Many people ask me why I blog about my experiments, thoughts, and life questions. Why would I spend so much time on my blog, why I am so eager to share them, and what my ultimate goal is. There are several reasons for my writing which I am eager to share in this little blog. Many of these reasons go hand-in-hand with each other, but some of these reasons can also differ per blog. Therefore, I have to say that there is no main reason for me to blog, but there are many reasons that make me blog.
The past (2014-2017)
Over the years, I performed many self-experiments, tracked a lot, and had a thousand theories. At the start of my self-tracking activities I wasn’t blogging but was performing experiments and tracked many things. In my opinion, I learned many things that no one had discovered before, no one ever walked a full winter in a t-shirt and measured his heart rate 24/7 (just one example). Because no one was thinking about these things, many of my experiments weren’t main topics of general conversations (and I am not that much of an attention seeker). People didn’t really understand what Quantified Self was and didn’t understand what I was doing. This was quite irritating to me. This motivated me to start blogging, to show people what Quantified Self is about, and to share my experiments with the world. After this decision, I learned that there were many more reasons and outcomes from blogging which I liked so therefore I am still blogging today. below I describe each reason.
A structured mind
When I started writing about my experiments, I learned a lot from the experiments themselves. I had many thoughts and experiences that wondered in my mind. However, It became clear to me that my experiences were not always that easy to translate into logical outcomes. Many thoughts and experiences were unstructured and vague. Writing about my thoughts really helps me to structure my mind and made me write them down in a meaningful way. My thoughts start to make sense now. A structured mind became one of my main reasons to write blogs. This mostly accounts for the “thoughts & idea’s” section. While I am writing blogs, I learn from my thoughts, I question myself better, I better analyze my data, and I come up with new more structured idea’s. I search for related articles online and learn from those. I discuss my thoughts with friends, they criticize them, resulting in better conclusions. Without any hands-on material this quite hard to do.
In line with a structured mind, I also enhanced the structure of my observations and experiments because of blogging. Before hand, I had no real goal with my experiments thus sometimes the quality was just lacking (but okay to me). I didn’t analyze some of the data very well because there was no real need for it, and it took a lot of time. At the time, it was okay if I gained some knowledge without any real structured experiments, and analysis. In my mind I would accept some flaws in my research-design and still gain a lot of knowledge. However, when sharing your experiments with the world, the research-designs, the data-analyses, and the conclusions need to be spot on. Thus, I increased the quality of my tracking and experiments through my blogs.
Writing guides me
I write about things which I like to write about, writing is not my work. When I really enjoy writing a blog about something, it is a topic that interests me. Nevertheless, sometimes I start a blogpost and am unable to finish it because of a lack of motivation. Often I come to the conclusion that the topic does not interest me that much as I had expected. I learn about myself from these experiences. Writing guides me towards topics I enjoy, and like to learn more about.
I like blogging
I turned out that I really enjoy writing itself. I like to write about all the abstract thoughts I have. Writing about these abstract thoughts is quite a challenge to me. Nevertheless, if I think about them hard enough I have the ability to write them down. From the combination between the challenge and the ability to write down all my thoughts I often reach a flow-state while writing (according to the flow-theory and my perception). I enjoy this flow-state very much.
I think that some of my knowledge and thoughts can be quite helpful to certain people. Blogging helps me to shift some minds. I am very happy to share everything I learned to help as many people as possible. Nevertheless, I hardly spend time marketing myself online because I don’t enjoy doing this. By not doing this, I reduce my chances to have a large impact. Secondly, I am not that sure of the brilliancy of my thoughts, thus I hold back on this as well.
As I mentioned earlier, it was irritating to me that people didn’t understand what I was doing. By blogging people can understand me better now. Secondly, it is helpful to me to share my work with business partners and potential employers. It became easier for them to find me online and learn about me (than only on my Linkedin-page). Thirdly, many of my thoughts are quite complex and abstract. Therefore, it is easier to me to share a link to my website than to tell the full story in real life. The text in my blogs is often better structured than my stories are. Fourthly, I would like to find more likewise people online using my blogs.
What about fame?
I have to admit that I would appreciate some attention through my blogs. However, this is not from a fame perspective, I just want to have some respect and a confirmation that I am doing useful things. Secondly, as I mentioned I want to have a good impact on the world. A large impact is easier to achieve through fame.
The now and the future (2017-…)
Recently, I have been blogging less about Quantified Self-experiments but more and more about general articles, thoughts and idea’s. I learned that I gain a lot of knowledge by writing about my idea’s and thoughts than writing about my experiments. I still experiment, and have a lot of data on the stack ready to be written about but I do prefer to write about new things. Or well, new things to me. Some examples of data I have stacked is my stool over 2 years, a year of trash-data, a count of all the things I own (yes I owned more than 50 shirts), and many other things. I will try to write these blogs somewhere in the future, but I do prefer to write about things that really help me.