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A new blogging strategy

Believe it or not, I usually hate blogging. It can be distracting, and it’s impossible to decide what to blog about. There’s just so much to write about (and finite amount of time). A writer/blogger needs to be ruthlessly selective, or else he may end up just blogging about everything.

I face a dilemma. I can’t possibly hope to compete against the full-time bloggers or those with the ability to make cogitation a full time job (academics, etc).  If I wanted, I could blog about the latest political hot topic ad infinitum or some niche topic, but what would be the point? I am not blogging for an audience; I am blogging for myself (and if readers want to come by and observe the things which are knocking against my brain, feel free).  I blog to keep a record of articles and quotes.

If you’re reasonably intelligent and a good writer, it’s not very difficult to own a certain niche – even in this day where everyone and their dog has a blog. But what would be the point?  Being the most prolific blogger for a niche is a meaningless accolade. The question becomes: how will that benefit you? And how long can you keep up this frantic pace? For some people, this frantic pace of posting can trigger health problems –and  even heart attacks.

Occasionally I wish to make a longer comment about an article or topic, but these are exceptions rather than the rule.  I sometimes write about  research topics or special topics, and those topics can take weeks to get out.   I write something on a whim, then add research and links over time.  One example is a list I’m writing of  20 Reasons to Vote for Bill White instead of Ricky Perry for Texas governor. It’s  not live yet, but it will be  soon, and I should be adding to it  until November.

I try to write longer essays and post them here, but I’m selective about what to write about. Usually I choose some personal or literary topic and take forever to finish it. I currently am editing something I started over a year ago. Hopefully I’ll get it up within the week.

At the same time, I am microblogging on facebook. Most of these microposts make it on my blog as well. So here’s my new blogging plan:

  1. I’ll be maintaining ongoing lists of linkdumps in various sections: Video/Green-Ecology/Literary/Social-Political. I keep drafts of these linkdumps in Windows Live Writer and publish once I get enough material.  So my posts will be titled July Literary Linkdump #1, July literary Linkdump #2, etc.
  2. If something from this linkdump warrants a longer quote or discussion, I’ll post about it separately.
  3. Small/slight observations will appear whenever the whim hits.
  4. Longer posts and research posts.

I usually post about 15 things per month. Under this new plan, 5 or 6 will be linkdumps, 4 will be expanded discussion, 3 will be observations, and 2 longer posts a month.

The irony is  bloggers tend to spend the most time on hot topics and extended discussions, but these are not particularly important in the long run.  Observations are fun and personal, but not particularly important.  My hope is to focus more on longer essays and provide more linkdumps.

This probably goes without saying, but when I link to something in a linkdump, the link will be  pretty rare or exceptional in my opinion.   I read a ton of stuff – a lot of it is very interesting – but is it worth mentioning here?  I already  read a LOT of interesting pieces by Paul Krugman or Dan Green or Joe Romm or James Fallows or M.L. Orthofer, but chances are I will not be linking to these guys  unless I have an odd opinion about it, or if that person’s  piece has been overlooked.  When I linkdump, I assume that you read other bloggers who are blogging about these articles.

I never can predict what posts will require a long essay. Sometimes I just start writing an observational post and it ends up transmogrifying into something unexpected . So it goes.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Jake 7/8/2010, 5:42 pm

    But what would be the point? Being the most prolific blogger for a niche is a meaningless accolade. The question becomes: how will that benefit you?

    For me, part of the point of Grant Writing Confidential is making money: if you can find a blog that complements your business (or a business that complements your blog), then blogging can be an important form of advertising and a way of demonstrating your competence. Penelope Trunk claims that blogging can be vital to your career. I would amend her advice to say “for some people,” but it’s still worth reading.

    For The Story’s Story, I write partially for myself: I like to read, and when I write about books I tend to discover things I didn’t realize I knew or thought. And when I read with the idea that I might write about a book in mind, I tend to read it better.

    I could also expand the question of “what would be the point?” to “what is the point of anything?”, but those kinds of questions generally lead to sufficiently dark places that I prefer to ignore the path.

  • Robert Nagle 7/11/2010, 12:24 pm

    Sometimes, the act of blogging leads to the discovery of new areas of interest. I find in-depth articles can teach me a lot, but obviously I can’t do it for every topic I read about!

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