On public writing

I write a lot. I like to write, a lot. I write for thinking, and often thinking without writing feels like trying to remember one song while another song is playing: a feat of raw mental strength.

I write in English, though I mostly don’t think in English, because it has a more utilitarian feel to it. When I write in Portuguese, I often get lost in “that’s a beautiful word”, or "that sentence flows so well”. Of course, that says more about my ability to produce written English than the aesthetics of the English language itself.

But I never publish what I write, because why would I? Once the thinking is done, it’s done: I get to own the outcome of it for myself. It’s unlikely I will want to read it in the future. But Listed’s 100-day writing challenge has made me pause.

Don’t worry, reader: I’m not posting things every day for 100 days. But could there be value in putting one’s thoughts out there? Making things public certainly has a finality to it: once the word is out, it’s out. So the idea of writing things in public has a boldness to it that appeals to me.

As an example, Belle Beth Cooper’s posts are deeply personal, yet profoundly interesting to me. Here I am, reading about how much money this stranger from the other side of the world has spent on stationery, and throughout the post I’m saying to myself “well done, Belle!”. There’s certainly others I follow with the same level of intensity.

So that’s something I may pursue: writing less based on the persona I want to project online for whatever reason — that’s too much effort to be sustainable —, and think more in terms of just posting the things I write to myself. Less in the hopes that someone might read them and find them useful — that would be a long shot indeed! —, and more because of what it can do to me as I write.

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