Retrospective on a Year Spent Writing

Around this time last year, I started writing a lot. Since then, I've published a book, started a policy blog, and started writing for a local paper. All in all, I think it's safe to say that I've written about as many words in the past 12-15 months as over the preceding 10 years.

A crude calculation of the word-count of this blog shows that I've written approximately 93,719 words. That's a lot, but considering that Going Indie is over 62,000 words and my published articles total almost 7,000, that 93,000 looks a lot less impressive.

$ find archive/ -name "*.md" | xargs -I {} cat {} | wc -w
   93719

I've learned a lot about myself and my writing in the past year. I've learned how to pitch articles, how to build up the courage to submit them, and how to research and write about complex topics. I've also gotten better at defining my assumed audience.

I'd always intended for this blog to be a place for me to write about whatever I wanted, and while I have written about a number of topics here, over time I've gravitated towards discussions of software, the tech industry, and personal matters. Last year, during the depths of the pandemic, I wanted to expand and write about public policy, but this blog never felt like the right place to do that. Hence why I started Democracy & Progress, and why I continue to write for the local paper.

Writing for both D&P and the paper has helped me focus my energy on working to better inform people and convince them to take an interest in a given subject. It's also helped me better understand the in-depth nuances of topics I previously thought I knew something about. Nowadays, I write not only as a way to inform and convince others, but as an exercise to educate myself. They say you don't fully understand something until you try to teach it, and that truism has held strong for me this past year.

Writing this much has also been a catalyst that pushes me to write even more.

I've really enjoyed this deeper commitment to writing, and while it remains just a hobby, it's an incredibly fulfilling and enjoying one that I hope to continue as long as I can.


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