Puzzlement

I’ve been meaning to write about this post from Merlin at 43 Folders for a couple weeks now. In part, because I think it’s a great outline for how to find a voice and throughline for your own blog, but also because it helped crystallize a few things about what I’m trying to do here.

Despite what the timestamps on this blog say, I started OMIC in 2005. And then promptly abandoned it until 2007. At that time, I felt I needed an outlet for topics I wanted to address that weren’t appropriate for the TOC blog, though the line between the two is often blurred. (This week is a good example of that blurriness as my obsession with ChuffPo has led to posts here and at the TOC blog, including this week’s screed on one of the worst posts I’ve ever read anywhere).

I’ve had some fits and starts with projects here. The Living in Oblivion series (which started as a form of writing discipline and quickly became more a burden than I intended) and the 25 in 12 posts (which I abandoned because I couldn’t quite figure out what I wanted to say in them) to name two. Both failed because I didn’t allow them to be fluid, they were too tied into expectations (my own) and a sense of what they were Supposed To Be.

And that’s something that’s been holding me back here: a notion of what this blog is Supposed To Be, rather than just Letting It Be. It’s why this was a dead blog for two years. It was as if I was staring at 1000 puzzle pieces and trying to figure out what picture they formed, instead of just picking up a couple of those pieces and seeing how they fit together.

All this is a long-winded way of saying I think I’ve finally been able to figure out how to properly curate this thing. These are ideas that have been bubbling around in my head for a little while and Merlin’s post – not all of it, but some – helped crystallize that for me.

You may have noticed that I’ve been writing a lot about social media and the Web. It’s a passion for me right now, and there’s lots to talk about as there are lots of people doing it right and lots of people doing it wrong (ahem, AMC). That will continue here. But I’ve also got more to say about my non-work-related interests like books and music.

Rather than restricting myself or creating a structure, I’m just going to start with a few pieces at a time, and see how they fit together. So forgive me if this post seems to be telling only half the story about what’s next. But think of it like “Something’s Coming” from West Side Story in that it’s pretty much what you’ve come to expect prior, but still signals some interesting developments in the next act.

3 comments for “Puzzlement

  1. August 30, 2008 at 10:20 pm

    The idea that a blog has to be “about something” is what basically killed the whole enterprise for me. When I look back at my blog, I had the best time (and the most positive feedback) when I really didn’t know what I was doing. I was just posting whatever came to mind. Then I started to take it seriously, thinking I had to cultivate a certain voice or point of view (not the one showing through in my personal editorial voice, strangely), and it took all the joy out of it.I’m not saying you shouldn’t think about what you post, or try to focus your energies a little, but you can miss the trees for the forest, to abuse a cliche, by thinking too much about what you’re really doing. A large part of it is seeing successful blogs take off and turn into careers for people. They’re invariably about one topic or one story line like dooce, or DailyKos, or 43 Folders, for that matter, and it makes you think you need to “brand” yourself to make it big time (and don’t kid yourself, that’s what you want). And that just deflates the whole thing, because if you had any kind of following to that point, they were there because they liked *you*, and the things that came out of you naturally.

  2. August 31, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    It’s taken me a while to understand what Matt’s stated so eloquently above. And to sort of give myself permission to allow the blog to be a reflections on my varied interests, rather than studied ways of writing about them.

  3. September 5, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    Thankfully, most blogging tools allow groupings by category or tags to more efficiently sort through topics that you’ve written about.Then, as an author, you can set up pages within your site to do just that: focus on one topic or another. You can have a sub-site (which may look and feel completely different) based on, say, social media and the web.Man, I wish you lived closer. “Social media and the web” deserves more than a single blog comment, and more than just 30 minutes of conversation over beer.

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