Goals for 2011

I have a goal for this blog in 2011, something I’ve been thinking about for the last month.

See, the amount that Rob Donoghue writes continues to amaze me. Something every damned weekday. But I also know my own limits, so it’s not something I can do. In the words of Saint Callahan:

A man’s gotta know his limitations.

I’m going to try for 13 posts a month. That’s 156 posts in the next year. I have a Google doc with a crapton of blog post ideas that I’m going to work out. Knowing that Rob often writes the night before and schedules it for the next day is something I’ll probably do (and did with my Con Burrito post, and doing with this post). That he blogs about whatever is on his mind, from gaming to the iPad, is probably something I’ll avoid — but maybe not on occasion. I dunno.

Importantly, there’s something I told Mick Bradley a few months back:

I will tell you what I tell people who say this: 500 words is the new black.

Try putting a thing on your calendar that recurs one day a week that says “hey, blog about something for a small amount.” Practice. Make it a habit.

More importantly, make sure you enjoy it.

I try for 500 words. I often overshoot. I want to overshoot less, honestly, because (a) that’s a huge time investment for something I don’t get paid for, even if it’s building my brand of whatever, because, hey, my brand isn’t paying my rent, and (b) smaller posts are smaller ideas, and smaller ideas are easier to poke and and understand where my thinking is wrong.

Which brings me to my thoughts on blogging in general:

  • Be comfortable posting “half an idea.” I frequently chat with people about working on little, nimble projects together rather than doing a lot of work solo, and that’s because I believe that me plus others is smarter than me alone. Similarly, I feel like I should create a “fully baked idea” for my blog, because me plus people commenting is smarter than me alone. I haven’t written my follow-up post about Adventure Games and the Myth of Arcs, but that I did that post and the comments I received have made me think and have made me smarter. To that, I have to say: fuck yeah.
  • “500 words is the new black” isn’t just a cute saying. But I already went into that. Clearly I’m writing this stream-of-consciousness style.
  • Which brings me to why I don’t really edit my blog posts: I actually want many of my fuck-ups and flubs to remain public record (though I will copy-edit a little after posting so that the text is clearer). I’m a flawed individual, and I totally fucking admit that. Cuz, you know, I’m human. That means I’m going to be wrong. So I’m willing to be wrong publicly. That’s how we learn. That’s how we become awesome.
  • Similarly, a blog post is the start of a conversation (hopefully), so having incomplete ideas and being willing to be wrong is part of being able to have that conversation rather than a lectures and dissertations — which might not actually be the best use of this social medium. I think the shorter posts facilitate that.
  • This doesn’t mean “be half-ass.” it means it’s okay to be rough & incomplete, if your goal with blogging Is to learn. (And if it’s not, what the fuck are you doing?)
  • Have a fucking voice. You don’t need to be dry. But don’t be a slave to your voice, either. It’s hard for me to talk about that one, it’s just something to feel out and experiment with.

But that’s me and my blogging philosophy. Your mileage will most certainly fucking vary. But that’s me and what I want to do in 2011.

– Ryan

[1] For those who don’t make the connection: Dirty Harry


2 Responses to Goals for 2011

  1. Rob Donoghue says:

    These horns? These horns here? I throw them. Right now. They are being thrown as we speak.

    -Rob D.

  2. EZ says:

    I was doing a blog post a day for two months. It was a worthwhile run. In retro-spec, it was a pace that pushed the edges of my limitations, if not past them, but that was an important part. The only reason I scaled back was I wanted time to do fiction, which needed longer seed time, but I ended up scaling back and not taking advantage of the time. Not that this is advice for you to follow, I think your level of discipline is in at least Submerged (if not Throwing Fireballs), while mine is still Feet Wet.

    But yeah, definitely agree that 500 words is the new black. I may try a-post-a-day again under that model.