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February 19, 2013

Did I Already Talk about That?

This morning I sat down to write my daily Olive Tree Genealogy blog post and after some musing, had what I thought was a good idea for a topic. But as I started to write, I wondered if I'd written about it previously! It seemed familiar and I did find it in  the book I keep where I jot down ideas for blog posts as I think of them. But it wasn't marked "Done" so I wasn't sure if I'd written it or not.

I confess that I'm not as organized as I should be, and just because I didn't mark it as published does not mean it wasn't. So I spent some time going through older blog posts to try to see if I'd talked about the idea previously but didn't spot it. However since I've been blogging on Olive Tree Genealogy blog for 10 years and I've written 1,938 posts, I admit I don't recall every single post I've published!

That brings me to something that I'm sure affects other bloggers too - how do you keep track of what you've written? How can I be sure that if I start to write a post about what attributes a good genealogist has, that I haven't already written about it years ago.

I realize it is always okay to revisit an old blog post and ramp it up with new ideas or a new take on it. But with my luck I'd write a post listing the qualities that I believe a good genealogist needs, only to find that I wrote an almost identical piece in 2004 or 2005 or some other year.

Then came the conundrum - should I write the blog post anyway and hope I wasn't repeating myself? I really can't go through almost 2000 posts to see if I can spot it - ugh! Do I forget about the topic? What would you do?

And how do other bloggers handle this problem of possible duplication of posts? Ten years is a long time to try to think back and remember anything, let alone one blog post!

I'm curious as to how others handle this, and what readers would think if they read a blog post and remembered reading a similar one previously.

I can't decide whether to write a post about what attributes I think a good genealogist needs or just let it go in case I've talked about it before.


Julie @ Anglers Rest said...

I don't think it matters to repeat. New readers often don't trawl through old posts. So refreshing the thread/ new post is often a good way to get a new perspective, with new readers & former ones.

Randy Seaver said...

I use the search box on Blogger (upper left corner of your page) to find keywords on similar topics.

I've duplicated posts without knowing it...I figure whoever reads it in 2013 will not recall I wrote about it in 2011.

Linda Huesca Tully said...

I agree with Julie. You will always have new readers who may not have seen the older posts, even if you do happen to repeat some of them. You may also end up adding things you hadn't thought of before.

I keep an editorial calendar in Excel, complete with story ideas, due dates and the actual publish dates. My own blog has nowhere near what you have in terms of longevity and number of posts. Still, I think the editorial calendar helps keep me organized in the ways you spoke of in your post.

bgwiehle said...

Repeating a blog topic is not a problem. However, it is helpful for both writer and readers to know that there is a purpose to the revisit - an opinion has changed, new resources found, a different angle posed by different circumstances. As an author, you may also want to check other blogs to ensure the vague feeling of having covered the topic isn't caused by having read someone else's work and subconsciously appropriating their ideas.

Celia Lewis said...

I agree - I'm not going to search to see if you already wrote a similar post, Lorine!! I'm here to read THIS post! Don't need to worry about it, imho... :)

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Julie I like your idea that even if I am repeating myself, readers can offer new insights! Thanks for posting

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Randy, yes the search on Blogger is great but I couldn't think of any keywords except "Good genealogist" !

Got a few hits but not the blog post I was worried I'd already written. However I thumped myself on the head when I read your last comment about someone reading it in 2013 isn't going ot remember they read a similar one in 2011.

You are so right!! I was being pretty conceited to think readers have my early blog posts memorized LOL!!

Thank you for those words of wisdom because now I truly feel better about writing a post and not worrying if I already said that

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Linda, I love the idea of an editorial calender. But I' m not very good at keeping one. In fact I suck at it.

I have best intentions but I simply don't go in and mark when a post is published. I don't think I'll ever get better at it either.


Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

bgwiehle - good points but that's for another post on another day. For today's post, I tried to make it clear that a) if I'm revisiting a blog post I say I am and I revamp and revise it. That wasn't the case today. I simply didn't know if I'd already posted the topic

b) The topic I thought of for today was in my idea book but not noted as "done" So I thought of it but didn't know if I published it or not as I'm not always organized about ticking my ideas off when I write.

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Thanks Celia - you always make me feel more reassured about things!

Sierra said...

I just tackled this same issue this week. I was brain storming and not sure of what I have already covered. My blog only has a little over 100 posts so I went back and created categories and tags in each blog post. This way in the future I can search my own blog more effectively.

You have MANY more posts but you could start using tags now for the future.

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Sierra, I've been using keywords and tags on my blog posts for 10 years now.

You're right they ARE a good idea. but the problem is for a post about characteristics of a genealogist, I had no idea what tags I might have used.

It's not exactly a niche topic like "census records" "digital preservation" "immigration" "conferences" .... see what I mean?

Zoe Smith said...

My mother always said, "Better to know twice as not at all". I now agree!!