new blogging process enables new blogging approach


When I get tired, either mentally or physically, my typing degrades quickly. In particular I find that I start inverting letters in words. For example, sometimes I’ll evne swap letters aroundt he whitse pace. However, over the years, I’ve trained Word to fix those errors for me automatically. In fact, to provide that example sentence I had to go back and tell Word to undo all the auto-correcting it did. Now my fatigue is only really apparent to those in IM conversations with me.

Since I often blog after long days of programming and email writing, I always write my blog entries in Outlook with Word as my editor. Not only do I get the vital auto-correct behavior in Word but Outlook saves drafts of my blog entries on my Exchange server. Thus my writings roam with me. That allows me to start a blog entry somewhere and finish it up later. In fact, I currently have about 20 different blog entries in various states of completion in my drafts folder.

And that brings me to the point (er, points) of this blog entry.

First, the way I’ve posted blog entries in the past is to draft an email, copy the entire text into the clipboard buffer, run a program I wrote that takes the clipboard buffer that scrubs the HTML text from Outlook into something far friendlier and posts it back into the clipboard buffer. Then I go to the blog admin page, create a new entry and paste the scrubbed buffer into the edit control. At this point I have to double check what is added to the edit control because it has some nasty side effects.

The simple frustrations I had with this process were enough to prevent me from posting many simple blog entries. My frustration reached a tipping point this last week so I skipped out on doing real work this morning and cleaned up my blogging process. If you’re reading this blog entry then that means my new process of copying blog entries out of Outlook and running a simple batch file that scrubs the posts then posts them here works. This new process should improve my throughput.

And that leads me into my second and final point. I’m going to change my approach to blogging here. It may not have been obvious from the outside but I’ve been trying to write my blog entries such that one builds on the other in a relatively logical progression. Thus there are many advanced setup topics that I have been avoiding because I haven’t built the necessary foundation blog entries. After writing my first article for MSDN I suddenly realized I was putting as much effort into my blog entries as I did that 20 page article. I was never going to get around to writing about some topics at the rate I was moving through the more basic (and, IMHO, boring) topics.

So expect to see me jump around topics as I find things that I think are interesting to write about. I’m also going to test the fact that blogs are supposed to be conversational and write smaller blog entries in response to debate (more often) instead of trying to create blog entries that can stand all by themselves (which takes me forever). That seems to be the way things are supposed to work here. I also expect that every once in a while I’ll take a conversation that spans multiple blog entries and merge them all into a single new blog entry.

After a while, I’ll reevaluate how this process works (your feedback included) and see what needs tweaking next.

Comments (4)

  1. I agree with scoble on that one (the ‘blogs are supposed to be conversationalist’). I’ve always found the most interesting blogs are the ones which behave as if they’re what the author is thinking at the time – sort of "Hey, did you know that if you do XYZ, ABC will happen, which causes blah blah blah". As opposed to the school of newspaper article blogging.

    This is because smaller things are easier to digest, and I find it better to follow along with someone’s stream of consciousness, than read an essay. Or perhaps that’s just because my writing style is like that.

    It also helps to just write the blog straight into the entry box in WordPress or whatever you’re using, rather than going through a laborious X step process involving word, outlook, reformatting, etc, etc. If things are a hassle, people don’t do them. Then again, I can spell, and if the odd typo gets through I’m not worried about it, so perhaps others might like more process 🙂

  2. Personally, I can’t stand typing into web forms. I’ve had way too many situations where hitting backspace at the wrong time caused the form to lose everything. I also like being able to work offline and with this new process I get the best of all worlds with nominal overhead… I hope.

  3. It sounds like you need to be able to post by email submission. That’d work out best, no? Assuming the server could scrub the posts for you, that is.

  4. David, if there was a way to have my email automagically scrubbed (in the way that I like <grin/>) and I could preview the post on my machine before it was really posted then yes, post by email would be great. As it is, what I have put together gets me what I wanted and I learned a bit more about web services while I was at it.