AKA: I don’t have a green thumb, even online

3 minute read

About 6 months ago I wrote a blog post about digital gardening. The basic idea was that I don’t need to architect every single aspect of this site. Instead, my plan was to let it slowly grow into something much bigger. This is a follow-up to see how that went.


  • The good: “Digital gardening” is a decent way to get started
  • The bad: It’s still easy to neglect your “garden”
  • The bottom line: Be honest with yourself about how much time you have

🌹 Start with gardening

I have started plenty of projects, blogs, etc, only to have them go nowhere. I didn’t want that to happen with this site, so I committed to doing it little by little. In that regard, the digital gardening experiment was a huge success. Rather than having a 90%-done site that nobody could see, the site got out immediately and grew into what it is now.

My plan was to use this “digital gardening” approach for my personal projects, too. Rather than try to finish every single thing, I wanted to slowly work on it. It turns out that it takes more discipline than I was prepared for, as I will get into next.

🥀 Gardens require maintenance

What happens when you create a garden and then walk away from it for months? Things wilt, wither, and die. Unfortunately, that’s what happened with me.

At several points I looked at my site and realized I hadn’t written a post in a while. Suddenly, instead of “I’ll work on this a little here and there” it became “I need to write 3 blog posts right now!” That defeated the whole point of a relaxed gardening-like experience.

⌚ How much time do you have?

Originally, I told myself I’d write a post every week. Then I decided every two weeks was better. Two weeks turned into a month. I severely underestimated how long it’d take me to write each post.

If you’re going to start a thing and promise yourself that you’ll work on it, be honest with yourself. How much time do you really have to do this? I’ve got a full time job and a house full of kids. I’m busy all the time, so carving out 30 minutes to write something is harder than it sounds. Everybody’s situation varies, so I can’t tell you how much work your digital garden will take. All I can suggest is that you start small.

Gardens also don’t have to be perfect. This is something I’m still struggling with. I’m the type of person to write an email and then read and re-write it 100 times before I send it. Simple messages that should take me 30 seconds to write end up taking 30 minutes because I’m overthinking it. If you’re that type of person, you’ve got to relax and fire off posts without thinking so much. You can always go back and make corrections later, after all. As Voltaire said, “perfect is the enemy of good.” Don’t let your perfectionism get in the way of progress.


Digital gardening is a good idea, but it isn’t a silver bullet. Whether you finish a project before putting it out there or let it grow slowly in public, you still have to put in the work. Putting something out there half-finished may give you the motivation to keep going, or it might stress you out when you see that your half-done project looks, well, half-done.

The most important thing is to be honest with yourself. Don’t commit to doing something every day if you only really have time to do it once a week, or once per month. Any timeline is fine, but if you try to make yourself too much you’ll stress yourself out, whether gardening or not.


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