A few weeks back, I stumbled upon this post.
Writing forces you to organize your thoughtsThe first point is one of the main reasons I started this blog. His words perfectly summarize my thought process, nothing more to add.
If you think you really understand something, if you think you really get it, try writing a 1000 word blog post explaining it to an audience. I get about ten ideas per day for blog posts that feel fully-formed in my head, just waiting to be spat out in a 90-wpm blur. But I don’t update 10x per day.
Writing Freedom Twenty-Five has forced me to confront the reality that I don’t know nearly as much as I thought I did. Writing about something exposes gaps in your knowledge. More importantly, it forces you to address those gaps before you write something that makes you look like an idiot.
Writing forces you to live consciously
Writing a blog forces you to try interesting things, read new books, and think about the world in new ways. Otherwise, what the hell are you going to write about?
And you have to do more than just write to reap this benefit – you have to actually submit your work to forums of smart, critical readers, who will tear you a new one if you try to pass some bullshit onto them. If no one but your mom reads your blog, you’ll wind up like one among the jillions of 20-something-bloggers, yammering on about pets and recipes, with zero readers to tell you what a self-absorbed twit you are.
Writing keeps you accountable to yourself
When I set a goal and accomplish it, I can click “New Post” and brag about it. When I set a goal and fail, (temporarily) I feel ashamed and obligated to pick myself up and get back to it.
Whatever content your blog usually features, if you have a personal goal that you’re working on, put it out there for your audience. It would be much easier for me to give up on optimizing my life and settle into comfortable high-mediocrity, if doing so didn’t entail losing face in the eyes of the world.
The second one: to be honest, I am not the most interesting person in the world. In the past I have blamed me not doing many new experiences on being tied down by my family. I realize this is somewhat of a cop-out. While it is somewhat true, there has to be a balance of doing what I want, whenever I want, and doing nothing exciting, ever. I did go out and do a lot of new things when I was single, including going on submarine rides halfway around the world, and taking road trips halfway across the US. That's probably a large part of what attracted my wife to me.
On a related note, for the first time in a while, I took my wife out last week. Game has steadily been improving my marriage, but it's always interesting to see what she responds to. This was one of the few times that I really took the lead, and it showed. I informed my wife when she got home from work that we were going out. I prepared everything in advance, and we went out and had a blast. Then came home and continued to have a blast. This one action, more than anything else I've done in the last year, has improved our relationship. I'll post more in the future on how we got into such a slump.
On the third point: I've got several things going on towards a unified goal, but I'm not sure I can break it down by listing each activity as a goal in and of itself.
My three main goals, the first leading up to the second, and the second to the third: Number 1 is to become debt free. A few years back, my wife opened up a bunch of credit cards behind my back. Needless to say, I was pissed. We've been steadily paying them off, but we've also added 2 more kids since then and upgraded houses three times since then. Our income has been increasing, but our monthly expenses seem to go up right along with them. We've made a conscious effort to trim back, but it's much easier said than done.
My second goal, is to own the property I live on. I'm sick of paying rent each month and it seemingly going into a black hole, never to be seen again. Obviously there's lots of expenses that come along with owning, and I intend to make an informed decision and not buy a place that's going to end up underwater.
My third goal is to own a farm. Hopefully goal 2 and 3 occur at the same time. My wife was raised on a farm, I was raised in the suburbs. I've spent my fair share of time on my in-laws farm, and I know it's what I want. We want (my wife and I) to move out of the city, and live on a more or less self-sustaining farm where we can provide our daily needs all on our own. I intend to start small, and to continue working at my real job. Go as far off the grid as we can. Raise our own beef, chickens, eggs, milk, pump our own water (electric pump), create our own electricity (the one good use for solar/wind).
Anyone is free to tell me any of this is a bad idea. Comments welcome.