Why Starting Over Is A Good Thing
Having been only 24 hours into having to "start over" my blog after making my colossal blunder, I actually feel renewed! Oh sure, there was a sinking feeling when I realized exactly what I had done and the magnitude of the mistake. After an ever-so-brief moment of dwelling on that, I immediately decided this was a good thing and became a source of renewal. Within a few minutes, I had set up a very temporary redirect to my personal blog on Vox. Within a few hours, I had managed to get Drupal in place to replace NucleusCMS and had it up and running enough to post an item or two and stop the redirects. I spent a good chunk of today "spiffying things up."
Anyway, I saw a post on Problogger about a Group Writing Project for Lists and figured this was a good opportunity to increase my exposure a little and get some of these thoughts off my chest about why my mistake is very likely a good thing. In the form of a list, of course.
- Reexamine the Old Content: While in my case I didn't experience a total loss–I do have the past two months or so of articles in a different cache–I am looking through the old content that I do have. I can get a sense for how I have matured as a writer, as a person. This kind of reevaluation is helpful. Furthermore, in case I do get the old data back, I will likely be doing any data conversion manually as to force all the content to be re-evaluated. (Edit: I did get everything back, but I am forcing myself to bring it in slowly…)
- Getting Rid of Stuff Feels Good: While I have a hard time finding the motivation to go through that pile of stuff sitting in my office, I feel totally jazzed when I finally get through it and throw everything away.
- A New, Refocused Direction: When the base of articles that made up your blog evaporates, you can go in a completely different direction, if only because the gravational pull of your old material isn't there. Even though not all of my material vanished, I am taking the opportunity to weed out the items of a more personal nature and post those to my personal blog instead of this one. In a sense, I am contributing to the benefit of two blogs.
- Easier to Try New Tools: I lost the data in my database, but the "code" that ran my site for a while was still there. I could have rebuilt it if I desired. Instead, I took the "scorched earth" approach and started from ground zero with Drupal. I think in the end, that ended up being faster and gave me all kinds of other benefits for free: better logging, more feature possibilities down the road, the ability to get more people using my RSS feeds through FeedBurner. For this last one, I had to do some Redirects in my .htaccess file to take all the old ways to get my RSS feed and redirect them thru the FeedBurner feeds.
- Address Weak Points In Your Plan: The lack of a backup was my weakness. Maybe you have a different one. Starting over gives you a chance to address those "weaknesses" in your process or procedures. I now make backups of the databases nightly. The next step is to get those backups copied off the server to my personal machine.
- Try A New Look: One thing I essentially got for free as a result of changing CMSes was a new look for my website. Even though I am using one of the standard templates that comes with Drupal 4.7, the feedback I've gotten so far has been overwhelingly positive. Even if you don't change CMSes like I did, try a new look and feel for your site. Change the theme or the skin. Freshen it up a bit.
- Filling the Void: Having a blank slate and a clear sense of where the blog should go, I have a desire to fill the void with new, original material.
- Giving the Oldies but Goodies a Second Viewing: If you go the manual conversion route and repost everything to your blog, depending on the CMS used, you may find these old posts making their way into an RSS reader. This gives your ideas a second chance at your intended audience. That can't be a bad idea.
I am looking forward to working on my blog now. All because I deleted it.