The title of my first blog, mocked for a job interview.
For a job interview, I set up a fake blog on blogger as a prop to explain “blog culture”. I suggested brands could use blogs to show some personality and let customers see behind the corporate curtain. It was before content marketing and corporate transparency became a thing. I was too early for the train to Purpose Town. I didn’t get the job (but we’re still friends), it happens to me a lot.
I started writing Blog Off properly while on a road trip across the US (told you I didn’t get that job). I would describe the merchandise in Piggly Wiggly compared to the shelves of WalMart. My first (and last) visit to Olive Garden for “Italian food” with a white evangelical church-going family in Houston. When I was writing about hearing gunshots and being bitten alive by ants in a Texan camping ground, my enthusiasm for blogs evaporated. Partly because of the gunshots and ants but also, my mum started reading it. Mum would comment; “sounds great, remember thingy from primary school? Her blog got a publishing deal.” MySpace then Facebook, Twitter et al. diverted my attention, until it didn’t seem necessary to say anything if it wouldn’t get a like from someone. I still haven’t approved Mum’s friend request but it’s ok, she’s forgotten her password.
I didn’t want to be #humblebragging, as if I was living the life of an Influencer pre-Instagram. I didn’t want to do an Eat, Pray, Love travel diary. My posts dwindled after “that time I was the only white woman in a Weight Watchers meeting and the hip hop aerobics class at the YMCA in deepest Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn”. I also got a job. Suddenly, I was too self-conscious to write about random observational stuff anymore. Someone was reading over my shoulder, in the digital sense.
Keeping up with all the places to write on became more interesting than actually writing stuff. Russell Davies (quite famous planning icon…look, here he is) advised my Essential Planning Skills Account Planning Group, group to collect sources of inspiration. He recommended storing everything scrapbook-style in journals, filed by year. A lucky dip of ideas, like browsing in Waitrose for dinner options instead of heading straight for the tinned goods. I wonder if he kept or looked at his notebooks once everything on paper went online. Was it clipped and forgotten in Instapaper, Pocket, Evernote et al.? Bigger question; does he know where to find things when he needs them and if so, which tags does he use?
Seth Godin writes something for his blog every day, no matter what. He says “the secret to writing a daily blog is to write every day. And to queue it up and blog it. There is no other secret”. An excellent discipline. Whenever he needs a reminder that he once had a great thought, it’s all there. Removing all pressure from the exercise, it doesn’t even need to be a great thought. Or have anyone reading it. No claps, likes or shares required. The thinking is preserved, as long as the blogging site stays in business and you have backups, just in case. Google bought blogger so I can still access ’06-07. The book I started writing on the road however, in pre-cloud Word on an HP laptop, is gone forever.
I have collected photos of signage, shops and weird toilet doors that I lose, once I forget where I saved them. I have notes in various apps, notepads, journals, emails, tweets, scraps of paper and backs of envelopes too. A blog seems to be a sensible option again. Blog Off is (probably) going to start living here, or here, maybe here. I’m still comparing functionality benefits. Eventually, I will have a place for thought out thoughts, sparked by the lucky dip of life’s bits & pieces. One day, it may turn into a book - like Mum said thingy from next door did. I doubt it but, it’s better out than in.
I am blogging off.