An article in a recent edition of the alumni magazine from my university contains a story about a family finding letters from a deceased relative who was a college student in the early 1900s. The family agreed to share the letters with the living history program at the university. As you can imagine, these personal notes contained historical information not only about the young student and his feelings but about the campus and the events in the world around him as well.
What if I had started writing earlier in life? I would find stories about network equipment, break-fix of computers, and wiring closets. I expect I would have recorded commentary about operating systems in servers and computers and how to connect them together. I would have written about the challenges of remotely connecting computers from home via modems or ISDN lines. Most likely I would have analyzed software design and specifications from the viewpoint of a waterfall approach.
More than the technical know-how, I would be curious to see my attitudes and feelings about the subject matter. This is what helps historians get to the next level of understanding of the documents they examine. For me personally, it would provide a glimpse into the technology and business concepts during that day and time. Would I still agree with my own attitude and reflection 20 years removed?
I know now that writing has a role in our lives that can leave a lasting impact. It’s a great habit and hobby to start even if you just for write for yourself. It helps me with the day-at-hand as a way to organize my thoughts and reflect. Written documents provide an artifact to examine later for research. I often look back through my writings for specific keywords to help with formulating my thoughts. I wish I had started writing earlier in life. My first blog post was November 8, 2008 and this will mark my 452nd post. It’s been a good journey and I can say better to start late than never.
If you aren’t writing your thoughts somewhere, it’s a good habit to consider. Do it for yourself even if you don’t publish content publicly. You’ll be glad you did.
Onward and upward!
Photo Credit: Dinuraj K via Flickr Creative Commons.