How I Blog

Back in the beginning of the pandemic, sitting at my computer with my third or fourth inferior German beer, doing Home Office in our apartment cul-de-sac at the ass-end of the Deutsche Bahn, the world burning down, I finally decided to start a blog. I know, blogs are not much of a thing any more, but G+ is long dead, I dropped Facebook the nth time they added a new privacy violation, and I have no interest in any of the social media sites (I still don’t know what to do on LinkedIn). What I enjoy, social-media-wise, is writing short blurbs for an imagined, though real, audience. For writing practice and for the feeling that I am organizing my thoughts.

I started with elaborate ideas about creating an authoritative document from which I would create the official post and ancillary web-tidbits I could use for promotion. However, my technique quickly evolved from elaborate to quick as I learned just how long it took to create even a single post. Thus: somehow I get a topic idea. I pull up an A4 document with 2 cm margins. The title is centered 18 pt Optima Bold (I want to optimize, and am kind of bold), and the body text is justified 12 pt Lucida Bright (I want to be clear, and technically, I am a “Bright”). After free associating for a while, I save, often just a single crappy paragraph. One recent post was started the same day I decided to start a blog. Others have taken less than a week.

Once I have about a page of material, I start to get serious. More than a page feels like too much, but less than a page is not enough for me to complete my little story. My typographic settings constrain my writing like rhyme scheme and scansion constrain a poem. I easily go beyond a single page, but with judicious cutting I get back down to exactly one, simultaneously improving the text. If you want to “be like” me in this regard, go to extra effort in your writing to cut, cut, cut. It seldom hurts and usually helps. Either you streamline with fewer and more elegant words, or you eliminate the extraneous. I repeatedly re-read my page-or-so, adding and cutting, until it is saying just what I want it to. I put it away, then work on it again a few days or weeks later. Invariably there is a bunch of previously invisible awkwardness, easily (usually) cleaned up by, you guessed it, adding and cutting.

To post, I select all, copy, and paste. I have a collection of potential header images in my Drafts folder, one or more of which may seem post-relevant, or I may go searching through my thousands of photos for one that seems right. I upload the chosen image, then preview my post. Revisions are always needed. My WordPress theme is not typographically identical to my word processing theme, and changing the typography and pagination somehow reveals previously invisible errors. Over the next several days, I preview the post several more times, revising again and again. Here I limit myself to spelling and punctuation errors, and missing or incorrect words. At this point I also add and check any hyperlinks, and then schedule the post. I continue to preview even after scheduling, revising again when necessary. Even after the post has been published, I will still correct typos and missing/wrong words if they are bad enough, although often I simply leave errors alone once published.

That is my blogging method for now. I am sure it will evolve, as I am not completely satisfied with it. Furthermore, I expect to eventually have plans for future changes to my overall blog concept that will likely be incompatible with my current technique. But for now, it works.

3 thoughts on “How I Blog”

  1. I will note that, in reviewing my first 15 or so blog posts, a lot of typos and solecisms have been getting through. I’ve noticed a few other things about my posts as well. All of these noticings are giving me some ideas about “what to do next” (as in, after many more months!) with the blog.

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