Tag Archives: writing

New (revised?) Plan

For a full-time dabbler, there are and never will be enough hours in a day. The key to dabbling is to flit from project to project while committing fully to none. The lack of commitment results not from lack of desire but from the aforementioned dabbler’s being stretched so thin. Don’t get me wrong: the living is easy here in Seoul. I have classes for about five hours a day and then a couple hours for lesson planning (which can be quite minimal for a native-speaking English teacher in a public school).

Then comes the dabbling. During the past couple weeks, here is the list of my endeavors: hiking mountains, shopping for a camera, seeing the sights, designing logos, learning Hangul, writing blogs, eating delicious food, and finding time for sleep. I’m planning to add to that list: learning photography, planning travel itineraries, learning some sort of Web-designing basics, and figuring out Photoshop. I’m, however, unable to do all of this without catching the latest episodes of 30 Rock, Entourage, and Heroes; or without spending quality time with my PS2 or Nintendo DS, which leaves recreational reading out of this dabbler’s schedule.

The point is I need to learn to prioritize. To prioritize, I need concrete goals. Here are the tips Christine Gilbert (of Almost Fearless and the recently-launched Europe String) gave me to get my blog straight — but they obviously apply to any sort of project:

  1. Set some goals. Traffic levels, number of comments, new subscribers and so on. Something tangible that you can measure.
  2. Write a list of what you can do to reach those goals.
  3. Prioritize the list.
  4. Set specific time a day to work on those items.
  5. Track your progress.

Ok, maybe that seems too much like “work” — this is coming from a former corporate project manager, so take it for what it’s worth. I find by doing those steps, I have more time to be creative and stop worrying about all the “stuff” I haven’t done. Most days it works. Many days I still struggle too. Good luck!

The most counter-intuitive aspect of this whole process to me is that I have to put my impatience aside to slow down and organize myself. I want results, and I want them now, but, simply put, they’ll never materialize without a plan. I made a plan to make sure I see more than the smokey interiors of bars and the pleather futon of my apartment while I’m in Korea. So far it’s been effective because of how easily I can keep myself accountable. As a result, I’ll structure the new plan for my blog similarly to my sight-seeing plan.

There will be at least two new posts per week. One should come very easily since I’m seeing a new sight each week, and the other should come just as easily because everyday life in Seoul is never dull. Two is the magic number, and I’m sure I can count that high in five languages! It’s not a lot, but having a deadline (thanks journalism degree!) will help push me to be more efficient. Once I get into this routine, I can move on to sorting out my other projects without a hitch.

First: Life in Flight. Next: the world. That’s how it works, right?

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Blogger’s block?

When I started this venture into the blogosphere almost four months ago, I thought this attempt at diet literary journalism would only serve as a bridge to bigger projects. I imagined my graphic design skills would combine with my (supposed) writing prowess to form a super-sweet Web site litterred with fantastic pictures I had taken with my basic-but-improving photo skills. I planned on learning some Web coding and Dreamweaver along with the rest of the Creative Suite. This was supposed to be my portfolio while I was away.

Suffice to say, I haven’t gotten that far, yet. I’ve gotten the writing part down, but that’s about it. Web hosting, CSS, and Photoshop are still a bit out of my league (read: I’m basically illiterate in those areas). I would like to learn more about those things, but I always seem to have more pertinent things to do with my free time, such as go rock climbing, read books, learn Korean, and occasionally blog. There are simply not enough hours in the day.

The thing about this whole blogging phenomenon is the sense of community that it provides. The blogosphere (or the whole Internet, for that matter) is just another neighborhood where people drop in to see what’s going on and have conversations. I’m not such a great member of that community, though. I can write paragraphs upon paragraphs, but I’m not as good at reading others’ works. I have an RSS feeder, but in my ADD-esque reading style, I merely glance over the neverending list of articles. Consequently, I contribute to those conversations (i.e. the comments section) less often than I want/should.

I’m sure I’ve said this before, but overall, I’m not quite sure where this project is headed. I love the writing and the thought process that goes into it, but I want to be more than that. I have to figure out how to manage the reading and the writing aspects of the blogosphere. It can only help me as I observe how other writers approach and execute their projects.

How do you manage keeping up with your blogroll?

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When a writer gets confused

In my dedication to becoming a better blogger, I’m constantly thinking about things to write and how to convey it. In essence, I often find myself thinking in terms of blog posts, but sometimes I have too many thoughts, and I get confused. A lot. Even my (writing) voices get mixed up.

I currently have two drafts for posts I haven’t finished because my mind keeps wandering. I had a specific goal in mind when I started them, but as wrote, the subject matter steadily drifted away from my original target. In my head, a simple observation turned into a political discourse; a memory, into a pseudo-psychoanalytical self-analysis, and so forth.

I think I’ve become enthralled by the prospect of continuous writing (a good thing), and my brain wants to spew out any and every thought. Work is extremely slow, so I have too much idle time to think. (The lack of motivation after putting in my two weeks’ notice doesn’t help, either.) Without the urgency of writing quickly so I can finish other projects, I also over-think the writing itself. As a result, the writing process tends to be slow and clunky.

I also spend much of the time perusing the Internet — especially the blogosphere. The constant influx of news, information and opinions combined with a wandering mind results in convoluted thoughts and consequently convoluted writing. My head is starting to hurt. Seriously.

Does this happen to anyone else? How do you organize your thoughts and ideas in times like this?

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Drawing Hands

This is the first post in a series of posts detailing the thought process behind creating this blog.

The term “blog” is quite vague. Its roots, a portmanteau of “Web” and “blog,” describe it as just that — a log of Web sites one has visited. Nowadays, in this age of Web 2.0, everyone has access not only to reading but also to writing content on the Internet. As a result, the range of blog subjects has expanded to pretty much anything and everything: gizmos and gadgets, sports, travel, and politics are some of the obvious targets.

The most obvious subject, though, is the self. This is the inherent beauty (or flaw) of blogging. This is the treacherous line that defines a blog. A constant inner monologue without any context serves no purpose to any reader. A “personal” journal is fine and dandy, but what’s the point of publishing it online? As a writer, there’s always some sort of subconscious need for external validation from an audience.

This is where my dilemma starts. I’ve never really been one to cater to an audience in these situations, but the creation of this new blog/journal/project — not coincidentally — correlates with a new chapter in my life. I’m not sure if that should or will be the focus of this. I follow several blogs, most of which tightly focus on a clear subject matter. This journal will be clearly be about my life and the things around me, but how do I write about me?

I have a vague idea of who might be following this journey, but I have to take into account those whom I’ve never met and will never meet. I have to find a way to balance the interests of the familiar readers, the curious strangers, and myself. Maybe I’m just thinking too hard about this. I have a feeling that — like everything else I’ve done thus far — this will flesh itself out into something I like.

I have a tendency — despite my unconscious and best efforts otherwise — to land on my feet.

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