💻 Have you ever felt stuck? Seth Godin explains why it’s reasonable that we feel that way sometimes. His suggestion for how to get unstuck is unreasonable, however. ReadBeing stuck is reasonable
💻 We treat each other better now than at any time in history. Our better nature is better than it used to be. So says N. S. Palmer, who reminds us that it is still our daily choice to treat each other well that matters. Read What’s Your Choice?
💻 Om Malik likens the serious dropoff in camera sales to the serious dropoff in computer server sales some years ago: the nature of what the thing is for is changing dramatically, leading to shifts in what people buy. ReadCamera sales are falling sharply
Happy Labor Day weekend! I refuse to admit that summer is ending.
💻 I’ve done therapy (the kind where you talk with a psychologist or social worker) several times in my life. It’s a great way to talk things out and get insight when life balls up on you and you’re struggling to see the way through. Carla Akil does a nice job explaining how therapy works. ReadUnderstanding Therapy
💻 N. S. Palmer offers valuable perspective on how some moral dilemmas seem clear only because of which side of them you stand on. Read Facing Moral Dilemmas
💻 Seth Godin notes that as we’ve upped the volume on politics, we’ve lost the thread on governance. To our detriment. Read Politics vs. governance
📷 Here’s a camera you’ve probably never heard of: the May Fair. John Margetts wrote what is certainly the only review of it on the entire Internet. ReadMay Fair folding camera
📷 Mike Eckman has written the world’s most comprehensive guide to the Argus C-series (“brick”) cameras. It’s so long he had to break it into five parts. Read Argus C-Series Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V
💻 Claire Lew has some practical tips for building a better work relationship with your boss. ReadManaging up
💻 Have you ever wanted to meet someone you’ve admired, even though they’re famous? Ken Levine tells about the time he did just that — by looking him up in the phone book and just calling him. ReadYou never know who you’ll find
💻 It’s shocking, really, the times we live in, the events we see in the news. How far down the scale can we slide? But N. S. Palmer advises us to believe in the future anyway. Because people believing in it is the only way a better future can become real. Read Believe in the Future
Recently someone asked me how I manage to post every day. (It’s really six days a week.) I’ve built up a lot of blogging speed since I started in 2007, and I thought you might like to know how I did it.
Foremost, I’ve committed to it. This is something I do; it is not optional. At least that’s the attitude I take toward it. There are exceptions, such as the one-week break I took last October, and a few days missed due to extenuating life events. But I make those choices deliberately. Six-day-a-week blogging is my default.
I give my morning breakfast time to blogging. I’m either writing or processing photographs while I sip my coffee and eat my eggs. I give it 45 minutes to an hour every weekday and Sunday morning, and on Saturday I spend all morning at it except for doing laundry and other minor chores. Sometimes I work on the blog during my lunch hour, too, and I even do minor edits to posts on my phone when I have ten minutes to kill.
I work very hard to keep 2-3 weeks of posts queued and ready at all times. Sometimes life gets hard, as it did in June when I had so much awful insomnia, and I can’t manage my morning ritual. Queued posts help keep the blog going during those times.
I didn’t start at six days a week — that’d be like running a marathon at a 5K pace, never having trained. I built up to this frequency and have kept it for about five years now. Before this I posted three days a week, and before that 4-6 times a month.
Each time I increased my posting frequency, my pageviews and comments went way up. And all the writing practice keeps improving my skills. I like both; they reinforce my choice to do this.
Still, to post six days a week and still hold down a full-time job and raise my children meant I had to learn how to write faster. I’m pleased to say that I spend about as much time now posting six days a week as I used to spend posting three days a week.
To do this, I learned a great technique of freewriting on a topic for 15-30 minutes, without editing, and then stopping. I go back later, usually on another day, for 15-30 more minutes and edit it into shape.
In freewriting I just let the words come however they may. I sometimes surprise myself with the things I write! If during freewriting I find my ideas don’t flow naturally I let myself rearrange sentences and paragraphs a little until they do.
In editing I worry about which words to use, how to spell them, what order to use them in, and where to punctuate them. If I do this during freewriting I bog myself right down, and every post takes five times longer to create.
Using this technique means I often have many posts in progress at once: some in freewriting and some in editing. As my 15-30 minute block ends I wrap up loose ends as best I can and maybe leave myself some notes for what I still want to do with the post, but then leave the post for a later session.
Another key to my frequent posting is that I have some easy post types. My Saturday Recommended Reading post is easy: I just add to it all week as I find interesting articles to share. I barely edit those posts because they’re all about the links.
My “single frame” posts are also fast to write. I look for a photo that makes me want to tell a story or make a point. I freewrite two to six paragraphs about it in one session, and then edit the paragraphs in another.
Another fast post to write is “here are a bunch of photos about a subject.” My travel posts often fall into this category. I write a couple introductory paragraphs and then just write to the photos: here’s what you see, here’s some interesting stuff I can think of about it.
At the end of my recent bout of insomnia I found myself with almost no posts in the queue. I needed five easy posts to build a week’s cushion, so I shared the series of photos I took of the same subjects, e.g., the Wrecks Inc. sign and the sunsets through my back door. Those took 30 minutes each to put together. Because I post so often I find my creative muscle is strong, letting me generate ideas like this quickly.
My camera and film review posts have fallen into a format that makes them faster to write, but especially the camera reviews can take several hours to finish. They often need a lot of research about history and usage, which I try to do in 15-30 minute sessions just like freewriting and editing. I write my research into the post as rough notes, and build the opening paragraphs around it. Then I share a bunch of photographs I made with the camera, and write about my experience with the camera as I made those photos.
I write ideas for more substantive posts, such as my essays and personal stories, on sticky notes and leave them around my desk. As I think of things I want to say in those posts, I create the draft post if I haven’t already and record my notes there. These posts take real time to write, so I tend to work on them only when I have 2-3 weeks of posts queued. I work on them bit by bit over weeks and, sometimes, months.
I write about whatever I want — it’s a personal blog after all. Anything is subject fodder. I write about photography and cameras a lot because it’s a lifelong interest and I’ve found my largest, most engaged audience there. Yes, I pander shamelessly to you film photographers!
If you blog, what tips do you have for keeping it going?
💻 In case you haven’t heard, Tumblr was bought last week by the company that owns WordPress. (I have an old Tumblr here.) Fred Wilson was an early investor in Tumblr and offers some commentary. ReadTumblr
📷 Now this is my kind of camera: simple, goofy-looking, yet capable of very nice images. Peggy Anne shares her Agfa Isoly-Mat. ReadAgfa Isoly-Mat
📷 Paul Lovell reviews another goofy-looking camera, the Fuji HD-R. It’s aimed at construction projects and even goes underwater. ReadFuji HD-R