On Thinking in Long Form
A common sentiment shared by most bloggers is that blogging is not supposed to be work. It needs to feel natural, flow freely, like a mirror reflection of a writer's mind. It needs to be a stream, a log of a thousand thoughts published on the web as they arrive. They do not need any adornment, any context. Because this medium is first for self. Write for yourself is the first suggestion every person publishing on the web gets.
I do connect with the sentiment, yet I believe the suggestion doesn't address all facets of writing. Personally, I love blogging, but I also love writing long form posts. The only way I know of to get better at an activity is to do it regularly. So, it was natural for me to get frustrated with the fact that I do not publish long form posts any more. Colin had a detailed reply, again reiterating the same sentiment.
I have also found that I write less long form content but feel it's more a reflection of the way I blog now rather than due to any external influence. Writing without titles, writing in thoughts rather than posts, means that each item is only as long as it needs to be.
He does acknowledge that he too gets frustrated at times, but he has found a way to address his need via a newsletter that he regularly publishes.
I sometimes get a little frustrated at the dearth of longer posts as it means I'm not going in to any real depth, but then I have the muse-letter to explore things further. That doesn't mean that longer form posts don't appear on the blog, it is more a "stream of consciousness" affair. And that suits me for now.
Sure, a blog needs to be just that — a “stream of consciousness” — but what if it makes a person stop thinking deep and just jot down the thoughts as they come? Without revisiting them to expand on them? A writer, needs to provide his thoughts space to evolve. He needs a place where he can borrow time and think deep. A place where he can knit a few ideas together and publish a coherent essay. A blog post, for sure, is not that.
Don't get me wrong, and I repeat, I love blogging. But I also like to think deep. Write posts that are more than my thoughts, out there for the world to consume as part of some timeline. There was a time that I used to post longer posts pretty regularly. I had drafts that I worked on for days. Read more, expanded on the original idea. A need for such workflow doesn't exist any more. I recently wrote.
I am reading many people's writing process today and am absolutely stunned at how simple my writing needs are. I don't write drafts after drafts in any tool. All my drafts are one line ideas in my notebook or saved articles with tags "to-write". I find time for writing and complete a post about an idea or article. For that matter, most of my posts are spontaneous -- I get a thought and I put it down into a post.
Realizing how simplistic my needs are, I ended that post with this question, “what use do I have for the text editors any more?”
I think that was a rhetorical question posed to myself. Do I want to post just the spontaneous thoughts or also at times go deep and word something more meaningful? I have always known that the answer to that question is both, but I haven't found a right balance to achieve that yet. The regularity of microposts lends me a feeling of achieving the writing goals, but as I look back at the archive, that achievement feels hollow.
All said, though, I need to separate the spontaneous posts from my long form ones. The former allows me to stay real, genuine. The latter challenges my creative self. My mind needs both the outlets. A single portal has failed to provide that, and am tired of attempting to string one. So, here's a start in that direction.