As time passes since I started a blog, I have accumulated massive lists of ideas that I’ve never touched. I’m a content hoarder of sorts. I queue up endless articles and books and videos, among other content I plan to consume and digest over time. I gather and process for understanding, or using in my classes in some way, faster than I am able to write anything substantial or constructive. I’ve never written content I wanted to write freely about as much as I’d like to. My “writing” since the last time I was a student in 2011 has been focused on personal correspondence or work. For instance, letters to friends are my favorite things to write, getting and giving counsel, processing life and just sharing stories. However I have probably written the most for work, especially now as a teacher, responding to students, writing lessons and other avenues for speaking and teaching as they come up. But even in business I sometimes wrote for days at a time. There were client emails, proposals, project specifications, marketing copy and so on. My content production, as it were, is almost entirely relegated to private, personal messages, be it either close friends or for work. Along the way I’ve amassed a huge list I just call “ideas.” Usually these are ideas for any number of kinds of projects, possible businesses, books, dissertation topics, video projects, and lastly for potential blogs. I developed the habit of writing that kind of thing down, but have been primarily focused on my life experiences and working them out privately. Two years ago I was accepted to a dissertation only PhD program, but then I switched careers and moved to a new state. Last year I came close to launching a website focused on Indian food products and cooking videos, but right as I was about to do that I changed careers and moved to Korea. These are a couple of examples.
I’ve treated blogging almost like the dump heap of my ideas. The place my idea goes, not to die, but after it dies. Therefore, not willing to accept the death of my ideas, I rarely blog. This has not been conscious for the most part, just something that happened. I write about it now because I’ve decided I want to change it. I want blogging to be a part of the earlier steps in the life cycle of my thoughts, not the postmortem of a death cycle. I have actually written many blogs, but they are all drafts or deleted. I process what I want to process, and then don’t feel like taking the risk of sharing.
I don’t know what shape this will take yet, other than using an upcoming break from work to slow my content consumption and generate some instead. For some context, at any given time I have over 200 articles saved on Facebook, hundreds of links bookmarked on Chrome, and a book reading/listening queue well over a hundred as well. This doesn’t factor in the content I consume or generate from work, even though there is a fair amount of overlap. I don’t see this as something to brag about for a few reasons. One is that I know bigger content hoarders than myself and I find my efforts unimpressive. I also think it’s a bit excessive or obsessive, and my wife would likely agree. I’m not sure why I treat information the way I do. I think it comes from being raised in a bit of a cultural cul de sac in rural Kentucky and then slowly letting my curiosity take over to the point of some kind of dominant impulse. For some reason I feel driven to write more than I have for a long time. Probably because the semester is wrapping up and I’m looking at a few weeks of some long awaited rest. I’m most likely entering a season of withdrawal from work and wanting to use the creative engines for more personal or experimental matters. Also, while I’m certainly not alone, living abroad does have an isolating affect. Perhaps a measure of isolation is what I needed to get more of my thoughts out in the open.
In my opinion, as a reluctant yet ferocious extrovert, ideas need a lab for experimentation and testing. Usually I keep that lab under lock and key with the people around me at work or close to me relationally, but now I’m going to have at least a portion of that lab a little more open.