Blogging is Hard
Bernard Finel has been trying this blogging thing for a while and finds that it’s harder than it looks. He notes that even very short posts require quite a bit of effort.
Even short posts take me forever. Not writing the text, per se, but I think most posts are useful if you include a couple or three links to relevant other pieces, quote sections of text, comment on them, etc. And that is where I think I must be missing something. For me, each time I want to link and quote, it means I have to
1. Open the other blog post/news story on a separate tab.
2. It means clicking over, copying the headline of the blog.
3. Click back and paste in headline.
4. Fix formating of the headline to remove stray/excess html.
5. Click back to post I am commenting on.
6. Copy url.
7. Click back to my entry.
8. Highlight the headline from the post I am commenting, and link the url.
9. Click back to the other post.
10. Copy a suitable section of text.
11. Click back to my entry.
12. Paste it… strip out stray HTML… format it as a quote.
Then… finally… I can add my 2 cents.
If I want to comment on a debate in 2-3 other blogs, it is upwards of 30 steps just to produce a couple of snippets of text to frame my comments.
Then I need to proof. Choose categories. Decide on tags. And finally publish.
What am I missing? Is there some magic piece of software that would somehow simplify this process?
Not really, unfortunately. There are plugins that suggest tags and whatnot that save a little bit of time but, basically, this is all work that has to be done. There are various software applications that will create blog-like posts, either by stealing posts wholesale from other blogs’ RSS feeds or by generating spammy links based on keywords.
But real blogging, especially the kind Bernard and I both prefer that includes multiple links, winds up being a lot more work than it would appear at casual glance. In addition to the steps above, for example, I tend to search for photos or other art to illustrate my posts; that can add 10-15 minutes to the process. And that’s to say nothing of the vast amount of material one has to read to find the things one wants to blog on. Or half-written posts that, upon reflection, aren’t really worth publishing at all. Not to mention various administrative work associated with keeping the site up and running.
Like most anything else, though, it gets easier with practice. I can do most of the steps Bernard outlines in my sleep at this point, having written thousands and thousands of posts over the last seven years (19,212 at OTB alone).
One “trick” that I’ve adopted in the last year and a half or so that has really helped: Getting a second monitor. It’s much easier to compose a post on one monitor with the various pages that one wishes to link and/or quote in another.