Sunday, November 30, 2008

Wrapping Up

Until this month I'd really had trouble getting things to move from my brain to the keyboard. I knew in my head pretty much what I wanted to say, but when it came time to say it, I got too wrapped around the axle getting it out. I felt that every time I wrote, I had to provide a well-researched, airtight and rock solid argument, supported by verifiable sources and subjected to a double-blind, placebo-controlled study that was published in a peer-reviewed professional journal before I could hit "Publish Post".

Finally, I realized "Why the Hell do you need to do that? This is a blog ferchrissakes, not a PhD dissertation! Just throw it out there!"

And I'm glad I did. Until then, I can honestly say I was just going through the motions and not really seeing the (personal) value of this medium. I wasn't having fun doing it. It felt more like an obligation that I didn't see the value in keeping; as such, I did not keep it. It's interesting how forcing another - essentially the same - obligation upon myself and setting a simple goal for those efforts has turned that around.

Actually, it's not. Think about the statement "I plan to lose weight". Work off that, and unless you are a truly instinctive and 100% self-starting person, you may lose a few pounds, but you won't have much success. Say "I plan to lose 15 pounds in the next three months by training with weights, doing cardio and eating right" and you're more likely to succeed. Same sorta' stuff. Take a little time to define your goal and the path, and things become much easier. Okay, enough motivational speak.

Even though I didn't post every single day (there was one day I posted 2 minutes past midnight, and being the ethical guy that I am, I can't count it) I had a great time doing this. So I'm going to keep doing it. I was hoping to get a more "routine" pattern (topically) out of the month, but it didn't really happen. I did start my weekly post on cheesy music, and I'll keep it up. I can't wait to get into cheesy Christmas songs this coming month!

Which brings me to another great point about doing this - the people you meet. What an easy way to expand personal communication and relations outside your normal social circle, to people you'd almost never "run with" normally. I've "met" some interesting people in the blogoverse that have made it easier to do this - Dawn, MrMacrum, it's been great reading along and I'm going to keep on keepin' on. Thanks for your own blogs and your comments here.

So yeah. NaBloPoMo has been a good thing. Will I do it next year? Maybe, but I'll need another goal in mind for my second go-round. If all I can think of is "post every day for a month" then it won't be worth my time. However, if I can maintain an increased posting rate (thinking 15-20 a month) I'll have plenty of "growth" ideas to choose from by next November. I think 15-20 a month is a good goal; I think that's about where I can get right now and maintain some sort of quality. If I can get more, then great, I'll get more.

Ugh. Is this what I've done for my final NaBloPoMo post? A sappy, happy, touchy-feely, Kum-ba-yah group huggy "I love you guys!" proclamation? Hey, it is what it is.


Dawn on MDI said...

Thanks for the hat tip, Bull. Bummer about the Pats today. Looked almost like the Sullivans were back in charge of things out there. Bleah.

I was lacking inspiration when I started the NaBloPoMo thing, but then I hit on the idea of the seven deadly sins. In looking at those, I found that there were seven virtues. That made for 14 posts, easy-deasy. Add in a huge national election, some nasty racists stuff in the news worth writing about, plus the usual interesting things in a person's life, and I had more than enough to entertain myself for a month. I wrote my ideas on a sticky note and stuck it to my computer. Then I could cross off items as I handled them and add new ones as I needed to. It worked well.

One thing I think I would have liked for the month would be a single day off each week. Six days a week might have been enough to still feel disciplined but have a regular break as well. Maybe that might be a more structured goal than 15 to 20 posts in a month. Just thinking out loud here. Vikings are up and mugging Chicago in grand fashion.

MRMacrum said...

I guess it depends on what kind of person you are.I am not usually a planner in the things close to me. Professionally, I play the plan game pretty well. Personally, I am all over the map. So, vague goals work better for me. Some would call them "lowered expectations" if we want to be hip in the current vernacular.

My tendency to bite off more than I can chew has been with me for as long as I can remember. No better example than the Novel in a month challenge. I was definitely sick for the first two weeks, but rather than bear down and make it up, I blew it off.

So I set general goals and loose rules for my blogging efforts.

I want to become a better writer. That is working out I think. I have less trouble than say two years ago forming my thoughts into words.

I want to post this year enough that on december 31st I have at least 200 posts for the year. This "rule'" is an example of my "loose rule" idea. When I blew the original 15 posts a month rule early (March I think), I changed the rule to lose any guilt I had for letting myself down so early in the game.

I guess what I am trying to say here is I want to blog enough so that every once in awhile I step away from the computer, consider what I just wrote and I smile. That's what it's all about for me I guess.

It is interesting that the guys who blog have that typical discomfort at bringing up the mushy part of blogging. The feeling of connection to others that happens a lot in this odd culture. I feel the same. Those damn women on the other hand, this medium was made for them. They have no problem with "kiss kiss love you , let's do lunch and I so love what you have done with the place". Women love to connect. Men don't. But I found it is okay to get sappy once in awhile here as a male. As long as you flex your muscles when typing in a sleeveless domestic quarrel shirt. Wearing a truckers hat while writing can help keep you centerd also.

Thanks for the hat tip. It is mutual. I am enjoying your blog.

Dr. Momentum said...

Excellent wrap-up. You've noted some things about Nablopomo that I missed when I did it last year. For me it was more of an obligation. My main finding was that if I was diligent at recording my thoughts, I found I had even more stuff to post about than I thought I did.

Even more useful in what it did for you, so that's great.

briwei said...

Congrats. Even if you missed one by minutes, you still pulled it off. I remember doing it last year and really struggling. I think it burnt me out on blogging and I haven't really found my way back to it. Glad it worked out for you, though.