This is the first essay I’ve posted to Habit Engineering since last May. It’s embarrassing. 10 months, zero blog posts. That wasn’t my intention when I started in 2015. I planned to publish a 600ish word post every week. I accomplished that goal for a year. The next year my production was less consistent. I admitted this problem to myself going into 2017. I set a goal to published 15,000 words, which seemed attainable because I have complete control of the blog. That was my nerdy way of telling myself to be a productive writer who shares his work. But here I am with my blog dying on the vine.
Habit Engineering is about self-improvement through habits. That’s a source of never ending thought for me. I figured I could write on the topic into infinity. Infinity turned out to be 73. That’s the number of essays I published. All of them were a different version same story, me. It felt conceited and narcissistic, but didn’t matter much. Few people paid attention. New essays were viewed 12 to 20 according to Google Analytics, which eventually stopped working. I couldn’t figure out how to fix the plugin and gave up in frustration. My motivation to write was waning.
I attended writing workshops to rekindle my motivation. At that point I was willing to pay for attention and feedback that I wasn’t getting from my blog. First I took Basic Creative Writing and later Creative Nonfiction. I learned how to structure scenes, set pace, and refine my voice in assignments that were shared with the class. I also learned how to critique another person’s unfinished work.
The workshops were interesting but also time consuming, especially the reading assignments. My compulsion to be a well-prepared student took priority over writing. Ironic, right? Of course, I also had to write. Rather, I had to share an original piece of writing for the class to pick apart. That was great, but there were guidelines for what I could submit. The topics I write for my blog didn’t fit in those guidelines.
Receiving constructive feedback was useful. Learning how to dissect unfinished work was also a new skill for me, although that’s double-edged sword. Now I see mistakes and poor choices in all writing, including books I read. I’m a more sophisticated writer and reader after the workshops, but I’m left wondering if was worth the time, energy, and money. I’m not producing enough.
I still write everyday. I spend 15 minutes thinking, writing, and editing (mostly thinking) on a topic to share with the world. I do this before I take a shower to ensure it’s done. If the muse strikes me I write more throughout the day. Most times that doesn’t happen. I get distracted with work or other competing priorities for life in general.
I did share some of my work, 11,512 words to be exact. That was better than nothing even if it was well short of the goal of 15,000. Small portions of that writing were blog posts. I also got two articles published in Made Man. The first was on how baldness changed my self-image and second was navigating online dating. The bulk of the work I shared was for the two workshop submissions. I admit that’s stretching the interpretation of published work.
Now I’m left wondering what to do with this blog. I never thought how it might end when I began in 2015. Now I’m forced to think it through. As a frugal person, it’s hard to justify paying a service provider to keep the domain and site up when I might not contribute for another year. I’m not confident I’ll do so after my experience in 2017.
If I did end the blog I would lose the work I’ve done. That would be a shame because I enjoy sharing my writings when a conversation sparks my memory of a topic I’ve explored. I get the same rush I did in 2015 when I’m told that I’m a good writer. For some reason sharing a link to a website carries more weight than sending an email.
This is a stupid conversation I’m having (with myself). The obvious option is to keep writing and continue to publish. I’m sitting on 4,000 works of content from the workshops that I could share. I received positive feedback on the earlier drafts. My hesitation is that the topic doesn’t fit into Habit Engineering.
I’ve written about personal finance topics here in the past, but they have always been about behavior change…how to get in the habit of saving money. My workshop was about taxes. That’s right. I wrote 4,000 words about taxes and how they affect you. I’m a weirdo. I know it. You know it. Get over it.
In 2016, I arrogantly proclaimed I was going to write a book teaching new college graduates how to save money. That idea has evolved into several iterations and the tax workshop is the latest byproduct. Managing personal finances is intimidating. A big reason why is taxes. Most people brush off understanding taxes and their finances suffer because of it.
Taxes are complicated, but they’re a man made invention and can be broken down into fundamental parts. Making good financial decisions becomes much simpler once the basics are understood. While that isn’t what I consider Habit Engineering I’ll share it anyway. I’m the only person who cares whether the topic is appropriate. If the taxes and personal finance catches on (more than Habit Engineering) I can get a better domain.
If you enjoy the topic, or any of my writing please let me know. If you think I’m full shit let me know that too. I really do want feedback.
Thanks for reading.