Don’t Moleskine your blog

Nitin Khanna writing for

I’ve never been able to buy a Moleskine notebook. I’ve often come across them in shops and stores, but every time I flip through the well weighted, elegant pages, which can give you paper cuts all day, I realize that I’m not worthy of a Moleskine. My handwriting is terrible. My ability to sketch wouldn’t save my life! Besides, the most important thing I want out of any notebook is the ability to scribble random ideas, or write small notes into. I want to just dump chicken scratch and small paragraphs in, without having to worry about elongating, or writing perfectly. Do I furiously scratch out words as I’m writing? All the time. Would I ever want to use a Moleskine for that? No. I recently came across this post by Jeff Perry –

It got me thinking – do we sometimes treat out blogs as Moleskine notebooks? Do we worry that we must only present our best writing on them, instead of just putting our ideas out there, perfection be damned? Yes, we do. We write entire posts and then save them in drafts, only to forget them forever. Either we’re not proud of our writing, or we’re not sure if it’s the right time to publish them, or we’re unnecessarily being perfectionists. Whatever the reason, what happens when you open your blog the next time? You come to the homepage, or the admin dashboard, and what do you see? The drafts? No. That’s a hidden page somewhere, totally ignored. So we move on to the next idea, and then the next, until our creativity is stifled and our spirits dampened by the lack of publishing. Why do we do this? Because the home page of our blog, at least in our minds, is a public space, and on it, only our best work should be displayed. But this is not true. CMSes allow two states – logged in and logged out. When you’re logged in, your blog’s home page is, in fact, not a public space, but a private one. Most of us do not realize or understand this, let alone capitalize on this simple idea.

I learnt about this problem in 2017 and solved it for myself. I want to share the idea with you, dear reader, so you can also stop moleskinning your blog. I’ve alluded to me writing this post before, specifically mentioning a key aspect of my solution – that when you see my blog’s 2018 archive, you see 25 posts, while I see 59. Yes, that’s thirty four posts that are not sitting tucked away in a drafts folder, but active and alive on my blog, albeit only for me.

Nitin has a really interesting way he treats his blog, and I think I may start using it myself. It may not be the perfect solution but it does seem to allow me to “post” without it being totally public. Even if he hadn’t mentioned me on this I think it would have been something that would grab my attention.

I also have been doing a lot of thinking after relistening to John Gruber’s episode on Mac Power Users from 2015 on how he got started with Daring Fireball. He said, I am paraphrasing of course, that he first wrote feature articles meaning it was all his own writing without link posts or anything. Eventually he found he couldn’t keep up with his consistency and started link blogging. I think I am in the same boat now that he was in back in 2004. Which is why you will probably see more link posts like this from Rocket Panda. That doesn’t mean I won’t be posting original content, it just means I will have more posts regularly in between the original feature posts I write.

Jeff Perry @JeffPerry