On May 3rd, a couple of weeks ago, this website turned one year old. I’m extremely proud of the fact that over the course of that intensely hectic year, I’ve managed to stick to my planned one-post-per-week-no-matter-what schedule.
In fact, if you consider the Magic Castle Post-Fire saga, I went slightly over my 52 post quota.
The thing that makes this milestone even more meaningful is that this isn’t the first time I’ve attempted something like this. I actually started a blog back in 2006, in which I wrote a grand total of one naively enthusiastic entry before trailing off into apathy.
Much as I’d be more than happy to let it hide in the depths of Google’s cache, I think it’s healthy and worthwhile to openly acknowledge and embrace failures like that. First attempts often fail. If you let yourself get embarrassed at said failure, you’re less likely to make a second, third, or fourth more-likely-to-succeed-because-of-lessons-learned-from-the-first-time attempt.
So, to celebrate one year of successfully keeping to a writing schedule, here is the first and only post from a blog where I did the exact opposite.
The blog was titled “Simon Learns to Write.”
Sunday June 25, 2006
I want to learn to write better. Specifically, to communicate more effectively through writing. At the moment I don’t think I’m very good at it, and for various reasons I want/need to get a lot better.
I believe, with good evidence, that the only way to effectively get better at something is to do it a lot. Apparently when learning to fly, one of the main metrics used to judge an airline pilot’s level of experience is “flight hours”; the number of hours they’ve spent behind the controls of an in-flight aircraft. Similarly the most telling measure of a performer’s expertise tends to be the number of gigs they’ve done “in the field”; in front of a real audience. I’ve heard several artists (specifically cartoonists and animators) say that their number one piece of advice to aspiring beginners that the best way to get good is simply to draw, every single day, no matter what.
Noticing a trend in the above concepts, I figure the best (and possibly only) way I’m going to get better at written communication is to write as much as possible. The main problem with this is that I don’t particularly enjoy writing, probably because I don’t feel like I’m very good at it. I find it extremely difficult and frustrating; reading back what I’ve written and realising that it almost certainly won’t communicate what I meant it to.
However, the process of getting to be good at something involves a lot of time spent being crap at it. I’ve noticed that the key thing that separates people who are good at something from those who aren’t is that the ones who are good were willing to keep going for long enough to graduate from crap to good.
See? That’s a long and excessively confusing sentence right there. It probably needed a comma somewhere, or to be separated into two sentences, or just to be written differently. At the moment I don’t know. Hopefully if I can use this blog as an excuse to keep writing stuff regularly, in a year or so I’ll be figuring out how to write far more elegantly and effectively than this.
Odds of me going through with it are low, based on past experience, but it’s worth a try. If you try, you might succeed. If you don’t, you definitely fail. I’ve been thinking about starting a blog for this purpose for a long time, and it’s time to stop procrastinating and give it a shot.
Well, said shot obviously didn’t turn out very effectively. But now, six years later, I’ve just crossed one year of regular updates and counting. There are a lot of things that happened in that six years in order to make that possible, but one of the main ones was seeing that failed first attempt, learning from it, and taking another shot.
Now let’s see if we can make it to year two.
(Maybe even get a few more readers as well, because seriously, my view counts are still miniscule.)
(Photo by Flickr user Mrs Logic, licensed under Creative Commons CC-BY-2.0)