Too busy consuming to create
I tweeted earlier today that I’ve been finding it hard to find things to write about lately because the blogging scene seems to be saturated with so much great content. I’ve been stuck on the thought that just adding to the noise is pointless, so why do it?
Then it hit me. Matt put it eloquently in reply to my grumbling:
@ow Stop reading for an hour and write it anyway.— Matthew Panzarino (@panzer) April 25, 2013
I’m sure many that are reading this have experienced writers block at some point in their career. With so many great content creators online and such simple ways to surface killer content it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that the thought/opinion that you have has already been voiced (or perhaps that it’s not worth voicing in the first place).
It’s easy to discard a completely valid opinion that could result in a well orchestrated piece when content creators like Marco, Gruber and MG have the platform to propel their opinions faster and further. It’s even easier to discard an opinion and just carry on.
The simplicity of discovery websites like StumbleUpon, Reddit and Hacker News make it easier to continually consume content without ever becoming a creator. Flicking between bits of good content endlessly can make one feel like their voice isn’t good enough to be heard.
The thought process can go something like “someone’s already said it” or “I’m just adding to the noise.” Even more strangely, it can sometimes vary into “if I don’t say it someone else will.” I’m sure if you read around for long enough you might find an opinion that’s similar to yours, but their opinion isn’t yours and the way that you articulate your opinion is unique to you.
Yes, there are probably a few thousand other content creators out there airing their own opinions on whatever topic you’re talking about, but if your opinion is sound, quality and unique then a community will eventually gather around you.
The big guys started out somewhere, but they’re still people. I’m sure at some point, John Gruber or Marco Arment wondered why they were blogging when it was getting them nowhere. Or if it was worth contributing to the discussion when one of the others already had. Hey, maybe they they never thought that. But the fact is that the way that they’ve grown massive communities around them speaks to how incredible just giving a simple opinion is.
Websites designed to surface content across the internet have turned many of us into mindless zombies who only consume and never create. I find it so easy to get stuck in the trap of browsing instead of creating. It’s an endless loop that feeds itself.
Consumption is still important (after all, it would be hard to stay relevant in the fast moving technology world without it) but it’s important to restrict reading time and allow (or sometimes, force) writing time.
Matt put it well again today, saying:
@ow If I didn’t write Apple stuff when someone like @gruber, @drance, @parislemon or @gte said something stupid smart I’d never write.— Matthew Panzarino (@panzer) April 25, 2013
Anyone can be the next Gruber, MG or Marco. It just takes actually writing something.