… my verbosity leads to another, much larger, problem: since longer posts take more time, I’m often hesitant to even start writing.
MG Siegler, Brevity
The past month or so, I have been reading about various authors’ thoughts about content – primarily: the length, what warrants being published, when should a link be included off-site. I have also explored the layout of this site after wanting to focus on the content that I write, instead of the other busyness sites normally include. Both strains of these thoughts have come together recently.
I am like MG in the way that I read a lot of stuff online that I want to respond to, but the weight of what I want to write stops me in my tracks. After reading The War of Art, I realized that this is a major form of Resistance. Writing short “link blog posts”1 was a way for me to break through that Resistance, because it kept me writing, but it wasn’t really doing my writing any service.
I spent time reading through my archives and noticed that there has been a steady length to most of them, and very few (if any) links to other sites. I am not referring to a lot of my writings in the past year or so, but from way, way back… like this one, the return from 2007. There were a lot of personal thoughts and memories bottled up in my head that I wanted to get out. Blogging was a means of me to discover my voice since very few people were listening to me in person. I am even more isolated now than I was then, and have started to wonder if part of the reason I have felt a bit off is because I haven’t been voicing the personal side as much.
Less philosophizing, more personal.
Content has always been a major struggle for me here. I don’t know how many times I have written about the direction I would like to take this site. The more I think about it, the less it moves. I think I need to stop being so concerned about what people want to read and treat it more like my place: decorate the walls with the paintings and newspaper clippings I want to reference in the future, litter the floors with my thoughts and sort it out later on, and if I happen to leave a few coffee stains of garbage posts here and there, so be it.
Being able to call this space my own is one of the issues I have with a new site, Medium. This is what they say on their welcome page:
Lots of services have successfully lowered the bar for sharing information, but there’s been less progress toward raising the quality of what’s produced. While it’s great that you can be a one-person media company, it’d be even better if there were more ways you could work with others. And in many ways, the web is still mimicking print concepts, while not even catching up to it in terms of layout, design, and clarity of experience.
Medium comes from The Obvious Corporation. Most people aren’t aware of the company, but they are aware of several of their offerings. Evan Williams was the founder of Blogger. Along with Biz Stone at The Obvious Corporation, they created Twitter.
Right now, Medium makes it easy to collect stories into collections for others to discover, but there is no easy way to discover what else those authors have written (clicking an author’s name goes to, where else, Twitter). The author falls to the side and the collection of ideas becomes the focus point. The one problem that will most likely arise is how do you curate it to keep spam out, and how do you distinguish between the well written pieces and the crap pieces?
Their other service, Branch, I wrote about previously, Do We Need to Branch Out?. Medium is an extension of that product, but organized differently. Branch has restrictions on the length you can enter, just like Twitter, and you respond directly to another person instead of an idea.
I bring these services up, because in order to explore your voice and allow others to see it, you need to make a choice: the medium, and the place. You can post video blogs to YouTube or Vimeo, or you can do audio to Soundcloud or a podcast. With text, there are many options now. Some with restrictions, some without.
I choose to publish my work here, and aim to keep it between 500 to 750 words2 with the hope that the words will continue to flow for years to come.