Thinking about blogging and planning ahead

Most of my blog posts look back – lessons learned, moments experienced. Some of them are written about the present: making decisions, figuring out knotty problems. A few of my posts look towards the future: goals, things I’d like to learn.

Here’s a rough categorization of the blog posts from the past two months:

June 2011 July 2011
Past 33 20
Present 1 7
Future 5 5

Most posts were written in response to things that happened that week, often even that day.

A blog doesn’t always have to look back. I’d like to get better at writing ahead: picking topics I want to learn about and writing about them. This is an odd sort of thing. I’m looking ahead to the things I want to reflect back on. They’ll still count as “past” blog posts, except I’m planning them for the future.

It’ll be like an editorial calendar – a list of ideas to work off, and thoughts about what kinds of information to seek out or save, and a way to plan upcoming posts. Something that gets me to write more post series like the one I did on the value of blogging.

Thinking about what chunks of knowledge I’d like to learn and share will help me write more deliberately instead of writing about whatever crosses my mind, although casual writing like that can also be helpful in patching together memories. I like the idea of a lifeline of books, gradually adding to an outline of knowledge I’d like to pass on. An Org-mode outline, even, so I can use it to organize my snippets.

This kind of list will help me separate brainstorming from writing. If I can keep a list of ideas that inspire me, then I can write even during the blah moments. It’s like the way that a brainstormed list of ideas for single-panel comics has helped me put together three for IBM’s intranet.

It will also help me plan research or note-taking. If I want to write about discretionary time, it’ll be good to track how I spend my time and research how other people spend theirs. If I want to learn more about happiness, I can supplement personal experience with research.

Planning ahead will help me recognize things I should stash in my archives for later use. If I want to write about my experiences doing buy-and-hold index investing over 10 years, I can think about what I’d like to include in that 2017 post. I’d probably want to mention my first investment here (1.116 shares of the TD Canadian Index e-fund, each share priced at $22.4100 on December 4, 2007) for extra flavour. I may also want to write about any hiccups along the way, like how I’m dealing with this current financial slump. (Portfolio underwater? Buying more.) Many writers have a snippets file, also known as a morgue. This blog and the Org text files I keep for unfinished or private notes will probably be quite a useful resource over the years, if I can make sure the data doesn’t get trashed.

I’m curious about time, decisions, writing, learning, and life. We’ll see how this works. =)

2011-08-11 Thu 07:29

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