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Use your blog as a personal wayback machine

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Mon August 29th, 2005 8:52 pm


  1. Kaitlin said:
    August 29th, 2005 9:40 pm

    Even though I only keep a personal blog, I’m always looking for ways to make it more readable, even if it’s just to myself.

    Eventually it all becomes so cryptic that I can’t remember what my point was for writing it in the first place.

    It’s nice to see that my “voice” has matured, though.

  2. Josh said:
    August 30th, 2005 1:47 am

    This is the sort o’ thing you might repost on the new WBA, eh? Quite enlightening, there, Mr. Kaufmann.

  3. Gone Away said:
    August 30th, 2005 10:06 am

    Josh makes a good point. I must admit that I read my previous posts constantly, not consciously looking for mistakes although I fix them if I find them, but reminding myself that I CAN write (sometimes I don’t believe it) and looking for new ideas (very often my thoughts have moved on from where I left off in a previous post). It’s not style that I look at, however; partly I find it impossible to “hear” my own style (although I’m pretty good at identifying others’) abd also because I’m so old that I probably couldn’t learn any new tricks now anyway… ;)

  4. mike said:
    August 30th, 2005 12:08 pm

    My criteria for evaluating past posts is quite simple:

    Did this post increase my chances of getting laid? Yes=good. No=bad.

    I noticed a trend, which is why I’m posting so infrequently on my blog.

  5. mike said:
    August 30th, 2005 12:19 pm

    Sidebar – I clicked on one of your ads, Andy. Turns out you can buy an acre of land on the Moon for only $39.95. Once the Lunar Federation sells a billion acres, they will try to launch a colony. Do you believe they can put a man on the moon?

    All this Monopoly lately has made me think about getting into real estate….

    But seriously, who would want to live on the Moon? It’s the harshest environment on the planet.

  6. Pearl said:
    August 30th, 2005 2:14 pm

    Good idea. It’s an ego boost to look back and say, I could do much better. In fact I have and I will with this messy old post now.

  7. Mallory said:
    August 30th, 2005 4:24 pm

    I have a couple of rebuttals (you should have known I would):

    (1) Your assertion that journals are not meant for public consumption, whereas blogs are, is an interesting one, thinking epistemologically. I would argue that many journals are indeed intended for public consumption. My argument is two-part:

    [a] The history of journalling as we have understood it has been based upon those journals which did end up “consumed” by the public. How would we know about journalling, the structure of journalling, even the idea of journalling, if no journals had ever been publicly consumed, examined (sometimes in tedious detail; at this time, I give a nod to Samuel Pepys), and disseminated for further consumption and examination? Some interesting examples of this are the aforementioned Pepys, Benjamin Franklin, Anne Frank (arguably, but I still think a good example, if only for the reason that she recognized the value her journal could have if she began to direct it toward an audience, rather than what she perceived as her personal audience of herself and “Kitty,” the journal itself…which is, still, an audience, which brings me to my next point). [b] While it cannot be stated as a categorical imperative (and keep in mind, later, that I did say it is not one), I think it must be stated for the argument that, in general, anything written is written for an audience, even if that audience never reads the work written. Some literary critics even go so far as to suggest that every poem is written to someone, that every short story is written to a certain demographic, that every piece of literature ever written (ever) was written with a certain targeted audience on whom it would have the greatest effect. So, even if I am writing a journal I never consciously intend to show anyone, it is likely that I have written it in, for example, a defensive mode, written to a “you” who would disagree with me, or, as another example, in a formal mode which would lend itself to an academic, educated audience. In a way, it’s an “if a tree falls in a forest” scenario: if the audience doesn’t hear the message, does that mean the message doesn’t exist?

    (2) I find it interesting that you seem to question the validity of emotions as a form of experience and truth. I know that you are looking, in your stepwise program, at improving writing, not necessarily the handling or understanding of a situation, but I tend to think the two are inextricably linked: the experience, the impression of said experience, and the expression of said experience. So, while I understand that you are looking for greater clarity and skill in writing, I would encourage you (as the Ever-Present Emotional Devil’s Advocate) to think about the value of an emotionally charged, though perhaps less materially descriptive piece of writing.

  8. Josh said:
    August 30th, 2005 11:34 pm

    What does bloviatory mean? ;)

  9. 9rules Member Interview: Andrew Kaufmann of Lunar Adventures » 9rules Featured said:
    August 28th, 2006 5:01 pm

    […] I had a post about using your blog as a method of self-reflection and evaluation of your progress as a writer, entitled Use your Blog as a Personal Wayback Machine. It was linked to by ProBlogger and remains one of my most-visited posts — and I’m not sure why. I think it’s kind of one of those “self-improvement” type of things that people are either finding useful or hoping to find useful then being disappointed that the post wasn’t very useful. Hard to tell for sure, but I know lots of people want to improve at the craft of blogging and are always looking for resources to do so. The popularity of that post is a reflection of that, I believe. […]

  10. Cheryl Rundle said:
    December 31st, 2006 4:44 pm

    Hmmm… differences between blogs and back-in-the-day diaries or journals. As one who does not have a blog but started a diary almost 40 years ago, it is the full expectation of privacy and not ability to write that is important. Yes, reviewing past entries is relevent but to see patterns in personal response and growth. My diary is even in my will and may be read or published in parts many years after my death. I am not at all interested in ‘comments’ to my life…

  11. alexa said:
    July 1st, 2007 3:00 pm

    Yes, looking back. I’ve been blogging for about a year, and I used to be a wordy little sucker. Fortunately for anyone reading my more current posts, I surf around and read lots of other blogs and websites for ideas. Sadly, I no longer have the time or the energy to spare wading through anything more than a page long. If I won’t stick around long enough to read a long post, most other people won’t either. So my posting has been worn down to a streamlined nub of modern blog posting tidbitness.

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