March 1, 2013

Getting back on the blog treadmill

I’ve spent a bit of my downtime this week recreating what I called the blog pages (highlights) on my old site, working on the pages that chronicled my adventures during 2007 and 2008. It’s always fascinating going back over what I was doing, thinking about, planning, and concerned about back then. These little time capsules help me maintain a bit of perspective as I track this weird, exciting, and sometimes convoluted career trajectory over the years.

In addition to these public blogs (which I’ve been posting since 1998 on the first version of my site), I’ve been keeping a private journal, starting with a little pink diary halfway through sixth grade in 1963. Around 1971, I switched to journaling in notebooks, usually spiral bound, a habit I maintained until this past July, when I realized that my hands get too sore writing as much as I write, and I switched to journaling on my iPad. No, it’s not the same, and I miss the feel of a pen in my hand gliding over the paper, but I really couldn’t handle the pain any more. That said, I still feel the need to get my non-public thoughts (and, um, language) down from time to time, so I still pursue this outlet. (I seem to be able to handle keyboarding for longer stretches of time, which allows me to get more down, and record my thoughts faster than I ever could by hand.)

So back to my online journal… By the time I launched the WordPress version of this site in December 2012, I had started thinking of “blogs” as a different entity from the journal entries I had kept online (as “highlights”) for the previous 14 years. The new material that appeared as blogs took the form of articles or commentary on education, relationships, family, or cultural issues or events. Although I continued to convert the blog journals I had kept in previous years (re-ordering them in first-to-last sequence through the year, rather than the usual new-stuff-on-top-of-old-stuff blog order), I got away from chronicling my work life as I had been doing.

Part of this is structural, trying to figure out how to set up these pages, keeping current blogs current and not asking anyone who might be inclined to check these pages to have to scroll through old stuff to get to the new stuff. So I thought I’d do separate blog entries and then when I got enough, put them together in a “Highlights” blog page. But I’m thinking that maybe I could start a “highlights” page in the usual most-recent-entry-at-the-top and then re-order the sequence more logically when I start the next blog page. I guess I’m gonna play this by ear and at the moment, this latter idea appeals to me.

This means that the last non-content blog, the one about my hands hurting so much from building these stupid Web pages, will show up under this entry and then, assuming that I keep up this practice, somewhere in the next few months when there are several dated entries here, I’ll start a “Highlights of 2013, Part 2” page and re-order these entries. Or is that just a stupid idea?  (Reading back over the old blogs from the past 15 years makes no sense to me reading entries in reverse order. I don’t want to read a December entry noting progress on something I mentioned in an earlier blog that I haven’t gotten to yet.)

So I want to keep up this practice, for whatever it’s worth to anybody but me, and I’m still in the process of figuring out how to pull it off in this new format. I do know that there are people— bless you all, by the way— who make their way to these pages and I’m grateful for their willingness or curiosity to share my process, and your patience until I figure this out.

Projects Old and New

It’s been funny going over my January plans and resolutions from years ago and seeing how many goals just kept showing up year after year after year. (Most interesting to me were the number of goals that were resolved by simply shifting to WordPress, and those eliminated by changes in technology, like getting content onto CDs.)

I’m in the lounge at the airport in Seattle (yes, it’s raining here) and in my briefcase I have a few files I pulled from my “old stuff” shelf, mostly ideas for books and writing projects that either turned into something else or just never got off the ground (probably because I ended up working on something else instead).

I don’t feel like working on anything much right now—I tend to do better when I’ve gotten started on something and can pick it up and add to it when I’m on the road, certainly easier than starting something new, at least for where I am (mentally) today. That said, last week, I agreed to work on another book in the Win-Win series, this one for school leadership and administrators.

Update 5/1/16: 

More than three years later and I’m going through all 527 of the pages I have on this site so far, finding posts that never got published (including this one) or completed (like this one). I don’t even know (yet) if I have highlights pages for the past two years, but the leadership book is still a possibility. Once I finish cataloguing the pages and related resources for each one—images, audio, video, and various documents—I’d like to start a 2016 highlights page and hope I have something more interesting than cleaning out closets and organizing data on my hard drives to share.

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