Archive for the ‘Blogging’ Tag

Fruits of holiday musings

Two solid weeks of quiet introspection, and here we are back in the real world.  A problem with unconstrained free thinking is that it’s extremely hard to focus.  Without boundaries, we’re fertile ground for any whim or circumstance.  

In the past couple weeks, I’ve read a great deal, and watched an incredibly moving TED lecture, and visited the zoo, and improved my baking skills, and painted.  Painting is an especially effective way to brain dump.  I ran across this amazing quote from Christopher Alexander (thanks to Gretchen Rubin):

” … the more one understands of painting, the more one recognizes that the art of painting is essentially one way, which will always be discovered and rediscovered, over and over again, because it is connected with the very nature of painting, and must be discovered by anybody who takes painting seriously. The idea of style is meaningless: what we see as a style (of a person or of an age) is nothing but another individual effort to penetrate the central secret of painting, which is given by the Tao, but cannot itself be named.”

Sometimes you paint as worship for the beauty of the world; sometimes you paint as a way to bridge consciousness and truth.  When your awareness, hopes, and beliefs seem to get you nowhere in life, using paints is always comforting and affirming.  I’d show you some of what I painted, but I keep painting over the same canvas.  The value is in the action, not the product.

What’s the result of this vision quest?  Well, I’m starting off this new year with great expectations.  I’m more dedicated than ever to the search for my deepest authenticity.  I have renewed energy for the continuous effort to effectively use my gifts for the benefit of others.

And I’m at last going to move this blog to my own website!  I’d originally kept the two separate, to allow for more freedom of expression in the blog.  Now I realize that taking the risk of exposing my personality through my blog is an important part of establishing my business.  It’s a social media basic!  So, as of today, you can find these writings at http://www.asthemoonclimbs.com/blog.php – where you’ll need to re-register the RSS.

I mentally journeyed through many a cosmos over the past two weeks, and wondered at the mysteries and possibilities, and even experienced the despair of overwhelming confusion.  But I’ve emerged calmer and more hopeful; and excited about going ‘from strength to strength’ with you as 2009 unwinds.

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Spreading the (blogging) wealth

I admitted yesterday that this blog tends to the ponderous if not the downright lugubrious.  It’s my nature to immediately seek the deep meaning, and it’s my conviction that the human race has a challenging mandate to evolve, and I do tend to drive that point with a heavy hand. 

All this means I have but a few readers.  Folks generally don’t traffic in this kind of seriousness.  I bear responsibility, though, and seek to be more practical, specific, maybe even fun in upcoming posts.  But whether or not I can achieve this, I would like to join up with more readers and commenters who also feel the call of a new life and transformed perspective as we progress into a murky future.  Heck, I wouldn’t mind harangues from people who think I’m an idiot.  It just would be nice to know someone’s out there picking up a vibe or two.

To this end, I’ve signed up at Chuck Westbrook’s blog, to participate in his marvelous campaign to boost blogs with tiny audiences.  Organizing a few hundred of us crazed scribes, Chuck is focusing us on a series of under-appreciated bloggers, giving them each in turn a week or two of sizeable readership.  It’s a fabulous, truly helpful, and generous idea.  Thank you, Chuck!

And tomorrow, I promise, a close encounter with JOY.

…and counting

One hundred posts to this blog as of today.  Sheesh.  All lined up like a collection of shells gathering moss.  Collections are endearing, and a helpful way to focus thinking.  They are also useless, in a sense, and just sit around taking up space.  But a creative viewpoint will explore their quirks and wring them for their hidden sparkle.  Collections remember the past with fondness, while holding infinite hope for the future.

Blogging and branding

One thing that bloggers often write about is blogging.  Whether or not their site is generally dedicated to the theme, sooner or later most authors will address the existential meaning of what they’re doing by posting on a regular basis.  A good many of them are hoping for income, and continue blogging as long as the site performs for them monetarily.  But the angst associated with faithfully posting while you know very few people actually read your words is often discussed.  The solution is always to find ways to increase your readership, and the blogger’s next logical step is to produce a list of methods to do this.

I’ve been talking about branding here, with the focus lately on worker branding.  So much is written about business branding, but little guidance is offered for the employee.  And what is a brand, anyway?  I think of it as reputation, the way other people think of you.  You reference your friend Joe when talking with someone, and you describe him as “My friend Joe, the accountant” or “Joe, my buddy from school” or “Joe, the corporate guy.”  Very often, your job steals your brand. 

In the theater, we used to say that an artistically built character is one we don’t notice until we see the person out-of-character.  This is related to the church signboards that advertise, “Your true character emerges in difficult times.”  Who you are down deep may not bear any relation at all to your brand, and this is a situation that will cause discomfort until you correct it.

I want to talk more about worker branding, but for now, let me tie this matter to my opening paragraph here.  Blogging, for me, is a way of exploring in depth my personal brand.  It’s my current attempt at synthesizing my native character with my reputation.  It’s also writing from my own resources daily, which is a demanding and hopefully skill-improving practice. 

My point is that while I have a teensy-weensy readership, I still buttheadedly continue to blog because, guess what?  It’s all about me and my brand.  Because I know that even if your true brand doesn’t bring you riches, it will bring you peace.

Video

Been wondering about writing versus video these days. Our champion blogger, Darren Rowse of ProBlogger fame is even tempted, suggesting in recent posts that he really likes creating little videos as opposed to writing his thoughts. It’s certainly accessible to the viewer, pandering to our tv tastes and lessening the need for reading and writing accuracy.

I specialize in writing and yet often suspect that writing is simply going out of style. Those who can do it well are rare; those who can’t seldom recognize (or care about) the need for help and go ahead and publish garbled grammar, ridiculous spelling, and pathetic syntax – or they make a video! Why bother with writing? The lack of respect for excellence is writing is clearly reflected in the classified ads, where writing assistance is requested for much less compensation than you’d give your babysitter.

Of course the general demise of poetry over the course of the 20th century foreshadowed this loss of respect. With hip hop being the only well known and appreciated form of poetry in our society, it’s accurate to say the genre’s life is almost done. Since poetry is the ultimate linguistic expression, we can expect other forms of written language will similarly disappear.

I’d like to defend reading and writing, because I was suckled on them and love them both as major supports for my life. But I’m old, and others will bear the standard into the future. Imagine a world where all communications are in video. Would you miss the experience of reading? Would there be things that are inexpressible digitally, that would be lost in a world without writing?