Thursday, September 27, 2007

Blogging: Lessons from Leonardo da Vinci

Amy Grahan posted some thoughts on "How to blog without the time sink". I like her comment on not treating posts as article writing, but rather like a "backup brain". She makes three main points on blogging:

  1. Blog your initial brainstorming (ideas).
  2. Blog your research & discovery (came across x today--just like this post).
  3. Blog your interactions (interesting conversations).
A few years ago, I visited an exhibition of Leonardo da Vinci's sketches at the Art Institute of Chicago. It was an amazing exhibit featuring a bunch of unfinished, not fully formed ideas, drawings and musings. The kind of stuff I doodled in the margins of my notebooks in highschool--only admittedly much better.

I found his unfinished, "unpublished" works amazing...if not more amazing that his polished work. Maybe because I got a glimpse on the process, on the thinking that makes his work so enduring. Though he didn't publish his notebooks, his unfinished "process" is an astounding exhibit itself!
Take a moment to visit the "turning the pages" link at the British Library site to see one amazing early-day blog! (scroll down on site to find Sketches by Leonardo)
So, I agree with Amy Grahan's points for the most part. I generally want and TRY to make each post to be a meaningful nugget. What that often means though, is that I delay writing thought/ideas that are good enough (i.e. great gets in the way of good enough) . It also means that when I do get around to writing, it is often too much. I for one have little patience reading long blog posts, and imagine others do too. So, I'm going to work on remedying this.

This handicap pervades much of my life. As I finish up my PhD dissertation, I have found nearly every step of the way in this process that I have let striving for perfection--notice I said "striving", not "achieving"!--paralyze my progress. I've been doing better lately, but it's a lesson I have to keep re-learning.

Blogging in some ways has, and can continue helping me do what Da Vinci did with his notebooks. It can help me get over my habit of perpetual tinkering and polishing--fearing to release my ideas into the world before they are fully formed.
so with that, and without turning this thought into an "article," I'm going to hit the publish button and see what happens.
[Update: I went back and edited this post a bunch---aaargh, though it is considerably better (and longer), I just couldn't leave good enough alone. Maybe I need to turn off editing rights for myself ;-) ]

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Busy, busy, busy...

I'm still here, but am involved in a project (ok, It's my PhD dissertation) that is consuming every moment of my time for at least another couple weeks. It's exhausting, but back to the grindstone I must go....
-Joel G.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.