I’m achieving a personal milestone with this blog. Until recently, I have alternated hot and cold, creative sprints followed by weeks or months of posting neglect. But now I am entering a period of sustained writing cadence. Re-reading the past year’s written material I see my posts are mostly medium-length essay style, about 800 to 1,200 words per post. The occasional expansive pontification as well as a short burst here and there. Basically whatever I am thinking about at the moment.
I am pleasantly surprised to see a correlation between blogging and presentation quality. Maybe I should have realized this before, but I have noticed when I give a presentation on a theme that I had previously blogged about, the presentation feels more successful (speak more passionately & authoritatively, better audience engagement, “at one with my topic”). But of course this should make sense, since the blogging effort forces my brain to get a full 360 comprehension, and the physical act of typing out a thought stream organically cements the concepts for easier recall at the podium.
Content Creation Mechanics
My writing workflow starts with a text file containing a list of potential topics or post titles that sound compelling to me. Before an item gets on the list it may be scratched out in a small Circa notebook that I carry around. For some reason I have not gravitated toward writing notes on my smart phone. Probably because most ideas pop into my head while I am driving, and writing the idea on paper is safer than typing at 70 MPH.
Ninety percent of my writing is in a Google Doc. It’s best for how I work. If I am on an airplane I’ll write the text in Textmate. And rarely, in a “We’re doing this live, folks” manner, I’ll write a post directly into WordPress.
Google Docs allows me to start a post and then continue to edit from any computer or my iPad. Most writing is at the shared computer in the kitchen in the early morning or on my Macbook later at night. With GDocs, I never have to worry about losing work. I have been burned a few times by composing directly into WordPress and losing the session and the text.
WordPress is the CMS for now. But for my needs WP is overkill. My plan is to migrate this site to Amazon S3 hosting. I just love the idea of ”server-less” blog, powered by “cloud fabric.” This is my current migration plan:
- Convert comment management to Disqus…. done
- Configure Amazon S3 for static website hosting…. done (using a test URL)
- Export WP content and images to static links to preserve the link economy…. in-progress
- Commission a new main page CSS/HTML format…. in-progress
I’ll write more about the conversion as I make progress.
The fun part creating a post is finding the visual image to accompany the text. This is my blogging desert. Sometimes if I get writer’s block, I’ll have some “desert,” and paste my image into the text to spur the creative juices.
My greatest challenge is editing. Which usually means removing words. I have to remind myself I’m not getting compensated by the word count, Charles Dickens style.