I've started and abandoned a lot of blogs over the years, and I think that it's pretty clear that there is one factor for this: fear.
I've always liked writing, but I often times let fear of looking foolish, or not being good enough, stop me from doing this. Which is one reason why I became a developer in 2014. However, I still had the blogwish, but anytime that I tried to start one, I'd get tangled in the technical details -- what program to use, does it support a markup that I like, how am I going to provision it, and so on. I even came up with an overcomplex (but potentially really cool) map idea as a visualization that would replace a word cloud.
However cool my ideas or well-constructed the infrastructure, I would still not actually write a blog. I was always telling myself that I would post an entry about how I got the blog up, and I usually wrote half an article, but it would never come to actual fruition. Even after I came to this realization, I still couldn't bring myself to write.
a weirder earth
I joined Mastodon at the beginning of 2018, and I just joined Secure Scuttlebutt early this month. I have not contributed that much to either of them (esp. the SSB account) but I have enjoyed my time on the Fediverse, and I really wanted to make any blogging that I did a part of the 'verse. I started coming up with a plan to embed Mastodon into Hugo the static site generator for the next generation of my blog, whatever that was going to be. (Something something IPFS something something.)
But then, I found out about Plume from switching.social, and I was like, oh cool, that's exactly what I needed! An ActivityPub blog with comments from across the fediverse! Cool!
I've sat on this idea for months. New tech doesn't make fear go away. I still had my mind set; I just needed to somehow defeat this fear.
I was starting to research the Plume instances that are live right now, trying to confirm my excuse that "there wasn't going to be any instances for me, it was all just tech demos," but I saw that there were at least two Plume instances that I could join today. Which is when the fear came in: you aren't ready to have a blog yet, you are just going to fail.
I was reading the about page for this instance, and there's a passage that serves as a warning:
Your data may be deleted at any time, to clean up the disk (I don't have much storage, sorry), or to fix occasional bugs (Plume is still experimental).
What I realized was that warning was actually an opportunity for me. The data could be erased? Good news! That means that I could write a bunch of nonsense, and it could either be shared and enjoyed?? by all of the Fediverse, or it could be wiped out. And somehow that was a liberating thought. Because, on the one hand, it meant that I could practice having a "real" blog to share and discuss with strangers on the internet but without the promise of having the blog be permanent.
In other words, a place to practice. Which is why I called the blog Practice Makes Practice. I hope to practice making a blog here with you.
So, I'm going to try to blog here every week. It could be something that I care about, or it could be complete nonsense.
I'm also going to be using the Plume API to test different ways to publish stuff while doing most of my writing in Spacemacs. I'm sure I'll be posting about my progress on that, too.