Friday, September 19, 2014

(Meta) Personal Problems

Reasons I often give up trying to write something I thought I would be able to write:
  • I quite accidentally read an article related to the topic I wanted to write about and it demonstrates that I don’t know nearly enough to write about the topic. I begin to form a list of books and articles I feel I ought to read before approaching the topic. The list refuses to stop growing so I eventually give up. I wasn’t trying to write a dissertation.
  • I deliberately do some research and discover that my experience with the topic has been extremely atypical and unfortunate. I would just be complaining about my own personal problems, which is not what I had set out to do.
  • I try to figure out how to introduce the topic and my interest in it but I keep bumping into the fact that I possess no credentials of any kind.
  • I write a first draft and realize that just don’t know what I’m trying to say.
  • I write a first draft and realize that I am writing about six different things and I’m not skillful enough to tie them together.
(I’m the most pleased with what I write when I bounce around a few different topics and I feel like the relationships among them come across satisfactorily without having to be spelled out.)
My latest tactic for avoiding these pitfalls is to try to write shorter, less ambitious posts, and to publish them right away. I also have observed that I am more interested in reading shorter posts via RSS, so I would like to get in the habit, even though I estimate that approximately zero people are following this feed at the moment.
Another thing that I have noticed about short posts is that they tend to nevertheless be longer than I intended them to be. I keep thinking of things to tack on the end.
I do like long-form writing too, by the way, but it is sometimes uncomfortable in a feed reader. I usually toss such articles over to Instapaper, but that has its own problems. This is the point in the train of thought where I briefly consider subscribing to a printed magazine, but so far I have always recovered from this affliction without any lasting effects.

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