I am back

I like writing. I suppose that one must write occasionally to become a successful writer. For my part I have not been writing on any of my blogs for a long time now. Part of this can be attributed to laziness, part of it to life getting in the way of things, and the largest part to thinking about what I want to do with my life and my writing. I still do not have a definitive answer to what I want to do with my life. However, I do know about a few things I am interested in pursuing. Writing is one of those things.

I have this blog, Leo’s World, that I will use to comment on things generally. My views on conflict resolution and public policy will greatly influence the things I write about. I suppose my love of movies will play a part as well, though I have not been to a theater to watch a movie in a very long time; there is very little that interests me in the theaters these days. That still leaves DVDs, or Blue Ray discs. I guess we will all see what interests me at any given moment. I also have my other blogs, The Digital Guerrilla Project, The NCR 594 Projectand my Photoblog. I will be attempting to add to each of those over the next many years.

The point of this is to get into the habit of writing. Hopefully I will write things that people like, though I do not mind if they don’t like it. Indifference is what I would like to avoid. Wish me luck.

The Story up to now …

I have been thinking about how I got to this point. I discovered the idea of information asymmetries while I was  working on my blog The Digital Guerrilla Project. I thought it was a perfect way to describe the situations I was trying to write about: where one party is able to take advantage of another party due to a lack of information on the part of the latter party. This worked for a while.

Then I started working on a master’s degree. There I discovered structural violence, which is a system with information asymmetries built in so as to protect a particular interest. The study of structural violence worked out for me because it is in line with my idea that I would like to help people learn how to overcome power asymmetries and, as I later found out, structural violence as well.

As it stands, this is a thoroughly academic interest as far as I know. When I say academic interest I do not mean to imply that there is much interest in my chosen subjects in academia; I mean only to say that there seems to be zero interest in these subjects outside of academia as far as I know. I am studying obscure subjects hoping to unlock some secret that might help someone overcome power asymmetries and structural violence, or in other terms, oppressive and/or dictatorial powers. I feel very much like I am alone in this interest, but not really sure about that solitude either.

I know the work I do has academic merit. One of these days I will get published. Later, I will be used as a reference in the work of some other academic, and we will all be able to pat each other on the back. This is not my interest, however.

I want to write something that will inspire people to fight back, overcome, change the world. I want to write something that people can use to get them through tough times, to make decisions that help them toward their goals. I do not want to write some self-help crap urging people to believe in themselves, I want to write the self-help book that urges people to stand up and fight for themselves. It doesn’t seem like too much to ask for, does it?

The point of all this is that I think I finally see a way forward that could be useful to people outside of the world of academia. I am trying to figure out how to make it come together in a coherent fashion. I am enthusiastic about the possibilities, in a way that I haven’t been before.

I will keep you posted.

Time to be a proper blogger

I know that I am an intermittent writer at  best. Over the next few weeks I am going to attempt to resolve that. I am going to try to write two or three posts a week on this blog and on TDGP.

It may be cheating a bit, but I am going to count this post as my first one of the week.

At this point, it seems like it will be pretty daunting. I have a lot of ideas through the week, but for whatever reason rarely get around to writing about them. I hope to make a habit out of writing.

Please, wish me luck.

New Directions

I have been thinking a lot about my goals and how they tie into the writing that I do. The first thing is that I do not write nearly as often as I should. This is true from a marketing standpoint, as any book about blogging or marketing will tell you. It is also true from an intellectual standpoint. I should be practicing expressing my ideas much oftener than I have up to now.

I guess if you are setting out to be a writer, the proof of the pudding is in actually having written material available to people on a regular basis. My habit of writing something once a month, or every other month, is not doing me any favors. I have to do something about that.

I am giving up on the blog How to Get There. I started it because I am interested in strategy, wisdom, and the meaning of success. I am finding, however, that as I progress in my studies and collect more information about my particular sets of interests, generally speaking photography and overcoming power asymmetries, that I can cover those topics adequately in this blog. I am going to rewrite whatever material I have from HTGT and adapt it to this blog. I am not shutting it down, but I will no longer be working on it.

Photography is just something I do. I don’t intend it to be a money making enterprise in my life. I do it because it makes me happy. I will always have new material for my photography blog.

Power asymmetries are a passion as well. There is more than enough info to keep me going on that topic for years.

The topics of HTGT fit in with what I am going to be writing about on this blog. Beside, as you do things and get into doing them, you often learn that some of the things you did when you first started are no longer useful to you. Live and learn.

Building an Audience

I have read several books on social media marketing. Many of them offer really good advice that sounds great when you are reading it. Growing an audience for your blog is usually a well covered subject. My difficulty has been trying to put those recommendations into practice.

For example, most of these books tell you to define your market. Figure out who is your perfect reader or follower. Honestly, I don’t know who I am writing my blogs for other than myself. I am writing about some narrow sets of interests that I have, but I really don’t know if there is a natural audience for any of this stuff. Nor am I motivated to find out. I follow my interests and occasionally I write something on my blogs. 

I aspire to writing that can serve a practical purpose for the people who read it.  I want to help people. So, I have a blog about strategy, wisdom, and success. All of these subjects are well covered by many other blogs and writers, and there is a lot of noise to deal with. I am writing what I think, but I can’t quite figure out whether my humble observations are contributing to clarity or just adding more noise to the cacophony.

Even if I am not sure that I am building an audience, I am happy that I can write what I want to write. I like the fact that I am building a store of intellectual capital for use in the future. Whether I am offering brilliance or bullshit, it is my own. If it ever comes up, I would be happy to point out that I have written on whatever subject on my blogs.

Maybe that is how it is supposed to work. I am supposed to write and toil away in obscurity. Then one day a set of outside operators and circumstances will conspire to make me the next internet sensation. My writing will no longer belong to me, but I will be making a shitload of money. Or not. I guess you just have to ride the torpedo to find out where you are going.

On Thinking and Writing

I tend to experience the world cerebrally, so I spend a lot of time thinking. Not just because I am in school. Everywhere, all the time, I am thinking about everything. Sometimes my wife has to ask me if I am thinking about what we are talking about or ignoring her.

Sometimes I even get pretty good ideas. The problem is that I want to continue thinking about them until I feel they are fully formed models that are strong enough to withstand intensive scrutiny. I am learning this doesn’t work well for my career as a blogger.

It seems to me that bloggers, if they want to be good, have to write something more often than once a month or so. I can say, in my defense, that I have no necessity to be a successful blogger. I don’t suffer any for my lack of reliability. But that may be part of the problem.

I would like to be a successful writer. I think my blogs, which cover areas that I find interesting, will be helpful in getting me there. Now I just need to do the writing.

Wish me luck.