Sunday, January 04, 2009

Inspired Blogging

I received some helpful thoughts and suggestions from commenters on my previous post, regarding ways to capture "blog-worthy" inspirational moments when they strike me. I decided that the subject was worth a new entry, with some additional ponderings.

My friend Jim suggests that an item we all have and take for granted, the cell phone, can be used in several different ways to retain and record the ideas that might strike anytime and anywhere.

In my case, I work from a home office and only have my cell phone with me when I leave the house. So the ideas that strike me, say, in the shower (which is one place they actually do occur fairly often) would probably not apply in this case. But certainly, when I see or think of things while out and away from the house, this sounds like a very good alternative, and one which I'm pretty sure I'll make use of now.

My friend Amy admits that she still makes use of ancient technology and jots her thoughts down on paper. I'm definitely not above the use of ancient technology. In fact, my workspace is littered with hundreds of Post-It notes. This still seems to be my method of choice for many other things, like work reminders or shopping lists. So perhaps if I were to station a few more Post-It pads with pens strategically throughout the house, this could actually be helpful, too.

Amy made another great point about retaining what made the "inspiration" seem so interesting in the first place, and now that I think about it, this might be the real issue for me. During my "inspired" moments, my mind is racing, and I typically have several excellent bullet points to support my new notion, along with lots of great real-life examples. But a couple of paragraphs into actually typing it out, it suddenly doesn't seem so great after all.

I remember reading one writer who said that you should quickly type everything out while you're still inspired, without stopping to self-edit. Then you finish editing the grammar and organizing the structure better after you have reached the end. In my case, self-editing early and often in the process certainly does seem to discourage me, and traps me in the minutiae of trying to say everything perfectly, even before I've finished getting all my thoughts typed out.

Of course, there's one final element to this blogging process that I haven't even mentioned at all. Many blog entries are not the result of any sort of inspiration at all. Some are funny or interesting videos, others are responses or comments to other blog posts, and still others are simple recordings of thoughts or events, like a daily journal might be. No doubt a number of bloggers who succeed at writing frequently incorporate generous use of these elements into their content as well.


  1. 1) You don't even need paper - sometimes I write things on my palm to remember them.

    2) Les and I both were indoctrinated in honors English with the "Write now, edit later" method. It works. Just fucking write. Write, write, write. Plenty of time to edit after the fact, especially now days where you can Ctrl-X|Ctrl-V stuff around after it's all spewed out and you realize "That sentence really belongs in the following paragraph." Love technology for helping you create - embrace it.

    3) Blogger (which you and I both use) has a "Blog this" bookmarklet - put it in your links bar on your browser and use it.

  2. Thanks, Jim.

    I know I drone on and on about this stuff, but the truth is that I'm taking all the suggestions to heart, and hope to be able to make use of them as I try to be a better blogger.

  3. You don't drone - if you did, I wouldn't read you. :o)