When I Looked in the Incomplete Folder

What if the only way that anyone ever gets into drinking coffee is that they kiss someone with coffee breath and now they can handle the taste? But that’s not really what I’m here to talk about. I have an item on my To Do List that says, “Make a plan for my old unposted blog material.” At least, that’s what it would say if I’d written it in a way that anyone could tell what the task is. I decided that I should attempt to fulfill this task.

I got into the folder system for blog posts I was using in late 2019 to look at what I was dealing with. The organization looks something like this:

01 – Posted – This folder is for blog posts I’ve written and actually posted to the blog. This is the folder where I archive the work that is complete in all regards.

02 – Ready to Post – These are blog posts that I believe that I’ve written to the best of my ability and can be posted whenever I want.

03 – Needs Editing – These are blog posts that are done, but need some sort of work to be ready to post. Maybe it’s confusing and needs to be clarified. Maybe it’s meant to be funny, but doesn’t really have very many jokes. Maybe it’s just too long and could be two separate posts if I found a good place to separate parts without having to do a full rewrite.

04 – Needs Something Else to be Posted First – Sometimes I sit down to write something and as I’m writing I realize I’m getting off on a tangent that would be better written in its own post and then linked to later. At this point, I will often move the tangent to its own file and continue with the post. This means that since my intention is to link to something else, I should have that thing up to be linked to.

05 – Incomplete – This is what it sounds like, and what I’m actually going to talk about in a moment.

06 – Maybe Not Blog Material – This generally will contain files that are somehow related to what Nathan and I are working on, but may not be good for public consumption yet, or ever. Maybe I’ve written my thoughts on a game we’re working on and it wouldn’t make sense to anyone who hasn’t played the game. Something more specific – Nathan and I were discussing the possibility of opening a new shop last year, and I wrote out my basic pros and cons list. The thing is that I doubt I would ever post that as is, but it’s the kind of thing I might read through later and find a topic for the blog. Also specific, – when my van got towed and I fought it in court, I saved all my notes from that experience. Again, I probably wouldn’t post as is, but if I ever write about it I have notes.

Keeping in mind that I haven’t really gone through this set of folders for about a year now, let’s discuss the incomplete folder for a moment. Just in this one folder there are almost thirty files. On one end of the range are posts for which I wrote a lot, but didn’t know how to end. On the other end of the range are posts that are maybe just a sentence or two of an idea that I don’t know what to do with.

Think of the coffee breath statement I made at the start of this (and you thought I was just being random). That’s the sort of thing that might be in one of these incomplete files. I could explain that it doesn’t even have to be a romantic kiss. My parents weren’t coffee drinkers, so I never gave good morning kisses and smelled coffee on their breath. When I later tried coffee, I didn’t like it. It’s a thought that probably goes nowhere when held up to scrutiny, and I probably could never get a whole blog post out of it, but I would write the thought down and give the file a title like “Coffee Breath” so that I might know at a glance what that thought was, and to ignore it if I hadn’t had a breakthrough thought.

The problem is that in the year since I was using this folder system, I found a speech-to-text app to use while I’m delivering pizza. This means that I can turn it on when I leave on a delivery and it’ll take down each and every thought that I speak aloud. This means that I have probably 100 such incomplete ideas now. Luckily, some of the ideas are complete enough that they could go into the Needs Editing folder.

The problem is simply this. I was still producing blog material while I wasn’t posting to the blog very much. And none of this was put into my simple system for keeping my blog ideas organized. I more or less wrote this to explain the feeling of overwhelm I got when I opened these folders to try to plan and organize.

I have a lot of material that probably now needs to be edited to reflect a feeling of hindsight as opposed to when I started the work. I wrote a post about Twitter and Tumblr that is outdated now to say the least. I could have posted it at the time, but I think I was focusing on the Summertime Funtime stuff. Now I’d need to adjust my thoughts to reflect that the thought is over a year old and the issues are a little different now.

I suppose that what I’ll have to do is just list all the files separately as To Do List items with the intention of just looking at them and asking myself if there is any progress I can make on the post. If so, I can make that progress. If not, I can put it away again knowing that there is still nothing there. It’ll just be a matter of checking items off a To Do List.

Chris McGinty is a blogger, which here stands for back-logger. I would say expect a flurry of blog posts, but I also know what kind of shape the posts are in.

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