Building a Blog

Posted · #Life, #Writing

If you’ve made it here, welcome! I like to think of this as the grand opening for my new blog, but the site itself has been around a bit longer. I started this project almost six months ago and have been whittling away at it ever since. While most of the underlying code has been “done” for a while now, it’s taken a bit to actually start writing. For anyone who saw all the placeholder posts that were here before: oh well.

Table of Contents

# Why a Website?

I’m not a stranger to personal websites. Over a year ago I launched my first site, followed not long after by my second. Both were simple, static pages that for the most part only used vanilla HTML and CSS. They listed the important stuff about me (my name, my résumé, and my contact info) and they got the job done. I wanted something a little more substantial, however.

There are a lot of reasons to want to make a personal website. Let’s start with one of the most popular: owning your own content. Every time we use Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, or any other traditional social media, we lock ourselves in more and more to those platforms. That’s not necessarily a bad thing[1]; I personally use the above services just about every day.

That being said, there is always the risk of losing your data. Platforms rise and fall. Your account might be shut down, hacked, or otherwise lost. Maybe you just want more freedom over how and where your content is posted. All of these things can be addressed by moving away from platforms that other people manage and towards something you actually own. This is a core philosophy of the IndieWeb[2], the movement which inspired me to make a website in the first place.

However, it’s not all about being some kind of digital hippy. On a more personal level, this site is something I designed and created myself. I don’t know what it will look like next year or five years from now, but I am confident in one thing: my website is fundamentally, unquestionably me. It is a reflection of what I feel is important to me, presented just the way I want it to be presented. My website is really more of a digital garden, one that will grow and change with me.

# Why a Blog?

I’m a senior in college right now, so I already have enough on my plate. I rarely take (good) notes for my classes. I’ve tried—multiple times—to keep a journal or diary of my daily thoughts. The difference here is I’m not writing for anyone else but myself, not even to meet any kind of “daily writing” goal. My interests tend to vary quite a bit. At times I’ve explored photography, foreign languages, design, music, books, and of course programming. I don’t really have a plan for this blog, other than to write about whatever I want to write about.

I’ve found that when I do write for myself it’s always been a good thing. Writing is a way to take the stream of our experiences and make something permanent of it. Of course, none of this has to be public. I could just as easily write this post in a Word doc or on a piece of paper and hide it away somewhere. I think, however, that there is value in sharing our thoughts with other people. Even if no one actually sees what I write, I think there is also value in having to structure our writing as if we are going to share it with others.

Again, though, this is mostly for me and that’s what counts.

# Why Now?

The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now[3].

As I said before, this website has been ready for a while now. I’ve waited to post this because I wanted everything else to be perfect first. My last two websites didn’t have a blog, so even this feels like a massive edition. I realize, however, that there never will be a “perfect” time. If I have so much to say, why wait to say it?

With that, I’ll close this little reflection. I’m excited to see where my blog goes, and I doubt this post is the last time I’ll ever visit this topic. Welcome to my blog, reader. I hope you enjoy it.

  1. Any gripes about social media itself notwithstanding. ↩︎

  2. The wiki page on their principles explains it better than I ever could. ↩︎

  3. Fun fact, I can’t actually find where this quote originally came from. ↩︎