On Sunday, I spoke on a panel about freelance writing at a journalism conference with my friends and fellow freelancers, Chris Kenneally and Hannah Wallace. Chris’s new book, The First Word: The Search for the Origins of Language, is coming out later this week and during the panel, she mentioned that she is using a private blog (a blog she doesn’t publish) as an organizational tool for her next book. Now that I’ve discovered how easy and useful blogs can be for keeping track of writing thoughts, online links and other stuff you don’t want to lose, I loved this idea.
Chris wrote me a note with some tips on how she is using it:
which I maintain so as to personally stay on top of any
relevant news about all the science in The First Word,
and also to update readers. I’m also use a private blog to
store and organize information for my second book. It’s
streamlining the writing process for me because:
1. By linking to articles, I cut down on the huge pile
of paper in my office.
kinds of information–on the typelist I’m working on a
synopsis for the second book that stays front and center,
and the posts allow me to store information as it comes in.
3. Probably the most useful thing about blogging your
research publicly and non-publicly is being forced to build a
list of relevant categories as you go along. With my first book,
I would toss relevant articles onto an ever-growing and very
disorganized pile. Later I would read through them and
work out how the findings fitted into the story of my book. Having
upfront. Plus, the web storage is much truer to the way the information
is organized in my head than when it’s printed out.
Chris’s book is an engrossing tale about a subject I’d never given any thought to — how humans evolved the ability to speak. She brings the subject to life with gorgeous writing and by introducing a fascinating cast of characters — the heroes and villains of this linguistic mystery. I highly recommend it.
If anyone has any other tips about using private blogs, please share them…I just love this concept!
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