A few lessons from NaBloPoMo

I didn’t do very well at NaBloPoMo. I lasted for about two weeks, posting a short piece every day, but then I hit a wall. It wasn’t that I couldn’t find anything good enough to write about, it was simply a matter of time.

I’m not really sure why I attempted the project in the first place, I think I was just curious to see if I’d learn anything. In fact, I really have.

I went through what I’d assume is the typical cycle for anyone attempting one of the various video/blog/novel projects that happened throughout November: proud that I got through the first week, naively thinking it would be fine to put it off till the last thing I did during week two, hating that I’d agreed to do it and resorting to posting photos on week three, then utterly exhausted/skipping it entirely on week four.

The purpose of National Blog Posting Month from the organiser’s perspective seems to be encouraging creativity among bloggers, but I actually found the opposite to be true. I’m a firm believer in the fact that creativity can’t be forced. It can be encouraged, through inspirational surroundings or such, but when I signed up – I’d made a commitment. Maybe that says a lot about my own character, but I couldn’t look at it as anything else.

It became a bit of a chore. All of a sudden I wasn’t enjoying writing for my blog, I was resenting it. Maybe it’s because I’m a writer during the day, and produce a lot of content that fits into an editorial schedule. Therefore, having one at home as well didn’t suit me?

Perhaps it was the sheer volume of it all. Since I started this blog, I’ve been setting my times and places to write for it – and I’ve never felt tied down. Or perhaps it’s just as simple as placing priority on what pays the bills over what doesn’t. You can be utterly in love with a subject, but if you’re exhausted from a day of work, it makes no difference. Whereas some people may have responded well to the project, I wonder if it’s those writing their blog full time that found it more useful – instead of those that treat their blogs as a secondary output. 

A week of posts in one

So, I’m behind on NaBloPoMo, REALLY behind. I feel bad, as I wanted to do the full month, but sometimes other things just get in the way. I’m not going to rest on it for too long, and instead have written the digest-style piece below covering seven interesting things I’ve seen or done in the past week:

1. Greenbang covered the new pan-European ‘Sensors Anywhere’ (SANY) project, which is attempting to make it possible for data could to be freely and easily exchanged by researchers across the globe. Most importantly for me, this would make it possible for policy-makers seeking ways to better adapt to climate change.

2. I spoke at the 140 character conference on Tuesday about G20 Voice and how the project only worked because of the technology we were able to use to ‘report back’. I meant to finish by saying that the key aspect was the element of freedom (no restrictions or expectations on what we had to cover) within a fairly strcutured programme. We as bloggers always expect to do whatever we want to, but actually, still respond to having some kind of schedule to dip in and out of.

3. Helen Christenson launched her photography show ‘Meltdown’ on Wednesday, which tracks her journey through her mother’s homeland, observing the effect of climate change on the landscape.

4. The highlight of the BIMA awards 2009 on Thursday was a performance by Beardyman. I couldn’t believe that one man could so acurately beatbox like that. Incredible.

5. Treehugger showed us a new stylish concept for solar power charging – the iPetal. It’s nowhere near production, but in a world where appearance is everything, it’s products like this that are going to drive a mass audience to ‘be green’.

6. A Guardian story popped up in my Google Reader during the week about Siemens’ new bulbs. Exciting huh? Well, actually the new LED lights use less than a quarter of the electricity of a standard traffic light, and cut down on emissions related to fleets of vans having to change them every six months. The concept won first prize this week in the energy and environment category of the inaugural iAwards, set up by the government’s Business, Innovation and Skills department.

7. Bizarre news came out yesterday that computer hackers had broken into computers at the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at East Anglia University and claim the data they found proves that global warming has been overstated. The CRU responded by saying; “[our] research is, and has always been, fully peer-reviewed by the relevant journals, and is one strand of research underpinning the strong consensus that human activity is affecting the world’s climate in ways that are potentially dangerous.”

Bus stops and green art

While pondering today’s NaBloPoMo (almost halfway there!), I came across a tweet from my good friend Alfie Dennen’s new project Bus. Tops. Just a little shout out before I continue, as its just been chosen as one of the 12 commissions of public art across the country by the Arts Council and the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. Very exciting news.

With this in mind, the Bus. Tops account had posted the link to another bus stop and arts related project; an exhibit in the Tate Modern’s 2007 series ‘Global Cities‘. It was in fact, Treehugger’s coverage (which is one of my favourite eco-blogs, alongside Greenmonk and Greenbang).

“…too bad it’s just part of an art show, rather than out on the streets. For his commission, the artist Nils Norman has borrowed a bus shelter, a sign and a lamppost from London Transport and turned them into vehicles for environmental information whilst making them look like everyday advertising.”

The posters depict impending environmental disasters and the roof has been adapted to show how green spaces could look in the future. Nice.

Ghost Forest

I’m planning to visit Ghost Forest in Trafalgar Square, London on Monday. It’s an ‘original and ambitious art installation’ by Angela Palmer that visually expresses the connection between deforestation and climate change.

The project itself involves a series of 10 rainforest tree stumps with roots still attached, which have been transported from Ghana and rearranged as a ‘ghost forest’.

It’ll be there from the 16-22 November, before heading off to Thorvaldsens Plads in Copenhagen for COP15 throughout 7-18 December.

Year of random writing; on everything from digital to PR, social and beyond