[Disclaimer: The title above has little to nothing to do with the contents of this blog post.]
Okay, it’s now Friday, and this will be my 4th daily blog post in a row, which I think is a new record. I know that, as of yesterday, I was on a three-day streak because WordPress made sure to congratulate me on that fact*, presumably as a way to encourage me to keep writing. Apparently, humans respond so much to practically any reinforcement at all that even a clearly automatic bit of feedback is useful in keeping them engaged. I don’t mind it, either—it’s nice to be able to keep track, just in case I lost count after, say, reaching the number 2.
Such feedback is slightly funnier when my Kindle app tells me that I’m on a streak of having read (on the app) 110 days in a row or some such. My inclination is to say to it, “You have no idea. This isn’t even on the same order of magnitude as the longest reading streak I’ve had in my life.”
I don’t know for sure how long I’m going to keep doing these daily posts, but I definitely don’t want to get out of the habit of writing every day, even if I’m not writing fiction. Ray Bradbury (supposedly) said that one should read assiduously and write every day if one wants to be a writer.
Now, I don’t think that Ray Bradbury (or anyone else) had the final, best word on how to be a writer, or indeed that anyone knows for sure the single optimal way to do any craft or master any skill. There are just too many possible ways to do things, and almost no controlled, double-blinded experiments to compare them. Also, reality (and the brain in particular) is too complex for one to be able to determine which is the single best approach through logical deduction or similar principles. NEVERTHELESS, I think some things are plainly better and some are worse, on their face, and one can proceed with those “assumptions” until and unless one encounters a good reason to reassess them. Time** and mammalian processing power are finite, and one must take acceptable shortcuts when one can.
I will say this: however long I keep doing these daily (or “week-daily”) posts, I’m going to confine the Shakespearean titles to Thursdays. The Bard wrote a tremendous number of words, and many of them are suitable to being transformed into post titles that include the word “blog”, but it’s still a finite resource (speaking of finite things), and even a lot of his writing is not adaptable for such purposes.
For instance, yesterday’s title comes from a bit of dialogue by Agamemnon in Troilus and Cressida, but reading through much of the scene, there’s not a lot of other stuff that’s really any good for turning into blog post titles. It includes lots of banter about kissing and the like, which serves to make people like Achilles look like high school jocks who think they’re cool but are really just exceptionally dorky. You can’t deny, Shakespeare really did capture the reality of human nature, since that’s how so many human males behave not just when young but all throughout their lives.
In other words, I’m going to be choosing random titles for these “daily” blog posts. Well, not “random”, really. That would be bizarre, but not in a very interesting way. Presumably one could use a random number generator (or a pseudo-random number generator) to pick ASCII characters and just throw them together into a post title. But that would likely make readers just think there must be something wrong with their computers, or with WordPress, or with me***. I just mean that I will improvise the titles to the day’s posts as I go along. I’ll try, if I can, to make them reasonably clever and/or engaging, or at least not to discourage people from reading, but I can’t promise there will be many gems. As noted above, one soon comes up against the wall of increasing use of finite resources in an endeavor with limited value even if one wrote the best title that had ever been written. But occasionally there might be a fun one.
At least I don’t seem to have any great difficulty writing something so far, especially when I don’t constrain myself to any particular set of topics, or to having any topic at all. I’m rather garrulous in my writing, though I am rarely so in person, feeling far too awkward and confused when interacting with humans in most cases, at least without pharmacological intervention. And those interactions are rarely worth the effort of intoxication.
Here, however, I am in a sense speaking into the void and not really knowing whether anyone actually hears or not. As I mentioned earlier in the week, it feels a little bit like free-association in Freudian psychoanalysis, but without anyone responding in a faux German accent, “Tell me about your childhood.”
For me, a big issue is probably going to be keeping myself to a limited blog post size on a daily basis, since once I get going, I can ramble on with no end in sight. I figure setting an upper limit of around about a thousand words a day will probably be a good mark to hit…though knowing me, I’ll almost always skid past it at least a little.
Still, it’s a good target and reminder, because efforts by readers, like those by writers, are finite resources, and I don’t want to be too presumptuous on your time and energy. In fact, I’ll close now by saying that I deeply appreciate the time and effort you’ve already put in, knowing that only those who have put in that maximal local effort have even reached the point of getting this message.
Thank you for that.
*Honestly, I knew it anyway. It’s not as though it was hard for me to manage that bit of self-awareness—or those two bits, I guess.
**Okay, to be fair, time itself may not be finite, but the time any person has in his or her lifetime is finite. Hell, the universe itself, though it may endure forever, will for most of that eternity—at least from our point of view—be functionally empty, in a state of maximum (or at least very high) entropy. Everything interesting happens while the cream is being poured into the coffee, so to speak, not once it’s already completely stirred.
***They may well think that about me already.