There’s a DRY principle in programming, and one that is pervasive in RAILS-land: Don’t Repeat Yourself.
The same should go for everybody. From commenting, blogging, to writing books. Repeating somebody’s work in its entirety is pretty unnecessary when a citation would do. What you build off others, how you do intellectual parkour and create something new out of many things old, is what’s valuable. You advance everybody that much further and faster by doing so.
And a gap in the literature doesn’t always need to be filled. There might be a very good reason for such a gap.
It’s finally time for me to make an original contribution because I have something original to say. There’s a gap that needs to be filled. And I can fill it. I should fill it.
The question is how.
I know I have to fill the gap with a story. A story is stickiest and understanding more complete when I tell a story.
I know it has to be accessible.
I know it has to be sound bytey and meatey.
I’d love to be able to say that I’ve spent 8 months putting Original Content together and can share it now. I can’t. There’s loads of OC to be sure. It’s just not in any sort of coherent format. The hiccup is because I’m less skilled at inserting conflict or drama into a story.
My good friend Romy Klaus, head of Unlike.net, insists that I must triumph over myself and do so. This notion of a protagonist and an antagonist is absolutely vital to produce drama. And she’s right.
I’ve had four false starts in eight months. Each time I’ve tried I’ve fallen into traps.
The degeneration of unpacking the onion until even I’m in tears.
The degeneration into scapegoating.
The purposeful avoidance of saying anything people don’t want to hear.
It’s a trap.
I’ve come back around to my original position. I’m going to tell a story. I’m going to do it my way. And even if it’s in a buzz killington style, dammit, I’m going to try.
Here’s to a DRY Original Contribution.