After my last post, I’ve signed up to Medium and am currently experimenting with it by updating and publishing some posts from my old blog. Revisiting this content has actually been eye-opening, primarily because of how dated it is. Not just the subject matter, but the quality too. I’d anticipated this process would involve little more than tweaking a fine lines here and there. Instead, I’m having to do some serious rewriting.
My old blog had hundreds of posts, yet only a handful drew a consistent audience. The rest were largely forgotten about, both by Google and visitors to the site. Most of it was commentary on a particular event, or thoughts on a book or blog post I’d read. Great at the time, but not so good several years later, when new events took up the headlines, different books became must-reads, and links to other sites inevitably broke. A prime example was a post about how to be productive on a Blackberry! At the time, it was a good, useful read and I was proud of it. But who’s going to find any value in it now?
It got me thinking. What if I could take out the time-defining elements of my content? Better yet, what if I focused on topics that were relevant long-term? That way, my content wouldn’t go to waste or lose value. I called this idea timeless blogging. And it was a mistake.
Blogging isn’t time-less it’s time-full. Beside the obvious fact that posts come in chronological order, they are also a stream of thoughts, ideas and opinions, that change and evolve. All writing is of its time, both in terms of the subject matter and quality of writing. It’s what inspires the writing in the first place. To try and remove that inspiration, to update the post years later when that inspiration is no longer there, is to risk diluting it.
There are parallels with my writing nowadays. I worked on my first book for five years. Such a long period of time meant my thinking changed, and so did the fundamentals of the plot. In fact, it changed multiple times, even between the first two drafts. And this wasn’t because I always came up with “better” ideas, it was because what interested me in the beginning, naturally changed three, four and five years later.
My intention has always been to return to this book in the future. Maybe I should just start afresh instead. It might feel like a waste to scrap so much work. It would certainly be a shame. But nothing, not even writing, stands still.