Tuesday, May 13, 2003

yet another variation on ready, shoot, aim

What goes in a blog? What doesn't? Pete Kruckenberg and I talked about this a bit yesterday. (Incidentally, Pete's migrated his blog from Radio Userland to MovableType and is a much happier blogger as a result.)

Blogging is like writing a letter to the editor, calling a talk show, or sending an article off to a publisher. You're making a public statement. You're on the record. There's a permanency with an upside and a downside.

The upside is that you're accountable. You may help solve a problem. You may encourage someone. You may put out a fire and help the firefighters see their possibilities as paramedics.

The downside is that you're accountable. You may start a fire and find you've distracted the firefighters. You may inadvertantly or intentionally rain on someone's parade. You may have to check your facts, issue a correction, or apologize.

Either way, sooner or later, blogging is likely to be an educational experience in ways you didn't anticipate.

So here's a low tech way to improve your content and protect your assets. Draft your blog in a word processor. Write freely. Don't try to edit while you write. After you've got something sitting there, then paste your best stuff it into your blog. Or rewrite it. Or go a different direction. In other words separate writing from editing and publishing. Write whatever you need to write and then decide later if that's something you want to publish. Maybe that will be a few minutes or hours later. Maybe it will be weeks, months or years later.

For example here's something I journaled October 9, 2002 -- several months before I started blogging. "Yesterday was an adventure. I helped (my step dad) Dee install a new light fixture in his bathroom. It is the first time I can remember driving alone with Dee in a long time, probably not since I got my driver's license. It was a pleasant episode."

So thanks for two memories, Dee. The recent one of removing the old fixture, going to the store, buying the new stuff, fishing wires, installing the switch, hanging the fixture, and finding satisfaction with the finished result. And the not-so-recent one when you trusted a 15-year-old with your car, and didn't panic when I failed to stop when making a right turn on a red light.

"If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy." -Red Green

On the calendar this month: May 24 - Bob Dylan's birthday


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