I have had, sitting on my desk for the past week or so, scribbled notes for a projected undertaking post entitled, “Why My Blog Posts Are So Long.”, which I have been reluctant to write, for fear that that post would underline the concern by itself being excessively lengthy. Following the example of the foregoing sentence. Which, were it professionally edited, would be conspicuously shorter. Or possibly deleted entirely.
FANTASY EDITOR: “Why obsess about it? Just do it!”
Or some other scrupulously sensible critique. (I was concerned that “scrupulously” was the wrong descriptive but I looked it up and it’s right.)
Having already egregiously over-written this post, I shall redundantly proceed with an assiduous analysis of “Why My Blog Posts Are So Long.”
(I can already see this ballooning into a “Two-Parter”, the expansion triggering crippling self-doubts about “Who cares why your blogs post are so long? The people who read this are okay with it – or at least resigned to it due to its compensating benefits – and the people who don’t aren’t here.” (A dilemma experienced similarly by MSNBC commentators, assembling persuasive arguments for an opposing audience that is not watching.)
There is a good chance nobody wants to hear about this. But hey, there’s a good chance nobody wants to hear about anything I write, which has not been a deterring obstacle for me in the past and should not be a deterring obstacle today. I am nothing if not consistent in my obliviousness.
Forging adamantly ahead…
Offering an example – an example awaiting my attention for the past number of days, though I do not recall precisely how many – You see? There was no necessity to include “though I do not precise recall how many”, exemplifying at least one of my post-extending tendencies right there. It’s just that, to me, the protracted duration of my delay in getting to this post reflects a signifying reluctance to write it. And I thought you hear about that. Okay?
FANTASY EDITOR: “Please delete the previous paragraph, as it is annoying, unnecessary and annoying, the last word repeated for deliberate emphasis.”
With respectful apologies, “Fantasy Editor” – I am doing this my way.
Case in Point (Exemplifying a more encompassing point, by and by):
My first draft for a recently completed blog post ran 759 words. (There is a “Word Count” function under “Tools” on my computer. Just to assure you that I did not count all the words individually, my compulsive proclivities extending only so far.)
My published “Final Version” of the post whose “First Draft” ran 759 words ran 953 words. Making the post’s published version – ballpark calculation – approximately twenty-five percent longer.
I can assure you with certainty, although without definitive proof, as I have never maintained a “running tally” on this matter – that every post I have ever published has wound up being, to varying degrees, longer than it originally began.
It is simply the way it is. They never once went in the other direction.
While always focused on cutting extraneous “fat”, my posts are admittedly not as “Lean and Mean” as they would be if, say, they were columns written for a magazine or a newspaper?
Because they are not columns written in a magazine or a newspaper. They are instead blog posts.
When I wrote newspaper columns for the Toronto Telegram in my mid-twenties, I was restricted to 750 words, a limit to which, being conscientious and quakingly fearful of being fired, I obediently adhered. (“Good People” follow the rules for the inseparable combination of “‘Good People’ always do the right thing” and the mortal dread of the negative consequences if they don’t. (An arguable blog post of its own, consigned here to a parenthetical “mention.”) (I just throw this stuff away.)
There are, by contrast, no rules as to how long a blog post should be. Meaning, you can, in principle, go verbally “bananas.” I, however, try to maintain as tight a literary ship as is reasonably possible – according to my personal “reasonable” yardstick.
However, when the chips are down, the evidence of over 2500 hundred blog posts attests to the fact that when “Lean and Mean” vies with “comprehensive, clear, entertaining and accurate”, “Lean and Mean”, mixing gambling and boxing metaphors – invariably – by which I mean one hundred percent of the time, winds up on the canvas.
This despite the punishing drawbacks of “long.”
Not bragging, or saying it’s better. It is simply the way I roll.
(First Draft Update: I just checked the “Word Count” – 637 words. Before “I just checked the ‘Word Count’.” And, of course, before the second “I just checked the ‘Word Count’.” And, it goes without saying – though I am saying it anyway – before the third “I just checked the ‘Word Count’.”)
And I have barely scratched the surface of “Why My Blog Posts Are So Long.”
Let me just include, before returning tomorrow with what I had no room for today,
reiterating that “Room” in a blog post is not an issue, although “Readership Patience” undeniably is – mentioning a single point before “Hasta la vista.”
It has, from the start of this undertaking, been my premeditated intention to create a blogatorial experience, duplicating. as accurately as possible, the experience you would have if we were talking together in a room. (An experience in which I did all of the talking.)
To that arbitrary – although meaningful to me – objective, rather than proceeding in a straight storytelling line, I uninhibitedly “jump around”, going back when I have forgotten a clarifying point – “going back” by saying, “Wait, I have to go back”, rather than revising what I had previously written so that the finished product will appear more narratively seamless, not because I am too lazy to go back – I am almost certain I’m not – but because I want you to see the gears of my thinking process turning, valuing “a living and breathing encounter with the writer” over a “manicured haircut” of a “Final Result.”
Chronological missteps? (Or logical ones.) Random meanderings? Bolstering arguments? Ubiquitous qualifiers? (See: Above – everywhere.) So be it. That’s how humanly imperfect minds operate in “Real Time.” And I have an insistent desire for you to experience mine.
This idiosyncratic approach, thrown into “Maximum Overdrive” during the rewrite process, cannot help but make the “Published Product” substantially longer.
Okay. “End of First Draft.”
We shall now see what transpires during the rewrites.
Original Draft of this Blog Post: 972 words.
(Which is already too long. But wait’ll you see this.)
Completed Draft of the Blog Post: 1138 words.
What are you gonna do?
(Not a confrontational challenge, just a surrendering lament.)
To be continued…
I warned you this was going to be wordy. It’s positively perverse. You talk about “long” and it insidiously infiltrates the proceedings.
I really hate “The Unconscious.”