Toastmasters: Why I Blog

My Toastmasters Video

I was at work talking with my friend Seth in a cubicle farm overlooking the Hudson River. We started off on some work topic but I just had to tell him a story. I forget exactly what it was about or if it was at all related to what we were doing at work. After about 5 minutes, he said, “Dude. Get to the point. We have work to do.” I was getting this response a lot at the time. But I loved telling stories. So instead of subjecting others to these stories, I realized that instead of talking to all of these people one-on-one, I could write a blog.

When I started this blog, I wasn’t a confidant writer, so I linked and commented on other people’s things. This took far too much time though and I never felt like I was done. I spent a lot of time vomiting up the internet and becoming a less good version of Yahoo or Google. The bigger problem was that it wasn’t about me, it’s was just a reactive collection of things that I liked and it was pretty boring to read.

This hit me hard when I was having lunch with a friend. I said, “Have you seen the new Malcolm Gladwell book?” He told me that he didn’t read that sort of thing and wasn’t interested in anything Malcolm Gladwell had to say. What was I going to do if the opinions and writings of celebrity writers didn’t matter? I needed to come up with things that were important to me with my own opinions.

So I started to tackle big questions on my blog. I wrote about how computers and people can work best together and why it’s still worth learning things in the age of Google. These would often take a lot of work, and because I wasn’t very good at this, they would take forever to write. While the questions started off interesting, I often gave up, after having to go through a massive amount of reading to find the “right” answer.

Then I realized that a lot of writing isn’t about being “right” at all. It’s about capturing the “Aha!” insight in a way that is meaningful to readers. It’s like bottling a little bit of lighting and sharing it with friends. Marie Kondo, the cleaning guru, talks about this as throwing everything else away until you’re only left with things that give you joy. It also had the benefit of helping me write more quickly, so I could finish the piece while I still found it interesting.

As I wrote more, I started getting better and faster. At some point, my friends started to tell me, “This is good! I’d like to subscribe,” or, “You should really think about publishing this stuff!” which helped me realize I was on the right track.

I’ve gotten some really great comments from my friends. Like my friend Jen who said,  “Your blog is awesome. It’s like what Gwyneth Paltrow’s ‘Goop’ but much better.” My friend Lee liked my blog so much that he pays me to write his corporate blog. The coup de grace was from my friend Seth, remember that guy who asked me to get to teh point. I recently got a note from him that said, “I can’t believe I’ve been missing out on your blog. Another excellent post!”

Blogging is a lot of fun. Give it a try. It’s a great way to get your thoughts out on paper for an audience and also a great way to connect with friends.

Some notes for improvement:

  • Lots of filler words.
  • Separate dialogue more clearly like when Seth says something.
  • Focus on the key shift of self actualization, MY OPINION MATTERS!
  • Maybe bring in more specificity about articles.
  • Maybe a little on how I got started.
  • More about Seth. He’s important.
  • Some people were confused in the beginning. Maybe start with something, “I always liked to write, but never had a place to put it.” or something like that.