I’m aware that a certain paradox is in play when I’m blogging. Spending time writing about communications issues consumes time that I could be using for communications research.
If I stopped blogging I might actually have more to blog about. This is because I would be spending more time cultivating my knowledge, studying and learning, and less time committing my thoughts to paper. It seems that blogging comes with an opportunity-cost.
There’s a wider issue here too. I have a sense that, if I was to detach myself from the tools which I use to blog, I may also spend less time writing about the minutiae of communications and instead focus on some of the bigger issues.
Having access to an iPhone means I can always take notes, wherever and whenever I want. The downside, inevitably, is that I also waste time on low-grade activities, such as checking my Twitter and LinkedIn updates.
If I ditched my iPhone perhaps I would be less distracted. If I went further and removed all writing/recording equipment, I may also find that I have more time to spend on activities that are of themselves rich sources of inspiration for content. At least I would have made space for those activities.
I recently heard a news report about Prince (Rogers Nelson) who recently passed away. The journalist said that Prince would often invite journalists to interview him, but not necessarily permit them to use any kind of recording device, including pens and paper.
I thought this was not such a bad idea. If you applied that method of writing to your own situation, you may get the best of both worlds; the best and most useful experiences, as well as the best write-ups.
If you left your writing/recording tools at home you could free yourself up to go and do something amazing. Your energies and attention would also be more focused on that activity. Doing all those things would probably mean that you also have something great to write about too.
Furthermore, your brain would naturally remember all the best bits, and filter out all the boring stuff. Your memory has already done the heavy lifting of selecting content, story angles and editing. All the hard work is taken care of. And for the most part you have cut down on wasting time on those ‘low grade’ activities such as checking social media updates.
But there is also a counter view, of course. By prioritising writing and recording, you force yourself to go and do something amazing in order to have something to write about in the first place. Take television presenters, for example. They visit exotic countries and go and do unusual things, to give them something different to say, that people will find of interest.
By starting the process of gathering ideas for blog content, you also kick-start the creative process, not just of blogging, but of doing the very things that you want to write about. It becomes a catalyst for change for you as the writer or blogger.
Additionally, by spending time blogging about small issues, you are creating a path which may ultimately lead to you eventually writing about the larger issues within your industry, not least because you may now be directly involved, not just in writing about them, but also in solving them. This series of opportunities may not have happened, had you not started out in your own small way.
Well, I’ve convinced myself. I’m still for writing and blogging. Though I appreciate the need to balance the time I spend writing and blogging, with the time that I spend ‘doing’. There is a symbiotic relationship between the two, for sure, and they are not mutually exclusive. But I believe there’s a series of adventures out there to be had, and writing and blogging about them can be an important first step towards making them happen.