06 February 2007

100 Questions

I once did an exercise where I sat down with a notebook and wrote 100 questions (this is before I had kids). The first 20 or so were fairly obvious, but by the time I hit 80 or so, they were definitely in the "outside the box" category. The obligation to come up with 100 led to a more creative & insightful result than if the exercise had been "come up with as many questions as you can."

There's something very stimulating & productive about having a goal, even though 100 is a completely arbitrary number. It could just as well have been 113 or 97.

Same thing with blogging (or any type of writing). If the exercise is "Blog/write every day," at some point, you run out of obvious things to say. Some bloggers go the easy "here's what I had for breakfast" route, or "wow, it's cold here," or some such. I'm sure some of my previous 240 posts are in that category, despite myself.

But a committment to post something to the blog each day at least offers the potential to push us beyond the ordinary, into the realm of the surprise.


Michelle said...

I think that goes with anything. That's why NaNo pushes you, even if it's not the novel so many had in mind (I think I knew better). My draft was awful, but in pushing towards that goal, I came up with new ideas for the real novel I am writing now. Interesting.

Kind of like doing the list of 100 life goals, too. People start with the standard "climb Everest" and make $1 million," but eventually the list gets interesting and you find out what people really value and aspire towards.

Ok, I'm going to shut up and make some goals now.

Kim said...

Good points. In terms of blogging, however, I think that different people blog for different reasons. Your blog is often academic and challenging, whereas mine is more social. The one time a debate did get going on my blog, I really did not like it and I now purposefully keep topics light and ordinary. You know, like 4 year olds' birthdays!

Unordinary is welcome in other aspects of my life tho. :)

Kim said...

PS- On the night of my 29th birthday, I wrote out a list of things to do before I'm 30. I'm halfway through the year, so it's time to look and see how many things that I can check off! I did do my best to be creative and challenging when I made the list. Although I have one fun/fattening item: eat a pint of Ben & Jerry's all by myself.

Dan said...

Great point, Kim - blogs serve a whole lot of purposes, including keeping people up to speed on the happenings in the lives of friends & family.

That's all good, and it's certainly possible to have a lively, interesting blog that documents one's daily lives & events.

My only point in all this was to say that blogging as a regular discipline can help push us beyond the ordinary (regardless of the genre / type / topic)... and ultimately, very few people really are interested in hearing that Bob had cheerios for breakfast three times this week.

(I think your blog is very cool & interesting, btw - I've learned a lot there!).

Kim said...

I see. Now that I think about it, I actually stopped reading one particular blog because it seemed to revolve around what the author ate for dinner.

Totally off topic, but I learned something new last night when I was reading The Horse and His Boy. I didn't know that CS Lewis went by "Jack".

Andy said...


The fact that you have made Pow! the de facto link from the word "Surprise" has warmed the cockles of my heart. Thanks for validating the existence of my humble blog and its vibrant subject matter!


Dan said...

Kim - let me know when you're going to eat that pint. I'll join you!

Andy - You've got THE Surprise blog, as far as I can tell... Thanks for the note!

- Dan