It has been pretty difficult for me lately to get my writing habit back on track and I seriously have no clue as to why this is happening. It has been 6 months since I wrote this post(For the new decade) on how I wanted to be prolific and at least get something written by the end of the day, but I am seeing that it is increasingly becoming an uphill of a task to even get started. For what it's worth, I am pretty sure that my urge to write has not died down as I still do get some writing done in the form of note-taking, and have several ideas lurking in my brain which I think would make for an interesting read, but there seems to be some kind of friction that arises when I intentionally think of writing a blog post.
To be honest, this very post happened only because I wanted to know if I could get to the root of the issue and get some clarity if I wrote my thoughts down. So, that's that.
In the past 6 months since I wrote that post on what I wanted the decade to be like, I have written exactly 8 posts out of which three of them are almost a direct transcription of my notes from the books I've been reading; and one is based on a Coursera course that I took and then abandoned. So technically I have only written 4 thoughtful posts since Jan 2020. But why?
I mean several things come to mind when I think about it, but I can't be sure as the year has not been a particularly productive one for many of us either. So I am going to give myself the benefit of doubt and start with the list of external issues that could have caused this and then go on to the internal ones.
Obviously, Corona must have had some impact, but I just do not know in what way, so I am going to skip the vague ones and narrow this down to the ones in which I can locate at least one precise cause. And the first thing that comes to my mind is switching to Jekyll from WordPress and losing a cohesive environment where the only work on my part was to write and not be bothered about setting up things or worry about the aesthetics. I mean, to be honest, I spent the entirety of the last 5 months tinkering with the insignificant aspects of the website like changing the color, fonts, margin notes, etc, which I believe has had a net negative effect in terms of content creation.
Although I am pretty pleased with the outcome, I am not so sure if this was warranted for the type of content I generally write. This is to say that creating a custom theme on Jekyll over slapping a ready-made WordPress theme did not have a tangible benefit other than the temporary joy of tinkering with CSS and seeing things change on screen, which I did enjoy. And on the same line, this has only made me a bigger procrastinator as I now have to create a separate file, configure stuff, work with an editor that doesn't support live WYSIWIG, etc; and only then can I get to the writing part, whereas with WP it was just a one-click experience where I would just type in the title and start writing.
💡 First Insight: Need a better system. It can't be all haphazard. I need an editor that works well with my SSG, has a better WYSIWIG and removes the configuration and reloading thing involved with Jekyll. Maybe, I need to create a custom editor for my purpose, but is the yak shaving justified?
In my opinion, that is the major roadblock, but only time can tell as I still need to rectify and streamline my process to really get to the bottom of it. And with that gone the only external issue that I see is twitter and youtube, on which I have been spending a lot of time lately. Although I did take a small break in between, it doesn't seem like I am finding the right balance with these media, and especially with Twitter. I follow a very small set of people on twitter, but even that seems pretty overwhelming in terms of what I can handle. For what it's worth, I think this has been a good test to analyze my capacity as an infovore, so I am going to let it cook for sometime before really deciding on this one. I say this not because I am addicted to these sources of media, but because of the fragmented nature of the information, I have been getting from these sources i.e., before twitter my main source was either a book, which is a pretty cohesive and cogent medium, or a personal experience, which again doesn't require much collating from different sources. But the fragmented nature has been giving me a tough time as I never get to see the bigger picture that I can double down on, or the interest to dig deeper as most of it is contingent upon following an evolving thread that may or may not go in the direction that you want it to.
💡 Second Insight: Stick to the cohesive sources and stay away as much as possible from these fragmented media when looking for inspiration.
And now that we are done with the external ones, I think the only things left are the internal ones like creating a habit, sticking to it, etc but that's something I am willing to give myself the benefit of doubt at least for now as I have been pretty consistent with other things in my life other than writing. In fact, the point that I was consistent when I was using WP and not with Jekyll tells me that I must at least try to give myself that chance before tackling everything that is (apparently) wrong with me. And if it does happen to be the external ones, very good; but if it is not then you will probably see a part II to this post soon.
Conclusion: At least one post per day every day.