Today is the first day in months when my first question wasn’t, “What can I do to finish (or improve) the book today?” That’s because I turned in the (hopefully) final draft yesterday morning.
There are still hurdles to cross (copy editing, a few quote approvals), but all balls are in courts other than mine at the moment. So I can get back to all the stuff I’ve neglected in the meantime, including this: blogging.
I think it was twelve years ago today that I put up the first post on this blog. Here it is. Funny, it mentions that this new Cluetrain book is going to come out, and is available for pre-order on Amazon. I didn’t remember that until just now.
Note that the image of me in the title bar at the top of this page is taken from the photo in that first post. The other three guys still look like they did back then, but I’ve moved on. Meanwhile that old picture has become my “brand” now, I guess. Kind of like Colonel Sanders, Uncle Ben, Betty Crocker and Aunt Jemimah. With the goatee I’ve grown since then, it’s now Colonel Sanders I most resemble. Except I’m still alive and stopped wearing glasses full-time not long after that shot was taken. (Nothing medical was involved. I just quit wearing them and my eyes got better.)
From 1999 until I found Tweeting easier, I generally posted several times a day, almost every day. Posting was easier on that old platform: Dave Winer‘s Manila. And I mostly wrote in one of Dave’s outliners — or sometimes in HTML with a simple text editor. Writing in WordPress is more complicated, but my favorite blogging tool is still OPML.
Once tweeting came along, a lot of the stuff I once blogged about I began tweeting about instead. I still tweet, but blogging is more substantive, and the results are more like real publishing and less like snow on pavement. (I was going to say “snow on the water,” but that’s what radio is.) For example, you can still find everything I’ve ever blogged. Can’t say the same about everything I’ve ever tweeted. At least not easily. (If there is an easy way to search back through your own tweets, even to ones you wrote several years ago, let me know.)
After I started bearing down on the book, in the Summer of last year, I found that blogging no longer worked as a steam valve on the side of whatever else I was doing. At least not in respect to the book. Writing a book, at least for me, required a level of focus and concentration I had never put into anything, ever. Self-discipline has never been my strong suit, and still isn’t; but I had to become much more self-disciplined to write this thing. Alas, one diversion that became essential to deny was blogging. Even though I could blurt out a blog post in a few minutes, returning to the Task At Hand wasn’t easy.
It was also hard to write what I knew wouldn’t appear in print for many months. Blogging was live and engaging. Writing a book required being engaged with The Work Itself, which was new to me. It wasn’t until the book started to look and feel like a book — and not a series of long blog posts — that I could get down and groove with it. Once that started to happen, early this year, the book became something I enjoyed doing and got energy from as I did it. By the end of the project I found myself wanting to go straight on to the next book. Turns out I liked running marathons and not just sprinting. As a writer, that is.
But I also became much more of a desk potato than I already was. Not good.
So now here I am, ready both to sprint again in print and to go back outside, ride a bike, play basketball, take walks… anything to get my butt back into something close to “shape.” Got a ways to go with that.
Anyway, bear with me as I work my way back into my old grooves, and try to find a balance between all the too many things I’ve always done, to which I’ve now added book writing. Gonna be an interesting challenge.
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