We live in a society that is predominantly composed of consumers, not only of products but also content. Everyone fills the role of a consumer at some point, but most never fill the role of a producer. In this modern age content is being produced at rates which have not been seen before in history. What does this mean for us that also want to be producers, and not merely consumers? Let's take a look at this from my perspective, and hopefully allow you to draw from my example.
I read Greg Ferro's book on technical blogging, Arse First Method of Technical Blogging, a couple of times now to get some inspiration on getting posts created. Although I have a few drafts that I've started, I still haven't gotten into the rhythm that I want to be with creating content. So, what is holding me back?
First issue has been time, more precisely lack of focused time. When you are trying to write in your free time, having limited free time is hardly conducive.
Second when I have had free time I've been spending most of it consuming content. This post on DevOpsU got me to thinking on this subject for more than just writing. I've spent time consuming, attempting to gain inspiration, when in reality it is hampering my creativity. This makes sense to me as I have a number of automation projects I haven't gotten much past writing high level ideas down for, and more drafts than posts on this site.
Third has been my workflow. Really this has been a lack of a workflow, or at minimum a consistent method.
These really are the biggest issues that have plagued me. What can be done to overcome these obstacles?
For the first item, limited focused time? This one there really isn't anything that I can alter, other than making the time. This will likely end up meaning that I will be getting up earlier or staying up later to provide myself the time that I need to pursue writing, for this blog along with some programming activities I really want to pursue. This also means that I will focus on producing quality over a specific quantity, contrary to my previously stated goals.
For the second item, consumption versus production? This is where I will likely have the most difficulty. By nature I yearn to learn as much as I can. Additionally I have always strived to have a multidisciplinary approach to my career. This means that articles on multiple topics easily catch my attention, and can be applicable to my career. So how am I going to move past being a consumer first to being a producer? I haven't exactly figured that out yet, in precise detail anyway. I will likely divert some of my consumption time to production time. Additionally I will likely prune back my RSS reader, removing high volume feeds that I derive limited benefit from. Same goes for my social media activities, although will likely be implemented in a different fashion.
For the third item, workflow? Taking some inspiration from Greg's book I've been working on a workflow that will fit me. Instead of learning yet another markup language, my workflow will involve reStructuredText as I use it with my Python programming, and am fairly versed with it already. Additionally, I will not continue to utilize Blogger, this will be the last post through the platform. I'll be writing a separate article on the creation workflow once I've migrated the site.
We live in a world inundated with content the vast majority of which is subpar at best. We need more producers of content that is of high quality instead of run of the mill. With the great amount of static produced finding quality through the noise can be difficult but should not be a deterrent to producing quality content. If you are like me and in the technology field, have a good grasp on a topic, and are a decent writer, please help with producing quality content. That is my goal. Remember quality will always mean more over quantity, so focus on quality first. After you get in a rhythm of reliably producing quality then increasing the quantity will come naturally.