Notes

On Keeping a Commonplace book/site

From Wikipedia:

>
Commonplace books (or commonplaces) are **a way to compile knowledge**, usually by writing information into books. They have been kept from antiquity, and were kept particularly during the Renaissance and in the nineteenth century. **Such books are essentially scrapbooks** filled with items of every kind: **recipes, quotes, letters, poems, tables of weights and measures, proverbs, prayers, legal formulas**. Commonplaces are used by readers, writers, students, and scholars as **an aid for remembering useful concepts or facts**. Each one is unique to its creator’s particular interests but they almost always include passages found in other texts, sometimes accompanied by the compiler’s responses. They became significant in Early Modern Europe.
Wikipedia extract on Commonplace books.
As soon as I heard about the idea of a commonplace I was immediately interested and wanted to start keeping one myself. But then I soon realised — my website is kind of on the way to becoming what I would call my own commonplace. I tend to write about a bunch of things that interest me, and had even begun saving quotes from the few books I read.

Not only will this give me a new angle at which to come at mt personal site from, I think it will even aid in ridding me of the occasional writer’s block, whatever that is. If I start writing little and often — some personal notes and some posts — it can only do good things for my writing habits. 🙂

External Links

How and why to keep a commonplace bookRyan Holiday.

MarginaliaWikipedia.

Mark Twain’s Marginalia.

Everyone Should Keep A Commonplace Book: Great Tips From People Who Do.

All about commonplacing.

How to Keep a Digital Commonplace.

Tags Commonplace Writing

It’s been a while

I’ve not been writing as often as I’d like this last week. Partly this is due to my having done the Birmingham International Marathon last Sunday and being in recovery from a knee injury from that. But I know that’s a pathetic excuse – there’s always my phone that I can write posts on after all.

That being said I am currently putting together a structure, a strategy if you like, for planning writing and publishing posts at a more consistent rate. Once it is all put together I’ll put together a list of the programs and services I am using for it.

I had a goal a few weeks back of getting to this site to have 250 published posts in total by Christmas day 2017. This post will be number 182 so I’m not sure if I’ll successfully manage 250 by then. But I will give it a good try.

Going to be going pumpkin picking tomorrow but don’t know what I’m going to theme my pumpkin on this year. Last year’s was Pinhead from Hellraiser. I’d love to hear some suggestions from you.

Take care, Dave.

Tags Reflection Writing

Stop worrying about your niche – just write

Every single regurgitated blog post I see about starting a blog always says the same thing – find a niche and focus on targeting it. This can be a toxic idea as it has the power to both limit you and paralyse you from writing.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t have a focus in your writing, just don’t let finding a focus stop you from writing.

My advice to anybody out there wanting to start a blog is this – just open a free WordPress.com account and get writing. I mention WordPress as it is cloud-based, free, and has the ability for you to export your posts when you are ready to move to a self-hosted solution.

Just start writing.

Even the process of setting up a self-hosted WordPress site can be danuting for new people, but that’s okay. You shouldn’t need to worry about these steps when you are just starting out.

I highly recommend that you do have a self-hosted website eventually, just don’t let setting one up hinder you from any writing you could actually be doing.

You don’t need to feel that you have to publish everything you write either. Just writing for writing’s sake is good for you. Obviously if you can share your thoughts and experiences with the world then that’s all good, just don’t feel you have to.

Tags Writing

“Visits” are real people too.

When trying to write every day, I find myself looking at my WordPress dashboard to see how many visits I’ve had up to that point. When the bar chart goes way higher than the average I get excited; when it is lower or completely empty I get down.

Sitting down to wait for my dinner today I thought to myself that these numbers on the bar charts are real people. Flesh and blood people who have landed on my website by chance. I have the opportunity to share something real with them.

I had recently tried maintaining a music-focussed blog, which I managed to keep up for a few months before leaving it to go stale. Those old reviews and interviews have now been brought under my personal website domain and I’m no longer writing to just “get views”.

Of course, the more people I have visiting me the better, but I’m not going to go out of my way to write things I don’t want to just because I think more people will want to read it. From now on I will try and just tell the truth; my truth.

Along with writeups/reviews of various things I see and do, as well as keeping a journal of sorts, I aim to make this an honest account of my experiences. Anyone who comes along for the ride is a bonus.

Thanks,

Dave.

P.s. if any of you reading this have your own website, let me know in the comments below. Cheers.

Tags Writing People

Taking my blog too serious

I’m finding I’m taking my blog way too seriously. Instead of just writing; checking; and publishing, I’m leaving posts in draft worried they are not professional enough.

This is stupid.

This website is for me and me alone. I’m currently writing (have written) a long post about my experience with playing Life is Strange and I’m too busy trying to make it sound like a professional review to actually publish it.

From a couple of podcasts I’ve listened to recently I have found this is a common issue for bloggers.

I’m going to do my very best to not censor or judge myself too much. Instead I’m gonna do my very best to just get writing every single day.

In this spirit I’m not going to proof read this post – instead I’m just gonna press publish…

…now.

Tags Writing

A Deeper Appreciation For Music

As I’m writing this current review, of Bat For Lashes’ latest album, I’m realising that I’m gaining a deeper understanding of the songs than I would have done simply from just listening to them.

I’m finding myself focusing and even studying the music and the lyrics and feel like I’m getting so much more out of the album.

I have noticed it before with other albums I’ve reviewed recently, but it’s with this one – and specifically the song “In God’s House”, that I’ve have really noticed it.

Tags Music Writing

On writing my album reviews

Three weeks ago I launched a new website side-project.

This was a purely creative outlet for me, doing something I’ve wanted to do for a while — write album reviews.

Well, they’re not specifically reviews; more like recommendations. When I hear albums I want to share with people, I now try to write a little piece about it.

At the time of writing this, I have not long finished the third album — Priest’s eponymous debut. But I am already starting to worry that I’ll run out of ways to describe these albums.

I know that they are all different and I know the thoughts I want to get across to readers, but I’m just worried that I wont do these artists I love listening to justice.

I’m going to continue this in the same vein as the 100 days project, except I’m going to publish one every week on a Tuesday evening. I just know that if I tried to do one a day the writing would be even worse and I’d probably fall behind and end up not actually doing any.

So a realistic goal like once a week should be manageable. You can see the reviews I’ve got scheduled on the coming soon page. Cheers, Dave.

Tags Writing

I’ve only written three album reviews so far and I’m already worried that I’m going to run out of original things to say.

Tags Writing

Inner critics and just getting on with it

I have just written this post and then lost it without saving. I am annoyed. That said, I’ll try and rewrite without rushing too much.

I’m always tinkering around with this website. As a result I tend to sometimes get bored with it. I feel the design just looks dull and uninspired, and find that my backend could be a lot cleaner… phrasing. I then feel that my website needs to be improved – and as a result rebuilt.

This is the inner critic talking.

You know that guy/gal right? They are the one that sits back doing naff-all and only pipes up to say something when you’ve created something, or are thinking of doing so, and says “That’s shit – what are you thinking?”. The inner critic is a fecking wonker (intentional fake swearing) and needs to be put down.

Something I listened to last week really hit home with me about this. On this episode of The Web Ahead podcast, Jen Simmons talked with Jeremy Keith about understanding the web. I am always inspired when hearing Jeremy talk about the web and building for it

This is when the site never gets launched because it’s never quite good enough. The number of designers who haven’t launched because it doesn’t look quite right, or the number of developers because they haven’t finished writing their own CMS.

Jeremy Keith on The Web Ahead episode #110

In this episode He and Jen were talking about how people – in general – are so used to publishing on the web through a service – or gatekeeper as they called it. Also they mentioned about people’s habit of self-censoring and imposing their own restrictions.

It was after listening to this that I realised that my own reasons for thinking I needed to rebuild my site were all self-imposed reasons and that it was stopping me from actually writing stuff. I have been concentrating too much on the tools of publishing instead of actually just publishing.

So this entry is a way for me to try and break that habit. Let’s see how long I can keep it up for… phrasing.

Tags The Web Writing Inner Critic