Blathering On Over the Holidays

Frank MoraesThis is the hardest part of the year to write. Very little is going on in the news and the people I commonly read are not writing very much. What’s more, not that many people are reading. I suppose that they have more important things to do than read my increasingly strained missives. Yet I still try to grind out five articles per day. This is not out of any commitment to you my loyal readers. It is more out of a commitment to myself. I am a man of habits and I have this feeling that if I don’t write five articles today, I may never write another ever again.

There is another aspect of of this. In order to write well, it is important simply to write. When I go back and read things I’ve written in the past, I’m constantly amazed that the best work is often the stuff that I just dashed off. And stuff I thought was very good — things I worked very hard on — leave me flat. So if I want to write a hundred articles each year that are worth while, I probably do need to grind out a couple thousand. Because when you are in the thick of it, you really don’t know what is good and what is dreck.

Another problem is that I’ve now written well over 8,000 articles on this blog. With every day that goes by, it seems that I’ve already said what I have to say on the subject. Indeed, there will be times when I’ve written half an article, only to realize that I must have written the same thing before. And a quick search shows that indeed, I have. And often, the process of my thinking is dead on. I am nothing if not consistent. Even when I was a libertarian, my writing on the subject of politics was not so very different than my more clear thinking today. This was one of the reasons that I wasn’t allowed to play in any libertarian games.

Tomorrow, I’m sure I will have much to say about the ending of the year. As for now, I have little to write about other than the fact that I have little to write about. Of course, there are things to write about. For one thing, I have a very interesting grammar article to write about. But it will take a little work and I don’t feel up to it right now. But you would think that at this point with five years and 8,000 articles under my belt, I’d be able to look back to the previous years for what I did. This is not all that useful. For example, last year at this time, I just didn’t write that many articles. And the year before, I wrote really short articles.

So I’m stuck tonight just slogging out an article about how I’m reduced to slugging out an article. It really doesn’t speak well of me. If I weren’t so obsessive, I’d just recycle old article. I know that even my most devoted readers don’t manage to see everything that I’ve written. What’s more, I often completely forget things that I wrote. I’ll sometimes notice that there is a flurry of visits to a particular article and I have no idea what the it is about. So maybe I’ll start doing a little about that. But there is so much else to be done moving into the future.

There is something that I might consider. Posting five articles of an average length of 700 words each day is an arbitrary work load. I have friends (Although they might might not describe me that way!) who have active blogs who produce far less. Infidel753 posts only every other day on average. Bark Bark Woof Woof posts only a couple of things per day and they tend to be light on content. Beggars Can Be Choosers posts every couple of weeks. Human Voices posts every week or so. The Good Typist publishes once a week (but she’s also polishing her novel). Ramona’s Voices is much the same. On the other hand, Job’s Anger publishes at the same pace that I do. And so does P M Carpenter’s Commentary. But most of all, I try to be like Digby — both in terms of amount of content and quality. I’m pretty sure I’ve got her beat in terms of amount. It is still the quality that I’m working on. And I’m afraid having lots of content is necessary to have a high level of content.

4 thoughts on “Blathering On Over the Holidays

  1. Personally I think the writing has gotten better over the short time I’ve been reading it. The length fits the material very well. Something inexperienced writers (like I’ve tried a little in various places at being) do wrong is they over-write on things they are passionate about arguing and think their points are made with a quip or two in areas they assume readers agree with them. You do a good job of tailoring your length to the points you wish to make (and with humor that isn’t snarkily condescending.) I like long essays myself, but my reading habits predate the Internet.

    • Thank you. I like long articles if I am interested in the subject. If I’m not that interested, I generally want to people to get to the point. I think most blogs pick a certain depth that they want to stick to. Around here, it is about 700 words. But I go on as long as I think a subject warrants. What I generally do not do is write really short articles. If I don’t have 500 words to add to a subject, I don’t write an article.

      I do write 10,000+ word essays, but they don’t show up here. For one thing, when you write that much, you aren’t writing about a single thing. I’m writing one right now (more in the 50,000 word area) and it has included stuff I’ve written about in many articles here. But I have no problem plagiarizing myself.

    • Ah, my childhood hero! But usually, I don’t struggle for things to write. It’s usually the opposite. Part of it is laziness. Writing about politics is easy. It takes a lot longer to write about film or grammar — which is what I should be doing around the holidays.

      My general philosophy is that I don’t write about things unless I have something to add. That’s why I don’t tend to write about some very important issues. I feel most comfortable writing about economics because I understand it reasonably well.

      I think what bloggers should try to do is post consistently. I don’t think the frequency matters. But I don’t think I could do a once a week thing, even though I rather like those kinds of blogs. So I suspect I will continue to grind out articles until I burn out. But then what would I do with my free time?!

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