What to do with a blog

When it comes to a(my) blogging method for writing longer, more synthetic work, the traditional relationship between research and writing is reversed. Traditionally, a writer identifies a subject of interest and researches it, then writes about it. In the (my) blogging method, the writer blogs about everything that seems interesting, until a subject gels out of all of those disparate, short pieces.

Cory Doctorow, The Memex Method

This post got me thinking about sharing more on the blog and less on social media. If I’m interested enough in something to want other people to see it, it makes sense to post it somewhere it will stick around and connect to other ideas.

It also reminds me of two quotes I keep in Highlighted:

“Talking to yourself can be useful. And writing means being overheard.”

Zadie Smith, Intimations

You can’t put a tweet on a shelf. Things stick around for a reason.

Jonathan Safran Foer

It also gets me thinking about Bean Dad (sorry to remind you about that).

How does the tool address the task? What do I accomplish sharing something on social media instead of here?

It’s all got me thinking.

My Daughter Thinks She’s Getting Better At The Floss

The other day, my daughter started dancing to Fred Schneider’s cover of the Harry Nilsson song “Coconut,” and wanted to show us how she could Floss.

It went something like this:


Sprout Sort Of Flossing.GIF

Mid-way through her dance, she squealed, “I’m getting good at the Floss!

She’s kind of correct.

I mean, sure, it didn’t look exactly like this,


but she’s got the right attitude about trying to work at something that doesn’t come easy.

Confidence and momentum build from seeing your progress.

She’s not focused on the distance between where she is and where she’d like to be. She’s looking the opposite direction and seeing how far she’s come from where she started.

If you get stuck in the unending Zeno’s Paradox of constantly getting closer to your goal, but never actually reaching it, you wind up with anxiety, frustration, and shame.

You stall out. You feel like a fraud.

It’s something I see in my students, my peers, and myself.

That pull between the optimism of seeing how far you’ve come fighting the pessimism of the long, unclear road ahead.

It’s easy to let that pull you into the mental trap of contrasting and comparing yourself with others.

But when you celebrate your progress, you focus on your personal bests, not on how far you are from achieving a world record. You can measure what you’ve done and add to it.

And you can make the story you tell yourself about how this is moving forward — This is what getting better looks like.