I’ve hmm’ed and hah’ed about whether or not to set up a blog.
I think I always knew I wanted to set one up and had explored the ways of doing it. I read the works on how best to blog – all very good tips (for example, Top 10 Tips for Beginners or 5 Blogging Basics). And I always got stuck on one area.
All the good advice says pick a topic and stay focussed on that. Good advice? Yes. Work for me? No.
I have what I call a ‘magpie mind’ (in fact I wanted to call the blog that, but the URL was taken – damn them! – more on the title later in this post). A quick internet search tells me that this is not an original term, but my definition describes my mind – a mind that hops about a bit, gets fascinated with new ideas (sometimes briefly), collects them (and things) and quite often moves on.
In short, I like shiny things.
But, of course, there are constants in my life – things that repeat. Shiny things I like looking at again and again. Some things I am passionate about – in a way. Some of these are my things, some of them are what I do for a living. This blog will be about all of them.
Whatever takes my fancy at the time, I’ll blog it. I suspect that I will mostly write about just a few things and those more often. But I am going to allow myself the luxury of slipping down a different route from time to time.
I’m inspired by some blogs that I regularly read, and I’ll add these to my blogroll over time (see sidebar). One blog, and blogger, who has fuelled my own desire is Ken Wilson (blog). Ken’s a mate I know from my work as an ELT publisher. What I like about his blog is that, while it’s on a theme (ELT – he’s a coursebook writer, speaker, thinker), he will allow himself to wander off into things he just wants to tell you about (like his recent 10 things posts). Ken takes those journeys into other areas that I feel my magpie mind might take me in my blog. I encourage you to visit Ken’s: it’s a good read.
What are the shiny things, then?
- ELT and Publishing. I’m a publisher. I work in English Language Teaching (ELT) publishing. I suspect I’ll talk about ELT a fair bit, and I’ll talk about publishing a fair bit more – that’s the bit that fascinates me. On a more mundane level, I might occasionally touch on the absurdities of modern office life, and modern publishing challenges.
- Tech, Gadgets, Geeky stuff. I love this stuff. I have recently come to accept my inner geek. When I was at school, being a geek was not cool. I have it on good authority that these days the opposite is true. So, I’ll write about technology (and publishing probably, see above), about gadgets (really shiny!) and other geeky things. Besides, I wear the right kind of glasses.
- Doctor Who. Oh yes! I do like my Doctor Who (see the BBC Doctor Who homepage) – not just the 21st century series, but the ‘classic‘ series as well. It’s highly likely the Doctor will come up in this blog. And it’s possible that the Militant Wing of the Timelords will crush any resistance to this (watch out Gareth…).
- GTD. I’m a big fan of GTD – Getting Things Done – a productivity methodology espoused by David Allen. You can find out more about this by getting the book or browsing the David Allen Company website. I’ll write more on GTD in another post.
I know there are other shiny things that will come up, but I am sure that ELT & Publishing, Geeky stuff, Doctor Who and GTD will be the mainstay.
And the title of the blog?
Well, I couldn’t have ‘magpie mind’, as I said. The next best thing I could think of came from an episode of Family Guy, an American cartoon series for grown-ups. In one episode, James Woods (yes, the actor) tries to outwit Peter and Brian. In the end, they trap him in a box by tempting him into it with a trail of sweets. James gets distracted really quickly from his intention to attack the heroes by each new tasty morsel, with the words ‘Ooh! A piece o’candy!’.
That seemed to me to sum up my magpie mind. Just hope that I can get out of the occasional trap laid for me.
Postscript: 26 February 2010. It appears that I may have unconsciously nicked the term Magpie mind from my mate Dave Pearce. Thought I should add this to credit him with helping to inspire the glue that sticks this first post together.