I started the Monday-Friday blogging cycle on July 30 and am surprised to find myself still here and churning out posts. My goal was to do 50 posts — 10 weeks of posting — and I passed the 5-week mark on August 31. So — to echo this blog’s subtitle — what have I been learning as I go? The next series of blog posts explores my typically blathering answers.
Epic or epigrammatic?
Andy Ihnatko said on a recent Ihnatko Almanac podcast that he yearns to do brief blog posts, a la John Gruber’s Daring Fireball blog (my own model would be Michael Leddy’s Orange Crate Art). But whenever he starts writing, the post grows to 800 words and it’s not a brief 2-sentence comment that concisely distills his feelings on an issue — no, it’s a full-out deepdish essay that could be a chapter in a book. For Andy, Twitter is the microblog he prefers because it enforces a length restriction.
The desire for concision vs completeness is true for me. My gambit of setting a timer to write for 15 minutes worked for a week, and then not at all. When it alarms, I simply shut it off, continue writing, and maybe take a break later, if I think about it. I’m a natural longform blogger, I suppose. My posts on Doctor Who and being an information packrat were intended to be single posts with only a few sentences on my opinions. But the opinions quickly got out of hand.
I have, therefore, gotten a bit better at noticing when I will need to break a post into parts and adjusting the writing accordingly. If the goal is to post 5 days/week, then I break the long ones into multiple parts, artfully round off each part so it stands as a whole (I hope), and so meet my self-imposed quota.
This post, for example, started as a bulleted list of random sentences and ideas, which I shaped into four organized thematic sections, added links and more contextual “thickener,” as it were, and the draft mysteriously embiggened itself to 1200+ words. I was about to hit the Publish button on this monster when I thought, “Wait a second — I could get four days of posts out of this!”
And on such expedient decisions are great works of art made.