Earlier this year, I wrote how I wanted to post more frequently. I set out to post daily. Two months in and I’ve got a few posts to show for myself. It isn’t for lack of material. There is SO much to write about. Each and every day I cross dozens of topics worthy of exploration. I tweet out many of these ideas. (ASIDE: twitter is currently my go-to for sharing thoughts and interesting articles I’m reading. Given all of the controversy around the viability of Twitter, perhaps I should write a blog post about it….).
I set-out frequently to blog about the ideas I have. To expand far beyond 140 characters. To build a thesis. To explore a topic in some depth. But I just haven’t set into any kind of rhythm. So unfinished drafts remain unfinished. I have dozens of drafts currently open on my laptop, awaiting more attention from me. But that attention never seems to come.
Then today I read John Biggs post, “What happens when you write 11,000 blog posts?” Can we just pause for a moment and take that in….eeeelllleven thoooouuusand! At my current pace, I’ll hit 11,000 posts in….oh….183 years! (yes, I did the math). A few thing struck me. First, John says he can bang out a blog post in five minutes. Secondly, he notes that blogging hampered his long-form writing:
I’ve been sprinting so long that writing anything longer than 1,000 words is an odd feeling. To be a true long-form writer you have to produce, edit, and revise for hours. I learned that blogging ruins long-form when I wrote my books, most notably Marie Antoinette’s Watch. I could not hold a thread and my writing, while dense, was imperfect. I didn’t have the discipline necessary to write long. Here’s hoping I can get it back. Treasure it if you have it, even if it won’t make you any money.
I realized while I was targeting word count, I should have been targeting time. Targeting time will make me quicker and it will also enable me to schedule around it which will help me find a very needed rhythm. I also realized that one of the things holding me back was my long-form writing. I have been immersed in long-form writing over the last few years. I’ve been DROWNING in long-form. Yes, I published some 20 op-eds and editorials last year which are shorter form, but my focus over the last few years has been long-form. I finally got around to finishing my dissertation and I also finished my first book Digital Destiny. I like the nature of long-form. You have room to build out a robust thesis. You have room to explore adjacent topics. I’ve no desire to forsake long-form for 11,000 blog posts, but I’m tired of ideas dying in drafts left open on my laptop. I’m abandoning word count. I’m going to target time. I’ll start with 15 minutes and I’ll allow myself some extra time as needed to finish my thought. I’ll report total time for each post.
Total time: 15 min + 13:54 = 28:54