I decided to leave Medium, set up this website, and put almost all the blogs I have written in the last 24 years here.
Some asked me why I am putting up a blog again. Do I want traffic and followers? Is it just an ego thing? After going through most of my posts, I now can articulate the thinking better.
In many of my posts, I was silly, often times embarrassing self-unaware, and consistently egocentric. For the most part, I was talking to myself. I must say I loved reading them. I wondered if all I really wanted is to write and then read my own writing, should I just have a private diary? Yet I am weak and I have been a lot more motivated and consistent when I posted to the public. It’s a mental productivity and accountability hack (this is how I am glorifying it) that had served me well in the last 24 years.
1996 – 1998
I created my first blog back in college in 1995. As students, we all had our own URL. Mine was www.umich.edu/~minghon. (What foresight, UofM 👊🏼!) I copied and learned HTML from public websites. Webpages were very simple back then. Like everyone else, I created a personal page; unlike most people, I kept it updated with random posts. I was blogging.
(When I learned the term “blog/weblog”, I thought it was a severely limited term to describe the activity of writing stuff online. I felt the stuff I wrote was a lot more human, romantic, and consequential than a log! It was a more like a diary, an on-going stream of consciousness, a silvery cloudy strand of the recollection in the pensieve … than a computer log file shared on the World Wide Web.)
I continued to have variations of blogs after I left school – Geocities, blogger, www.minghon.com, and then Medium. I was on and off in those years. I wrote less frequently whenever work was demanding. I wrote a ton during August of 2008, when I was in China, watching the games from the Beijing Olympics. Eventually, I stopped completely from 2011 – 2017.
Between 2011-2012, I left Nike and joined Apple. At a new company, I had to put in the hours. I was in a retail role, and work hours were non-traditional. I also had a young kid. These factors alone would have reduced my output. Then, two other changes sealed the 6 year long hiatus.
First, there was Facebook. Posting on Facebook (and most social media sites) didn’t need to be long, engagement and feedback was constant, and the social nature of the service made me spent all my time dropping random, scattered, and impulsive posts regularly. With Facebook, it was easier to feel like I have put in the work and written.
Second, Apple had a very clear policy on social media. If you leaked anything, or gave the impression that you were leaking something, or gave the impression that you were using you employment or association with the brand for any personal gain, you could be in trouble. I was new to the company, I didn’t know what would get me into what kind of trouble, so I didn’t want to risk anything. Plus, one of my biggest hobbies was all things tech. When I didn’t talk about tech, I had no desire to put the energy into writing about something else, because only topics and researches about tech topics didn’t feel like work. (I was writing a lot about Nike, sports, and sportswear, between 2005-2011, when I was at Nike.)
2017 – now
Then in 2017, one thing triggered me to resume writing. At that time, my wife was operating her organisation that advocated for breast feeding. They had a newsletter, and wanted the perspectives from guys. She put my name in, and I wrote a piece about being the husband of a breast feeding mother.
It was a ⚡️, a 💥 in the old engine. I enjoyed the process thoroughly. I struggled. I would get into a flow for 3 minutes, and would then crash and be immediately be rewarded with a 3 day long writer’s block. I let drafts sit; I threw many drafts out (into the digital trashcan); I rewrote, “eliminated,” and “grind to the truth of the unessentials.” I “tried again to fail better.” Writing is indeed “one continuous mistake.” (all quotes from Gail Sher’s book, “One Continuous Mistake : Four Noble Truths for Writers“)
Furthermore, by then, I have been at Apple long enough to know how things worked. I also found other interests that I could write about: Management, midlife crisis, and all things middle-age. And I wrote again.
So here we are, yet another blog. I am happy.