Curating Yourself: When Old Blog Posts Weigh You Down

old boots

Certain problems with blogging have become apparent to me lately:

1) The casual format encourages random dumping of stuff rather than sifting and curating and development of ideas into cohesive, finished pieces. Like books. The more I read and learn, the less patience I have to sort through people’s process. Or my own for that matter.

2) Over time, the blog history fills with writing that is no longer current, no longer relevant, no longer good (as the writer grows, improves, transforms, learns). This feels like a sluggish weight to be carrying around. As if each book you publish includes all the other books you’ve ever written as appendices. And the journal you kept while writing them. I feel mild embarrassment that grows over time as my blog ages.

3) There is no separation between this uncurrent cruft, and the bits and pieces that are still relevant, wise, funny, and worth reading. I could rely on metrics like “most read” but I don’t trust them. I want to curate my work myself.

4) I used to write just to put something on paper. Now I write to say something. The more I want to do work that reaches people, the more focused and curated I want to be. If I’m going to write messy-journal stuff, I want that to be somewhere private.

I think that I will periodically review and edit my old posts. This is probably anathema to the blogging culture…you are supposed to leave an unbroken record, I guess. Blah, whatever. I am not a history book. I think of it as releasing a revised addition of a book. I’m sure plenty of authors have wished sometimes that they could pull all old copies of their books and instantly revise them when what they’ve written proves embarrassing later on. Anyway, I want to. Which is a good reason for anything.

A friend from college once visited and commented that I didn’t seem to own a single thing from when we were roommates 10 years before. I thought, “Should I?”. This blog feels old, like crusty dorm room furniture. I want to sort through it, toss the junk, and go shopping for a new sofa. It’s weighing me down.

Second, I think I will create a private space for me to do more “journally” and “spewage” type writing – and only put the best stuff here. I’ve forgotten that I love to write. I want to feel free to write out whatever crap is in my head without worrying that it will be mistaken for stuff I think anyone else might be interested in.

Update: I’ve gone as far as unlisting most of my posts to let myself gradually curate them back in if they seem worthwhile. I am more convinced than ever that I don’t want to leave my internal processing notes around on the internet…both for privacy, and for clarity. What I say when I’m muddy is mostly mud. I’d rather leave a clear trail.

Comments

  1. Well put. I totally get you, Emma. I find myself in a conundrum with your point #1. Part of me wants to just get stuff out there on a regular basis and let go of crafting and curating. But I am much more wired to create a cohesive piece and that slows me down. That’s my weight.

    Any way you slice it, you are a solid writer and an enjoyable read. I’d have to really dig through your old stuff to see if it appears weighty or embarrassing, but so far, I am impressed and interested in reading more from you. Thanks.

  2. Heya,

    Thanks. =)
    You might want to check out my other blog, http://www.TaoofProsperity.com, it’s more of my business-relevant writing. This blog is more personal.

    Both are sparse lately…I have a whole plan to go back through and curate stuff…but then I just don’t write anything until I have that done. Which is silly. So…we’ll see. I’m still figuring it out.

    Emma

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