Quick Tip: Plagiarize Yourself
Feel like writing, but can’t settle on a topic? Realize that you haven’t posted to your blog in weeks, but finding no water in the well? Mine your own ideas by going back through comments you’ve made, and you’ll soon be giving your writer’s block its what-fors.
As you visit your favorite blogs, leave them comments, click through links they offer, and browse the Reader, you leave a convoluted, zig-zag trail across the landscape of the blogosphere:
Wouldn’t it be great if there were a way to map those travels, so you could revisit older conversations and see what common threads run through your reading and commenting choices? You can, on the “Comments I’ve Made” page of your dashboard.
“Comments I’ve Made” not only tracks your comments but contextualizes them — it lists your comment along with the one immediately preceding it (if there was one) and any follow-up comments from others. It’s useful for keeping track of the many conversations you’re involved in, but it can also be a great tool for generating post ideas:
- If you’re involved in an intense back-and-forth with some other commenters, you probably have the makings of a post on that topic.
- If you consistently comment on posts that are nostalgic/darkly funny/beautifully photographed/politically-minded, you have fodder for a few different posts. You could write on the subject matter, pulling together the strands of all your comments, or reflect on why you’re drawn to these topics or writing styles.
- If you find yourself often replying to the same person or few people, maybe there are opportunities for guest blogging on each others’ sites to explore.
“Comments I’ve Made” doesn’t just give context to individual comments, it gives context to all your blogular perambulations. Take a peek now and then to see where you’ve been, and let that influence where you’ll go.