It’s been a while since I wrote about A Place For My Head rather than about Eleventy. The last time was in June. As I’ve noted before, I believe the site has attained a level of happy stability where improvements are mostly incremental. I’ll details those below. Before that, however, I hope you’ll indulge me in a moment of reflection.

Thoughts & thoughts

The first lines of code may have materialized 16 months ago, but in my estimation, A Place For My Head only properly came to be a year after that: on the 22nd of April, 2021, the day I finished giving it a face and first shared my introductory entry with friends and family. I’ve been simultaneously writing for it and working on it for four months now. I declared at the outset that I was mainly writing for myself; this is still true. I can’t imagine anyone will ever enjoy this as much as I do. Writing organizes my thoughts. Transferring them to the page unburdens my mind.

This applies more than anything else to the Thoughts & Spoilers entries. After reading or watching something, I add my notes—more and more detailed now—to a special document which has become a chronological record of my media consumption.[1] I try to convert one set of these notes into a published entry per day, usually with much rewriting. This first clarifies my thoughts and then allows me to forget them. Later, when I want to recall them, instead of interrogating unreliable memories, I can simply look up the entry.

My biggest regret is having waited until now to start. I’ve been revisiting all my old favourites because of the pandemic, but that’s self-evidently a tiny portion of everything I’ve ever read or watched. Whatever I didn’t enjoy (or more precisely didn’t enjoy enough) I’ll probably never return to, and so will never have any record of.

On an unrelated note, there is unfortunately a long delay between when I make the notes and when I publish the corresponding entry. For example, I’ll be translating the next one from notes made five months ago. While I could spend more time on these to minimize the delay, I would rather my feed didn’t consist exclusively of rapid-fire media consumption, so I accept this limitation.

Wherein I display great humility

Now, I don’t profess to be a writer. I’ve always approached prose with care and I have a handful of small creative works to my name, but this is quite new. I’ve learnt a lot, including just how often I reach for certain phrases and constructions.

That said, I think I write well enough for my audience: myself. Really, this ought to be an embarrassing admission, but I have no qualms about saying that the experience of writing is only surpassed by the experience of reading my own work. The endless drafts, the hours spent tweaking the typography, the continual focus on fixing this edge case here and that margin there—all of it is worthwhile. I like reading what I’ve written. I enjoy watching the site evolve.

Could it be better? Yes; everything can. Should I have waited even longer before making a start, then? Absolutely not. As Sia Karamalegos recently exhorted her readers: [2]

Just build and deploy a minimally-viable-blog (MVB). Like right now. Today. If you don't, you'll never be motivated enough to improve it.

The first step in making something good is making something. If it exists only in your head, it can’t be good or bad—it can’t be. But that’s not all. The second step in making something good is making something for yourself. If you don’t care about what you create, why should anyone else?

I’ve tried to put this into practice by making something that makes me happy, and in doing so, I hope I’m making something that interests you too. Thank you for visiting. Thank you for sticking with me so far. This is only the beginning.

Miscellany

Let us conclude by reviewing the important changes from the past two months:

Meanwhile, one important thing remains unchanged: I decided not to adopt more muted headings à la Practical Typography. I like the giant Garamond glyphs too much to part with them for the moment.


  1. Muddled somewhat by TV shows: I prefer to write about a season at a time, even if I make notes about each episode as it airs, so each season makes an entry in the list when I finish the first episode, but I might only finish the last episode long after many of the succeeding entries. This hasn’t yet been a problem in practice. Still, I think from now on I should move these entries to the correct point as soon as I finish the season.
  2. Incidentally, I highly recommend her hilariously accurate ‘How to build a website in 2021’ .
  3. The first lasted about a month. You can still see it in old social media images.