One of my favourite writers (offline and online) on his personal content strategy, first taking aim at the "tawdry and mercenary" version of "“why writers should blog”... the story goes, “and build a brand ... to promote your work.” Virtually every sentence that contains the word “brand” is bullshit, and that one is no exception."
Takins notes is good, but blogging's better because "a web-log serves as more than an aide-memoire... recording your actions and impressions is itself powerfully mnemonic... [and] making your log-file public requires a rigor that keeping personal notes does not."
Over time, magic happens: read a lot; blog why something "seems important and describe what it adds to the picture"; each idea added "to a supersaturated, subconscious solution of fragmentary elements that have the potential to become something bigger"; occasionally "a few of these fragments ... nucleate, crystallizing a substantial, synthetic analysis... [over time] entire essays, speeches, stories, novels, spontaneously appear in a state of near-completeness, ready to be written... Blogging's a way to discover what your future books and essays and stories and speeches will be about"
What tools can help? Enter Memex, which has its origins in 1945's “As We May Think” (Vannevar Bush). Cory puts everything in Wordpress, where "fulltext search and tag-based indexing... bring up everything I’ve ever written on the subject" when nucleation occurs.
Blogging is also "producing to attract, rather than serve, an audience", helping co-create a community of people interested in the same ideas.
All of this echoes my own ideas on personal content strategy going back to 2013, particularly the reading/annotating/publishing process described in Better Humans. But this idea is new: "this day in history", a sort of daily spaced repetition process: "reviewing your older work ... makes it easier to spot and avoid your own pitfalls... Every day, I roll back my blog archives to this day in years gone past, pull out the most interesting headlines and publish a quick blog post linking back to them. Looking back on where I’ve been ... helping me think about where I’m going"
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