Or, to ask a more accurate question, why do I (or anyone, for that matter) write at all? What is it that drives me to spend a large part of my day sitting in front of a computer screen, typing words and sentences at random until as if by magic something results that seems to make sense?
I’ll admit that part of it is ego: I think I have things worth saying, and I’m also conceited enough to think other people might be interested in what I have to say.
I’m also a small ship on a large ocean, adrift aimlessly, following the winds and the currents just to see where they take me. My writing is a ship’s log, recording where I’ve been, what I found there, and why I didn’t stay. It is my rutter:
“A rutter was a small book containing the detailed observation of a pilot who had been there before. It recorded magnetic compass courses between ports and capes, headlands and channels. It noted the sounding and depths and color of the water and the nature of the seabed. It set down the how we got there and how we got back: how many days on a special tack, the pattern of the wind, when it blew and from where, what currents to expect and from where; the time of storms and the time of fair winds; where to careen the ship and where to water; where there were friends and where foes; shoals, reefs, tides, havens; at best, everything necessary for a safe voyage.” [Clavell, James. Shogun (Asian Saga Book 1) (p. 4). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]
Writing is a solitary craft. While there are a few successful partnerships in writing—Ellery Queen comes to mind, as do David and Leigh Eddings—most of us tend to treat it as a form of masturbation: something best done alone and behind locked doors.
But we humans are a funny species: we’re gregarious, and often spend time with others of our tribe. And so, in the latter part of the 20th and the early part of the 21st centuries we invented Internet-based social media groups. Facebook is, of course, the most famous of these platforms, as well as perhaps the most divisive and alienating.
And so I choose to share my ideas on my blogs. It’s a non-invasive way to offer them to you. I say “non-invasive,” because I’m not bombarding you with urgent messages telling you to read me, or to buy my product (not that I have one to sell).
Perhaps “passive” is a better word: I have no idea how you found my blog, but I’[m assuming you stumbled across it whilst looking for something else. Regardless, I’m glad you’re here.
But there are times when I’ve wished there were an on-line community similar to Facebook, but without the trolls and bullies (and kitten pictures).
I can’t remember how I was introduced to Medium, but it was the exact community I was looking for.
Medium bills itself as “Ideas and perspectives you won’t find anywhere else.”
Medium taps into the brains of the world’s most insightful writers, thinkers, and storytellers to bring you the smartest takes on topics that matter. So whatever your interest, you can always find fresh thinking and unique perspectives.
For me, Medium is my portal to the world. Where my grandfather once read the newspaper every day, so I log into Medium for my daily fix of news and information. It isn’t the news so much that interests me, but rather how other people understand and react to the news. It puts the news—as well as other subjects—into a better perspective for me.
It also gives me a chance to share my views and understandings with a large community of like-minded people. By “like-minded,” I don’t mean we all share the same views. Rather we all share the same desire to learn and understand what’s going on in the world today—and to share that understanding with others.
Medium is what Facebook strives—and fails—to be.