The reason I always find time to write on this blog
For years, people have been asking me the same question: How do you find the time to write so much on your blog? I never quite know what to say. I usually reply that it’s surprising more technical writers don’t write more. That I should have one of the few blogs with regular posts in a whole genre of other writers (albeit technical writers) seems paradoxical to me. Like asking someone who likes basketball – how do you find the time to actually play basketball? Well, because I like to play basketball, so I find/make the time – duh.
But for the past couple of months, I haven’t had much time to write. I actually started to ask myself what happened. Was I getting older and just more tired at night? I felt like I was going to work in the morning, coming home in the evenings to do family activities (with four kids ranging from 7 to 17 yrs, the needs and activities are endless); then at nights, too exhausted to do anything else, I would move into the Escape quadrant and float away in entertaining media for a bit before drifting off. What happened to my writing time? Where was the important space to write?
As I was writing less, I started to feel less excited about my days. I still did some writing activities — such as updating and revising content in my API documentation course, which seems to require regular attention as the space is evolving so much — but it’s not the “fun” kind of writing that engages me. I like discovering new ideas, thinking about topics that are inconclusive in my mind. I like writing personal essays.
With less writing, I started losing motivation for my regular job as well. It felt like it was the “same old, same old” day in and day out. What? WTF? Then it hit me. I realized then why I always seemed to eventually find time to write. Writing – the kind of writing that involves thinking deeply and creatively about subjects – engages me in life. That’s why I’ve always found time to blog for the past 12 years (I started this blog in 2006), as well as write long before that. I like learning and thinking and reflecting and then writing about it all. When that activity disappears from my life, it deflates my energy and interest in everything. It removes some essential element that makes me who I am. So that is really the secret to finding time to write. If the activity is one that rejuvenates you, you’ll always find time for it, because not finding time for it deflates you.
About Tom Johnson
I'm a technical writer based in the Seattle area. In this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, visual communication, information architecture, writing techniques, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out simplifying complexity and API documentation for some deep dives into these topics. If you're a technical writer and want to keep on top of the latest trends in the field, be sure to subscribe to email updates. You can also learn more about me or contact me.