Lately I’ve been disappointed with the quality of my writing here. When I started consistently updating Carriage Return I was writing much more prolifically,and with higher-quality content.
In the recent months it seems that my focus has shifted away from presenting well-reasoned,interesting,and engaging articles to a constant stream of musings and Op-Ed mush. I’m not very much happy with this development,precisely because I want to,if not compartmentalize,at least organize my writing.
I write in three different places,all with completely different purposes and directions. My columns for the Winona Daily News are generally derived from experiences I’ve had which I use to tell a larger story or to illustrate a question or point of meditation. When I originally proposed my “angle,”if you will,to Jerome,my editor,I also made a suggestion that I could act as a sort of inside-the-loop outsider. As a Winona native I know exactly how the town operates and what it is like to live there,but because I haven’t lived there in four years,I’m enough removed from the actual workings of the town to talk about life as an expatriate.
I used to be a somewhat prolific poster on a now-defunct website called Twins Territory. Twins Territory was my first attempt at serious blogging,and although it was about a game (baseball),I felt quite strongly that I made great strides as a writer there,particularly in tailoring my writing to an audience. I also felt what it was like to regularly write columns around 1000 words or more,which is no mean feat for a guy in his mid-twenties holding down a 50-hour a week job (even if I do manage to get some of this writing done at work). To be honest,I felt a little pressure when I was writing there,and I was almost a bit thankful when the Twins started falling out of contention and a big field operation came along which basically finished me as a frequent poster there.
The blogger I most admire is a guy named Aaron Gleeman. I’ve mentioned Aaron a few times in this space before,predominantly in reference to his website. Aaron’s one of the most respected bloggers in the Minnesota Twins community,and he’s been the subject of a profile in Sports Illustrated.
Aaron’s not my hero because he writes about my favorite baseball team,or even because he’s hugely famous in his own niche. Aaron’s a Hero of the Blog because of his ability as a writer to put out over 1000 words a day without fail on subjects which,for a baseball fan,are quite interesting. His opinions are well thought-out,but most importantly,he’s engaging to read,which isn’t an easy task considering how much he has on his plate. He’s also my hero for caring so much about a subject to have built himself up into such a well-respected figure exclusively through his own hard work and perseverance.
If I could be like anyone as a writer,at least in terms of my presence on the Interweb is concerned,I would like to be like Aaron. The scope of Carriage Return is different than that of AaronGleeman.com,but if I could co-opt the quality writing Aaron does into topics I’m interested in,I’d be very pleased with myself.
I never would have expected myself to become a perfectionist like this. For years I was content to do things as well as they needed to be done and then leave them at that,but first culinary school,then the military,awakened the dormant Virgo inside me. There are some things that I demand of myself now that I wouldn’t have even been worried about four years ago,and that is going to translate into a desire to make this blog a more worthwhile read.
This also necessitates me delving into the news more often than I have been of late. I firmly hold to a policy which keeps me from discussing either political or religious views outside of a small circle of individuals,mostly because such discussions tend to have a point of diminishing return which is encountered early in the process. There are plenty of other subjects,equally or perhaps even more interesting,out there to discuss,such as when I posted about the value of preserving a historical landmark like Tiger Stadium in Detroit or the ins and outs of high-speed rail service in the Midwest. I was quite proud of both of those posts when I made them,and they will serve as models for what I hope to bring back to the table in the future.
Short Term Goals
In short,I’m going to start writing over 1000 words,good words,myself in my updates. Anything else isn’t going to satisfy my much longer,and I think that,as a writer,it’s the right direction to go. The added pressure might be tough at first,but I’m trying to make something of myself here. I’m also going to shift the content back from Op-Ed stuff (which I can confine to my WDN column) and to something a bit less personal and more topical.
Long Term Goals
When I first purchased the domain I had a vision that one day I would have my own online blogging community,somewhat in the vein of Twins Territory,though not concerned with baseball. The interplay between the posters and readers at Twins Territory was a huge draw for both sides,and I think it’s much more interesting to read six different articles all in one place,with the same readers contributing feedback on each individual post,then it is to read six individual blogs.
I know quite a few talented writers who I would love to invite into a writer’s community,and I had hoped to structure this site so eventually there would be a wide variety of things to read all in one place. I’m not going to equate the concept to The Huffington Post or anything like quite like that,nor am I going to set a specific timetable. I’m simply stating that this is a direction I’d like to go,once I get my own situation in order.
Apparently something is wrong with my coding here on the site,because when we were looking at it at work yesterday on Internet Explorer everything looked all messed up. Any faithful IE users out there who can tell me how long this has been going on?