A Return to Spirited Blather

A Return to Spirited Blather

SUMMARY: Dave decides that he needs to return to a more conversational model of blogging, rather than focus on a niche that fits the needs of his apparent global microbrand within the productivity genre. Which is to say that Dave would prefer his microbrand to be a certain kind of conversational approach to living.

It’s been pretty quiet here on the blog, and I have identified the blockage. It’s not so much “writer’s block” as it is “filer’s block”; the website in its current form is such a mess that I don’t really feel like creating more content until I clean things out and create a “proper place” for it. For example, I’m keenly aware that all the productivity stuff really should be cleaned up and given its own subsite, but before I can do that I need to do a lot of thinking about how to organize it. And once I have that figured out, I get to design a whole new subsite. It’s a lot easier to twitter little chunks every day; thoughts that might have become entire blog posts have now been compressed into 140-character musings on a variety of experiences ranging from the irksome to the inspiring.

I’ve also noticed my recent tendency to write only articles that are related to productivity. I think this is because over the years, I’ve fallen into this niche, and I have been subconsciously writing toward the expectation of that audience. It makes sense too, from a “personal brand” perspective, because specialized content tends to attract larger audiences that are “solution focused”. It really doesn’t take much: write about the same general topic every day, provide useful links, be concise, and be an original thought leader. I’ve resisted this for years, because I don’t happen to be very concise or consistent in my interests. And yet, there’s been this pressure to conform to it because, like it or not, I’m an independent freelancer that wants to make it work. And when you’re floating around by yourself, there is a strong instinct to grab hold to the largest and most stable bit of flotsam within arm’s reach and hang on. It’s time to let that go and expand my interests once again. While I like making useful observations, I think I miss the conversation with the Internet. When I got started, there was something kind of cathartic about writing something and letting it float across the ether on currents born of ping-o-matic and other notification methods. It was like releasing a message in a bottle. Now, I get caught up in trying to write posts that are useful and don’t waste people’s time. On the surface, that’s a laudable goal, but in practice it takes the fun out of blogging. And without fun, there’s a certain blahness that follows.

My original plan was to create a second personal blog on the site, and start moving all the posts into new content areas. However, I’ve been sitting on this for months and have come to the conclusion today that it’s more important to just start the conversation flowing again. And so, this post marks the first of that; I’ll sort out everything else out as the external need arises.

I’m coining a personal principle: if given the freedom to choose between organizing and making stuff, don’t let the allure of organization get in the way of making. I really should organize a lot of things here, but I am going to have to call down external pressures from heavens to make things happen. Being a person who is activated by the immediate needs and circumstances of other people, it’s important then that I create the means for which those other people can make their needs known. And maybe that will be easier if I resume the conversational blogging model I had years ago. We shall see.


  1. Rich 14 years ago

    Hi David,

    I am glad you have resolved to post more – I enjoy reading them!

    It is interesting that you find it easier to Twitter chunks of thoughts rather than pull them all together in to an article. I tend to view my blogging as a way of exploring those thoughts to see where they take me – something 140 characters doesn’t allow me to do!


  2. Fabian 14 years ago

    I think it´s a good decision to just begin the walk without having everything perfectly organized – especially for us “perfectionist procrastinators”. Otherwise, one would probably never get going. Looking forward to your new posts and the new conversations!

  3. Fred Schechter 14 years ago

    Dave, I think you hit the nail on the head with
    “Don’t let the allure of organization get in the way of making”
    I know this is a problem of mine (that I’m not even close to good at), while you’ve spoken of this as an issue for quite some time as well (just not having defined it). Well done!

    You get a point for excellent blather!

  4. Lynn O'Connor 14 years ago

    Agreed with all of the above. You are not “just personal productivity,” You are a part of the personal development movement, and this is a good thing. On the internet/web we are seeing something close to a grass roots democracy emerging. We have been given the opportunity to develop in whatever manner we choose (with some exceptions), or should I say when we saw what was possible, we joined it, it was not exactly “given” by some external factor, other than the development of technology. We have a newfound freedom to actually grow. I just read Gilbert’s book on happiness (and listened to his TED talk). The point about how having “choices” leads to dissatisfaction. Therefore, with so many ways to grow, now open to us, we are faced with what he was talking about. This may be the downside to the personal development movement.

    Your readers, myself included, love your writing. I feel no need to categorize it. I have told you in the past that I think you are “political” and a type of leader. Keep going, who knows where it and you might end up.

  5. Dave Seah 14 years ago

    Hey all,

    Thanks for the support! It’s kind of a difficult path to walk, purposefully NOT optimizing. In a way it seems like it is a kind of a cop-out to not be disciplined about doing all those things, but I am hoping that **moving** takes care of all that stuff.

  6. CricketB 14 years ago

    When organizing, I ask how often I need to find something, how often I need to put it away, and how long it takes to put it away. For blogs, I like tags the way WordPress does them. Filing consists of adding a few tags. Retrieval is clicking the tag in a list. Forcing the blog into a structure would damage the free-flowing feel.

  7. Michael Rubio 14 years ago

    Interesting post. It speaks to a lot of what I’ve been doing in my blogging hobby.

    Here’s something I can’t really advise, but practice anyway:

    I give 80% effort in developing the blog post at hand. Beyond this, the returns diminish.

    Mind you, I don’t do ‘filler’ posts and maintain a 48 hour publishing schedule (a queue of 6-10 posts are maintained in the schedule).

    My thinking is that working too hard on the post at hand costs me the the next drafts. This only works really if and when I have creative momentum (I’m lucky enough to enjoy it most of this year).

    I organize later.