This is the longest number of days I’ve ever written in a row. I figured if I was ever going to write something worth reading, I had better get started. Forty is on the horizon and you don’t get to call yourself a writer unless you write.
I don’t exactly categorize blogging as true writing, but it’s useful to hep develop a habit of working. There are a few pieces and paragraphs I’ve put down in the last 100 days that I quite enjoy. I’m not sure what I’ll do with all this.
So, what have I learned from this experience so far? Let’s do a top ten list.
- Lots of people have the same experiences. All of the entries I thought were almost too personal seemed to resonate the most. I’ve had a lot of conversations with people about very intimate subjects. It’s reassuring to me that these things I thought were so wrong are common.
- Writing about politics is great for traffic, but terrible for the spirit. The posts where I shit on Sanders or Clinton or Trump are easily the most popular. I think I was hitting the right voice because I was regularly getting likes and shares from people of radically different political backgrounds. But it was making me miserable. I don’t like the irritation and anger I feel towards events that are totally out of my control. So I stopped (sort of).
- People really like angry self-help. There are a few entires that I’ve banged out quickly that have kind of a nihilistic Tony Robbins vibe. I actually really like the self-help genre, especially the older books that more or less tell you to stop being a loser and that if you fail, it’s your fault. I think that’s commonly known as tough love.
- Writing in the morning is better. If I had my druthers, I’d go to sleep at 8pm and get up at 5am. Every time I write early, it’s crisper and needs less editing.
- Writing stoned is a mixed bag. Most of the entries I’ve written under the influence of cannabis are terrible. However, a few of the best sentences I’ve written have been inspired. Hemingway used to have this idea that you should “Write drunk and edit sober.” I think this might be backwards, or at least need some kind of tweak. I’d probably get the best results by writing sober, editing later sober, an then punch up some of the boring spots later in the evening with the help of the Devil’s Cabbage
- I don’t like most blog writing. I’ve tried reading other people’s blogs and most of them are terrible. The ones that do have promise are often mired in the author’s own terrible efforts to promote their work. I post my entries on a few social media sites, but I feel any of the energy I might spend on other promotions would be better spent on better writing. The difference between being a blogger and a writer seems to have a lot to do with bloggers having promotion strategies that are pursued as diligently as the actual writing. This seems wrong to me.
- The best praise is from other writers. I love to hear when people enjoy my writing, but the times it means the most is when that praise comes from people who write (even other bloggers).
- Writing every day isn’t that hard. Seriously. Anyone can do this. The trick is to set the bar very low. My rule is three sentences and a picture. I don’t think I’ve written under 500 words a post since I started.
- I really like Brain Pickings. The closest blog to what my goal blog looks like is Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings. Her life is basically a few hours of reading classics and a few hours of writing about their relevance to modern problems. She’s less autobiographical than I am, but her personality comes through and her choice of material is great.
- This is just the beginning. 100 posts is a good start, but it’s not even a 1/3 of the way through. The first hundred didn’t blast past. It felt like a grind. Imminently doable, but definitely slow going in places. It’s nor time for laurel resting.
Anyway, that’s pretty much it for me today. I stayed up late watching TV and am suffering mightily for it. See you jokers tomorrow.