Original post

Serious question: have you considered writing for just yourself?

I’ve found in this age of online sharing my motivations and enjoyments of things is more pure if I just do it for myself, and maybe share with one or two appreciative people.

In addition, I find that not telling anyone your goals or ambitions is extremely underrated. There’s research that shows that if you do that, you get some of the reward for having done something worthwhile without nearly as much of the work, so the actual work becomes harder to do. And personally, I find it’s absolutely true. The rest of the world’s noise and opinions interferes with my own developmental process.

If I do things for myself and only for myself, it usually goes so much better.

I am using a self-hosted WordPress instance, lets encrypt, and cloudflare to proxy requests. A few automation scripts to ensure the apps are updated and IP changes are corrected with google domains. Every now and then I check my site to ensure everything is working as it should.

Granted, it doesn’t get much traffic except for 2 post that gets me 5-10 visitors daily. https://ianmf.com

I’m using ghost at https://mattbrandly.com/

I intend to write more technical content, and I don’t think ghost is that great for the purpose. I wish I were writing markdown and generating static assets locally. Having to send highlight.js to every client for syntax highlighting is unnecessary.

Always always always own your own content. Don’t post on medium often (might be worth it to build a following).

I post exclusively on my own WordPress blog hosted on vultr for $5/month. If you aren’t a developer I’d recommend some self service option.

To build a following perhaps try twitter, Reddit, and medium. There’s also probably locations to post short stories I’m unaware of

I recommend a blog with your own URL (WordPress or Ghost). Then you can syndicate to Medium and Twitter with plugins. That way your content stays yours and you remain in control, while also getting the exposure from other platforms.

Does it really work to syndicate content to Medium?

I don’t remember the exact number, but the vast majority of my Medium readers (something like 80% IIRC) came from HN, Reddit, Twitter, etc. My most read article had about 170k reads before I removed my content from Medium.

Unless you have a very large following already, you’re at the whim of the Medium editors to “elevate” content to the wider readership of the site, via the preexisting topics, or if you’re really lucky, to feature your article on the front page.

* Edit: That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t! 🙂 However, you might get more readership – if that’s what you’re interested in – by writing pretty much anywhere, and just sharing it with the right communities.

It depends on how pro you want to get. If you have the means, I suggest getting both a story editor and a proof reader and ask them to give brutal feedback. The reality is that most stories that are written are low quality and thus don’t get the audience that the writer would desire. Much like programming, it takes a while to get your stuff where you want it to be.

Vuepress → Github actions → static site deployed to GCP/Storage. Writing Markdown in VSCode is _significantly_ better than all the online editors I’ve tried.

If you’re interested in short stories To be published I recommend trawling The Submissions Grinder. This is duotrope but free.

Your own blog first if not for any other reason then the fact that you own it and are not at anyone’s whims but your own. I used it as an excuse to get Ghost up and running in my Kubernetes cluster. Win-win.

Then push content out to Medium, dev.to, Twitter, etc if you’re looking for more of an audience.

First I put it on my personal blog (11ty+netlify), so I own the rights. I wait at least a couple days before publishing or promoting elsewhere (medium, DEV, hackernoon)

I keep a blog at https://vorpalhex.com and I primarily keep it as a repository of thoughts, ideas and odd projects.

I use Hugo because it’s simple yet flexible, powerful and produces a static bundle that is easily hostable anywhere. I use the `hello-friend` theme with significant tweaks, mostly a lot of shortcodes for better and more-responsive friendly image handling. I wanted a markdown based flow with minimal JS that didn’t require node/rails/etc toolchains. Hugo is available both as a docker image and a small compiled binary so both local builds and CI builds are very easy. Currently I’m hosted via Gitlab for ease (I can use my own CI runner and the hosting itself is free with SSL support) but I’ve used S3 and others with great results.

I do my drafting in my favorite notes app InkDrop, and then just take my markdown file and drop it into my repo. One git push and it’s published. Still haven’t found a great platform to let non-technical folks edit my posts though.

I keep my images and big files in a Digital Ocean CDN. I use rclone to manage cdn contents (it uses the s3 protocol) and have some utility scripts to pull the cdn locally and then sync up changes. I ended up having to write a small golang program to easily bulk resize images at responsive breakpoints: https://gitlab.com/vorpalhex/responsimg

For me, this setup makes it very low friction to compose blog posts and get them published and it gets good lighthouse speed scores and loads quickly on even low end devices with bad connections. No medium paywall, no facebook SDK, etc. I did end up caving and installing Google Analytics (I was very displeased with piwik).

If I would start a blog, right now I would use Gatsby + Markdown + own domain. Using free repository hosting and static cloud hosting which in many places is also free. Basically for 10$/year and occasional backup you would have a platform and service independent blog which can easily be migrated wherever you want. Aware that for these you need some basic tech skills indeed.

Do you work on React/etc. on a regular basis?

I attempted to use Gatsby for a personal blog/knowledge base-style setup and was immediately turned off by the seemingly immense overhead involved (React, CSS-in-JS, GraphQL).

I ended up with Vuepress instead and I’m happy (so far, anyway); a big draw is that it doesn’t really require any Vue knowledge to get up and running.

If you just want to write and could care less about ownership of content, pick Medium.

I have used svbtle.com for years, and generally like it.

I am all-in on Notion these days, though, and wish I could use it for my blog. I could but I want nicer URLs and to have it be on my domain.

I would use my own domain, so that I have the control of my site. Why hand over the control to Medium or WordPress.com?

Same thing with the SEO. Why give the SEO juice to Medium instead of your own personal domain?

Building a static site with e.g. Hugo or Jekyll is an appealing choice. If you want you can use Cloudfront + S3 to host it.

OTOH, WordPress is very convenient to work with and quick to set up. If you don’t have a VPS there are shared web hosting sites that should be good enough in the beginning at least. Shared web hosting can also be used for static sites.

For personal blog: 11ty + travis ci + github pages.

Its easy way to write and publish content.

Just checkout git repo, write posts with your favourite editor and push changes to github – thats all.

Previously, I’ve being using WordPress and Ghost. Both were real nigtmare to manage.

I’ve not tried out Ghost yet – I thought it was suppose to solve WP’s bloat and UX issues.

What was nightmarish about Ghost and when did you last use it?

I think the key is finding a community, if feedback and potentially an audience is what you are trying to build.

Wattpad has been popular for those who can keep up with the social requirements (frequent updates, networking, etc.)

I wrote a blog post about that: https://letterstoanewdeveloper.com/2019/10/14/how-to-start-b…

But the short answer is: wherever is easiest. I find setting up a wordpress.com blog (free) easiest, but medium or dev.to are good as well.

Don’t let your desire to find the perfect platform inhibit your writing. The hard part about writing is the writing, not the platform. As a developer, I find it easy to get tangled up in tech choices, package upgrades and deployment pipelines, which lets me avoid or defer actually writing.

> Don’t let your desire to find the perfect platform inhibit your writing. The hard part about writing is the writing, not the platform.

This is why the vast majority of my writing is on paper, never to be published. The act of writing helps me order my thoughts, and that’s much easier to do if I can be confident they’re only for me.

100% agree that writing clarifies my thoughts.

I will say there’s sometimes additional clarification that occurs if I’m going to publish something (internally or to the world). I find that makes me aim for that extra bit of polish or certitude.

I know a couple people writing on posthaven.com, and when it comes time for me to start putting stuff online, that’s what I plan to use.

Their value proposition is 1. they will keep the servers online for all time 2. low bullshit post hosting

Write Everywhere.

Write on Medium and Your Blog

Write on Substack. <=== I do. Pros: I can get paid. Cons: Formatting is simple.

Write on Amazon Publishing

Do you write the same content (cross post)? Or do you write unique content for each platform? If so, how do you decide which platform for which piece of content?

I was mainly using Literature & Latte’s paid app Scrivener for years, but recently the free open source app Joplin has become my primary drafting environment. I still recommended both — I use Scrivener for capturing research, organizing projects, and producing publisher-ready files.

At work we use write.as for the blog, and I like it so far.

For my personal website, I use Jekyll on Vercel (ex. Zeit). I only did it because I wanted to code a bit and own the domain and the content.

Medium will be OK for this purpose.

1. It’s pretty quick to start

2. It’s free but you can upgrade to premium for advanced features

3. Also Medium’s community is a huge advantage

I’ve got a blog nobody reads that I host with Netlify. It’s just a simple Hugo-based static site.