On writing

Reviewing the first six months of “The Compartments”

The first post on this Blog, about “Smart Thinking” and “Self Help” sections at my local bookshop, appeared exactly 6 months ago today, on 2 December 2015. In the intervening 183 days 198 items have appeared on these pages, most of them Blog Posts (181, including this one), the rest tucked away in the Menus at the top of your screen.

My original plan, as stated in this first piece about writing, was to post “around 5 articles per week, 500 words or so in each”. That would have led to just over 60,000 words, which seemed manageable, if a little ambitious. I have got a little carried away since then. There are over 115,000 words in the Blog posts on this site (15 of them are more than 1,000 words long). Tucked away in the Menus are a few items that I have wanted to write for years, especially the 9,000 words explaining how, and why, I set out to watch every Shakespeare play in an 8-month period in 2003/4. In all there are nearly 140,000 words here, words that anyone with an internet connection can read (and, yes, I keep a spreadsheet to record the details).

Usually, with a project, my aim is to plan carefully and see a clear purpose for it. If there is no clear purpose I am much less likely to start it. This Blog has been set up partly to take me away from that way of thinking. The plan was simply to post items and see what happened, to create some content before working out what to do with it. Since learning a WordPress trick or two I have managed an unbroken daily run of posts stretching back to 25 January 2016, 129 days ago.

An unexpected advantage of posting things here, as I mused in this piece about version control in April, is that ideas and stories that have been on my mind for a while, and drafted somewhere or other, are now finalized and published on this site, if only for my benefit. Those quotes from David Lodge and Douglas Coupland that have been on mind for years, where did I put them? Ah, yes, they’re here, in these pieces (“Changing Places” and “More terrible than any scenario I could have imagined”). Increasingly this site is acting as the logical place for me to look for things that I have discussed with people for many years, like the joke in “The Curious Incident”, or Micromorts, or the link between the (unnamed) British comedians who appear regularly on my TV set and Broccoli. Spotify and YouTube serve a similar function when it comes to music. We probably have the CD, or MP3, or a cassette somewhere but it’s quicker to find it through the internet, on Spotify or YouTube, and at least the artists involved will get a micro-payment which they don’t get when I play a CD.

Here’s to the next 183 days.

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