Saturday, November 8, 2008

Taking Your Blog's Inventory for 2008

by Robert L. Gisel

Take Inventory.
The end of the tax year is rolling around and all merchants around are going to have to take a numbers count of the stock in inventory, goods on the shelves and so forth. It may not have occurred to you blogging fools that you have to take an inventory too.

But don't get riled. The IRS or Revenue boys aren't going to come after you if you don't have at your fingertips the number of blog posts sitting in your files, sold ads parked on them and rolling potential in adsense ads (which are ethereal anyway since adsense ads rotate). Seriously though, isn't this "stock"?

For one thing if you don't know what you have you could find yourself repeating yourself. On the other hand that's a good way to slip the same old material in, just in case you're not quite bright one day in dreaming up something new to write about. Chances are the current readers haven't read it before. The loss could be, however, that some of your best material is really sage advice and may go overlooked except by the very best site surfing bloggers.

"Favorite Posts" listed on the blog sideline is one way to recycle those oldies but goodies. The other way I have seen it done is to drop names of some pertinent past posts on your current piece. Then the lazy blogger doesn't have to slug through the surf to something you can lay your finger tips on. Thinking out loud here, this is pretty good advice and I'm going to have to make some timely edits now.

Not being a Broken Record Requires Knowing What You Already Have.
Digg this (pun intended), for great content: writers, like all artists can be prone to streaks of perfectionism and want to redo earlier works. Something the perfectionist artist created in earlier days is never good enough now as he is so much more savvy and expert at his art so he feels he has to edit it or touch up the colors or even throw it out and repaint the whole canvas. Looking at it this way you may really have some new scoop on the old post, can now add points 13 and 14 to the "12 Ways To..." and this handily makes for a new post, like "Additions To The 12 Ways To...".

Personally I can let an amateurish early work of mine ride. Maybe I'll add a forward or editorial note to it but good enough then is fine now, in my mind. With my blogspot on DesignerGeodesics I'm in the process of dragging out some of earliest free shape architectural renderings and am happy to add a disclaimer. The principal is well illustrated in these works even if the aesthetic flare is lacking to my tastes now.

Use the Unpublished Draft to Keep Track of Your Future Planning.
Re content: I categorically deny that I steal any ideas from other bloggers for my own posts. Since I'm not a politician and even with the elections over I can still proffer such bull. The Latest Post from Darrel Rouse, not plagiarised by me because he gave it to me by way of RSS Feed, I only read one third of the way through before I got a flash of brilliance for this post. I was just going to note the idea in an unsung and written draft but I found myself on a roll and wrote the whole thing in one sitting.

Maybe I'll go back now and see where he was going with the rest of his post. And, like dog markings on a fire hydrant, leave my sign in a contrarian comment. To this date I haven't noticed any of my comments moderated out of existence so I seem to be doing okay at walking the fine line between contrarian and obnoxious. Yet He's not talking to me, hasn't answered my email or never even saw it because his lieutenants saved him any attempt at familiarity from an unknown. As Bloomburg took up the challenge of besting the big boys and survived quite nicely I'm up for a good fray myself.

All this brings me to the poignant datum of this post. My upmanship to Darrel's post is thus: whenever I get a new idea but also after I have have mapped out a whole long list of prospective posts I make a phantom "new post" with one paragraph or so to remind me later what the devil I was thinking. This I title and save as a draft. Later it is there for me to come back to and fill in the content and publish. Since I have been doing this I have noticeably increased the frequency of my posts.

This prompter-becomes-a-new-post involves a trick, however; you have to write it as a new post and not complete the old one. With blogger it will post on the date of the draft as a past or archival post, instead of the new date of the post. You have to copy and paste your intro paragraph, bringing it forward in time, or just start writing in a new unit of time. Then delete the draft copy.

A Genius Is Committed to Knowledge.
As a side note I consider myself peer to anybody, though my blog is green behind the gills. The Royal Savants Society possibly haze me over crumpets at the RSS Feed, if they even mention me at all. But I have no problem communicating unabashedly and sincerely in a face-to-face with a bum, a guru, a redneck or a Vice Regal - I've been all of these and more in my notoriously long past. Henry Ford didn't back down because he only had a third grade education so why should I. (I'm well educated past third grade but the intricate details of Internet webbing do escape me.)

Keeping abreast of pertinent news stories, picking up on relative research strains and reading for fun as well to hone technical skills all come with the territory, is all part of job.

Consolidate Your Activity While Still Being Diversified.
I just popped back over to the
ProBlogger post so can comment on the rest of it and reiterate a couple more points I have covered before. I used to be going at a mad rate in 10 different directions, all great and promising projects that have 5-7 figure potentials. I got bright one day and realized it wasn't 10 different directions but was a diversity of activities all under the same heading: creative laboratory.

I wasn't doing beads. pens, cutlery, magazines, crystals and numbers of other wildly disrelated diversities. It is factually blue beads, red beds, green beads, yellow beads, etc. By "this" I am referring to blogs, screenplays, novels, freelance, inventions Fresh Alaskan Air, Mellon Cutter Knife Set, MERV (My Electric Rec Vehicle) Retrofit Centers, Neo Geodes - Designer Geodesics Architectural Breakthrough, etc. All creations of my Think Tank.

The arrows may go off from a central theme to branch activities it all still fits on the same property - just the way Edison did it with his inventions labs (6 buildings) and manufacturing plants (around 20 buildings). It has different departments in different buildings without duplicative functions. It's Creation Labs, Marketing, Manufacturing, etc, but it's all on the same page.

Get Control of Your Life.
I have all the usual organizing essentials as in files (physical and cyber), favorites, bookmarks address books,etc. What I run my life and work out of though, as a self-employed writer/inventor, is two leather bound journals.

The 5 by 7 journal keeps the stream of consciousness running notes I used to manage my day and week. The battleplans/to do lists, phone notes, scribbled down phone numbers and addresses captured on the fly, all of that is kept in the smaller journal which will last 3 to 6 months before I need to start a new one. This is not some cheap steno pad that is easily lost but it is hard bound suede covered bound note pad complete with bookmark ribbons. In other words it is nice to have laying around and it doesn't get misplaced. I picked up several matching sets of these at Wal Mart for a few bucks each. Personally I just like matching sets and coordinated articles, apparently a holdover from my architectural orient. This little bit of organization, however, has proven to be immensely valuable.

The larger 7 by 9 inch journal is a tasty leather bound, gold leaf et al, which was only about $7 but lends a feeling of richness. Somehow the havingness of tasty things fosters self worth and industry. This note book with its ready lined pages fills the need to keep in one place any handwritten articles, notes or quotes from references for writing articles and yes, lists of planned posts I want to write. Most of these scripts get transcribed or edited into blog posts, chapters or screenplay scenes. There are even drawings, architectural sketches and new inventions I think up.

The former book is administrative, that latter is technical.

Give Me a Break?
The boss (me) tends to be really hard on that subject. There is a daily (mostly) routine I have that encompasses this. In the morning, while I am having the ritualistic cappuccino in the morning hours before I'm fit company, I soak in a hot tub, with my note-pad book, writing journal, and reading material. It's a long soak - but I get a lot of mileage out of this.

Still, I do like the idea of taking time off totally to go look around in the park strip, meander through the mall or browse in Barnes and Nobel, just to get some space away from the daily nose-to-the-grinstone. It's like pushing the refresh button.

Any thoughts on all this? Leave me your comments, I'd like to hear them.


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