Thursday, December 21, 2017

Letting off steam

This week I heard complaints about the blog from two loyal readers.

The first (and younger) critic said the posts had all gotten too long. I went back and crunched the numbers, and we have indeed gone from average lengths of 770 and 1,260 words each in May and June, to 1,972 and 1,239 in November and December. Looking at blog traffic statistics, I also realized most people read on tiny phones. 

The second reader said she had no objection to thoughtful pieces about brains, books, and authoritarianism. But she misses the cute anecdotes about single gay dad life I used to post on Facebook more regularly.

Ever the accommodating codependent, I agreed to publish more short notes. Starting with my recent post about the various Star Wars Life Lessons I’ve picked up from forty years of faithful movie attendance. 

You should still expect a couple of more substantial posts to pour out most weeks. Longer essays generally need extra time to percolate.1 But it’s hard to predict when each will build up enough of a head of steam to propel a final draft to the obviously inept copy editor.2
1I’ve settled on hydraulic flow as the primary metaphor both for the writing process and for writer’s block. (My favorite author’s farming analogy wasn’t working.) But let’s save that story for later.
2Fortunately, the real editor will wander by to fix everything eventually – but not until after the piece is already published. Anyone with a low tolerance for typos should check back after a couple of hours before reading anything new. [Ed. note: we recommend weak readers wait 24 hours. At least.]

Other essays from "Roger On Writing":

"Watch for Quiet Explosions"  (10/15/19)
Blaming the Children”  (9/21/18)
Lilies That Fester”  (3/25/18)
Steam Heat”  (3/19/18)
Super Fuzzy Things”  (9/8/17)
Dear Reader”   (7/22/17)


  1. So you're making up for short length with long footnotes, eh? :p

  2. Of course. It's an endless cycle -- words' metamorphosis as they flow from text to footnote to revision to purgatory to revival to post-mitosis "start" to parentheses to text.... Circle of life, baby.