Document, Don’t Create – Blogging Reframed #34

Categories Writing
document, don't create gary vaynerchuk

Motivations For Blogging

If there’s one topic all bloggers like to write about it’s blogging.

Similar to many past-times, blogging is something too many people spend more time thinking and talking about than actually doing. Guilty as charged.

I regularly reflect on my motivations to blog to try and remind myself to keep it up when the inspiration and drive just aren’t there. My weekly post is a weekly inner battle, but that’s okay.

Why am I bothering with QuiteFrankLee.com? There are at least three reasons I am giving up my evenings and weekends. I want to:

  1. Prove to myself I can stick to a goal and routine
  2. Get better at writing and self-marketing
  3. Have something to look back on in the future

It’s helpful for me to lay these motivations out so clearly as it makes me realise that every post doesn’t have to be a masterpiece. The first point gives me license to just write and hit publish. The act is an achievement in itself.

To get better at writing, I will need to write posts I’m not happy with. The worse written an entry, the more room for improvement and growth.

Heck, the better my marketing will have to be.

The last reason is something I haven’t properly stopped to acknowledge. When I look back on this blog’s predecessor from 2013, I can read those old posts and recapture the past. I can identify with my frame of mind, my concerns and interests. The blog’s existence is a time capsule.

blogging as documenting for a time capsule
Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

I have the same aspiration for this successor site. It serves to document the events and thoughts that matter to me right now as a 23-year-old. Hopefully, I’ll be able to look back on it in 5 or 10 years and recall what’s it like to be me right now.


Document, Don’t Create

When I first started blogging 5 years ago, I imagined it to be something like writing an Opinion column in a newspaper. I was influenced by essayists like George Orwell and one contrarian journalist in particular, Christopher Hitchens.

In other words, I had lofty aspirations.

While I still have a weak spot for this romantic image, the reality is I am not sitting down to pen a 2,000 word thought piece every week, nor a university-style essay.

I simply take a topic as it appears in my life right now – and it can be something mundane, for example, cold calling – and share my thoughts about it. It’s a humble exercise that nevertheless achieves the aims I set out above. It’s all in the delivery.

The man that (in more than one respect) sparked my marketing career, Gary Vaynerchuk, has a practical philosophy along these lines: document, don’t create.

He says:

you can ponder about the strategy behind every post and fabricate yourself into this “influential person”… or you can just be yourself.

When the thought of sitting down to write a blog post is overwhelming, I can be sure that I am overthinking it. There’s nothing to say each one needs a purpose, an argument or a “lesson” to take away. Neither does it need to be 1,000 words long.

Gary explains that documenting is itself an act of content creation. His daily vlog epitomises this, sprouting blog articles, social media posts and merchandise.

When I reframe blogging in this way, I feel less pressure to produce.


The Desire To Document

I think there’s a good reason so many people take to the internet to share their thoughts with strangers. The desire to document and put yourself out there exists in us all. We all want to leave our mark in some capacity. For many of us, blogging is a quest for recognition and ownership.

The posts that require the most editing are actually the most manipulated. You could argue they are the least authentic, projecting how we want to appear.

One of the things I have always struggled with as a blogger is finding a niche. As a marketer, I understand that this is the key to building an audience. And yet QuiteFrankLee.com is an autobiography. I am the niche.

document, don't create blogging for personal growth
Photo by Kaitlyn Baker on Unsplash

Next time I am struggling to come up with a blog topic or battling self-doubt over the whole enterprise, I need to take a step back and recognise that I am writing from a unique perspective, which alone makes the exercise worthwhile.

We all take for granted our own individual circumstances. We assume that our lives, opinions and stories are boring. To many people they probably are. But there will be others out there that will find you interesting.

To state three unusual facts about myself:

  • I play a mixed-sex Dutch sport called korfball
  • I’m invested in the stock market at 23 years-old
  • I listen to podcasts and audiobooks daily

I can say none of these things about any of my friends from home. While these activities and habits have faded into the background of my life, each might be considered interesting and worth writing about. Or at least I would like to think so.

With this in mind, I want to make sure I’m documenting as much as I can. If not for the benefit of others, then for my future self who is cringing reading back this post.

I give myself permission to put the Lee back into QuiteFrankLee.

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