The importance of not deleting blog posts (read: ideas)

A lot of the time I start a blog post as a sentence. It is something that strikes me and I don’t really know what I think about it. It is a moment of thought that needs to be revisited, but cannot yet be expounded upon.

A while ago I went through all of my un-published blog posts in an effort to delete them. I read the titles and thought that there was very little that I had to think or say about the topics. (The beauty of django not letting you delete things en masse is that I had to go into the post to delete it). Once I went into the post to try and delete it, I found it nearly impossible. I realized that I had been using my unfinished blog posts as a kind of note pad of ideas, or a place where I just brain dumped when I felt the need.

The other crazy thing is that some of these posts had the ideas more thought out that I previously thought. I had written a lot in that space, and promptly forgotten about it. There is nothing quite like remembering writing something that you forgot you knew.

The next question was what to do with all of these half finished ideas, thoughts, and half-quack brained theories. What better than to publish them? The value of an idea is very little. It gains a lot of value when you are forced to write it out. It gains even more insight when you appreciate that it will be read by others. There is a progression that these texts go through that allows them to be better than they were before.

The simple act of writing an ideas clarifies it. The simple act of publishing an idea betters it. The feedback that is gained from the public exposure is more or less external to the idea. The idea will get better once there is feedback, but getting to the point where there is feedback is the key. Once you have an idea ‘polished’ enough for public consumption, it has gone almost beyond being an idea. You have hopefully thought it out to a logical conclusion, because you are going through, and putting yourself in the heads of others.

This isn’t how all posts work, or even most. But if you look at things this way, it is a real driver to putting things out there and not keeping them in. A little extrinsic motivation if you will. The fact that your idea is getting spread to others to do with what they please, means that you want your idea to be in the correct form for that to happen, and that you want it to take those people to the right place.

The other awesome gain from posting things is indeed the feedback you get. A lot of people release software and it gets used in ways that nobody ever intended it to be used. Having as many eye balls looking at something is the best way to achieve something awesome.

All of the above applies to code as well. Also, don’t take this post as an example of the above, it could be written better, but i wanted to get the idea out there. It’s better than it was yesterday ;)

Hey there! I'm Eric and I work on communities in the world of software documentation. Feel free to email me if you have comments on this post!