Food for Thought
30 June 2008, Monday – Process, perfection or procrastination?
Perfection or Completion? Perhaps it is more critical an issue for those who make their living off writing or their blogs; I think it might be worth the rest of us thinking about it. I have seen discussions about whether someone is a process knitter or a product knitter and there are those who definitely fall to one extreme or other of the spectrum. In reality, it is probably another Bell Curve with most of us falling within those 2 standard deviations.
But perfection or completion is a bit different. Besides a variety of knitting, spinning and weaving blogs I dally at some tech, sci-fi and writing locations. Jason got me thinking. Does the need for perfection in writing a post mean that you take so much time that it doesn’t happen? Does the desire for perfection slow me down and insert delays? Is that why I hit procrastinating streaks on the publish button push? Is fear of failure/being ignored compounding the problem? Is a post with no comments a failure?
Blogging has gone from being a simple journal to a social discourse. In normal day to day events we get feedback from those around us and look askance at those who wander around talking to themselves. If you write something and no one comments, is that the same as talking to yourself? That post still might be read and have an impact. One of the commentors on Jason’s board mentioned Heilein’s rules of writing: write, finish what you write and sell it. If you don’t write a post every once in a while, then no one can read it.
On the old BBSs, USENET or mailing lists, lurking was the common accepted practice. Most posted only when they had something to say on content boards. A few seemed to have to say something on every topic; the delete key was useful in eliminating all those me too comments.
The importance was social community and shared interests. This carried over into early webpage development where people set up pages relating to one thing or another, most communications being email and out of sight of the rest of that website’s readers. Keeping content fresh and current was the key to hits.
With blogging, most enable comments to facilitate feedback or discussion. For any subject, there are some well known SMEs (subject matter experts) who draw a high readership and extensive comments. There are some subjects that lend themselves well to comments and sharing and others where you just find the particular fact and scoot off. Leaving a comment on a post several years old is just not always in the forefront of your brain, especially if you don’t know how their software platform handles comments to old posts.
I realized early on that blogging is one of my hobbies. It is not my life or career. I can then write what I like, track projects and life, and just try to keep page design under control. There is no way that I really want hundreds of responses to every post. I appreciate those who do take the time to write the occasional word. Those are precious gifts.
But if I put things off, because it is not completely what I wanted to say then the post doesn’t get written. If too many days go buy it would seem natural to have readership fall away.
I don’t think I have to worry about perfection, not with my posts frequently sounding like I was asleep or thinking in Gerglish while writing.