Sunday, August 9, 2020

Expedite The Process

 "What’s your process when creating a blog post?"

That's today's Promptapalooza post.  Paeroka set the ball rolling with a focused and approachable take on what can be a notoriously difficult subject to handle.

Interviews often go awry when actors and writers try to explain how it is they do that thing they do. Don't you just love it when they talk about their "process"?  Doesn't it give you just the most amazing insight into their magical world of make-believe? It's like you're being gently guided past the velvet rope and through the curtains to the wonders that lie beyond. Isn't it? Isn't it, though?

No, it bloody well is not! It feels more like being dragged along on a tedious, alienating, self-important tour around someone else's workplace. Would you take time out of your day to listen to quantity surveyors or limousine valeters (is that a thing or did I just make it up?) talk you through the intracacies and subtleties of their metier? No, I thought not.

Isn't a shame, then, that it's so much fun to do? Reading about how someone writes may be tedious as hell but writing about how someone writes is hella fun - for that someone. And today that someone is me!

I can't get enough of writing about how I write. It's kind of a semi-subtle way of talking about myself and god knows there's nothing I like better than that. You know those scenes in police procedurals, where the cop starts in on the questions and the suspect moans "I told the other cop everything already"? I see one of those and I hear myself saying "Oh come on!" I mean, it's a chance to talk about yourself all over again. And someone's asking you to do it! What are you whining about?

Yeah, well, that sets the tone. Don't say you weren't warned. Feel free to skip the rest of the post.

Oh, you already do that?  Whenever I start banging on about things that don't interest you, which is most of the time? You just scan the first paragraph and check what the pictures are showing, then bail if it's bloody EQ or Lana sodding del Rey again? Yeah, well, me too, if I see Warframe or Destiny. Providing I can hit the X before I fall into a coma.

So, for the couple of people who were too slow to click away, here's my process:
  • Decide if I'm going to post today. 
  • Does the day have a "Y" in it? If so, yes I am.
  • Have a think about whether I already have any ideas. Did I think of something while I was playing yesterday? If so, can I still remember what it was. because you know I didn't bother to write it down. Did someone else post something I can steal? Did I start writing a comment somewhere then realise I could get a post out of it? If so, we're set.
  • If not, start typing. Something will come.
  • If something doesn't come, look at all the little icons on my desktop. Anything? No? Try opening a few screenshot folders and looking at the pictures. Anything?
  • Okay, so somehow or other something clicked and I'm up and running. Now for the very, very easy part. 
  • Write the post.
  • Seriously, that's the super-fast, super-easy bit. Just sit there, bash out 1500-2000 words. Done.
  • Just try not to think too much about what I'm writing as I'm writing it. It's like all motor skills. If you think about how you're doing it you'll wobble and fall off. Or, in the case of writing a post, end up spending two hours doing "research" that turns out to be way more interesting than writing the post. And then have to write a different post altogether, one of the tough ones with lots of facts and references that you have to get right. The ones that take all day and no-one comments on. So don't do that. It's not worth it. 

  • When it's written, read it back.
  • Doesn't make sense, does it? Doesn't flow, either. What happened to that idea you were developing in para three? Just forgot about it, didn't you? And this bit here. Does it have anything to do with anything? I thought not. 
  • Then there's that convoluted, twisted piece of "wordplay"? Is it funny? Did you think it was funny when you wrote it? Of course you didn't. You just thought it was clever. Thought it made you look smart. Well it doesn't. Can you even follow what it means, now? No, you can't, so who else do you think is going to get it? No-one, that's who.
  • Kill your favorites. It hurts but it has to be done. I was going to say "Kill your babies", which is funnier but also really gross. Had to kill that one.
  • Okay, that's the first edit done. Now for the pictures...
... an hour passes.... among yourselves...
  • Okay, that just about works. I'll just drag this one up to here...
  • FFS Blogger! What the..? Geez. Can't you just move a fricken picture without screwing up the entire layout? Mumble mumble gripe cuss...
  • Time to re-read the whole thing, check for typos and cut-and-paste screw-ups, any miscellaneous weirdness...
  • Aaaand we're done! Now, what to call it?

  • Hmm. No, seriously, what? Gotta have a title that works.
  • Here's one. Oh yeah, that'd be... no, wait, didn't I use that one already? Blast! Yes, back in 2014. And again in 2017.
  • Okay, let's run a bunch of relevant keywords through Only take a minute...
  • Hmm. Nope. That's not gonna work. Geez! You'd think every post I wrote was about Livin' tha Life.
  • Let's flick through the music folder... oh, hey, I haven't heard that one in forever...
An hour later...
  • OMG! Is that the time? Where'd the day go? Sod it... just pick one. Okay, that'll have to do. Just check there's a bearable cover I can link to when the monthly music post comes around...
Two hours later...
  • God, if I don't stop right now I'll never get my dailies done. Okay, just bang in the tags... try to stay awake... seriously, this bit takes like thirty seconds but it feels like thirty days. I hate tagging posts.
  • Hit Publish and that's it. Finished!
  • I'll just read it once more, now it's really real.
  • What the hell?! How did I miss that? And that! And this paragraph makes no frickin' sense at all! Gimme a moment to fix that...
  • Oh sod it. It'll have to do. 
  • Read it through one last time...
  • Okay, that's pretty good. I'll put my name to that.
And there we go. That's My Process. Okay, there's the odd post that doesn't come off (and this might be one of them) but it pretty much always works.

At least, it works for me. For the readers, assuming there are any, maybe not so much. But that's not really the point, is it? I write to please myself and mostly I succeed because, yes, I am that much of a narcissist.

But, hey, be your own fan and you'll never let yourself down. Amirite?


  1. I'm very relieved to hear (read) that I'm not the only one who re-reads his own posts a bazillion times, before publishing and after, to make sure everything's just right.

    I should have known that you do it too though. No one writes coherent, multi-thousand-word posts without making any mistakes in one go. ;-)

    1. You can very easily see what my first, unedited drafts look like. Just read any of my long comments on any post anywhere. I almost never read comments back before I commit. Sometimes I don't even read them back after. I don't know why - logically a 500 word comment deserves as much editing as a 1000 word post. Somehow I see comments as conversation, though, so it doesn't seem necessary.

  2. Just for the record, I read them all, top-to-bottom. Thanks for a fun blog.


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