The Personal Disquiet of

Mark Boulton

Twitter didn’t eat my blogging, 2007 did

– January 7th, 2008 –

Like a few other people, I’ve found myself into 2008 already and not posted my ‘end of year’ post. I don’t think it’s laziness, although it could be. I’m pretty sure I’ve not run out of things to say. Is it a lack of time? Probably. I certainly don’t have as much time as I did twelve months ago. But, that’s like everyone right? Why has blogging slowed right down then? Sorry, let me rephrase that, why has web design blogging slowed right down? Specifically, why has mine slowed to a crawl?

Molly thinks Twitter did it. Well, I’m the only person who doesn’t use Twitter. I used Pownce for a while, but then that bored me. I dip in and out of Facebook, but I’m tired of all the pokes, headbutts and slamdunks. So, who’s the culprit?

A full plate

Personally, I’ve got an increasing amount on my plate. The business is going extremely well. We’re expanding, new clients coming on board and as such, there’s a lot more to do - from admin and project management to actually get my teeth stuck into designing.

Then there’s a big personal project Emma and I have been working on for the past few months. We’re building an extension on our house. Not personally you understand, we have a builder, but the time it takes to liase with our architect (which isn’t so bad as it happens to be my Dad) through to making sure the building is on track, is something I personally didn’t bargain for. We’ve got another 2.5 months to go on this project and it will extend out house by about 40% more living space, which will be great and it brings us onto our next project.

Mini me

Emma and I are having a baby in April (which is why I won’t be attending SXSW this year). I’ve thought long and hard about whether I should write about it here - as you never know what could happen - but we’ve told our friends, colleagues and family a while ago, so I thought I’d mention it. Mother and bump are doing extremely well at the moment, and we’re both very excited about the next year.

So, it really is like Grand Designs at the moment (a property development TV show in the UK where the partner always seems to be pregnant). We’ve got a deadline looming and a house to build. Which brings me onto the housebuilding process itself.

Building a house is EXACTLY like building a website

I’ve found it fascinating. My Dad is an Architect, so I’ve grown up with a healthy interest in buildings, architecture and the like. My brother and I spent many a Saturday morning holding a three meter high ruler whilst my Dad took levels on a wreck of a building site. Therefore, the I don’t find the process particularly problematic. It does help having my Architect at the end of a phone though.

What amazes me about the building process, particularly residential development, is the level of difference between what is on a plan compared to what the builder produces. Nowadays, plans are produced in CAD packages and plotted on high resolution plotters. They’re accurate, and to scale, to the nearest millimeter. Then the builder gets hold of it and it is somewhat interpreted rather than followed. I’m amazed at how much is just kind of worked out as they go along. Luckily, we have a great builder. He’s approachable and happy to talk over any small question or problem I have. We should count ourselves lucky.

The parallels between building a house and building a website continue to make me smile. No-matter how much we like to plan, measure, specify, you will always end up with some degree of bodging on a project. I see this all the time on site at the house. But, as my Dad said, there’s nothing wrong with bodging if it solves the problem. No, it might not be as specified. It might not be the ideal way to do it. But, you know, sometimes you just need to get the job done and move on.

Writing a book is bloody time-consuming

I’ve been writing this book for over a year now. It’s over a year late and I’m not too happy about it. yes, I know I should try and finish it before the baby’s due, or the extension is finished, and I’m really, really trying. I have a fantastic editor, Carolyn Wood, but I do feel sorry for her. She doing a fantastic job of both editing my cobbled together thoughts and scribbles, and kicking me in the arse. We’re getting there with it, but it’s slow going and that’s entirely down to me.

There’s talk of the book being produced in print—initially a run of about a 1000. It will be full colour, hardback and distributed from the UK. As such, it won’t be cheap I’m afraid, but I’m hoping it will be worth the price. More details on that on the run up to the launch.

I’ve been writing for a couple of other publications recently as well: A List Apart, .net magazine and 24ways. I’m always thrilled to be asked, but it doesn’t half take a long time to come up with something that readers may find interesting.

On to 2008

This has turned out to be a somewhat forward-looking post. 2008 has already got off to a brisk pace. Mark Boulton Design continues to pick up exciting contracts for varied clients. I still love every day and don’t regret the decision to go freelance over eighteen months ago. I did a bit of speaking last year, but as we’re due a new arrival in April, I won’t be doing any this year that require any amount of time away from home. It’s a shame, as I do enjoy it, but next year I’ll have plenty to talk about I’m sure.

This year, I’m finishing the book. Oh yes I am.

I’m not going snowboarding, which is a killer.

I’m going to enroll in a boxing gym. Probably.

That’s about it really. As you can see, Twitter didn’t eat my blogging last year, I did a pretty good job of that myself. Maybe this year I’ll sort that out. Or maybe I won’t. We’ll see.

Filed in: markboulton-co-uk, personal.

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