Well, I’m back again. As you may have read, I decided to take a break from blogging for a month. This was not the only thing I was taking a break from, though I didn’t say so publically at the time. I was also taking a month off from my local church in order to decide whether I ought to stay there or whether it was time to move on. I eventually made the decision that after 4 years, it was time to move on and find another church, but I will say more on that in later posts.
With regards to taking a break from blogging, I began by trying to take a break from writing completely. My laptop was solely to be used for reviewing job specs and making tiny amendments to my CV. This was thwarted, though, by the need to express in words some of the thoughts that were going through my head. I ended up writing a piece over 4,200 words on why I left my church. I actually wrote it in about a day, as the fact that I was not pressurising myself to publish it online within a certain timescale somehow freed up my thinking process. I am grateful to @pamjweb for proofreading it for me. After that, I did some editing to it and eventually slimmed it down to 3,200 words which I sent to my (former) pastor on the 30th of October.
It highlights one of the important lessons I’ve learned about writing this month: good writing needs good editing. As you may see in some of my posts, I can have a tendency to have diarrhoea of the keyboard. As such, I will endeavour to keep my posts shorter in the future in order to make them more readable. I am often so concerned with being misunderstood that I have expanded on points and tried to clarify the definitions I am using ad nauseam. Maybe I’ve been patronising you; if so, I apologise.
The other key thing I’ve worked out is the need for a blog to be written in as short a time as reasonable. I am not advocating rushing, but rather that its initial composition (prior to editing) needs to be done in as few ‘sittings’ as possible. I still have on my computer about half a dozen blog posts that I started writing over a year ago. Whenever I return to them, I lose my train of thought, write a few lines, wonder where it is going, press save and then put it away for another few weeks. It would be interesting if you can discern which of the posts I have published fall into that category.
I also set myself targets which were not healthy. I was trying to ensure that I would publish 2 or 3 times a week. But when an idea ran away and needed to be broken down into several parts I would rush things through just for the sake of having something for you to read, in the hope that you would not lose interest in the blog. Having something a digital ego, I do check my statistics from time to time (see the vanity counter on the left sidebar, if you’re viewing on this in desktop view). What I found is that the traffic barely changed. If I have interestingly-titled posts then I may experience a peak on one particular day, but on the whole it trundles along at a steady pace.
So I may go through more periods of silence whilst I ponder what to write. This may be followed up with flurries of posts. I hope this sporadic style of posting will not put you off. It seems to be the best way of being a clearer, honest writer.
This has a knock-on effect that I have had to come to terms with. I will never be a ‘current affairs blogger’. As exemplified with #CNMAC12, most of the blogs were written very shortly after the event; within a day or two. Other bloggers (I have no idea how they do it) manage to write lengthy, thought-through pieces on the same day as any given topic or event comes up. Being a ponderous sort of fellow, when I come to write such pieces, everything worth saying has already been said, so I let my voice echo off the walls of my flat.
In the meantime, if there’s anything you’d like me to write about, or if you would like to write some guest posts, please drop me a line either by commenting here or tweeting me @TheAlethiophile.