One thing I’ve noticed when I sit down to write is that sometimes the ideas flow and I can write for hours, while at other times things can feel forced and I can spend hours without really getting anywhere.
I remember reading a passage on the website gwern.net
(a fairly niche blogger with a fairly prolific volume of output), in which he said something along the lines of (and I’m paraphrasing):
“Even though many of my blogs have the level of detail required for academia, I write much faster when I’m blogging than writing for an academic journal, so I decided not to pursue academia.”
This interested me, particularly so because it resonated with some of my personal experiences.
Given the importance of writing a lot, both to get good at writing and to create enough written content to be valuable, I think there’s a strong argument for writing on subjects where the ideas flow.
In comparison, one evening I was sitting in the library, and the idea of writing a short guide for medical students entered my head. Four hours of continuous writing later, and I had the skeleton for what later became The Modern Medical Student Manual.
My conclusion is that rather than trying to force ourselves to write on a particular subject, we should look to find subjects where the writing naturally flows; that we should be wary of writing on subjects we think we “should” write on, rather those where we have an inclination. I believe this is one of the central pursuits of any writer.
I’m still trying to identify a central theme for what I like to write on, if there even is one. In the meantime, I’m just enjoying the process.