I’ve been wanting to sit down and blog for a while now, and I’ve had that age old problem of not knowing where to start. As I sat here trying to think about why I’m having trouble blogging, the thought came to me that until I started to use the offline blogging tool MarsEdit I didn’t have much of an issue.
So, I hear the question being asked, “Why don’t you stop using it?”.
The simple answer to that is I don’t want to. I like using the app, it’s a pleasure to use. When I’m sat on my laptop, hitting Cmd‑1 to post a link and a few thoughts about the page I have just read makes the simple posts a pleasure to use. Then there’s the advantage that I haven’t always got access to an internet connection (although I do have it at home now!), so being able to work on a blog post without it is nice. I think the problem stems from a deeper root.
When I bought MarsEdit, I think somewhere a change in my mindset occurred. I began to hoard a few titles in my local drafts, some slightly fleshed out while others were just titles with a sentence to remind me what the post was meant to be about. Now when I worked purely in the WordPress interface, I had the odd title but most of the time they didn’t amount to much. But with MarsEdit drafts I felt this pressure to write a backlog of posts so that I can just chuck one out when the timing seems right. But it wasn’t just the pressure to write a backlog of posts, it was a pressure to write a backlog of articles. Big long posts about something. Now for many people this is what their blog is for, writing big long posts about stuff. But I don’t work like that. Every time I try to do it, I fall flat on my face.
I guess what this post is doing is re-aligning my focus. I’m not a blogger who can sit and write great long articles, I don’t work like that. I’m not the greatest writer and I’m the first to admit that. I’ll leave the big long posts to the people who are good at it like Shawn and Mr. Gruber, what I will do is bring my blogging back to me. If I’m in the mood to blog and have an idea then that’s it, I’m gonna write about it. I’m not gonna jot down a title start a post and then leave it for revisions to be made, for me that’s not what blogging is about, that’s journalism. I’ll just write when I want to and keep the links rolling.
With that I only have one more thing to say.
Apologies if you are on the blog this afternoon/evening, I’m making a few tweaks and having a bit of a refresh so if you experience a few bits of funkyness they should only be momentary.
Yep you did read that right. For the last few months I have been debating turning off the comments by default, in a similar manner to John Gruber, Jason Kottke and many others. The debate has ranged from many different angles, but in the end always returns to the same conclusion, and I just wanted to tell you a little about that.
When I started blogging I always envisaged having a blog that’s popular and has a lot of people read and comment on the posts. Over the two years I’ve been blogging, that desire has waned a little, well a lot. Yes, I would still like to have a “popular” blog, but that’s not why I blog. I blog for me, it’s my hobby, but I also blog to try and tell people about Jesus and how my faith in HIm affects and changes my life. It’s a personal blog that covers a few different interests in a bit more detail (but often not as much as I would like) and keeps a collection of links which I find interesting and that I would like to share with other people. I like to think that I do this reasonably well, not amazingly but I do enjoy it, and that’s what counts. Right?
Generally it hasn’t bothered me that I don’t get streams of comments, in fact I only just have more comments on this blog than I do posts. But, occasionally I write something which I think will bring comments and interaction and it doesn’t. It’s this disappointment I am trying to avoid. I enjoy blogging, I want to keep it that way. I don’t want to continually feel disappointed that no one is commenting on a post that I thought they would, nor do I want people to comment because they feel obliged. If people want to get in touch, and please do it’s great receive a response to something I wrote, I want it to be genuine. This little fact is what’s tipped the balance finally, and it was helped by a recent email from Wess Daniels.
I received an email through my contact page from Wess, because the comments weren’t working on a blog post. It made the thought behind it, much more personal and special and meant more to me and made more impact on me than I think a comment would’ve done. So with that I am closing the comments on Electric Weekend (but the contact page is still there!).
I had a bit of a realisation today regarding my blog. Recently as you might have guessed with my little flirtation with Tumblr, I’ve been having a few issues with my blog and it’s direction. I’ve been considering a lot of what I want from it, what I “should” be doing with it. I guess I’ve kind of been obsessing with finding a place in the big wide world of blogging. So many times I’ve read about having a niche, a specialism if you will, that in order to be a “success” you need to be a bit of an elitist. I’ve always struggled with that concept, I’ve never been able to carve out a niche, or develop my blog into something that can be considered a “success”. Today I think I finally realised why that is. It’s not me.
This morning in my RSS reader I came across this post from Khoi Vinh of Subtraction.com fame. He has this reputation for design, for his blog design, for speaking about design for knowing about design. I added Subtraction to my RSS because of that, but what’s kept it there is his writing. It’s not always about design, heck today’s post was about baseball. I know nothing about baseball. But I still enjoyed it. Which is when it hit me. I need to stop trying to be “someone” and be me.
People like me for who I am in reality, so why with my blog am I trying to be someone and not just being me. It’s not what you write about, it’s how you write it. So, instead of trying to give my blog a niche, trying to make it “something” I’m just going to let it reflect me. It’s going to be a natural reflection of the person who owns it. As long as I am able to write well, and in an interesting way that I enjoy, then that’s all that matters. I hope that you guys who read, will like my blog and me for just being natural. I hope my writing will grow because of it, but this is my hobby, and if I’m enjoying then that will reflect in what I write. That is, after all, the most important reason to be doing it.
GRRRRRRRRR! Why is it that IE 6 won’t display webpages how the other browsers display them. If you know CSS and are able to hack it so that webpages display correctly can you help. The site I am building is found here and I am having issues with the search bar and text updates no appearing. Any help would be greatly appreciated, please drop a comment or email via the contact form.
Introduction that is. I’m just going to explain how this blog works, what to look out for and to request design feedback.
You will notice in an earlier post I made a comment about only having 3 categories. Now the keen eyed ones amoungst you will notice this is significantly less than my previous blog which had around 10. Now the idea behind this is that each post will be either classed as ‘content’, ‘notes’ or ‘noteworthy’. The ‘content’ posts will be the main blog posts. They are most likely to make up the meat of my blog. The ‘notes’ will be little snippets of info, they maybe a link to a site I have visited which I want to share with the world or just a general post that doesn’t quite warrant being classed as ‘content’. This leaves just the ‘noteworthy’ category. Posts within this category are posts which I feel deserve a little bit of extra merit, something to make them stand out from the crowd a little bit.
Ok, so thats how the categories are going to work. You might be wondering how the heck am I going to find something about a piece of design Phil has done? Well the simple answer is this. Each post will have a list of tags. These tags will help you narrow down your search. For example, if I make a post about the project I handed in on Tuesday, it will contain tags along the lines of “design, my design, calendar, project, uni”. You could then go to the search, or the tag cloud on the archives page and select maybe calendar. This will then show you all the posts that have been tagged with this.
Whilst over the next few weeks you may see the appearance of my blog change, some of it is already nailed down how I want it to look. The overall look of the blog for instance is likely to stay in this single column view. The flickr stream (those pictures at the bottom) is also likely to stay where it is. You can see the comments module as well just above the flickr stream. Its likely this will stay here, although its appearance is likely to change. I can’t get the feedlink icon to move next to the comments heading at the moment, very frustrating!
Anyway, I will sign off now as this post is getting long. I hope to give you more of an insight of what is in store for my blog over the next week.
Welcome to electricweekend.com. This is my official blog. It is under a period of testing at the moment. It is likely to go through a lot of changes in the next 2 or 3 weeks.
Since this is my first post of the blog, I have placed it in the noteworthy category. Although it doesn’t say alot, it still represents an important mile stone in the life of this blog.
Well not the last one ever, just on this blog. I’m moving you see. Here is the link
so as a small request, those of you who read this, have it bookmarded, or have links to this blog please update them to my new one. You see the new one is more interesting. It’s more Phil. So everyone rush over HERE and read that one instead.