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Gershom Charig

I'm redesigning this website from the ground up. I'm doing it in the open, so some stuff might look a bit off. — Gershom

How to (not) build a blog in 2024

Edited on March 28, 2024: This post was originally published as a plain HTML file with no stylesheet, which means that most of the references included in it no longer make sense. You can see a screenshot of the original post here.

TL;DR

After years of contemplating adding a blog to my website, I finally stopped making excuses and published my first post as a plain HTML file with no stylesheet.

According to the Wayback Machine, I've been the proud owner of this domain since 2012. It's been my trusty design portfolio, but in a certain way, more akin to a chronicle of my haircuts: neglected most of the time, it would receive a visual refresh every time I started looking around for a new job and needed to impress potential employers. In its various iterations, it would usually feature a short bio, some snapshots of my best work (now shamelessly replaced by a few links to Figma prototypes), and a "Contact" button. It has served me well so far, but I've always cultivated the idea of this being something more than just a portfolio. I wanted this to be a place where I could express myself. Unfortunately, I'm so lazy that I've been tinkering with this idea for years... Until now.

My website finally has a blog. Well, kind of.

How I got here #

I tend to jump in and out of what I call "creative phases": days or weeks where my brain frantically produces ideas, where a sudden optimism leads me to believe that I will be super productive, and that this time the phase will never end. But it always ends, and usually, it leaves me feeling like a failure.

The beginning of 2024 has been quite tough on me, and somehow finding myself again in one of these creative phases helped me stay positive. I guess the mix of these two conditions allowed me to gather enough courage and motivation to finally do something with this website. Like adding a blog and actually writing something in it. As expected, I found myself stuck, as many other times before, sabotaging my own plans with pointless doubts. Should I write a few posts first or build the blog? What's the fastest SSG around? The website obviously needs a redesign. And a new logo. And what about dark mode?

Fuck dark mode. This time I told myself that there were no excuses for not putting a few words out in the wild. True to my pragmatic personality, I resolved to add a blog to my website in the most simple, efficient, and frictionless way I know:

  1. I wrote my first post in plain HTML (you are reading it at this very moment);
  2. I added a link to it on the homepage;
  3. Commit, push.

That's it. No SSG, no JavaScript, no CSS. I can't even tell if someone's reading it (if you are, blink twice). I haven't checked yet, but I'm pretty sure this page performs well on every browser, even with a terrible internet connection. But none of these things matter, only the content does.

Obviously, I'm not suggesting that everyone should build a blog this way. You probably shouldn't. See, my priority was to break the impasse and get the ball rolling. Sometimes you need radical solutions to beat inertia. "Do things that don't scale", as Paul Graham said. This is what I really needed, and I'm glad I did it this way.

This blog will get nicer, eventually. Now that I have some content to care about, I have an excuse to tinker with frameworks, layouts, typefaces, and logos. I could even add a dark mode.

Why you should read this blog #

My goal is to write content that is inspiring and thought-provoking. I won't be writing exclusively about one topic. I'm an eclectic person, and my website should reflect that. This blog is meant to be, in a sort of way, an extension of my mind and personality. I will share ideas, opinions, thoughts, as well as reviews on software, gadgets, and books that I like. I might even post some photos.

Most importantly, everything I'll post will always be something that I'm genuinely excited to share. And I promise every word you'll read here will come straight from my own hands, which in this world of AI-generated and SEO-optimised content, almost feels like a subversive act of rebellion. That's right, writing your own blog posts is the new punk rock.

Why I am doing this #

I have a few good reasons for starting a personal blog. I yearn to share and connect, but social networks are not exactly my cup of tea. They feel to me like a noisy market where everyone's shouting for attention, the mayor's holding the volume knob, and ads are always the loudest. I want to be in control, own the content I produce, and I think a personal blog in my own cozy corner of the internet might be just the right vehicle for that. It's also quite a brilliant excuse for ruminating on topics that I'm curious about but that I couldn't otherwise justify spending time on.

And let's not forget that this might be the last chance to build something uniquely original before natural language interfaces become the default way to browse the internet and people like me start designing websites for AIs instead of humans.


Should you feel an impulse to send words of encouragement to help me in this new adventure, share your thoughts, or just say "hi", you can reach me at hello@gershomcharig.com