. Help others. Since a lot of my posts are about things that I have learned, I figure not everyone has learned those things yet, so that knowledge may be useful for them. I am already writing it down anyway as a reference for myself, so why not publish it?
  6. Avoid repeating myself. Many of my blog post serve as pre-canned answers to common questions. When I am trolling the various forums I end up seeing repeat questions. Every time I catch myself repeating something, I go write an article. Then I don't have to repeat myself anymore. When I see that question again, I just link to the post.
    Here are a few examples:
    1. Simple DQMH Do's and Don'ts
    2. The Absolute Easiest Way to Setup LVCmpare and LVMerge
    3. Metrics
    4. Finding LabVIEW Version of a File
    5. Python Node Basics
  7. Gain Inspiration for New Courses. Most of the courses I have created are based on a series of blogposts. I get all of the ideas out of my head and write them down and then creating a course is simply a matter of pulling all those resources together in a well organized manner. That means I am not creating a course as much as I am curating all the information.
    Here are some examples:
    1. Unit Testing Workshop
    2. Using Git Effectively
    3. CI/CD Workshop
  8. Generate some business. This is important not because I am money hungry rather because keeping up the blog and the podcast and everything else requires money. Hopefully readers get a lot of value out of the blog and other endeavors and hopefully that motivates them to send me some business (either theirs or someone they know) in order to keep it all going.

Blogging is not for everyone, but it is a good way to contribute in a way that not only the audience benefits, but the author as well. I talked to someone recently who wanted to start out on their own doing consulting. They are not the most outspoken person. They were worried about building word of mouth and gaining business in the beginning. I highly recommended blogging, because of all the reasons above and the fact that it doesn't require putting yourself out there quite as much as doing conference presentations, webinars, or podcasting. At the risk of suddenly having a lot more competition for "Best LabVIEW Blog" I highly encourage everyone to try it out.