Hey Harvey!

Posted on Oct 21st 2011 at 05:08:27 PM by (slackur)
Posted under Personal, update

Greetings, programs!

I knew buying a house and spending time with my beloved through her traumatic health condition would take up most of my writing time, but I really didn't intend on it taking me over half a year to get back here.  I can state all manner of excuses, but the reality is that if I'm serious about pursuing my writing career, I need all of the outlets and avenues I have available, and neglecting them only sets me back.  Not to mention, I've missed you guys. (Aaaaawwwwwww)

While Adam and I plan to kick the podcast up into higher gears in the near future, I hope to use this blog to not only grow a personal presence here on the site, but to treat it as a developing process of accountability for progressing my intended profession. 

I remember how blogs were before Twitter, Facebook, even before LiveJournal; not just articles and thoughts ready for publishing, but personal thoughts, updates in life, and fun social portals.  Now that these other services have largely splintered what was once more concentrated (although in the name of speed and functionality,) having a blog lost interest to me, even though I don't use those other media services.  I know some have never treated their blogs differently even in the wake of our integrated digital lives, but I suppose I lost interest in treating my own blog in the same fashion as some would a Twitter or Facebook account because i assumed those who would want mini updates or social connectivity would prefer them in those such better suited, more modern methods.

Nevertheless I've come to the conclusion that I can, by nature, be somewhat selfish in a blog if I know the priorities I have for writing one.  I need practice in writing, in any format, and if that is the foremost stated intent of this device then I can feel a bit more freedom in the content.  Whereas before, I only wanted to write here if I could really build an article in which I both felt a sense of worth in writing and potentially polish for later use.  The more 'frivolous' entries felt more like excuses in wasting space and time, a notion I will still have to work to dispel.  Now that I have a different intent on my entries, I hope it will liberate my availability, in time and content, even if I perceive the quality or relevance to suffer.

Write what I want to write!  That pretty much sums it up.  If I develop an article worth front page reading, it may be caught and elevated, and if not, I have no objections.  And even though I'm not overtly concerned with critique, I hope any input gained from readers will simply work to forging my skills, whether I agree with such advice or not.

Mentioning such, I will make a comment on one particular aspect of my writing here that I know annoys readership; what could be be colorfully described as 'Block-o-text' Jes writing.
Why such long winded sentencing?  Why not more pictures that break up the ongoing literary assault?  Why make it unnecessarily harder for folks to read?

Believe it or not, this result is intentional, and not because I simply don't care or wish to accommodate those interested.  One of the first lessons I find in teaching material for writers is to write what you would want to read.  Would I want to read a wall of text?  Actually...

Here's what happens to me; I'm reading an article online, the typical two or three simple sentence paragraph, punctuated by pictures, links, and graghs, and my eyes spill over it, searching to gain the gist so I can popcorn my attention to imagery and corollary links of similar interest.  I quickly get through what I imagine to be the important components and then jump to something to keep up the pace.  I end up with a dozen tabs and windows open, jumping between what I'm interested in that minute or so.  It's like when a gamer first discovers emulators: downloading hundreds or thousands of games, then tinkering with a few dozen for a few minutes, rarely investing in one for much time.  Sure, I read plenty of articles in their entirety, but my attention has been split, and I don't digest the content as I would sitting down with a good old-fashioned book or magazine article circa '89.

When I find a wall of text in my own reading, it presents itself as a figurative wall to my racing conscious.  I slam against it, and have to make a decision; I'm going to focus on this, or not bother with it.  With no pictures to paint the mental imagery for me, and sentence structure that may be overtly complex but requires attention to follow, I either focus or ignore. 

As pretentious as I freely admit this purpose is, the last thing a serious writer wants is someone to scan their words and not form meaning or worth from them.  Focus is the most valuable gift a reader can give an author, and we writers have precious few tools left in the era of hyperlinks and flash animation.  Presenting material in a way that forces such attention can be annoying and frustrating; I know I certainly don't always stop to read it.  I didn't read Doonesbury for years because it took so much more work to glance over than Far Side or Garfield.  Now I ignore it for other reasons, but that's material for another time...

I write in this style because even though those who get through it all may not care for the style and format, it is much more likely they will have thought about what was written.  It's not that I don't care about the reader whom I loose because they see that wall and want to move on; I honestly do.  I'm not trying to use some obnoxious trick to separate intellect or intent.  I don't pretend that anything I write has any special relevance or meaning above any other author.  On the other hand, my goal for writing is not to collect the most readers, in this or other formats; it is for conversation.  I have found this method produces the best results for the fulfillment of that desire.  So, at the known risk of coming across as pretentious, I build these walls so once scaled, we have something to chat about on the other side.  Will it be of any more worth or importance than any other chat?  Not necessarily at all.  But hopefully we'll at least be holding a conversation instead of nodding, shaking our heads, or shrugging before moving on.

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Personally, I feel the same way when it comes to articles. Often times, the "wall of text" is a well thought out idea or argument, and people just glance over it because there's nothing shiny to keep their interests.

Hope everything's going as well as it can at home, and please feel free to post anything you'd like. It is, after all, your blog - it's meant for whatever you choose to write.

Now, with that being said, I'm going to go post a blog with a video in it...
Glad to hear from you again. Other than the occasional podcast I've been missing your presence around here.

Looking forward to your next wall of text!
I'll say you have the talent to be a great writer. Just reading through this deep musing makes me wonder what is up next. Some of us actually like to read *gasp* so keep it coming.

As someone that has much more difficulty writing as opposed to speaking, are you the opposite?

Well thanks!  I appreciate the encouragement. 

As for speaking, I would say I'm probably more comfortable than average.  I've taught classes, preached, and I'm a lead vocal in our band, so at the very least I do it, regardless if I'm good at it. Tongue

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