I've been reading the blogs of a lot of people that have goals similar to mine.
They have all started to seem like an echo chamber, if an unconscious one.
Just a couple of days ago, I went through three different blogs that all extolled the virtues of writing and how it promotes clarity of mind.
Although this is true, I was a little disgusted by the similarity of the sentiment. This may not be very charitable, so I apologize – it's a strong sentiment. But I have a strong desire for originality and for avoiding saying things that have been said before.
I'm not sure if this is a useful desire. I'm going to be examining if it is or it isn't throughout the rest of this essay.
My strongest suspicion is that it might be an ego thing. The purpose of these blogs is usually the same: to improve thinking. Given that my goal with this blog is also to improve my thinking, it feels hypocritical and irrational to criticize others for doing the same thing that I am. And more ironic than that, I started this blog also talking about writing can be useful!
These were blogs of people who are actively pursuing their goals. It seems like writing is a fad in the indie hacker community right now; I've been reading a lot of posts about it on Twitter, Hacker News, and elsewhere. If it's a useful tool, why shouldn't it be popular?
Yet I feel an urge to express thoughts more distinct than these interchangeable ones.
This desire might emerge from conflicting goals in my head. On one hand, I do want to clarify my thinking, and for that it's not problematic to draw the same conclusions that others have; it might even be an indicator that I'm on the right path.
My other goal, though I haven't mentioned it before, is to build an audience by writing. For that goal, it is indeed less useful to share content that others have already written about.
Perhaps it's the cognitive dissonance about what I should be doing caused by trying to pursue these two goals that is causing me to experience feelings of disgust towards these other blogs.
Or perhaps I simply am bothered by echo chambers and places where there is a lack of original thinking.
I want to produce new, original thinking – not rehash what has been said before by others. This ties into the reason I quit working on SaaS – most things have been built before, and there are few new interesting problems to solve that also meet the criteria for a successfully bootstrapped solopreneur product.
Saying "everything has been written before" and "everything has been built before" leaves out two critical considerations.
One, generative learning: "the process of constructing meaning through generating relationships and associations between stimuli and existing knowledge, beliefs, and experiences."
The other – improving on what has been done before. First mover advantage is actually a disadvantage, and there are many upsides to taking an existing piece of content and improving it.
It seems that the most likely cause of my distaste for seeing multiple people writing about similar concepts is born of ego, which would explain the irrationally emotional distaste that I chose to describe with the word "disgust" earlier in this article.
I'm not totally convinced that this is true, though – it's hard to gainsay my instincts when they fail to produce any arguments that can be reasoned through and debated.
Ultimately, I'm forced to conclude that I don't fully understand where my negative feelings are coming from. It'll just have to go in the pile with the many other things about my thinking that I don't fully understand right now.
Hopefully this blog will help me shrink the size of that pile. If so, it will have served its purpose, regardless of whether or not it belongs to an echo chamber.