Garbage in, garbage out

After posting the last chapter of my little serial novel a couple of weeks ago, I took a few days of, ahem, “forced downtime”.

I went completely off the grid for a full five days – no web, no blogs, no Twitter, no Flickr, not even television. It was glorious in its own way, as I was able to return to the media maelstrom with fresh eyes and a somewhat fresh mind. And you know what? The vast majority of content out there is complete crap. Shocking, I know.

This shouldn’t come as a revelation to any of you, seeing as you’re all sophisticated creative types who are talented and experienced in sorting the good stuff from the ick. But try taking a break from it all for even a couple of days, and when you return, you’ll see what I mean.

My point is that I came to realize how much time I spend sorting the good content from the crap, and the relevant good from the good, and the interesting relevant good from the relevant good, and so on. And that’s just within the scope of the stuff put out by my friends, colleagues, connections, etc. It’s staggering.

It all makes me want to work harder to be a better online media consumer, and producer. I’d love to be able to read every post on every one of my friend’s blogs and Tumblrs and whatnot, but I just can’t. And I know you can’t either. So while I’m going to cut down on the amount of content I immerse myself in and comment on, I’ll also pledge to work harder at producing slightly less but much better content of my own. Deal?

posted 1/28/09 at 10:36am to Me me me, Site stuff, Writing · 0 replies · permalink

Owning every pixel

Merlin knocks it out of the park with this post on 43f:

Except inasmuch as it can help move aside barriers to finishing the projects that you claim matter to you, “productivity” is often a sprawling ghetto of well-marketed nonsense for people who really just need a ritalin and a hug. So, for myself, random tips and lists that aren’t anchored to solving a real-world problem for a smart but flawed adult with a mind are dead to me. Pour a forty on ‘em.

I must admit that I haven’t been reading 43f much1 over the past couple of months, precisely for the reasons that Merlin himself states in his post; namely the feeling that “productivity pr0n” had become a renegade force of nature, imploding into a time-sucking singularity of such gravitational power that it threatened to pull all real creative work into its accretion disk, where it would spin around for all eternity2.

That’s not to be construed as a knock on Merlin.  Quite the contrary – it’s astounding how he managed to outline his change of gears with such candor and clarity.  Merlin’s content has been the basis for much of my own efforts to understand, control, and master the information cloud that surrounds me, especially over the past six months.  It’s a constant struggle to keep my energy level where it needs to be in order to do the real creative work that sustains me.  While I rely on my online connections to fill my constant need for raw input and intellectual challenge, too often it’s the equivalent of junk food; spending 20 minutes sifting through a comment thread on a favorite blog just to find one worthwhile contribution often feels like eating a Big Mac and then wanting to sleep the rest of the day away.

It’s reopened my eyes to how much time I devote to things that don’t help me move forward, and seeking validation from people who don’t matter3.  And it’s also got me thinking about the direction of my own site, and who I’m trying to please with it.

  1. Whereby “much” I mean “at all”
  2. Please pardon the awkward black hole metaphor. Guess I still have LHC on the brain.
  3. I mean this largely in the sense of “people who don’t ultimately have an influence over my success or failure”.
posted 9/12/08 at 1:05pm to Site stuff, Writing · 0 replies · permalink

Housekeeping redux

I’m back home after eight days of vacation1.  Though I’m spending most of today sorting through various inboxes, voicemails, postal mail (hey, remember paper?), packages and parcels2 and other things that piled up while I was away.

I want to thank Josh again for guest posting last week, and hope that you’ll all take the opportunity to pester him into writing his own damn blog, despite his constant whining about how he doesn’t have time because “I have a job,” and “my wife is having twins and she’s making me run to the store every six minutes for lime Jell-O and Kraft Cheese Singles”.  Also, give him a follow on the Twitter, or he’ll pout.

Regular posting should resume tomorrow.  Thanks for playing nice while I was away.

  1. Why yes, I had a lovely time. Thank you for asking.
  2. I love having lots of packages waiting at home after I’ve been away.  Ooh, this one is an odd-shaped bundle wrapped in brown butcher paper and rubber bands, sent from the Ukraine. Whee!
posted 9/8/08 at 12:54pm to Site stuff · 2 replies · permalink

Filling the gap

I feel bad leaving you all without fresh content while I’m away this week. I had every intention of posting a couple of times, but my schedule and technical setup aren’t working in harmony.

So with that, I’m going to have a guest contributor for the first time on ddc. For the next couple of days, I’m handing over the keys to the hirsute and talented Josh Hopkins.

When you can, please visit his own site. You can also find him on the Twitter. Just try not to stare at his eye patch. He’s very sensitive about that.

posted 9/3/08 at 3:11pm to Site stuff · 0 replies · permalink

Housekeeping

Hey kids.  Some quick updates, for anyone who’s interested:

  1. Blogging has obviously not been a priority for me this week.  I’ve been in a completely reactive work mode, plus getting ready for vacation.  I hate to go more than a couple of days without content for you, so sorry about that.
  2. I’m leaving for vacation tomorrow – a well-earned week at the Jersey Shore as a last hurrah for summer.  Though considering I can’t sit still for ten minutes without a pen or a mouse in my hand, it will likely be a working vacation to some extent.  I’ll blog if anything interesting comes up, and of course I’ll be Tweeting.  Probably from my iPhone at the beach.  A daily Twitpic of my toes in the sand is likely, just to rub it in for all of you wage slaves.  I won’t be regularly reading email, but I will be checking my “super secret” address often if you already have it.
  3. Most of the week will be spent getting the first chapter of Mr. Abernathy ready for the 10/1 publication date.  I’m really excited about this project, and I hope that you all will read it and help me pimp it out to as large an audience as possible.
  4. I’ll also be thinking about Project Evidence this week – another work in progress in tandem with a brilliant writer and artist that I’m thrilled to be collaborating with.  More to follow on that.
  5. In the meantime, if you’re bored and want something to read or look at, you can sift through my pretty pictures at Flickr, or go read one of my favorite blogs.

Have a great week, and be nice to one another.

posted 8/29/08 at 11:07am to Me me me, Site stuff · 0 replies · permalink