August 24, 2019

Editing & Organization

I’m reluctant to mention I have any form of OCD. It’s an overused word for something that I know people have been diagnosed with where symptoms are far more serious and life-blocking than one might assume. At the expense of sounding a little too politically correct, I’ll instead note that I do have some endless mental review process which forces my immediate environment to a certain level of sickly neatness.

You can imagine visiting my flat and finding many, many right angles—eyeballed measurements and micro-adjustments between every object. And I mean every. From the tilt of the teapot to the alignment of batteries in the drawer.

This is to say that when I endeavor to create something such as this personal collection of texts (the word blog feels too brutish), its public nature pushes my instinct for unfounded correctness even further. I’ll admit there is even some odd form of persistent pain in its maintenance.

It has been difficult and time-consuming to move between writing portfolio platforms and feels like an act of adultery to switch from one to another, especially after falling in love with the story of each platform’s creation and the beautiful minds behind them. Blot, which you are reading on now, comes after years of using Carrd by AJ. Carrd was and continues to be a brilliant option for micro-sites. But it was too open-ended for me, and an itch for perfection mixed with lack of design knowledge rubbed my brain raw.

Here are the two problems I hope to solve with Blot.

Editing

Because of my endless mental review process, it’s extraordinarily hard for me to tuck something away and consider it finished. I’d be a fool to think this is unique to me and am sure it is a common plight among artists. Knowing when to stop sounds so simple. Yet the backwards type of self-discipline required to do so is hard to pin down. For me, discipline exists in other parts of my life so that when it comes time to expel words I can do so without restraint.1 Writing becomes the exception.

Blot allows me to write and publish directly from my absolute favorite piece of software, Oliver Reichenstein’s iA Writer. It’s dangerously fun to use. And because I can access posts so quickly, the possibility to edit is always there. Published posts are just dormant text files, not printed pieces. But this is all well and good. If writing is my allowed impulse, so be it. This is my namesake website and I’ll edit to my heart’s content. As a result, though, it may be a bit useful for you to know that nothing you read here is artifact. The date stamps are lovely and accurate, but they don’t mean I haven’t been snooping around past files fixing tidbits2—unless I’m dead, of course. Even then, beware editorial seance.

Organization

Change of mind is important. It’s a very human trait, allowing us to adapt to our environments, adjust for intake of new information, and become more efficient overall. It’s discontent with the present state of things that leads way to updates and improvements—and organizational upheaval.

I plan to recycle my writing portfolio here. Old articles and essays are doing no good sitting in some folder on my machine. And while I readily accept that no one gives a damn about them, they are a manifestation of time and energy and deserve to at least be accessible if not for the sole purpose of public archive. It’s nice to see progress anyway, and just as nice to chuckle at the bullshit of yore.

This will lead to, as mentioned, some organizational fuzziness. It will take a lot of time to gather my many essays, articles, poems, and other scraps, and then to format them for this medium. They mostly all exist right now in some modicum of Markdown (thanks John Gruber), but it will still take time. And then comes the shuffle. Will folders be best? Pages? Organized by date or topic or keyword, quality, or genre? Who’s to say. I know I’d choose a method only to imagine later how it could be more structurally efficient. So for now, at the beginning, it will be a long stream of texts in tandem.

This longwinded post is to say that you, faithful reader, should expect changes to posts and page structure. I admire those bloggers3 who can keep consistent, alas, I cannot. Maybe it’s a bit like finding a lifelong partner—when it’s truly good, it will just stick. Until then, the shuffle.

Tom


  1. Some use substances like alcohol for the same purpose. I, at risk of sounding like an asshole, try to improve aspects of my life through discipline to achieve the same creative effect. At the time of this writing, however, I do still occasionally indulge in a drink.

  2. Maybe I should append edited articles with a note stating as much, in true journalistic fashion.

  3. There’s that wretched term again. Blogger sounds so insincere and writer so pretentious.


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