I always admire people who go to lengths to find unique ways to help them write and publish. This post on including hyperlinks In handwritten posts is a classic example. I can’t take this much effort to publish, but I can see how this must be fun! Love it.

The longer a break I take, the more difficult it is to get back. It’s foolish but true. Something that applies to everything I do. Even writing. Or replying.

I read a flash fiction I wrote 5 years ago – it was a time when I was experimenting a lot with what I was writing. And I still love every word that I wrote then.

I switched to the yearly plan for Micro.blog today. Knowing my love for this service, no idea why I didn’t do this earlier. Sure, it’s not perfect. But it’s the one that has allowed me the most freedom with the way I write.

As I was cleaning the digital clutter today, I thought I should regularly inform people how they could follow my writing. This is one such post with a list of ways to stay connected with me.

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I write many forms of posts & enjoy them all. But as my friends would know, my love for them is not equal. So then, why do I continue to publish them? An apt metaphor from Robin Sloan made me ponder on the same today. I published a few thoughts, a healthy reminder on the same.

I wonder if no one on Micro.blog creates any type of long-form posts using the web editor. I can’t be the only one who finds this interface too limiting. It is suitable only for short updates. The goal of keeping things simple shouldn’t hamper the experience of writing posts. Whenever I attempt to write a long post with this interface, I instantly look for other options. Sure, I don’t switch. But I would love to avoid having this feeling.

Saving and building on a draft is unnecessarily complicated. Keyboard shortcuts do not work consistently – undo/redo often messes up the post. This is exasperated by the already small editor window. In addition, the experience is not consistent between writing a new post and editing a draft.

This isn’t the first time I have complained about the writing interface. I wrote this almost a year ago (and that wasn’t the first either).

The editing experience remains poor for long-form posts – both from a desktop and a mobile device. It’s a great system with a promising base, but still has a long way to go before I can use it for the longer form content.

Neither am I the only one with the request. The editor is the most essential part of any blogging system. I hope Manton gets time to work on fixing it, an ask that’s pending for too long now. Without this, the platform isn’t fit for the blogging needs of full-length posts.

Here’s a word cloud of my posts that I created in 2008 – I had been blogging for around 2 years then. I find it funny that even then I was writing the most about “blog”. Apparently, meta-commentary never goes out of fashion.

Not a natural blogger

I no longer am the prolific blogger that I once was. I won’t comment on everything that I read these days. Or post every thought I have.

I read what a few people write and realize maybe I am not as natural a blogger as I thought at one point. Writing doesn’t come naturally to me. Knowing that English isn’t my primary language, I knew what I write in the language won’t sound natural either. In my school, even my English teacher didn’t speak in English. English became my primary communication language pretty late in my life. So I am aware that the way I use some words or the structure of my sentence must sound wrong to English-speaking readers.

Not that I blame my struggle with this foreign language for my recent slump in writing. It’s true that I never wished to write perfect prose. The recognition that it conveyed what I wanted was good enough for me. But it’s equally true that writing is not easy for me. It takes effort.

I would love to believe that my writing has improved over these 15 years. But I am also conscious that my desire to write frequently, differently, hasn’t improved. Instead, it has been impaired recently.

I feel bad when I struggle to garner the drive to word my thoughts and I wrote about my frustration a few times recently. Looking at my blog without anything meaningful added newly makes me feel worse.

Maybe this space needs a break. Maybe I do?

As far as time wastage goes, short video services are the new social media. YouTube Shorts, Reels whatever. I have realized this mindless format of the content is eating up too much of my productive time. YouTube, in itself, was bad. But at least there was a chance that I would learn something. With Shorts, it’s a total waste of hours, a minute at a time.

I don’t watch Reels because, well, I don’t use Instagram. Or Tiktok. Or whatever app that’s trending now. But I keep going back to YouTube often when I have short time to pass. I hate that the app is aggressively pushing the Shorts nowadays.

What’s worse is that the videos are trash. They are neither fun nor informative. They register only as much as a dented luxury car would – I go “huh, that’s odd” and move on.

We have unnecessarily complicated the rating system for everything. It can simply be 👍🏽 or 👎🏽. A long rant awaits…

For my blogging/writing setup, I am done thinking long term. It affects how I post, acts as a hindrance to think freely. I trust my current setup with Micro.blog enough to take the plunge 🤞🏽

Done with Newsletter Experiment

I don’t write a newsletter well. I don’t understand this medium. I have tried it a few times now. The first time, I published it as a links log, sharing links that I found useful. Then I made it personal, a letter about what’s up with me. It could well have been a blog post, every time. A weekly digest of my posts was a good tradeoff between a mindless link log and why-can’t-this-be-blog-post thought. But it felt meaningless.

To be frank, I don’t want to sign up for the added dance around subscribers and their numbers. I like it when I don’t know anything about who reads what I write. Also, I enjoy it when I am not forced to stick to a schedule of any sort. There are periods when I am highly active, writing, and sharing regularly. But then there are times when I don’t.

Newsletter wants to force a schedule onto me. Without a schedule, a newsletter is just another outlet for my blog posts.

I am an instinctive writer, my writing does not have any structure. Or nature. I write about anything and everything that interests me now. Because I read anything and everything that interests me now. My blog serves me best for the form of writing I do. Newsletters work for many — I enjoy reading them. But the form is not a natural fit for me.

So, I am done with my newsletters experiment. Every issue I have published is available on my blog as an essay. I intend on keeping it this way. RSS feed continues to exist.

I use Firefox on Windows/iOS/Android and Safari on Mac. But the comparison that Brave publishes is effective. Browsers are sticky, there’s rarely an incentive to switch.

Now that I have used the Micro.blog timelines with filters (hide replies and long-form posts only) on Gluon, I can’t wait to get the same on the web. I know there doesn’t exist one, neither have I heard of a plan. I could add it to Micro.threads, just for myself, if nothing else. With the posts already filtered for the thread discovery to work, I just need to wrap it in a view. Or I could even start afresh and build a timeline only view. Hmm.

Writing publicly, with the voice of your readers chirping at the back of your mind, is ineffective. You write for interaction – that’s futile. Most social media posts belong to this category. You are reined back by the voice — you write for someone else. The response you expect from them, your readers, provides you the lead. You write not what you like, you write what you think your reader likes.

Sure, this approach can churn some of the most well-received works of creation. It’s the satisfaction within the writer, the creator, that gets crushed in the process.

I was very lucky with today’s Wordle. My attempt to figure out the characters got me the right result. Was it easy? Well it always is subjective with this game.

Wordle 314 2/6


I read a lot many long-form posts that are published with Substack these days. I know that’s anecdotal, but I wonder if Substack is becoming a blogging platform of choice for folks now. Or newsletters are newsletters no more? Well, what is a newsletter?

I like when a newsletter is more than just a list of links. Or a bowl of jumbled, unrelated recommendations. Not that I don’t enjoy them — I appreciate the effort that goes in curating these best-of reads. I have found them useful many a time. But deep down, I love reading letters. It reminds me of the days when I used to post handwritten physical mails to my family and close friends. Those words had an innate charm and closeness. I enjoy a newsletter that’s a letter first.

That tangential thought aside, I believe Substack is a publishing platform for newsletters first. But given the way it is set up, it is also a publishing platform for the long-form posts. If you don’t subscribe to a publication, most probably you are going to read it as a blog post. That’s what seems to be happening to me.

I wrote a long post yesterday which, as I read again now, am glad that I did not publish. I had made so many foolish assumptions, ideas half-baked. Thoughts not really thought through. I don’t want my long posts to be any of that.

Holding back on completed posts for a day or two, even after I have taken time to write it, has helped me.

When there are too many things I want to write about, I can’t publish any. I usually then take a pause, scribble a few words and save them as draft in Ulysses. The dashboard interface of Svbtle was pretty unique in that sense - a flow of unpublished ideas it was called. I wish the blogging platforms were bolder with Dashboard’s designs.

After a break of 3 weeks, I sent out the email letter with posts from the last weeks. The posts weren’t many, but I like to write and share these letters. I usually do not write them ahead of time. I do so when I receive the schedule reminder. It gives me a chance to think about and share what’s at the top of my mind now.

Of course, there’s a downside. When life keeps me busy, as it has for the past few weeks, I can’t word these letters. But I have stopped making it too much of an issue. It’s ok if I cannot send the letter out. Anyway, I am not doing this to gather a follower base, but to send a personal letter to the few interested friends.

The Micro.blog Android app has improved a lot over the last 30 days. I must have missed a few updates from @vincent for sure.

Not visiting timelines was refreshing. I don’t think this experiment will stay though. Being stagnant online is not something I like. That’s what I become when I’m not reading other’s thoughts. Funny how our minds work – you give it more space, it stretches and goes to sleep.

Why Micro.blog works for me?

I have settled on a platform for my blog which works the best for me — Micro.blog. There are reasons why the other platforms don’t interest me. And I want to talk about them. Why now, you say? Well, recent and sudden interest in the Write.as platform among the folks I follow the words from made me momentarily pause. So here’s the write up, first on why what in Micro.blog works for me.

For starter, it suits well for both the micro and long-form posts. It has apps for all platforms that I primarily use Mac and Android (Web is good for Windows, though I would still love an app there). Quick notes are best made with the apps, especially so from smartphone. For such posts that are long, titled, Ulysses works perfectly well for me. No other CMS can ever work as well as a native application.

The platform is built on Hugo. And I love Hugo. I hosted my blog for the longest with Hugo. I love the submodule systems with Hugo. Building extensions in your templates is so easy, and I have gotten comfortable with it. For a few, it might be PHP and WordPress. However, I could never get comfortable with that.

Manton has added just enough around Hugo to make it even more useful — the APIs, the apps, the social aspects, the open plug-in and theming systems and, the most valuable, its community. I visit the platform for inspiration, and many posts start right there. All this makes Micro.blog a lot more powerful, getting rid of the issues I had with Hugo, mainly the editing workflow with the static site. And I am not even talking about the smarter features life filters, bookmarks, microcasts, newsletters and bookshelves.

Do I use all of them? Of course, not. But the fact that one plan provides me so much over and above the basic blogging functionality is priceless for me.

But what about other platforms?

I have hopped through a lot more platforms than what I am proud of. So, I know what works, and doesn’t work for me. Let me be brief and focus only on what doesn’t work for me with the most frequently talked ones. I don’t want to consider the costing aspects — I can work a way to use them so that they cost effectively the same.

The below notes also give me a ready reference when I get lured by a new platform next time.

WordPress is too busy, too bloated for my liking. I don’t like the CMS. I don’t like the themes. For my style of blogging, frequent quick posts than scheduled thought-out essays, the options and features become a hinderance. I don’t want to think about the title or the tags or the categories or the url. Or excerpt. Sure, I can customise this system just to get it right. But I don’t know (neither do I like) PHP.

Ghost blog looks pretty. Polished. Majority of my posts aren’t that. And again, it bundles too many features that I just can’t connect with. I am not a media publishing house trying to build a business with my blog. I am a dumb person with very basic needs. No “audience”. No business.

Blot is brilliant. Another of those services I have a lot of love for, driven also from my respect to David, the mind behind the service. A brilliant guy, just like his service. But my editing workflow is just not files driven. When I write, I don’t always do that in my text editor. I want a web editor. I want apps. And, having said that, I also want text editors. Not something that Blot supports currently. For some, that’s the ultimate selling point of the service. Not for me.

What about Write.as, the recent entrant? Well, I like the service. I like the simplicity of the editor (I wish Manton got inspired from this one). But it feels far too fragmented. Each feature is a different product. I had noted this recently about the service.

I land on a page which is a blank one with a blinking cursor. Brilliant! But what next? There’s nothing else if you don’t know where to go. I can see my blog posts, edit them. Do you want the community? There is a different product. Pictures you say? That’s another different product.

The workflow is not natural to me. It is a nice, easy service. But it doesn’t work for me. Plus, it lacks the app support. Without mobile apps, I just can’t publish those quick notes anymore.

Of course, I could pick and choose, make multiple platforms host different types of posts for me. I have done that. But I have realised, after a lot of pain, that it’s another hurdle in my posting workflow. Any decision my mind is to make before publishing slows it down, killing my writing productivity completely.

In conclusion, it’s a wonderful time to be blogging again. There’s such a rich set of platforms that can suit every writer’s style. For me, though, Micro.blog works the best, and I am going to stick with it for now. Does that mean I will never consider new or even the above platforms? Well, knowing me, I can never say never.

I am observing huge performance improvements with blogs hosted at Micro.blog recently. I click publish and the post is available both on my blog and the timeline. Wasn’t the case earlier. @manton looks to have done some magic to the backend. If so, kudos!