06/12/2021

2021/12/06#p1
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After a manic Monday of meetings and Excel 1 I was resigned to today being another post free day. But then Simon Collison wrote about his Stream:

"a channel for quickfire posts alongside my more glacial blog"

Why start a second channel?

"A primary motivation ... was the paralysing sense that a blog post needed appropriate length and weight."

I know that feeling; I, and the blog, suffered because of it. I succumbed to the notion that a blog was akin to citizen journalism where everything was a hot take of at least 500 words with subtitles and sections. That feeling, and the pressure it invoked, was the trigger for dissatisfaction and hiatus. Things had to change. It wasn't until I merged shorter (or even micro) posts into the blog that I became more contented. Things weren't, still aren't, perfect but they were considerably better.

Back then, I stated "We don't think in titles, we think in ideas", keenly aware that so many thoughts were getting lost or discarded because I was unwilling or unable to convert them into something with length and weight. Still, I initially saw them as separate, excluded from the main RSS feed, until it was pointed out this didn't work because I continued threads between long and short form posts. Those who subscribed to the feed only got half the story.

I was lucky that my dissatisfaction had driven me to the point where I became someone who, as Simon mentions, didn't care "if a post needs to look good or have a leading image, and you post anything and everything of all sizes and subjects to one no-fuss bucket."

A post was a post, long or short, intense or frivolous. It transformed my relationship with the blog overnight.

Yet, I still have a second channel in the Journal — and even a third in the Garden, although that is criminally underused. The journal is like my Stream, a receptacle for the odds and sods, the minutiae of daily life and whatever immediate thoughts that may generate. Sometimes, those thoughts become more substantial and make their way to the blog. Other times, it is the reverse: a post will trigger thoughts I don't feel suitable for public consumption so they end up in the Journal. The two feed off each other in a strange symbiotic existence with the Garden wishing the others would invite it to play. It is, no doubt, due to the way I have designed the site with a constant visual nag to keep the Journal streak going.

Simon mentions the idea that these short musings could be like seeds, a concept I explored in relation to posts on social networks back in 2014:

"A single seed is planted, lays down its roots and starts to grow. The new plant is tended and, in time, other gardeners take cuttings, return home and nurture them in their own plots.

As each fledgling plant grows so enthusiasts visit each garden to remark upon how wonderful it is and, in their own way, fertilise it so that it can grow strong.

Although each cutting is straight from the original they are planted in different soil, any weeds are removed and they are fed different nutrients. They adapt to their local environment and take on different characteristics. Their fruits are each imbued with a unique flavour."

I could (and should) have been talking about blogs. That's how things would have been in "the good old days" when people conversed by blogs, their replies being like those cuttings planted in different soil, fertile ground for new thought.

The Garden should be like a nursery, somewhere to plant the cuttings I (really ought to) take, watch them grow and see which are likely to bear fruit. Better still, I should be cross-pollinating those cuttings, seeing which complement each other. I appear to have forgotten my own rule that 'content' is:

"the gathering of the constituent parts into a whole, it is the interwoven threads of discussion and the tangential ideas that spawn a dozen new thoughts."

I don't gather nearly as much as I should, or use those 'cuttings' to create new ideas and juxtapositions — I said things weren't perfect. Simon's post reminded me of the freedom in having these additional channels, somewhere the rules don't apply (not that they really do on the blog) and I don't have to be afraid of failing.


  1. including multitasking on a spreadsheet during the first meeting and discussing elements of it in the last 

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NOW | COLOPHON
Colin Walker Colin Walker colin@colinwalker.blog