Many months ago I dropped what used to be Twitter from my life. I missed it immediately, not for the political extremism but for the carefully cultivated feed I’d developed over the years I had it. Sometimes I still miss that, because the alternatives aren’t all that great yet. But I keep pressing on with Mastodon and Threads and added an annoying email subscription notification that will go away soon I promise, and keep putting content out there for incremental growth numbers. The question I keep asking myself is why? Why have any social media link at all? Why gather email subscriptions at all? To increase followers seems a bit of an ego stroke. But engagement fuels consistency. We just can’t confuse the subscribers for the work.
“A woodpecker can tap twenty times on a thousand trees and get nowhere, but stay busy. Or he can tap twenty-thousand times on one tree and get dinner.”― Seth Godin, The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit
The question is, which tree are we tapping on? Is the end result going to be fulfilling or will it just be an empty hole that we honed from time we’ll never get back? Why keep publishing every day when I could use that time for other creative work? Unless you’re an author putting your name and work out there for the masses to find, or selling something else you’ve built, then the end game of a blog shouldn’t be about accumulating a massive following. The end game is the development of the person creating and publishing it every single day.
“There’s a practice available to each of us—the practice of embracing the process of creation in service of better. The practice is not the means to the output, the practice is the output.”
― Seth Godin, The Practice: Shipping Creative Work
The thing is, the writing has always been about cracking the shell of complacency off and having a go at a soufflé. Inevitably we get it wrong now and then. Inevitably we wonder why we’re doing it at all. But within us there’s someone who wants to reach mastery at something in this brief go-around. We know when we’ve done well, and we know when we’ve checked the box to live to fight another day. Both matter a great deal. The trick is the consistent push towards better.
When I start thinking about the effectiveness of platforms and email subscriptions, I know I’m straying into a minefield. When I question why I post a blog every day instead of simply writing, I know I’m tapping on the wrong tree. It’s always been about mastery, and the long and often frustrating road to getting there. Discipline, focus and time applied to honing a craft you have the audacity to believe you ought to be honing. Don’t stop me now, for I have a ways to go. Still, it’s a hell of a journey.