Meta: Finding an Approach to Blogging

I imagine this sort of meta-blogging post is profoundly uninteresting from a certain standpoint, if not many. If so, feel free to stop reading here. I won’t be offended. The reason for writing this up is purely selfish; I find that doing so helps me compile my thoughts which I then must commit-to because I’ve posted them publicly.

And another great counter to me being meta is that I ought to be writing about my primary topics rather than thinking about how to write as a subject itself. To be /meta/ in this respect, it is to be (with apologies to Pratchett for stealing his line),  second-guessing myself, then third-guessing those thoughts, then fourth-guessing and so on in a spiral of self-questioning — it is simply what I do.
(It’s amazing I get anything done.)

The point though is the question of how I’m approaching the act of writing for this blog:

There’s a school of blogging that says you should make your updates brief and often. I saw this stated explicitly a few years ago on Raph Koster’s site somewhere; I don’t remember the precise post, but you can see it in his style of updating. It’s like twittering. Personally I find this format insubstantial. (Yes, yes, I like posting single sentence quips as much as the next guy, but there’s more to life than only ever being able to do that.) — Thoughts are not developed enough to be really interesting or engaging, with any depth.

(And the cynical thought: This post-lots-with-little-content is efficacious if your goal is to stream as many eyes as possible past your ads as often as possible.)

There’s another school of blogging, the Steve Yegge School that holds that you should update very substantially, far and in-between, and that it is a long-format piece of writing that will be able to sink into memory and stick with a reader. I agree, and I find his insanely-long-by-current-standards posts fascinating, but they are indeed difficult to digest given a busy schedule with 5-15 minute breaks between periods of work, so I can see how such huge posts would be difficult to read in terms of the trends of web media consumption. (Did I just make that sentence? Kick me.)

Another school of thought holds that you should update your webpage (and by extension blog) only when you don’t suck — thanks Mu. And this bit of advice from somehow who went over 3 years without updating his site except once to say that everything sucks at the midpoint of that time period. Take it how you will.

In other words: update only when you feel like you have something interesting to say, be it long or short. This seems like a good rule, a compromise between long and short form blogging with the ultimate goal being quality. I shall try to follow this rule.

(And don’t apologize for not updating. Nothing is so pathetic as the blog that apologies for not having content!)

So I’ll see you next time I have something to post that I think doesn’t suck.

[A sketch of a city with no sprawl.]


2 Responses to “Meta: Finding an Approach to Blogging”

  1. Liosis Says:

    Here I thought that the only school of thought in blogging was #1. That was what I got from my attempt to learn what the whole blogging thing was all about. Or a version of #1 whereby you only pick those ideas which can come to some fruitation within the space of a typed page or so, because otherwise readers get bored or find the information too overwhelming. I find the one benefit of that is that it keeps ideas fresh. If I catch something when it first starts to grow in my mind and encourage it (via writing it in a blog, as you do) I find it more quickly replaces itself with another idea. That way things get conscious encouragement and there is a more consistent stream. In other words I like the requirement to write a certain amount every week or so.

    Although I do see how for a artist, or someone required to use their ideas in other ways on a consistent bases, it would not always be necessary to have a specific creative outlet such as a blog.

  2. dbaumgart Says:

    Yeah, no doubt it’s all about the requirements you set for yourself (Nothing is forbidden! Everything is permitted!) — the whole above post is likely me working out with myself what I want to do with this particular blog.

    In the past I have set a requirement for myself for updating my blog on a set schedule on the topic of designing and coding a game. Forcing myself to write about my work every other day made me work on the project enough to have something interesting to write about; It was basically setting public deadlines for progress then guilting myself into following them.

    My conclusion remains: One should write as much or as little as one must, so long as it is interesting (eg. “doesn’t suck”), and meets the requirements you set out for yourself — in this case, for me, an artistic/professional front rather than a more ‘personal diary’ feeling.

    [I could probably allow myself to write shorter posts if I felt good enough about what they said. But then if I feel that good, then I can generally ramble on for quite some time. I do tend to over-write … ]

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