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Ingredients of Effective Blogging – Solitude

Posted By Darren Rowse 17th of January 2007 Miscellaneous Blog Tips 0 Comments

Presentation Zen posted a new years message that I missed until today (when I saw a link to it form Pimp Your Work) which hit the spot for me today.

It was a post on Solitude as being an important ingredient for effective business presenters.

Their post included this video:

I think everything they write could be applied to bloggers:

“Perhaps one reason why many business presentations blogs are so poor is that people bloggers today just do not have enough time to step back and really assess what is important and what is not. They often fail to bring anything unique or creative to the presentation blog, not because they are not smart or creative beings, but because they did not take the time alone to slow down and contemplate the problem. I’m not saying that more “alone time” is a panacea for a lack of ideas or that it necessarily leads to more creativity, but I think you will be pleasantly surprised if you can create more time every day, every week, month, and year to experience solitude. For me at least, solitude helps achieve greater focus and clarity while also allowing me to see the big picture.”

Solitude (or at least time alone to reflect, ponder and consider life and your topic) is one of the first things to go when life gets busy – but if I were to graph my solitude time vs my productivity and creativity levels I’m sure there would be a direct correlation.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  • How very true. All my best ideas for my blog come to me while I’m running. I could say a lot more but I’m off for a run before it gets dark.

  • I think you’re spot on with the need for solitude. There is a type of person I call a “synthesist creative” who comes from a background of having grown up with plenty of solitude as a child. It was a normal thing for them to wander the outdoors and think as they walked and explored the world.

    School and work have a way of displacing free thinking, musing, and insight generating experience. And, a goal setting and “getting things done” orientation have imposed a linear approach on areas that were previously free of structure.

    Since blogging encompasses tech, craft, and art, one needs to wear several hats, including the one of no hat at all, in free-of-task solitude.

    In addition, though, I think something else has also gone missing, the creative and generating effect of verbal interaction. I know that I develop thoughts and ideas born in solitude even as I tell others about them. Not only from my conversational companion(s) responses and questions, but from the verbal expression itself. Talking about it makes me know more about what I think about it.

    It’s not the same as writing about it, though that is also generative and developmental, it’s like my celtic and amerindian ancestors must have experienced around the fire at night as they told stories and bounced their ideas about.

    I think bloggers probably need, in addition to solitude, some buddies to talk with in person or on the phone about their ideas and what might be.

  • My best ideas for blogging comes when I’m laying in bed.. and there’s no way I am getting up to blog.

    Or sometimes in car

  • I agree 100% with this. In times of ancient war, some of the greatest battles were won by generals and field commanders who used forms of uninterupted meditation.

    Some of the greatest leaders that ever lived, found their gifts in the “wilderness and the desert.” I’m a believer in this solitude stuff. Though, it’s difficult to find sometimes.

  • So very true. I get plenty of solitude and plenty of ideas during my me-time. But I have been noticing something else that’s just as, if not more important than having some time to yourself, and that’s having a change in surroundings. Sitting alone where you usually sit in your office or wherever will eventually stifle your creativity. Like in the video, sometimes you just need to go for a run outside. It really helps!

  • Amen!

  • I don’t know about isolation? That’s a little optimistic. There again, perhaps there’s always the option of the padded cell!

  • Tom

    I agree – you need a good amount of solitude to get things done. At least, I do. I know first hand how difficult it is to get things done when you are constantly interrupted, and there is always something else going on.

  • I’m not sure solitude alone will solve the problem for most people or bloggers. To me it is about approaching things with design thinking. I have a lot of mundane thoughts that somehow manifest themselves into interesting posts (at least from my point of view). Here’s an example of what I mean that occurred to me today (I still haven’t blogged about it yet though). I blog about cycling. Today I realized that there are tons of traffic lights being added near my workplace. It makes me sick that so much is being done to facilitate cars going in and out of shopping plazas, while little is done to facilitate walking or cycling. American obesity and consumerism coming to a head. The question a blogger should ask is how can I make my mundane situation relevant to a wider audience. How can I design a post that takes an individual slice in time and abstracts it to something that all or many can relate. Often it is not solitude that helps me find the answer to this question, but rather communication with others and even debate that helps me design the right post.

  • different strokes for different folks

  • With my two teenage kids living with me in a two bedroom apartment, the only way I can get that kind of solitude is to take my laptop with me into the bathroom!

  • I totally agree that some solitude can be really helpful in coming up with new directions, new ideas and innovation. I’ll often lie awake at night, my mind furiously ticking over with new plans – which I *try* to note down these days.

    Either that, or I’ll be awake till all hours working on some new post/feature/technical challenge in a totally silent household.

    Funnily enough I also often find that I can gather new thoughts and concepts for directions I’d like to explore via my websites/blogs while showering, which is usually a pretty isolated experience :)


  • Also a compelling argument for homeschooling.