Most of the writing I've done in my life has been on blogs. I'm used to typing live to the web. Not much reflection. No editing. No worries about timeliness or, frankly, factual accuracy. Starting to write for Campaign was a real shock, I have to deliver copy on a Monday morning, it doesn't appear until Thursday. It used to terrify me. What if whatever I'd written about was somehow overtaken by events in those three days? So you learn to hedge your bets a little. Not to rely on high speed blog linkage and all that.
And now I'm writing a column for Wired UK and all the anxiety's returned. Monthly magazine deadlines are really long. And once it's gone, it's gone. The first piece I've done is a mostly flippant thing about cults of productivity and the power of distraction. (It's not online anywhere but I'll ask them if they mind me sticking it up here.) And as soon as I sent if off (which was back in December) I started seeing things which undermined, altered or disproved my case. Or, even worse, said the same thing but better.
So, for each piece, I thought I'd try and offer a list of the links that inspired it, the ones that I wish I'd read before I'd sent it, and the ones that subsequently proved me an idiot.
The starting point was this fantastic piece from The Guardian - talking about how email is as addictive as a fruit machine. The rather slender conceit I came up with was that this could maybe be seen as a good thing, that if someone had announced a productivity tool with the fun and appeal of gaming or gambling that'd be seen as a triumph.
I also talked a about the internet's peculiar obsession with Focus, Productivity and the whole Life Hacking thing. And how I thought this was silly and rather narrow and that interruptions were a Good Thing, only to subsequently discover that I'd not read the definitive piece on Life Hacking. (And it was by Clive Thompson - about the only advice the Wired folk gave me was to try and be as good as him.) And that's it full of much more insightful thoughts about interruption. Ah well.
And I'd probably have tried to co-opt this report on how Spending Time Online Is Essential For Young People and this one about how Facebook and Youtube Boost Productivity.
Er. I think that's it for that one. I was sure their were more. Oh well.
Anyway. I hope you enjoy Wired UK. They seem really committed to doing something genuinely good and different and the whole experience has been a pleasure (except for the picture of me on top of the column). I'll try and get the piece up soon and then maybe the links above will make more sense.