The Advantages of Blogging for an Emacs User

I, and many others, have written thousands of words about the advantages of using Emacs for blogging. In my case, I could, if I wanted, publish Irreal and virtually never visit the site itself; I can do everything from Emacs. I’ve been blogging at the two incarnations of Irreal for 9 years and would have quit long ago if Emacs didn’t make it so easy and enjoyable.

But today, I want to turn that on its head and say a few words about how blogging has helped me become a more effective Emacs user. It’s not just typing over 600,000 words into Emacs—although that helps, of course. It’s more about what I’ve learned regarding Emacs from blogging.

The first, and most valuable, benefit is what I learn from my readers. Sometimes it’s a matter of asking a question and getting informed answers. More often, though, I write about some aspect of Emacs use and readers help me flesh out my understanding by providing new details and interpretations that I hadn’t considered.

The second advantage is that because I spend a lot of time working on the blog, I’m always looking for and implementing micro-optimization’s to make it easier. Once I’ve written some Elisp to make blogging easier, it’s available for use in other tasks too.

An example of this is the jcs-insert-url function that I wrote about last week. I originally wrote the function to make some blogging task a bit easier but now I use it all the time for adding Web links to emails and other documents. This is typical. Almost everything I do to make blogging easier ends up helping ease other tasks as well.

So the takeaway is that if you want to get better at Emacs, using it for blogging is an excellent way. It’s certainly worked for me.

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