Stuff I keep meaning to get to…

I’ve mentioned this before; it’s the central conflict in blogging, or at least the greatest frustration: If you just sit at your keyboard all day, consuming the proverbial coffee and skittles, you can stay completely on top of what you want to say — posting 10 or more times a day, keeping your readers engaged and building your readership.

Trouble is, you won’t have a lot of value to contribute. If, on the other hand, you’re getting out and interacting with the world, reading, talking to people, covering events and otherwise accumulating knowledge and experience that would add value to the blog, would make your posts more informative and up-to-date… then you don’t have time to blog.

Back when I was at the paper, I felt this most keenly during endorsement season, when I was doing as many as four endorsement interviews a day. No, I wasn’t getting out, but people who WERE getting out, knocking on doors in the community and listening to thousands of people, were coming to me and answering any questions I chose to ask. (And my favorite questions, in terms of the interesting answers I’d get, were the open-ended ones, such as, “What are you hearing out there?”) This, combined with what I myself was hearing in the community, added all sorts of context to the positions we would take. But most of what I learned in those interviews just went into my notebook and stayed entombed there. Maybe, maybe a line or two of the unique insights gained from talking to that person would make it into the endorsement editorial. Maybe (because a lot more went into the decision than what was learned in an interview). The rest would collect dust. And I thought that was a waste. It’s one of the reasons that I started blogging: to have a place to put that stuff.

But… I could never keep up with the pace. There just were not enough hours in the day. I would set out each election cycle to file a moderate-sized report on each interview, such as this one and this one and this one and this one, sharing with people the unique stuff that added depth and context to our understanding of the candidate. But the pace of interviews was such that I always fell behind. I’d start doing wrapup posts or columns to merely acknowledge that the interviews took place, but even that would eventually become too much, given everything that I had to do in a day. Once or twice, in desperation, I just put up a bunch of pictures from the interviews I’d been in, as useless as I knew that was (I was just doing it to offer an excuse, showing readers how BUSY I was) I would always intend to get back to posting that stuff, but at some point (say, election day), it all became moot and I had to move on.

I face similar frustrations today. Right now, I’ve got four good posts dying on the vine because I didn’t have time to post about them (each required a little legwork — an extra interview, or time spent listening to a recording to get some key quotes right — that I could not find time for in the day or two that I SHOULD have posted them). And in the meantime, I post a lot of silly, inconsequential posts that I DO have time for, but aren’t nearly as worthwhile.

In one form or another, I still hope to get to all of them. But until I do, I’ll just briefly acknowledge them here:

  1. Something about nuclear energy policy in the wake of the Japan disaster. Bottom line, we can’t abandon nuclear, and shouldn’t. Meant to get this discussion started the week of the quake. But every day since then, there is SO much more I need to read and consider before I frame it, and it just gets harder and harder. I keep collecting links, saying “gotta read that before I write it,” and it gets harder and harder to get to.
  2. Copper theft. This one hit home a couple of weeks ago when ADCO’s air conditioners were destroyed for some copper coils, and I interviewed Chief Randy Scott about the overall issue, and he mentioned a bill in the Legislature related to the problem, and I’ve been meaning to get with the sponsor and chat about it, and it hasn’t happened. And Chief Scott’s probably wondering why he made time for me, since I haven’t written about it.
  3. Bob Inglis. I mentioned that I was going to speak at that conference at Furman, at the Riley Institute, about politics and media, way back on St. Patrick’s Day (another thing I need to get to — take down that out-of-date ad about the event). It was a good event, but the best part was NOT the panel I participated in. The best part came after, when Vincent Sheheen and Bob Inglis (whom Inglis referred to as the contenders for president of the Local Losers Club) sat with Mark Quinn and talked about the state of politics in SC and the nation. I was particularly impressed by some of the stuff Inglis said — Inglis has always impressed me, even when (perhaps I should say, especially when) I disagree with him. But I need to go back and transcribe part of the recording, because there’s a whole section of what he said I want to post. Haven’t gotten to it. But as old as this is, what he had to say remains highly relevant.
  4. Energy conference at Moore School. Last week, Lindsey Graham and the UK Minister of Energy and Climate Change were at USC talking Energy Policy. The minister, Greg Barker, had interesting things to say about how the Tories rebranded themselves as pro-green, and what they’re trying to do about it, and Graham had some things to say about how it would be nice to be able to get things done in Washington the way they do in London (he seemed particularly wistful about the ability in a coalition government to work across party lines without getting keelhauled by one’s own party for it). All very interesting from an Energy Party perspective. I was there for the whole thing, shot lots of pictures and videos… and haven’t gotten to it, mainly because there’s too much to get to. Big irony here is that I helped (slightly) the British consulate spread the word about this among media types — and haven’t written about it myself.

Now, some wag will say I could have gotten one of those things done in the time it took to gripe about not having the time to get them done. Nope; this was quicker. And I just accomplished the task of putting extra pressure on myself to write one or more of these at some point.

Or maybe it’s all in vain; I don’t know. But I keep trying.

6 thoughts on “Stuff I keep meaning to get to…

  1. Greg

    What a great post about writing. All of us who blog (or something similar) as an avocation are handicapped by time. My two major impediments are the volume of my work (and I work at an office in my house 90% of the time) and that I am no longer sharp enough to write at night or very early in the morning.
    Oh, and since my stuff was mostly humor and as my children have grown up, they are not nearly funny as they used to be. I’m waiting on grandchildren.
    I finally joined Facebook. A poor substitute, but at least I write.

  2. Steven Davis

    What exactly is your role at ADCO? Chief Civic Meeting Attendee? It amazes me the amount of time you have free from work.

  3. Brad

    Actually, that’s one of many titles that would fit what I do pretty well. My ACTUAL title also fits, but is fairly inadequate in terms of describing the scope of what I do. I do business development, and interviewing clients/prospective clients, and creative brainstorming, and media relations, and writing, and editing, and occasionally I clean up the kitchen. So far, however, I haven’t done windows.

    Sometimes I’m clearly at an event for the blog, sometimes clearly for ADCO. Other times, the distinction is murky. (These four items are mostly blog, with a small ADCO element here and there. Other times, I go to something purely for ADCO, and end up blogging about it. You never know.)

    Oh, and this IS work, whether I’m doing it for the blog or for ADCO, or both. That’s one reason I feel bad about it. As Publisher Brad Warthen, I get pretty peeved at Editor Brad Warthen for going to these things and then failing to write about them. In fact, I’m going to put this post in my permanent file, and see if I can’t get myself to shape up…

    And thanks, Greg.

  4. Nick Nielsen

    Looking forward to all four of those, Brad.

    Whoa, hey, just looked at the date. I’m actually responding on the same day you posted. THAT hasn’t happened in a while…


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