Arjun Badola

3 years of writing

Today my blog turns 3!

Over the past few years, it has turned into a diary where I record how my thought process is evolving as I get new experiences. Last year in my post “2 years of writing” I shared my thoughts on humbleness and the stages of knowledge, this time I will share my story of starting this blog.

The seed to start writing a blog was planted when I came across Paul Graham’s blog. Reading his essays started the spark to thinking about writing in public. But the tipping point was when I got into an argument with someone with regards to a startup idea. It was a typical conversation which turned from constructive criticism to sudden derogatory statements. That is when to vent out, I started my blog and shared the first post: “Criticism: why people get defensive”.

Over a period of time the blog transformed from venting out posts towards “learning in public” posts. The latter means that as one goes through the journey of constant improvement and learning, you share it with the public which opens you up for constructive criticism, attracts like minded people, and documents your journey.

The common fear which one would face would be of getting negative feedback on your writing. But this is very natural in any learning process where the output of your work is always terrible. Hence, one shouldn’t fear starting something if they believe that it is going to be useful in the long term.

Most of my initial essays are very badly written. Too many grammatical mistakes, no proper framing, too many unnecessary words/sentences, etc. but I still don’t remove them as they show how I have improved over time. In the initial days of practising/learning any skill nobody is born an expert. Focus should be on constant improvement, rather than on the fear of criticism.

Further, it is a good sign if one reads their old articles and realises how badly they were written, as it shows that they are improving. Your initial articles should give you a feeling of “what was I thinking while writing this?”.

Most of the time I write an article when an event happens in my life and I want to get clarity on what I am feeling and let it out. The most triggering ones have been where I went on dates and it didn’t turn out well.

One truth which everyone having a blog eventually realises is that nobody reads it. Let me rephrase it, “Most of them don’t read”. At the age where short videos are taking over the world, blogs might not be the most efficient way to grab one’s attention. But the purpose of this blog was not to grab attention or get views. This was started as a place where I can share my thoughts.

Paul Graham in his essay “Putting Ideas into Words”, talks about how conveying ideas through writing makes one explore their depth of knowledge, as writing an idea into words puts you through a severe test. One has to put it down in the simplest form so as to make a stranger understand the essay without the use of heavy jargons. If you don’t keep it simple you lose the reader’s interest immediately. In 2022, I did a presentation in my college for a few of my friends where I introduced them to the stock market. I believe such activities help one to rethink what they have learned and present it in a structured and simple way.

It’s been 3 years and still one of the best things about having a blog is that it acts as a digital space for your thoughts. You meet new people and you can direct them to your specific articles when you have a conversation which has happened with you a million times. It provides more structure, clarity, and the ability to put down a thought into writing.

Writing essays after an incident/experience which I faced, is like documentation of my life story and how my thought process is changing. After 3-5-10 years (I hope to keep writing by then) when I look back, I will see what changes I went through and how stupid I was during the current times.

There have been times when I felt that writing and sharing it to the public isn’t generating any value as most of the content I write is mostly emotional writing or is unasked for. But due to interaction with many and receiving messages about how my writing has helped them and support from friends, I have always stuck with the decision to continue writing.

Thank you for reading and being my audience!

Thanks to Nityanshi Rao, Pramit Dev Pandey, and Shriram Raghav Rishi for reading drafts of this.