Bill Dybas

Working to Publish

I’ve been finding it impossible to “finish” writing blog posts. So many ideas, experiences, and analyses have been lying in drafts and scattered notes or floating around in my head. The likely excuse is that I’m just too damn busy (with work I’d rather not be doing, of course) to commit time to blog – aren’t we all?

Twitter’s implicit value proposition makes sense more and more every day – blogging for the busy. The character limit, while originally a technical constraint, provides a creative limitation. Instead of writing an entire multi-paragraph post and editing all at once, you’re forced to be concise in each individual sentance, each individual thought, editing on the fly. No need to distribute your post around the web – Twitter serializes your thoughts and publishes them to your followers’ feeds. And re-tweets and favorites give you instant feedback which of your points resonated with your readers.

Though I wonder if my impasse is psychological, not merely procrastination. Is it a need to wordsmith to perfection? Is it a fear of being vulnerable to the criticism of the Internet?

Perhaps I’m setting myself up for failure expecting to “finish” a post, subconsciously believing that I’ll never need to broach a topic again if I write one post about it – so that one post I write must be good.

Software is never “finished.” It is “released.” Tomorrow always holds new requirements – either you continue to meet the demand or move on to another project.

In the same, ideas evolve over time. To cast your thoughts in stone is to deny that with tomorrow’s new information your ideas may change. Ideas can only be “published” – a thought at a moment in time.

I need to reframe “finishing” as “publishing” – timestamping my thoughts, sealing them in a bottle, and throwing them out into the sea.