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Wasting time

March 12, 2012

I had something of a mini-ephiphany the other day.

Here’s the thing: everything I do in my life involves writing. On most days I’m hitting 2000 words, at least, and I’m feeling pretty bad about it.

The thing I realized is I probably only have around 3000 in me a day. And that’s tricky. When I’m aiming to write some sort of post a day (and I was), that’s a thousand words, at least, off the top. Throw in editing, throw in the fact that most of my posts get completely rewritten once before they go up (this blog is a blissful exception) and I was getting to the point where, on most days, I didn’t have the energy to invest in what’s important: fiction, writing articles that have a chance of being noticed for the right reasons, and thinking compelling thoughts about art.

So here’s where I am: I’m going to write less, but write better. If I write an article, I want it to be on the level of my best work, like these three pieces. This came about from a discussion I had with a member of my writing group: basically, if I’m not really going to be making a whole lot of money from doing this, then fuck, I want to do work I can be proud of. Even more than that, I want good clips on the internet. I want to hit things out of the park, rather than just hit a lot of doubles.

In a way, my change on this side of things is inspired by my erstwhile EIC at Nightmare Mode, Patricia. She writes very few posts, but they’re very good posts. She’s gotten in a position to be noticed by a wild audience (read: Kotaku). I write a lot of pretty shitty posts, and, honestly, I shouldn’t be surprised no one cares about my plethora of mediocre posts. I need to write incredible ones. Instead of gestating them over a couple of days, I need to give them time, I need to work in lots of interesting references, and I need to make them incredible.

I look at posts like these ones , which are very capable, and I think, god, I could have done these so much better. I read them and I see exactly what I would have changed.

In short, I want to treat this with the same seriousness I treat fiction. I’d rather write six posts a month if it means they’re six incredible posts someone’s going to pay me money to write than twenty nobody’s going to care about. To add to this, by increasing the conceptualization and research cycle’s length, I’m putting myself in a position to do more and better fiction, which I feel like is my true calling. The games writing is a goal, certainly, but it’s not the one that will leave me most fulfilled.

So, yeah. I’m prioritizing differently. Fewer posts, better posts, better usage of my time.

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From → Et Cetera

One Comment
  1. Well, it’s popular to pass around platitudes as if they are absolutes, so I’ll keep this personal. I feel I don’t write better by writing less, nor do I write better pieces by intending to do so (cue comment: all your writing sucks, Sparky). Yes, there are a few pieces I hone to razor sharpness or whatever, but I find that perfectionism is only a hair’s breadth from procrastination. Ultimately some of those essays I wrote with the intention of really making them amazing ended up sitting around in my database until they were stale and I hated them and threw them away. However, I write for free, and receive so few comments and such little traffic that I feel no particular guilt if I just slap any old thing up on my blog. Mine is not the only path, and I hope whatever you decide to do works for you. However, you may also benefit from not worrying so much about writing things that are perfect.

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