I started blogging 12 years ago, just after September 11th, at this domain name, Scribbling.net. Back then not many people had blogs. The ones that did felt like we were part of something special (and we were).
From 2001 to 2005, I was negotiating my late twenties amidst the dot-com bust in a post-9/11 New York City. During that time, writing this site kept me sane. Blogging helped me document my life, clarify my thinking, sort out my opinions, expose myself to new people, and figure out who I am and what my stories are.1
It also taught me invaluable lessons about the risks and rewards of putting yourself out there.
After four years of blogging for fun, writing on the web full-time sounded like a dream job. But another four years and 20,000 posts at Lifehacker later, I was burned out and cynical about the pageview race. Over the last four years, I half-heartedly tried recovering at Smarterware, a blog I set up so I could write about technology when I felt like it. The problem was I didn't feel like it very much. (I was doing all my talking about technology on my podcasts, which, without transcripts, are impossible to index and search and reference.)
Fast-forward to today. I've barely blogged for over a year, and I feel it. My memory is shot. Lessons I've learned have gone undocumented. My opinions are not as thought-out as they could be. I talk to myself while I'm driving on the freeway. I feel intense jealousy about well-written essays my friends land, especially the ones passion-published on their own web sites.
The reality is, I don't truly understand something I care about unless I've discussed it, created a narrative around it, published it, and discussed it some more. That's what blogging makes possible. That's why blogging is so important to me.
So, 12 years later I'm back to the domain where I started. I'm older and more experienced now, and I've got more at stake. But I am going to write, right here—more often and about a wider range of topics, with fewer self-imposed expectations, and the primary goal of understanding my world a little better through documenting it. No word counts, no required image sizes, no SEO headlines, no pageview charts. Just telling stories, asking questions, taking notes, sharing what I think I know, and continuing to try to figure it all out.
David's site's tagline is "If writing is a muscle, this is my gym." It's time to start working out again.
Wish me luck.
Several years ago, I took Scribbling.net's original archives down because they no longer represented me, and looking back at them embarrassed me, the way reading your diary from when you were a teenager would. Over time I hope to port selected essays back to the site for posterity. ↩