Tag Archive | Medium

Why Do I Blog?

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?

My Ego

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.

Sharing Knowledge

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).

Enter Medium

I can’t remember how I was introduced to Medium, but it was the exact community I was looking for.

Medium 2

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.


Why Are Writers Afraid to Seek Critiquing?

A. J. Liebling once said, “Freedom of the press is only guaranteed to those who own one.” Now we live in the age of the Internet, where anyone with a network connection owns a printing press. This is both a boon and a disaster.

A boon in the sense that information can be shared widely and rapidly. Indeed, there are those who would argue that it was the widespread availability of cheap copy machines. that brought down the Berlin wall, not Ronald Reagan.

It’s a disaster in that misinformation can be spread just as widely and rapidly. Even worse, it means that anybody who can type or dictate can write books. Self-publishing no longer requires vanity publishing houses, where authors had to foot the bill for having their works published: all you need now is a keyboard and a connection.

Internet Addiction: The first step is admitting you have a modem.

Sites like Goodreads and similar others are a good way of filtering out the dreck, but Kindle (Amazon) and Nook (Barnes & Noble) work on the profit model. Which means that they’ll publish almost anything you submit to them – be it dreck or a Pulitzer-worthy novel.

Far too many would-be authors don’t seem to know one of the basic requirements of writing a book: read lots of books! Indeed, from what I’ve seen on the Internet, I’d say many of them haven’t even read one book.

One of the many things I like about Medium is the way it exposes me to new authors and new ideas. That, in turn, sparks my own ideas. And it helps me improve my own writing.

It’s also why I blog, both here and elsewhere: I’m not afraid to open myself to the possibility of harsh criticism. It’s the only way to learn.

Why I Cancelled My Facebook Account, and Why I Cancelled the Cancellation

A little under two weeks ago, having gotten tired by (among other things) the saturation-bombing of (mostly) irrelevant garbage on my Facebook account, I decided to cancel it. This was not a decision I made lightly, and I wanted to share some of my reasons:

My experience had become a brain-sucking, mind-killing psychic vampire-like waste of time. For every one article I was interested in, there were a dozen more I had no interest in. And the ones I did want were?—?far too often?—?little more than click-bait, forcing me to wade through a ton of advertisements. Oh, sure?—?I could avoid them by using Facebook on my laptop browser with ad blocking software, but I preferred the freedom of my iPhone and iPad.

Over the years, Facebook has deteriorated from a social network to a system for spreading lies, innuendo, hatred, and vitriol. No longer is it a platform for sharing knowledge and experiences; rather it is now little more than a convenient way to launch personal attacks against both individuals as well as groups.

Each minute I spent on Facebook, I could almost feel my blood pressure climbing into the stratosphere.

For these (and a few other) reasons, I decided it was time for me to leave.

I jumped through all of the hoops I needed to in order to permanently delete my account?—?only to be informed that it would take 2 weeks for it to take effect. At first, I was angry at Facebook’s arrogant assumption that I would change my mind, but ultimately, it worked out for the better.

Family Ties Rule!

I grew up in a military family, so for the first part of my life, I was unable to put down roots. (As an aside, numerous studies have demonstrated just how harmful the military life is to families in general and to children in particular. As John Donne said, “They also serve who only stand and wait.” [Sonnet 19: When I consider how my light is spent]). It isn’t easy to develop lasting friendships when you know they’re only going to last 2 or 3 years; think of it as growing up in an atmosphere of breakups and dislocations.

As a result of the constant reassignments and relocations, I had very little opportunity to get to know my extended family. From California to Japan to New Jersey to New York to Texas and Alaska, I might have seen my cousins on less than a dozen occasions.

But then I discovered Facebook. And while it wasn’t face-to-face contact, I was able to reunite with many of my cousins and much of my extended family. I’m living in Rochester, New York as I write this, and contrary to much belief, it is nowhere near New York City, where at least two of my cousins live. In fact, Rochester is closer to Toronto than it is to NYC.

Other cousins are in California, Mississippi, and Oregon. One brother in in Texas and the other is in New Mexico. My daughters and grandchildren live in the Seattle area, as does my nephew and beloved niece and her children.

Between Facebook and Instagram, it is the only contact I have with most of them. So you see why I had to come back. And that is why Facebook, in its wisdom, made me wait 2 weeks before they deactivated my account: they wanted to be certain that I was certain. I reactivated my account 4 days before it would have been permanently deleted.

A New Approach

No longer do I log in to Facebook at all hours of the day and night; I limit myself to twice a day. I’m also leaving a number of groups that once were relevant to me, but no longer are important.

Instead, I’m spending more time on Medium, where the level of discussion is both more relevant to my interests, as well as more eloquent and literate. At least no one here sends me messages like “I lk yr post. How R U?”

Is it possible that Medium is the last bastion of genuine intellect in the world of social media?

My tea is getting cool, and so I shall close now. Thank you for taking the time to read this; I know your time is valuable, and as always I appreciate the time we have spent together.

1000 Words a Day

This morning on Medium I read a piece on the benefits of writing 1,000 words a day. Since I’m lucky to write every day at all, and most of the time only manage to hit 500 words,I decided I’d give it a try.

My favorite takeaway from the article?

This simple daily habit has literally a had a six figure ROI. It’s changed my life and my career.

I’m not writing for a living, and I don’t expect to be any time soon. But it strikes me that all of the advice given in the article makes sense, especially if I have any pretentions of calling myself a writer. (109 words at this point.)

Just when I was beginning to think I’d never make it as a writer, Medium once again pointed me in the right direction with an article entitled “Someone Is Going To Laugh At Your Dreams.”

I don’t believe in fate or coincidences, but I’m starting to wonder about serendipity. Or maybe what Jung called synchronicity.

So maybe—just maybe—someone or something is trying to tell me something.

So I’m going to put on my big-girl panties and get to work. I won’t always be writing on this blog, as I have a few other projects I’m working on, but at least I’ll report back now and then with a progress  report.

Robyn Jane