Friday, December 02, 2011

Learning by Writing

In my own little contribution to NaBloPoMo I posted every day for a month, and in the process I learned a few things.
(By the way this neat image comes from a very cool website - From Old Books which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like.

First, three blogs are too many. I have this one about my family and a pair of professional blogs, one on my work and one on my graduate studies. For the first few days of November I managed each one – but it just couldn’t last. I’ll be merging and revamping the other two.

Second, if I sit down to write, I can in fact come up with something. But, quality suffers. This is a fundamental challenge for a lot of people Рthe curse of perfectionism. It is a shibboleth, a pointless ideal. Many of my posts are unremarkable, so be it, but sometimes just by pressing forward something neat comes out. It is a firm, practical reminder of a universal truth, expressed through a number of clich̩s:
90% of life is just showing up.

You’ve gotta play to win.

The key to achieving great things, is starting them.
For someone who lives too much in his own head, it is always good to get this reminder.

Third, if the little Goofs aren’t generating material it is because I am not paying attention. I am a pretty good dad and they definitely get time from me, but when I take them on adventures, I get material and have a good time. In a small way, maybe blogging makes me a better parent – although I’d like to think doing cool things for them comes first and the material is just a happy (if occasionally embarrassing) by-product.

Fourth, I need readers. My content overall is pretty good (when I’m on my game I’m a poor man’s Dave Barry - so Gene Weingarten I guess.) But, just like I bore down and forced myself to write every day, I also need to bear down and market. Time for another truth wrapped in a cliché – this one from Bobby Knight:
Most people have the will to win, few have the will to prepare to win.
But this raises a fifth point (I can never refuse a fifth) why do I do this at all. On a certain level, I hope it will bring me attention – it is an outlet for some of my creative juices. But it is also a record of my life and my kids and family. I find that moments that are, as they occur, profoundly lovely that I am sure I will remember forever, are gone in a day or so. I run several time a week. I have no illusions that I will ever have any fame as a runner. But it satisfies.

So a sixth point, I set a goal with my blog and achieved it. That too was satisfying. As I wander into middle-age and having gone through some difficult stuff recently (maybe I’ll blog about it if I can ever get ahead of the curve) it is important to learn what will really be satisfying because life is too short for the ersatz.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad you played along!! It's nice seeing you regularly in my reader.

Father Goof said...

Thanks, so glad to have you as a fan, friend, and muse!