Memex 0.1

I haven’t read, like, a ton of Cory Doctorow, but he’s a solid follow and I enjoy his blog posts. This particular blog post I stumbled across through another post of his, and it cracked something open in my brain.

To get this across I’ll start with a couple quotes:

The genius of the blog was not in the note-taking, it was in the publishing. The act of making your log-file public requires a rigor that keeping personal notes does not. Writing for a notional audience — particularly an audience of strangers — demands a comprehensive account that I rarely muster when I’m taking notes for myself.


In the (my) blogging method, the writer blogs about everything that seems interesting, until a subject gels out of all of those disparate, short pieces.

Blogging isn’t just a way to organize your research — it’s a way to do research for a book or essay or story or speech you don’t even know you want to write yet. It’s a way to discover what your future books and essays and stories and speeches will be about.

And finally:

Traditional editors identify an audience who will pay for their publication (or whom an advertiser will pay to reach) and then find a writer who can speak to that audience. As a blogger, I’ve enjoyed the delirious freedom to write exactly the publication I’d want to read, which then attracts other people who feel the same way.

My “Oh. Oh.” moment here is in the inversion of blogging from traditional publishing Doctorow describes. I have been reviewing pitches from myself and rejecting 99% of them. At the same time, I am a person who tends to process things internally, over very long periods of time, and then I have the problem described above where I don’t really remember my own process of forming an opinion on something, nor do I have the citations to go back to that changed the way I thought about a thing. And, not to be too hard on myself, I can be so fucking precious about my writing, and it’s exhausting. I am getting better about it, but there’s still room for improvement.

I read a lot of interesting stuff on the internet most days, and it would serve me well to publish the links and some jotted-down thoughts. Other people might read it, they might not, but I’m writing the stuff I find interesting (and working on my bad habit of worrying what other people might find interesting).

So, in light of the small ruckus this 2021 blog post has caused in my brain today, it would seem wrong not to share it here along with my thoughts about it. I’m being meta, or something.