Writing and Waiting

This is a reflection on my inner desire for a “links” section on my blog. However, it applies more broadly to any of my writing.

I go back and forth on having a “links” section on my blog separate from my “posts”. Instead of my monthly readingNotes, each of which is one blog post with a collection of links in it, I want split those out into individual links I can post at any moment.

However, I enjoy my current process where I note stuff down and then come back to it at the end of the month and read it with fresh eyes. It requires an editing process to the whole thing. Sometimes I cut links out completely. Sometimes I end up commenting on the excerpt so much, I pull it out into its own blog post with additional commentary.

What’s one to do? Write about it, of course! It helps me think.

I like writing things down and letting them sit for a while.

This results in a queue of thoughts, many of which never get published.

The technologist in me wants to find a way to automate this.

The instant I read something that moves me, even the slightest, I want to automate the hell out of that process. Highlight it, make a note, save it, share it, all seamlessly without any additional friction on my behalf. I can go from “hm, that’s interesting” to “shared with everyone and saved forever on my blog” in less than five seconds.

However, for me, I recognize that’s posting on a whim — and I don’t trust my whims, nor do I want them archived forever.

I recognize that the driver of what I find interesting is subject to change from day to day – even hour to hour. Maybe I ate something for lunch and now that article I’m reading is more interesting than it usually would be[1].

So I like to jot down what I read, let it sit, and come back to it later. When I revisit it with fresh eyes and still find it interesting and insightful, I take that to mean something. At that point I move it along in the pipeline towards publishing and archiving.

Don’t get me wrong. I hate throwing stuff away. After all, a blog is for posting. The internet is for posting. If I’m not posting, what am I doing? Pic or it didn’t happen. Blog post with a link or you didn’t read it—right? (Wrong.)

I find I need an imposed sense of friction, an intentional window of pause, for my writing. Time for ideas to marinate and slow roast. Time to subject my opinion to change. Then, after that moment has passed, either discard my writing or move it forward.

  1. I’m thinking of the conversation between Scrooge and the ghost of Marley in Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. Scrooge can’t believe he’s seeing a ghost, so the ghost asks him why he doubts his senses. “Because,” Scrooge says, “a little thing affects them. A slight disorder of the stomach makes them cheats. You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato. There's more gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!” ↩