A turn away from social media means more time to pour into personal writing that
goes out by email and web feeds. I started making websites in the 1990s, and
maintained a blog using Textpattern from 2008 to 2012 before abandoning it in
favor of photography.
If I had to pinpoint what got me to start blogging again, it wasn’t simply the
allure of static site generators that it did. It was Emacs, specifically Org
mode, which I started using in 2015, and in which I’ve since typed some 700,000
words. Org mode is made for writing, anything from note-keeping, to document
editing, project planning, and even literate programming. The tagline says it
all: Your life in plain text.
While Org mode handles to-do lists, agendas, spreadsheets, time tracking, and
more, at its root it’s a kind of word processor called an outliner, which has
a deep role in software history, particularly the web, blogging, and RSS.
Org mode doesn’t make me want to write, but it keeps me writing, if that
makes any sense. All day I’m keeping a diary, taking notes, saving bookmarks,
making to-do lists, all the while touching text. It feels natural to take the
next step to edit, format, and publish it.
I created this category of posts to collect observations, personal news, and
links that I might otherwise throw over the transom to a social media company,
and instead keep them here at home, and send them out for you to read.
This first post serves as a notice that it’s working, and the next one is