That weird background process
Since I stopped posting to Twitter and Facebook and start blogging long-form again, I've been 'blogging in the back of my mind' more and more. Do you do that? Actually, I also did it with tweets and status updates as well. Something would be happening in my life or I'd get an idea, and then I'd think of some phrase that I'd use to describe it, and tweak it a bit in my mind if I could feel it was too long or could be said more entertainingly. I was constantly tweeting in my head.
Most of these thoughts never made it out of my brain - they were sort of a pre-tweets that never graduated. Now I'm doing it again, but with blogging. But rather than just the one-off thought, opinion, or the quick one liner, I'm starting to construct more fully formed ideas in my head. I know I've done this before in the past when I was blogging regularly, but it is just feels much more pronounced.
I have to say this is a huge improvement in how I think. Though most posts can be reduced down to a tweet-sized summary, preparing to explain fully what it is I'm thinking about ends up shaping the core idea completely, changing it in ways that simply blurting out the initial thought would never do. This makes sense, of course, the more time you spend thinking about something the better it's most likely going to turn out. But it's that act of grabbing a thought and not letting go, then going through the actual process of writing it up, which enhances even it more. Just over the past few posts I've had some strong opinions, that upon having to rationalize them, suddenly became less clear cut. Yet others became even stronger. If I had expressed my initial thought in 140 characters at the very beginning, I would never have evolved my thinking.
Anyways, back to the voices in my head.
I'm just honestly amazed at how much blogging has grabbed my mental attention again just over the past week or so. It's so weird - suddenly every thought or opinion that flits through my mind becomes a potential topic for longer analysis. I start framing how I'd write a post about it - how to open, what examples to use, what sort of image to include, and what thoughts I've had in the past that I might be able to reference. Like this: Tweets kill that blogging urge. (Holy crap, I wasn't kidding. I stop tweeting for a month, and suddenly I start writing full posts again... crazy.) All of that is constantly going on in the back of my skull, while I'm doing other things like food shopping or stuck in traffic or whatever. It feels a little nuts to tell you the truth.
The best metaphor is one of a computer background process that's constantly picking up on thoughts or opinions, and gauging whether they'd make good posts. Then if they pass that test, another process picks it up and starts forming it before a single word is even written. I know from past experience that If I get a really good thought in my head, it'll continue to pop into my head over days and weeks, forming and re-forming. Sometimes I can feel that I'm forgetting something important, so I'll put the idea on hold for a while, then when I run across that thing I was missing, *poof*, I'm suddenly thinking about how to re-incorporate it into a post.
The problem with this is that though writing has never been hard for me, it definitely needs to coalesque around one distinct topic. Once I've said everything I have to say about it, then the words start getting harder to find. I often find myself slowing down at the end of a post, when I'm trying to wrap it up (like now), and now I have a few more thoughts to convey, but I'm not exactly sure where they are or how to incorporate them cleanly.
What I need to find is some easy way to just throw in somewhat-related, but not really ideas into my posts in a sort of non-sequitor way. Here, let me try just throwing it all out there:
Everything above this sentence was meant to be about my amazement with this weird mental process of creating tweets and blog posts. But then I somehow want to connect that with the fact that, honestly, most typical blog posts aren't really that long and really don't go that in depth. They only can seem long if you compare them to size of a typical status update. And then I want to go from there to the fact that I love the fact that "longform" writing seems to be resurging, mostly as a result of the iPad and other tablets, and point out how those articles are all usually 5,000+ words long. My longest posts barely top 2,000. This post right this second is only 800 words or so long, and it feels like I've been writing forever. Then finally, I want to contrast that with the Pinterest, which is going even farther than Twitter and getting rid of words (and thus thinking, analysis and opinion) all together, and how, "Huh, isn't that funny?".
Hmmm... Well, I don't think that last paragraph worked very well, or was any better than just throwing those ideas out there one by one, but it honestly made me feel better to get it all down in a post, so I won't delete it. Maybe the context in which I just blurted all that out will help? Not sure.
Anyways, in summary, I think I'm going to keep blogging regularly for a while. I like it. :-)