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🧠 Musings

A New Writing Phase, Maybe?

Amal Bansode

2020-05-08

It’s been a while since I last published an article. The truth is that life has gotten pretty busy since I moved to college. A new environment, new friends, new jobs, and more.

Anyway, I have been thinking about a lot of things the past year. I’ve managed to save some thoughts, while others have faced worse fates. Either way, I intend on sharing these at some point. I recently read a thread on Hacker News about how online blogs are seemingly “dead” now.

I found myself largely in agreement; the Internet did really seem different a decade ago. Because of social media, all we see today are carefully crafted and manufactured stories and pictures from people’s lives. The old days felt less “fake”. SEO wasn’t nearly as big, and it was easy to stumble upon people’s writing and blogs. It felt intimate, even if it really wasn’t. It feels like your small, cozy town with family-owned businesses was suddenly taken over by our corporate overlords at Amazon, Walmart, and Google.

I had tried blogging several times back then. I may have about five different dead blogs floating around somewhere on the Internet at this point. But I think the HN thread was pretty inspiring. Now that I’m not quite twelve years old and actually have original thoughts, I have convinced myself that my writing may actually have some value, and possibly some effects beyond massaging my ego (although, let’s face it—the only reason I’m doing this is to make myself seem important).

I don’t intend on sharing every tidbit from my life, and nor do I really plan on plastering my writing over FB/Instagram. Unless it’s something I want to invite opinions on, I’ll probably stick to sharing it with close friends/family. It would be cool if strangers stumbled upon it too, I guess.

What about Medium?

Yes, I previously published all my articles on Medium and I don’t plan on giving up there. It’s a good platform, and I have a very tiny income stream from Medium too. However, I’ve identified some issues with publishing there.

Most importantly, Medium isn’t really the place where I can write about my joy after baking my first cake or smashing that latest bug in my software team’s codebase. I think Medium serves as a platform for more informed and well-written pieces. I don’t want to pollute the platform with my daily rants/musings.

Medium’s long term business model and viability is also a little questionable, so I figured I could go back to an old-style solution—publishing on my own site.

The logistics of doing so are difficult though. I don’t use any CMS tools or build frameworks. The code for this website is “hand-typed” by me and doesn’t really include any helper tools or JS frameworks. So publishing articles will usually entail building HTML files and tests, which can get a little cumbersome. I might build a site generator at some point — add that to my idea backlog.

This seems really old-school and time-consuming, and it is. However, when I made this website, I wanted to have full control over its design and content. I don’t think there’s a better way to ensure this than to write and maintain your own vanilla HTML/CSS/JavaScript. (Yes, I’m a little stubborn about this)

A few weeks ago, I found this excellent CSS template called Tufte CSS, created by Dave Liepmann. I plan to use a modified version of this for my own articles. My brain works in odd ways. While I've been drawn to the idea of journalling and writing more recently, it feels like I often need a “spark” to get going, and in this case the spark is this excellent CSS template.

Anyway, if you made it this far, thank you. I honestly don’t know who would read this and why. I’ve found a great outlet for my thoughts and emotions in writing, and I hope this can continue hereon, even if everything doesn’t have to be public.