An introduction: My name is Nick, short for Nicholas, which means “victory of the people”. I currently live in Knoxville, Tenn. and work full time as a web designer at a public university.

This new site will serve as an extension of my personal site. The content will be a bit less polished than the writing contained on my main site. I hope to publish more frequently here, exploring my interests and taking notes in short bursts. Expect to see more seeds of ideas and half-formed thoughts. It may also get a little extra personal here.

I also hope to use more IndieWeb features and technologies on this WordPress-powered site, which are a bit technically harder to get up and running on static sites (the main nicksimson.com is powered by Eleventy).

Inspiration

I came across the term digital garden in December 2020 as I was starting to redesign my personal site. In late summer 2021 I came across the concept of commonplace books, through the personal websites of Piper Haywood and Chris Aldrich. I don’t know what shape this site will ultimately take, so I’m going to just call it a log for now.

I also discovered the Homebrew Website Club in the summer of 2021 and found a small, but passionate group of writers, designers and technologists meeting each week to talk about…websites (a favorite topic of mine).

Homebrew Website Club is a meetup for anyone interested in personal websites and a distributed web. Whether you’re a blogger, coder, designer, or just someone who wants to improve their presence on the web, this meetup is for you.

Join a community with like-minded interests. Bring friends that want a personal site, or are interested in a healthy, independent web!

events.indieweb.org website

I wrote a little about these discoveries and what excites me about these personal sites that are a bit more nonlinear than the standard blog.

Going forward

I’m not sure how long I want to maintain two different blogs. Maybe I’ll eventually fold my writing archive from 2014 to now into this site? It’s only 25 posts so far, so a relatively simple migration. Or maybe this log informs the writing on the main site. The hyperlink is a powerful feature.

I am less and less active on social media platforms Twitter and Instagram. The silos I tend to favor are Are.na, Reading.am, and Goodreads. Maybe this log can act as a bridge between those silos (visuals, ideas, web content, book-tracking) and what gets output on nicksimson.com or into the work I do for my clients.

I definitely want to customize the look of this site a little more. Right now I’m using Matthias Pfefferle’s Autonomie theme, as it is built to support several kinds of post formats and work with IndieWeb plugins. It’s a beautiful theme, I just want to make it a little more of my own. I’m hoping that tending a WordPress site of my own improves the work I do for my clients using this platform.

Here I’ll just put a little note to self to come back in six months, and then a year to evaluate how things are going.

The last thing to keep in mind is that I am keeping this log primarily for my own benefit, but posting it publicly in the chance that it helps others. I like this quote by Piper Haywood that surfaced from the commonplace books wiki entry and the September 1st Homebrew meetup:

The best personal blogs I’ve come across feel like a glimpse in to someone’s personal notebook, something filled mostly with notes written with the author in mind first and foremost vs notes that have been written with a wider audience in mind. A good personal blog can (and maybe should) contain a mixture of both, since they both can be absolutely great and useful. But when it is only ever writing for an audience… well that doesn’t feel like a personal blog, to me.

Piper Haywood, April 22, 2021 entry