The Hopes and Dreams of the Little Blog

Frankly CuriousIt seems like only yesterday that Frankly Curious published its 2,000th article. (It wasn’t; it was almost two years ago.) We are now well over 5,000 articles. What’s more, the articles are much longer now. In the early days, articles were often very short. And then there is this thing since I moved over to Word Press. It tells me how many words I’ve written, and that tends to make me shoot for 500 words — the Frankly Curious standard. But I often find myself well over double that. What am I gonna do? I have a lot to say.

This comes up because I was thinking of writing an article about the ridiculousness of the libertarian argument against labor unions. I will probably get to that soon, but I was thinking, “Didn’t I write about that before?” Well, the truth is, I can’t find that I have written about it, which is odd given that it is something that really bugged me even when I was a libertarian. (As a libertarian, I was a huge supporter of labor unions — strong labor unions were the only way libertarianism could ever work.) But what if I had? It isn’t like it would be just a rehash of the older article. And it isn’t like I had anywhere near as many readers before as I have now.

But what is the purpose of this blog? I know I write these articles from time to time. But I really am trying to figure it out. As you should have noticed, there is now a “Morning Music” post. It took me exactly three days for it to get totally out of hand. The idea was just that I was going post some video that I thought was interesting. But it couldn’t stay at that — no. Now I have to go on and on about what I think is interesting. For example, I have one coming up about Michael Penn’s minor hit, “No Myth.” And I swear, I get 500 words out of talking about Wuthering Heights.

So I seem to have set up another trap for myself. Now, instead of five posts per day, it is six. And there are three set ones: the birthday post, the quotation, and the music post. But here is the interesting thing: they are actually the easiest ones to write. I know I have to create them, so there is no question of whether I should or shouldn’t write them. The hardest part about writing any article is starting it. Actually, of the three, the quotations are the hardest, because I have to find something that is interesting without my commenting on it.

This means that I have three articles per day that I consider “real.” And by “real,” I mean hard. They are article that generally require that I read a lot about what’s going on and look for something that I think is worth writing about. And then that leads to reading what other people are writing about. And this usually results in what I think is my best work here. Most especially, I think my best work is about economics, because that’s an area where I think I have the perfect level of knowledge (low but not zero) to get across complicated issues. But in general, no one is interested in these articles. Which is fine.

The question remains: do people like this? That’s a rhetorical question — don’t feel the need to chime in. But if you think it sucks, please let me know. It isn’t likely to change anything. The addition of “Morning Music” is part of my broader attempt to make Frankly Curious a destination site. This isn’t as loony a thought as it might sound. The number of people who come directly to the home page is way up over the last year. I want this to be a place where people can come every day and know that there will probably be something that they’ll find vaguely interesting. And it provides my life with structure that I badly need.

Afterword

Speaking of structure, this is currently the publishing schedule of Frankly Curious:

12:05 am - Birthday Post
06:05 am - Morning Music
08:05 am - General Post (usually politics)
11:05 am - General Post (usually politics)
02:05 pm - Quotation
05:05 pm - General Post (hopefully not politics)

I’m thinking of moving the birthday post to 5:05 am. There’s a technical reason for that. I rather like it going up after midnight.

3 thoughts on “The Hopes and Dreams of the Little Blog

  1. I think whatever makes a writer interested in writing constitutes a good structure for that writer. It’s all about being challenged to come up with material but not in a paralyzing way. Fairly sure if you find this structure boring, you’ll change it up, and if you like it, you’ll roll with it, and that’s war counts.

    I dunno what exactly I like about your writing (besides that you tolerate the presence of dopes like myself) — if I had to name it, it would be “a liberal with a wide-ranging scope of knowledge who’s quick to suggest he may be wrong.” Because of our dumb American political election process, we tend to praise those with rigid, inflexible positions instead of what we should value — consistent moral positions. (As in real morality, not sexual morality, real morality like “I hate seeing the weak get harmed by the strong.”) FDR changed New Deal policy every five days based on what was working and what wasn’t. Your biggest targets are people with the most rigid inflexibility, and that’s rare to read. Many big-name writers, even some I’ve liked, once they’ve made a stand on some position, will never admit to having changed their minds, and that’s mindless!

    • Thank you for the kind words. Of course, I think it is harder to change your mind when a lot more people are reading you. The problem with Krauthammer is that he doesn’t want to admit that he’s just a Republican flack. I’m not in the can for anyone. One of the nicest things I read about Andrew Sullivan’s retirement was by Ta-Nehisi Coates. He said that Sullivan used his blog as a tool for searching out the truth — even if Sullivan didn’t actual succeed in getting very near the truth often. I feel the same way here. I’ve learned a lot about politics and economics writing this.

      The thing about the rigidness of the schedule is that it allows me to constantly be a day or so ahead, so I can schedule other (paid) work. And if something comes up that is timely, it is easy enough to move stuff around. I like to have a couple of science articles lying around, because they can go up any time.

      As for you, well, you add greatly to the content of the site! I would feel bad about not paying you if I made any money here!

      • Hell, you’re not short on nice words yourself. The Internet can always use more of that. Which never means letting truly vile statements stand without being challenged . . .

        Here’s hoping structure helps the author and the blog both!

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