Blog Rules: 2020Q1


This website has existed in several different forms over the last 20 years. This is probably the 6th incarnation, depending on how you count.

When I first started this blog up again two months ago, I had certain rules in mind. Now, two months out from then, I’m realizing how many of them I’ve bent. And I’m looking at taking a different turn anyhow.

For one, I don’t want to be posting daily anymore. It’s just more work than I want to do, and to be honest, it’s not really working. I mean, it’s great that you are reading this, but not many people are joining you. I’ve spent no time making things look nice, work well, or promoting anything.

The emphasis has been on quantity and quality of output. For the first 60 days, that was fine. Going forward, here’s what I’m looking at for the rest of the quarter at least:
  1. Triple-threat or nuthin’ = If I’m going to go to the trouble of writing something, it should be worth it. Writing ideas should be good enough and portable enough that they can go three places before they have earned the right to be written. For instance, this post can only exist here because it’s about here. But other posts that I’ve put here like this one or this one or this one are better because they can go more places.
  2. Name that audience = I usually write for me — to help get things out of my head or think them through or make my life easier somehow. Often I have other specific people in mind too, and I write specifically for them. Turns out those posts for other people are much better written! Unless I have a specific audience in mind, my idea for what to write is not ready to turn into written words. This combines nicely with the filter above.
  3. Formatting counts = The current layout around here is very drab and boring. I don’t like it, but that was enirely the point. By being okay with how sucky things are around here from a visual standpoint, it focuses me on the content itself — making that as solid as possible. But I’m no Seth Godin or Derek Sivers or James Clear. I know it’s easy to get us bald white guys confused, but they’re all way better writers than me and their minimalist ways are visually better than this place. I will migrate to a better formatted blogging platform (I’m looking at flat-file CMSs like Grav and Bludit now, any input in the comments is appreciated!).
  4. Timing is everything = I said I would set a 25-min timer every time I was working on something with this blog. That lasted a few weeks, on and off. The problem is that I’m often writing on my iPad or in a textfile somewhere while on the go, and it starts to get really difficult to do the countdown thing. This will get even more challenging given the new formatting rule above, and the need to pay attention to visuals. So here’s the new time rule, no limits, just track everything. I’ll be using Toggl for this, which I want to get in the habit of using more anyway.
  5. Obey the law = The initial content I posted here was mine all mine. Then I started using some cc0 images. Then I started embedding music and videos from other places. Then I started using a few memes from common meme-generators. Then I posted a thing or two here that I know better about, like copyrighted content where the author has only been dead for 40 years not yet 70 years. It doesn’t matter that the current incarnation of copyright is so bewilderingly broken, it’s like speeding on an open road. I know the law, and I should obey it regardless of whether I agree or not. Going forward, I either make fresh content of my own, use public domain content, properly attribute Creative Commons content, or point to other people’s content where they can control it.
So how’s this for a new format/template?
  • Audience
  • Outlet 1
  • Outlet 2
  • Outlet 3
  • (optional) Outlet 4
  • (optional) Outlet 5
  • Title
  • Description
  • Hero Image
  • Body
  • Call to Action
  • (optional) Soundrack Audio/Video
  • (optional) Additional Media

You don’t have to answer that. This is one of those me talking-to-me posts. Last one for a while, I hope!

Any other constructive constraints should I be considering? How about content you’d love to see from me, or old articles you’d like me to bring back and update? The comments are a great way to let me know.