andres marrugo

Why I Care About Blogging

Blogging Fun!
photo by Mike Licht.

It’s been about two and a half years since I started blogging. It was on a blog called Between the Candle and the Star (BTCATS) which I still keep, but feel I’ll be leaving aside indefinitely1, and continue my writing on this site.

My original intention with BTCATS was to have a place were to write about something I had managed to solve or fix so it could be helpful to others. The blog has moderately met this goal. However, on the first year or so, I barely published a handful of posts. About a year ago, shortly after my son was born, things started to get interesting. When you have a newborn, the first few months are quite difficult and stressing. You hardly get any sleep, you have to be there 24/7 and you have to have a lot of patience. Oddly enough, without having the spare time I had before, blogging came to me in the moment of greatest need. And to be honest, it has helped me a lot ever since.

One of the things I noticed was that I started (or wanted) to blog more frequently and with more elaborated content. More often than not, I would find my self blogging about topics somewhat unrelated to the tech and nerdy stuff I usually wrote about. Without really knowing it, I had slowly been converting my blog from a niche blog to a personality blog. One that represented my character and my voice, not only a hobby of mine. In some ways, this site is a tribute to that change.

I must be honest and admit that the changes did not start to happen all of a sudden. It was an interesting time for me. I had recently become a father and that alone pushed me to see things from a totally different perspective. I started to care more about things like time and attention, productivity, and making sure I could still do the things I enjoy, while spending as much time as possible with my family.

At that time I started to follow the blog Academic workflows on Mac, I discovered the Mac power users, Brett Terpstra, Dr. Drang, and a whole lot of other extraordinary people, which in turn introduced me to a lot of neat things. For starters, things like Markdown, nvAlt, distraction free text editors, and many more cool stuff. I must also admit that if it weren’t for my iOS device2, most of these things wouldn’t have happened. Simply, because lately I have very little time to sit in front of my desktop computer and go on about doing my thing of reading blogs, writing, etc. It’s quite convenient to have this little–yet powerful–computer in your pocket and every time you can spare a couple of minutes, you just to take it out and start reading or typing (like I’m doing right now). It may seem strange to some, but I (think) I’m getting more things done now, than what I was a year or two ago.

Writing on my blog and following other blogs has been both a source of inspiration and motivation for me. To me, writing down my thoughts is an excellent exercise and helps me to stay focus. It allows me to clarify my train of thoughts, and most importantly it also allows me to step away from the more technical writing I usually (have to) do on scientific papers.

Many would argue that blogging takes a lot of your time. Some might even consider it a waste of time. I’m not going to go into much detail about this, however apparently many people that think blogging is a waste of time seem to have enough time to write extremely long email replies3. That same message can serve as a basis for a post. As Matt Might says

Before pressing send, ask yourself, should this answer be, “Reply,” “Reply to all,” or “Reply to public”?

If you put effort into the reply, don’t waste it on a lucky few. Share it.

Matt Might, 6 Blog tips for busy academics

This has been a brief summary of my initiation in the blogosphere. I feel that blogging is much more than a hobby, it has become part of what I am, and that is why I care so much about it.

  1. At least that’s the idea.

  2. An iPod touch 4th gen.

  3. Or having spent the time elaborating an email signature that is generally longer than the email itself and seems more like a short autobiography.