Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
August 7, 2008 7:26 AM

How To Set Your Blog On Fire (Literally)

The easiest thing to do is to react to something immediately. It's usually a knee-jerk reaction, you scramble your thoughts together and hit the "publish" button. Sometimes you're proud of the result, other times you're embarrassed and - for the most part - the feeling is that you wished you has taken more time to think it through, read how others reacted and spent some more time formulating a more thorough opinion.

Then there are those who just Blog and could care less about what happens after that.

I'm not being critical of any of those approaches (I've done all of them individually and even some in combination ;), but there is another way to get your thoughts out there: don't publish them at all.

Yesterday, I read a Blog posting that really got under my skin. The topic, Blogger and Blog are not important (in fact, I have a strong affection for both the content and the Blogger). I read the Blog posting twice to make sure I was catching all of the angles. I formulated a comment and re-read it many times. I had this sinking feeling that if I had published it there would have been a lot of backlash. You know that feeling - we've all done it before - where you write an email, hit the "send" button but you know - deep down - that it's going to get you in trouble, and yet you can't help but send it anyway.

I did not hit the "publish" button. I copy and pasted the comment from the Blog's comment posting section into a Word document. I re-read it throughout the day, edited it, added more commentary, deleted some thoughts and language, tightened it up, etc... Then I decided to leave the comment be and write a full-on Blog posting response to post here on Six Pixels of Separation. I thought it was a masterpiece (if I do say so myself)... maybe one of the better Blog postings I had written in a long time.

Then I thought back to a great story I had read about the martial arts legend, Bruce Lee. Lee died well before his time. He was not just a great action movie star, but a deep thinker. I read (and re-read) his book, Tao of Jeet Kune Do, frequently. Lee used to write his thoughts down on paper and when he was done, he would set them on fire. It was a cathartic exercise. One where the simple act of getting his thoughts out of his brain on to paper was the primary goal. It wasn't important if anyone read them or validated them. For Lee, just putting them down and completing his thought was validation enough.

It is a great exercise to do every once in a while. Put your thoughts down, think them through, get all of that energy down from your brain into the keyboard and on to the screen... then set them on fire.

I was not trying to avoid any form of confrontation by not posting my thoughts to that individual's Blog or here on my own, there was just no point in the end. I needed to get something off of my chest, and I accomplished that. Sometimes, it's a good thing to just set your thoughts on fire once you've gotten it all out of your system.

That, or you can hit the "publish" button and use some propane gas and a match to your server.

By Mitch Joel


Comments Comments Feed
  • Posted by Alain Lemay
    Mitch Joel

    I agree completely. Sometimes it is better to just leave it alone. Some people have such a narrow perspective that nothing and no one is going to change their mind. Others do it for the sole purpose of creating controversy, in which case you are just playing into their game.
    To quote bruce: “"A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer."�
    You have to be the wise man!

    Reply
  • Posted by CT Moore
    Mitch Joel

    I've always felt that the problem with the blogosphere (on both the blogger and commenter side) was that everyone talks too much but says too little.

    Reply
  • Posted by Andy Sernovitz
    Mitch Joel

    Totally agree. A great blog is well-written and each post is well-considered. I usually gather my ideas and write 5-7 posts in a sitting, then schedule them to go live throughout the week.

    I've actually been mocked be "real" bloggers who call that "inauthentic". I don't think a blog has to be real-time. It's ok if it is, but there is no reason why it has to be. Write what works best for you.

    A great tool is Windows Live Writer. Let's me work offline and organize all my drafts. Much better than Word. Free. http://get.live.com/writer/overview

    Reply
  • Posted by Don O'Connor
    Mitch Joel

    I do agree! As much as one may be inspired to automatically respond to a blog, post, news article, etc... sometimes it is best to write it down and review it periodically. You may want to ask yourself if the effort is even worth the time to post/publish/send. If you discover that your passion for a response has waned or disappeared then perhaps you really didn't have much to say in the first place.

    Reply
  • Posted by Fabiano Prestes
    Mitch Joel

    It is indeed very good, very reliefing to set your thoughts on fire. I do that often with some clients that are not the sharpest knifes in the dish rack.

    Reply
  • It's a curious thing, at the end of many intention-setting ceremonies in Buddhism, you write your intentions and thoughts on a piece of paper or a plank of wood, then cast it into the fire. It's an old belief that the fire sets that energy, that thought free into the world, releasing the energy of your will to be worked, shaping your reality to come.

    Reply
  • Posted by Joann Sondy
    Mitch Joel

    Excellent observation and demonstration of focus & discipline. Look the popularity of social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and others... How can anything of true value be communicated in 140 characters?

    Reply
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