People write for lots of reasons: To become famous. To make money. To sell. To connect. To join. To have written. To create social proof. To influence. To communicate. To make a world. To right a wrong. To increase the n. Because everybody else is doing it. Because someone else said they should do it.
Today, 23 reasons I think you should consider writing online. Pick one reason, pick them all, make them your own.
- To allow a small number of as-yet-unknown, possibly very consequential people to feel as though they’ve gotten to know you a bit, before you ever speak. (I’m a consultant. 3 out of 4 interviews I have with prospective clients involve them bringing up something they read or listened to from this web site. I enjoy that.)
- To make your first conversations with certain new friends immediately engaging and specific, since they will have already apprehended your bullshit and felt there was something there.
- To disqualify people who don’t grok what you are up to. They will glance off the edge of your atmosphere and float somewhere else.
- To sort things out, to somehow make sense of an absurd world, and cram the results into enough of a structure that it becomes hopefully intelligible to at least one other person.
- To dispel the curse of knowledge. You know much more about certain things than most people, and your life experiences mean those things have become connected—intertwingled?—in contingent, weird, productive ways.
- To dispel the curse of knowledge. You probably don’t realize how much you know about the stuff you know about. Lay it all out on a page and, goddamnit, turns out you know a lot. That in itself is good to know.
- To dispel the curse of knowledge. Here is a super powerful capability: to be able to borrow the perspective of someone who doesn’t know the same things as you do, and support them as they develop their own expertise.
- To get clear about the language you want to use. And I don’t mean cussing (you must swear at least a bit in your writing so people will know they are dealing with a human being and not some tediously apologetic autocomplete LLM). I mean knowing what things you are thinking about, and what you would like to call each of them.
- To identify your lil’ shortcuts, jargons, and irritants.
(For me, these include the words “just” and “here.”)
- To find out where you are wrong.
- To find out where you are right.
- To eventually give each idea its own URL, which is cool.
- To take these ideas—now having their own URLs—and e-mail them to those who want to read by email, publish in an RSS feed for those who want to read by feeds, and the like.
- To maybe even circulate these URLs across the various algorithmic hellscapes (LinkedIn,
- To locate the people who are your people. Bring them in, wherever they are. One person a month is fine. This is the real deal.
- To have a very slow conversation with someone over the span of months or years.
- To accumulate a “swipe file” you can borrow from when called upon to present, speak, convince, design, etc.
- To draft a book, one page at a time, with the garage door up.
- To create the conditions for eventually revisiting your old stuff and noticing with horror how your thinking has changed over time.
- To get other people to tell you what to read next: this link, this article, this book. You’ll always have a backlog.
- To learn.
- To practice.
- To figure out who you are, so you can become that person.