June 5, 2008


This post represents a symbolic benchmark for me. Not of any particular significance, the number 2,000 seems nevertheless to carry some import, and I can use the occasion of the 2,000th published post on this blog to engage in some navel-gazing.

I set out, at the start of the year, to average three posts a day. Actually, my thought was originally to do 1,000 posts in the year, but then I upped it to three a day. I did it in order to keep myself engaged in writing. I think my writing skills overall improve with practice, and they require some level of discipline, and three posts a day seemed like an achievable, disciplinable method to get there.

To what end? To writing something that will actually generate money for me? Maybe. To writing something that will be of interest? More likely. I don't know if what I write will ever be sold, if anyone will want to buy what I write. I have made passing attempts at writing fiction before and hated, hated, HATED reading over it again later. "This is pure crap," I've always said looking back at fiction I've written as recently as a week before my review. Plot arcs and dialogue are a gigantic mystery to me; they quickly turn in to pointless, unstructured, and confusing meanders. I don't know how professional fiction writers do what they do, and having made stabs at it myself, I give a successful writer substantial credit for accomplishing something significant when a story is completed.

And I don't have much appetite for hugely academic works, either; I've tried doing law review kinds of writing before, and I haven't been able to discipline myself to do that, either. A career in academia seems like it would be a bad fit for me, at least given my current abilities and aptitudes in terms of writing.

So if I do write something more lengthy and substantial than a blog entry of several hundred words, what exactly would that be? A popularization of law, or a popularization of history, I suppose. You still need academic credentials or at least to have done substantial academic work for that sort of thing to be taken seriously. I haven't decided or yet really applied myself to the task. I've entertained some thoughts to that end, sometimes returning to them later, but between the discipline needed for real writing and the need to flesh out and research something adequately to speak with some level of authority and knowledge of what others in the field are saying, I've not devoted enough time to the project.

But we'll see. So far, I've been able to keep to my goal and I'm learning some level of discipline by doing it. I've also learned a little HTML, which may not make me a better writer but it comes in handy every once in a while, especially when my formatting gets screwed up here. And hopefully, I've managed to attract enough eyes to the blog so that I have an appropriately critical audience that keeps me on my toes. Thanks, and let's look forward to the next two thousand!


Michael Reynolds said...

The fact that you read your fiction back and think it's crap is a good sign, not a bad one. Lousy writers don't hear what's bad in their writing; good writers hear nothing but.

Burt Likko said...

Thanks. I know the only way to get better is to keep on trying and eventually something will be not pure crap. Until then, I'll spare you and other Readers my halting and excerable attempts at fiction.

zzi said...

Congrats. Time to secure a notapottedplant.com domain name.

Burt Likko said...

I've thought about it.