I haven’t written anything here since early summer. Not for lack of typing – there are now (counting…) 35 drafts of new posts in my folder for drafts of new posts, and I’ve been writing on 15 of them since last time I published anything. There are several reasons.
Yes, there is the eternal lack of time and energy that comes with work and parenthood, but that’s boring and it apparently doesn’t stop me from typing so it can’t be the whole story.
There is also the fact that it’s easier and more rewarding to scribble out a first draft of something (even more rewarding in the short term if that draft is in your head and you don’t even have to type) or develop a short passage about a single thought in need of a context, than it is to tame a stream-of-consciousness tangent salad or develop a stub into something worth reading. Hence a graveyard of I’ll-work-on-it-laters.
I’ve also gone back and forth about what sort of things I should be writing. Short nuggets are good because they’re easy to get done and getting things done is a good habit. But longer pieces are usually better and more rewarding to read. I decided early this summer that I would try to emulate one of my favorite bloggers and write fewer, longer essays and be more concerned about quality than update frequency. That didn’t work out great, the ”don’t worry about update frequency” part was a lot easier than writing long, well-planned and thoughtful essays. Maybe lots of shorter off-the-cuff thoughts really are better? Weeelll, in July I found another blogger I liked, but after a while I was put off by the briefness of his posts – they always seemed to end just about when they were getting interesting.
A better idea is probably to stop trying to plan and do everything so damn deliberately. I usually hate planning, which means when I do plan it’s most likely just procrastination and/or fear of not being good enough. Instead of having some grand plan or outline to realize (and fail) maybe I should try to just write from a motive or observation and see where it takes me. That does seem to be the m-o of some of my favorite online essayists.
I’m getting embarrassed. Publishing this means that an alarmingly high number of my posts are about how I write my posts, my fears and hangups about writing them and why there aren’t more (everyone likes whiny excuses, right?). There should be one of those per year, tops.
I’m not ready to promise more posts on a regular schedule – thinking that I had to keep it up was a significant source of stress this spring – but I’ll keep working and this little note is mostly a way of saying: THIS PLACE IS NOT ABANDONED I PROMISE SRSLY
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2 thoughts on “Hiatus”
Good to see you back! Posts about the challenges involved in churning out quality blog posts are still worthwhile in their own right, since I imagine that a lot of your audience can relate to these difficulties (I certainly can). Also, I have to say, 35 files saved as drafts is quite impressive.
Thanks for the support! I don’t have 35 drafts, more like 35 files ranging from almost-ready drafts via outlines and single thoughts to just a line or two describing an idea. I know the whole “quantity brings quality” thing but it’s really hard to bring to practice. The contextlessness of blog posts also makes it harder, don’t you think? I find I’m better at responding to things (where there is already a context) than I am at setting up a context myself.