Friday, August 22, 2014
Administrative Notes on the Blog Fall 2014
These are notes to myself and anyone else interested in the blogging process.
We are now a month or so into the third year of writing this blog and many things have been learned but nothing too unexpected. Many intermediate goals are proceeding along very well. Its probably my single most successful project of the last 5 years or so, take that for what you will.
The two things holding it back are my normal tendency to fail to be very organized in achieving long term goals and the amount of time to do a post when one is trying to be productive in other areas. These are not new issues, but I want to go over them briefly anyway.
The advantage of the blog process is that it can tolerate a “skip around and talk about whatever pops into your head” work process. It can tolerate a “five different posts in progress but this one is the closest to finishing so lets do it and put it up”. But there are other things in life that do not respond to this devil-may-care, gotta-be-free, seat-of-the-pants life style. These things may require a “do these five things by this date and three of those things are really obnoxious and not fun at all”, or may require addressing unpleasant topics or modest amount of confrontation. But in these tasks, failure to make the deadline (which may not even be explicitly known) or failure to do one of the five tasks no matter how well you did the other four results in a total wash. It is as if you did no work at all.
So the blogging process must accommodate these other, less forgiving projects.
The second issue is that a decent post is a solid 4 or so hours of serious work. Again not a surprise. Not all posts take this long, this post is taking a little over an hour. But in general my best essays, the ones that contribute the most value and are the most entertaining require many hours of thinking, writing, rewriting, some research, selection of visual materials, and so forth. This is the kind of work that a good client proposal might require or making some progress on a technical project that one has ongoing.
Anyway, it won't surprise you that it can be very hard to find those 4 plus hours when trying to make progress in other things, traveling to conferences, dealing with society, etc. Some days have at best one 4 hour period of dedicated work in it. Some days don't even have that.
So when you do not see a post, or a post of substance for a while, it probably has as its subtext that whatever is going on in my life is getting in the way of applying that serious time to finish or write a post.
A minor issue for the blog is that as it gets more material, it needs to be reorganized, with better choices of tags, various subject pages and so forth. That project will be a little nasty, like cleaning the kitchen floor, and also like cleaning the floor, becomes more annoying the longer one postpones it.