Blogging and learning

I’ve been inconsistent lately about my blogging. My last post was on my birthday, nearly four weeks ago! For a while I had the goal of blogging at least twice a week, and for that short while, I was good about it. But lately something always comes up. Writing for work, my novel, shorter pieces, being lazy.

This week I read this post from Chris Dixon about how he uses his blog to learn. Specifically, he tries “to learn at least one interesting thing each week and then blog about it.” I love this idea.

Like Dixon, every morning I catch up on the news mostly via Twitter, and for work, dump links to interesting stories (mostly regarding words and language) into a Google doc for a bi-weekly series that I write. Why not do the same for myself? Often I’ll read and retweet interesting stories, but it ends there. Once in a while I’ll blog about something interesting I’ve come across, such as the lies behind the etymology of iceberg lettuce and details about the Sino-Japanese war. But I’m not consistent. I do it only when the mood strikes me or when I happen to remember.

So I’ve decided to follow in Dixon’s footsteps and blog once a week about something new I learned. It could be via Twitter or my news feeds, or as I’m doing other research, or even – gasp! – in real life. I want to blog more regularly and I want to document stuff I’ve learned so that’s killing two birds with one stone.

This week I learned, aside from the idea of blogging what I’ve learned (how meta), that I should try applying my work techniques to my personal life. I’ve already mentioned how I gather interesting links. Something I also do is keep a schedule of upcoming words of the day, lists of the day, and blog posts. The schedule helps me keep everything organized and also gives me ideas. I have to follow it, well, because it’s for work.

Why not do that for myself? The only blog schedule I have is vague and in my head. “I should do two posts this week.” But when and what about? Every day I work on my novel. That’s a given, especially since I don’t want to give MB ten bucks. But often I let other submissions slide. I realize, often too late, that submission deadlines are upon me (or worse, already passed) and I end up having not enough time to submit as much as I want to.

I put the deadlines on my calendar, but it’s not enough. I really don’t look beyond the current week. For work, I schedule everything in a spreadsheet so that I can see several weeks at once.

Seems like such a simple thing, but it took reading Dixon’s blog post and forty minutes on the elliptical to figure it out. Now let’s see if it works.

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