An answer to blogging overwhelm

Well September is fast approaching and I’m looking forward to a more focused approach to my blog writing here.  I’m determined to find a way to write (read, link, comment) with a greater sense of purpose and direction in the future, and to use that purpose to drive my writing (and turbo charge my work).

It’s not easy though.  I’m on a steep learning curve at the moment as I grow and develop my work, my writing, my understanding of technology and its applications and I keep on finding fascinating things to write about.  Connections I want to develop.  Quotes I want to share.  Links I want to point towards.  Ideas bubble round in my head, words start to form on the page, posts wake me up demanding to be written.  (Oh for the days of blogger’s block!)

I’ve tried various techniques like keeping folders of paper based notes and scribbles.  I’ve tried using an electronic system so I can ‘dump’ words, ideas, pictures, links and organise them into themes, ready for me to return to once they’ve stewed and settled for a while. It doesn’t seem to help. I still seem to have more material to write about than I have time to compose into a post, to keep within the parameters of my focus, or to check the flow so I don’t overwhelm my readers.

Then I read something by Lorelle at WordPress that helped me to understand what was going on.  Well the post she pointed us towards was written a while ago, but it’s a perfect description of what happens when blogging overwhelm strikes… The link was included in a comment she made on a guest post by John Pozadzides on brainstorming ideas for your blog (‘not more ideas!’ I shout… ‘please stop!’)  This was the part that really resonated with me:

I still haven’t written 75% of the ideas and concepts I came up with. And they haunt me.  I want to, but finding time for all of them when work calls is tough

That’s how I feel.  Haunted by words and ideas.

And there’s something about the creation of a post - finding the words, constructing the piece, making the links, formatting the text, I don’t know what it is but there’s something about this process that allows you to… well exorcise would I guess be the right word for it.  Do what needs done to the words and ideas so they no longer haunt you.  And folders electronic or otherwise just aren’t it.

Anyway, later that day I heard about tumblr.

“Tumblelogs” (they say) are the refreshingly simple  new way to share anything you find, love, hate, or create.

Part of the idea is that Tumblr allows you to ‘lifestream’ - put all the streams from your writing, your photos, your networks together in one place.  But it’s also like a baby blog - quick, simple and easy to use, you can create a ‘post’ in moments with a link, a quote, a picture, a few bundled thoughts.

So I’m giving it a try. It is dead easy to use, looks nice, and is a simple and effective way of processing stuff as and when you read it (think it, find it) rather than saving it for later.

It’s hard to put my finger on why, but posting something on tumblr feels more like I’ve dealt with it and can let it go than popping it into a folder to return to later ever did.  No matter that there aren’t comments or interactions.  No matter even if no-one but me ever reads the darned thing.  It just feels done, somehow.

If you should happen to be interested you can take a look here: The Short and Sweet of Confident Writing.  That would be nice - but I’m not asking, expecting, looking for it (or checking the stats).

Because unlike a ‘real’ blog having readers is not not the most important thing.

The most important thing is that it stops the ideas from haunting me.  And leaves me free to keep on writing here with a bigger, better sense of purpose.

For more on blogging overwhelm check out  Lorelle on Too Much to Write About

If after all that you still want ideas on brainstorming you’ll enjoy 16 tips for blog idea brainstorming by John Pozadzides guest writing at Lorelle at WordPress

Some reactions to Tumblr from Liz Strauss writing at Blogherald and leelefever at Common Craft - both posts contain links to more on both concept and application

Joanna Young, The Confident Writing Coach
Because our words count

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8 Responses to “An answer to blogging overwhelm”

  1. On August 29, 2007 at 4:34 am Sylvia C. responded with... #


    I wish you the best as you move forward towards a great September!
    I haven’t heard too much about “blogger overwhelm” as you speak of it. I think it sounds much better than drawing a blank!

    I just wanted to let you know I posted my “10 posts meme.”
    Check it out when you get a free moment!

    Sylvia C.

  2. On August 29, 2007 at 8:19 am Joanna Young
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    responded with... #

    Hi Sylvia, I’m glad you’re not afflicted :-)

    Thanks for letting me know about your ten posts - I’ll check it out later - and am looking forward to exploring more of your colourful world.


  3. On August 29, 2007 at 8:59 am Emma Bird responded with... #

    Hi Joanna

    I’m back and busy catching up on your back posts! Lots of stuff for me to chew on and think about there.

    I get blogging overwhelm, too. Especially now that I am about to re-start HowToItaly blogging after the long, relaxing summer break. I seem to have a million and one things I want to talk about, share and comment on but not enough time in the day to do so.

    Tumblr seems useful, but how do you ensure that you really are only blogging for yourself?


  4. On August 30, 2007 at 3:36 am Lorelle responded with... #

    Thank you, Joanna, for your kind words and for all that you do.

    That particular post was one of those “magical” posts. It was very different from the things I normally blog about on Lorelle on WordPress, so it was risky to post, but I just wrote it and hit publish, feeling a sense of catharsis. I’d told the world about the thoughts inside my head, and now I could relax and deal with them one at a time.

    That’s crap, but the intension was there. :D I’m still looking at a long list of “things to write”.

    Ah, the lovely phrase “some day” looms in my head eternally.

  5. On August 30, 2007 at 11:19 pm Joanna Young
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    responded with... #

    Hi Emma

    Coming back from a holiday can be overwhelming. Maybe overwhelming isn’t quite the right word because in this case it’s in a good way, with your mind brimming over with ideas and creativity… I’ll be learning from how you handle it :-)

    I write tumblr as if someone else was reading it (so it’s still my voice, reflects same mission, purpose etc) - but I’m not writing with the assumption that they are, or that I want them to be. Does that make sense?


  6. On August 30, 2007 at 11:26 pm Joanna Young
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    responded with... #

    Hi Lorelle, I think the thanks should really be to you for all the material and ideas that you bless us with :-)

    I’m interested that you describe the ‘risky’ post as being ‘magical’ too. I know what you mean. Writing from a place that’s deeper inside us, reflecting a different sort of truth allows us to say something different, more us, closer to what’s really going on. We don’t want or need to do that every day, and it doesn’t always mean that everything will change for us as a consequence (some day, though…) - but part of the magic is surely the impact those words have on your readers, part of the stuff that allows us to connect our stories together…

    Oh and taking a risk is good for our blogging spirits too, or so I’ve learned :-)

    Thanks for stopping by - and thanks (of course) for being the inspiration for Liz’s amazing story!


  7. On September 3, 2007 at 9:34 am Emma Bird responded with... #

    Hi Joanna

    It was blogging overwhelm until I sat down and scribbled out every single idea and thought I wanted to put into my upcoming posts, along with other blogs I wanted to mention.

    On paper, it was easier to see where thoughts and external blogs connected together. And hey presto: blogging overwhelm allieved and a sense of fresh air and new direction achieved.

    And as for your explanation on why you write on Tumblr, yes, it does make sense. Thanks for elaborating.


  8. On September 3, 2007 at 12:51 pm Joanna Young
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    responded with... #

    Hi Emma

    It sounds as if you got some good perspective by reviewing the strands on paper like that. I love reading (and writing) creatively woven blog posts - so I’m looking forward to seeing where you go with yours.



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