This Post is About Something

The point of this post is that I need to have a point to my posts.

I didn’t type that as an introduction, I typed that to try to stay on point.

Perhaps the problem is just A.D.D., but it’s not (usually) like I want to say random shit such as “I like eggs” in the middle of a post about something else. Although it is A.D.D. that made me stop writing to go search for a way to share how I meant “I like eggs” to sound (it’s at the 2:26 mark)

No, most of my veering is at least tangentially related to the original topic. I always thought I was a very analytic person, but apparently in my writing I’m a synthetic (wait, what?) person. I have a compulsion to cover topics from every angle. I spend hours drafting lengthy posts once a week or less when I could write two or even three shorter posts that people might actually read. Seriously, it usually takes me at least three hours to write a post and that is just counting ass in the desk chair time, not all the time I spend thinking or jotting little notes down here and there.

This is bad. It’s bad because it makes something I enjoy doing into a struggle. It’s bad because blogging “experts” say one of the keys to writing a good blog post is to keep it to a single point.

Since I need help deciding when I’ve entered the realm of “this should really be a separate post,” I’ve been disappointed with the specific guidance provided by blogging “experts,” which is not helpful.

They conflate topics with points. Like don’t write a post about your maple bacon cupcake recipe along with a review of the new Katy Perry movie (which Dave said he’d go see if it were in 3-D, by the way). No shit, those are two different topics? Although I could see Katy Perry wearing a bra with cups made of maple bacon cupcakes…maybe this could be one post.

Jesus, I just found out the Katy Perry cupcake bra is actually a thing. I knew she wore weird crap on her buzooms but I’m 38 years old, I haven’t seen an actual Katy Perry video. I thought I just invented the cupcake bra. Oh well.

I swear to all that is holy I didn’t know about this before writing the line about Katy Perry wearing a maple bacon cupcake bra.

Anyway, the Katy Perry maple bacon cupcake bra post is not my problem. My problem is isolating a single point within a topic area. I have no trouble selecting a single topic to write about, but my brain then wants to synthesize every possible point I could make about it. I am thorough, y’all.

Here’s a recent example:

I wanted to write a post about my backlog of post ideas. The idea was to solicit feedback from you to help me prioritize the list and see who was still with me (I hate the unintended but real consequence of losing subscribers with the move to self-hosting.).

This led to writing about wanting to figure out how to write posts that will resonate with people. This led to writing about the mystery of finding kindred spirits out there in the internet ether, when you are as weird as I am.

I wrote 1,300 words before realizing I hadn’t really made my original point and now had at least three posts going in one. I still haven’t finished writing any of them because I’ve exhausted myself.

Blogging isn’t going to last much longer as one of my hobbies unless I become more efficient. Solution #1: having a point!

I’ve decided to start every writing session by typing “the point of this post is….(insert point here).” If I don’t know what the point is, I will stop and figure it out. I will touch base with this topic sentence periodically to make sure I’m not writing a new post. Lather, rinse, repeat until I have a shiny new post without giving myself a migraine.

So how did I do on this post? I’m 1 hour and 40 minutes in and I’m about done. Even on a post focused on having a point, I still also wrote several nebulous strands that should be separate blog posts. I don’t think I can make my brain stop doing that, but I did manage to pretty quickly identify them as not on point and successfully table them. But I do seem to have given myself a migraine.

Do you have trouble staying on point? Do you have any tips for staying on point? How do you feel about eggs?

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30 Responses to “This Post is About Something”

  1. room34
    Monday, June 25, 2012 at 7:14 am #

    Never trust a self-identified expert. That’s about all I have to say on the matter… and I already did: http://blog.room34.com/archives/4979

    I’d much rather read a longer, rambling post full of interesting digressions than something that’s carefully constructed to meet a set of expert criteria. Just please, never write a post with a title that begins “6 ways to…”

    OK, I guess that first bit WASN’T all I had to say. I’m sure you can relate.

    • Tracy @LogyExpress
      Monday, June 25, 2012 at 2:50 pm #

      Well, there’s long and rambling and then there’s long and rambling. But yeah, I’m not taking “expert” advice that seriously. Especially since they can be full of shit. I once wrote a post slapping together two totally random things and got a pretty decent response. Made me think I should add a Glitter Moose addendum to all my posts.

  2. Abby
    Monday, June 25, 2012 at 8:19 am #

    People worry too much about what “experts” say, when in reality, most “experts” are self-appointed and don’t know much more than the people they’re talking to. Who wants to write posts that fit a certain set of guidelines everyone else is following? Everything looks the same. It’s boring.

    If you have a thought, write and go with it. Who cares if it’s not a perfect representation of something. As long as you write authentically, people will read and take notice. It’s a hobby. Not a job. Have fun with it 😉

    • Tracy @LogyExpress
      Monday, June 25, 2012 at 3:13 pm #

      Ah, the irony of writing about being more clear and being misunderstood. I was trying to be snarky about the usefulness of “expert” blogging advice. It just happened that this particular advice supports a desire on my part to be more efficient at writing.

      It’s not just a writing problem for me, it’s a communication problem. Things seem so clear in my head but I often have trouble expressing my thoughts-in writing or verbally. Maybe it’s actually A.D.D., maybe it’s my chronic sleep deprivation, maybe it’s the real life anecdote illustrating what I’m currently reading about introverts (we use a longer, slower neurotransmitter pathway and retrieve words from long-term memory), maybe I just need more practice harnassing my thoughts. Maybe I need to eat more cupcakes. I don’t know.

      You might be onto the best expert out there in Dove Promise wrappers. What do they have to say about SEO?

      • Abby
        Monday, June 25, 2012 at 5:12 pm #

        I completely get it.
        Most of the time I ramble on and on and still feel like what people comment on is something totally different than the point I was trying to get across (despite the rambling.) I think that’s what makes writing so hard–people can interpret it and add in their own thoughts and opinions without our immediate chance for rebuttal 😉

        As for SEO? I don’t even have any clue about that, so Dove are on their own.

        • Tracy @LogyExpress
          Friday, June 29, 2012 at 9:58 am #

          Well, when I asked Dave what he thought of this post, he said I rambled. Which is annoying since I was proud of being more concise than usual. I give up, my next post will be 2000 words and about 12 different things. So there.

  3. I Might Be The Problem
    Monday, June 25, 2012 at 1:50 pm #

    I started writing about a strange man playing a recorder (remember recorders?) at the bus stop the other day, and called it a day when I realized I had somehow arrived at how pompous pomegranate is, as far as fruit is concerned. I will probably publish that draft some day soon. Because you know what? I can’t be the only one to feel that way about pomegranate. If staying on topic is a requirement, then every blog I love is doing it wrong. You just do you. Eggs and all.

    • Tracy @LogyExpress
      Monday, June 25, 2012 at 3:28 pm #

      My favorite element is Molybdenum. Why your mentioning pomegranates made me think of this I don’t know. I could get over 700 words in a post about sticking to the point, so I don’t think I’m in any danger of concisely staying on topic.

  4. shannon
    Monday, June 25, 2012 at 4:48 pm #

    You just made me think of Holden Caufield telling the story about kids getting ‘Digression!’ yelled at them if they veered to far off their point during their presentations in class. I am with Holden on this one, in that he enjoyed the little extra things that pop into a persons head – it is interesting to me, especially in blog posts, to see the little moments of where a writer’s head goes off topic a bit. I agree with coherently sticking within a theme, but I am all for a little Digression… Usually when I am trying to cover every single angle of something I write about, I tell myself ( I seriously actually do this ) that there is a multiverse out there somewhere that already has all of these points covered, so I should just pick my favorites

    • Tracy @LogyExpress
      Friday, June 29, 2012 at 10:00 am #

      Yes, I think I’m looking for a happy middle ground between the overzealousness of screaming “DIGRESSION!,” and rambling for 1500 words. I would actually like some people to read this stuff!

  5. speaker7
    Monday, June 25, 2012 at 7:52 pm #

    This post made me want to make an egg bra in the style of the cupcake bra so someone could say “I like eggs.”

  6. Janice
    Tuesday, June 26, 2012 at 9:04 am #

    I think you are awesome!

    I have a hard time being concise. I can pick one idea, but then I ramble. Yes, I’m a rambler.

    That’s okay, though. It makes us special. It means we are geniuses, because we have so many thoughts we can’t organize them all. Right? RIGHT??!!!

    • Tracy @LogyExpress
      Friday, June 29, 2012 at 10:19 am #

      Yes, we are deep-thinking geniuses. Agreed. Feel free to comment here and tell me about my genius often.

  7. Kerstin
    Tuesday, June 26, 2012 at 9:23 am #

    I like my eggs over easy, but I’m the only one in my family…
    I also like to write blog posts that a lot of people don’t “get”, but that’s the beauty about blogging – it’s your blog and you can experiment however you want and just keep on going until you find your flow!

    • Tracy @LogyExpress
      Friday, June 29, 2012 at 10:21 am #

      I really do like eggs…there isn’t a way I won’t them (I don’t think). So there’s that. Now I have to go check out your blog and see if I “get” it.

  8. Sarcasm Goddess
    Tuesday, June 26, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

    Personally, I love random off topic posts! This was great. Posts with points are overrated. (says the blogger who frequently goes off topic.)

    • Tracy @LogyExpress
      Friday, June 29, 2012 at 10:27 am #

      Thanks. I always have a point…the question is can anyone else tell what it is? It’s like that McLaughlin Group sketch from SNL…only I write and write and write and basically want you guys to be able to guess that the tumor growing in my head is approximately the size of a tangelo.

  9. Jacqueline Bryant Campbell
    Tuesday, June 26, 2012 at 8:51 pm #

    1. I do not like eggs. When I was a little girl, my mother insisted I eat them. This led to some three-hour breakfasts with me finding creative ways to dispose of the congealed mess on my plate before she figured out that I really don’t like eggs. Not if you put cheese in them, not if you put bacon in them, not if you call them quiche. I do not like them.

    2. My mother-in-law is a rambler. She writes like she talks, and then she gives me her stories to critique. I like little asides, but it takes her 30 minutes of non-stop (you don’t even have to nod or say “mm-hmm”) talking (we kept track one night) to get back to the original point. Maybe I should encourage her to start a blog. She might like it.

    • Tracy @LogyExpress
      Friday, June 29, 2012 at 10:45 am #

      Wow. Dude, I don’t think there is a way I WON’T eat eggs. Well, except undercooked I guess.

      I write like I talk too, unfortunately for the people who have to deal with me in person.

  10. jamie
    Tuesday, June 26, 2012 at 11:42 pm #

    I think the beauty of blogging is that you can write whatever you want. You own the space in the internet. Sometimes, you don’t need a specific point but there is a point as you finish up the last sentence. I love randomness, it makes your post much real.

    • Tracy @LogyExpress
      Friday, June 29, 2012 at 10:53 am #

      Thanks, Jamie. I’d just love to be a more efficient writer. I probably will always have some randomness to most posts.

  11. Stripeyhorse
    Wednesday, June 27, 2012 at 3:36 am #

    Well, I personally don’t mind the detours and digressions or even whether or not you have a point. As long as it’s entertaining, i’m in. And I find the written expression of a mind that tends to go in a lot of directions at once, kind of awesome. :)

    • Tracy @LogyExpress
      Friday, June 29, 2012 at 11:15 am #

      Well, I entertain myself, so hopefully I can entertain others. I checked out your blog and can already tell I’ll enjoy reading your posts.

  12. Sisterhood of the Sensible moms
    Thursday, June 28, 2012 at 9:10 am #

    Ellen and I talk about this a lot. We both have different writing processes and then we have to write together too. It has been very helpful for me who tends to be more free form in my early drafts. I agree with what everyone has said above about experts, but listening to constructive criticism has always just made the writing better. Interesting post, Erin

    • Tracy @LogyExpress
      Friday, June 29, 2012 at 11:17 am #

      Everyone needs an editor. Unfortunately, I serve as my own editor and I’m self-indulgent.

  13. Scargosun
    Friday, June 29, 2012 at 11:52 am #

    I have this problem at times too. Mostly I have these great ideas in my head while I am doing something that I cannot stop to write them down/add to notes in my iPhone or whatever. Then I feel the need to explain myself all the time too. You should see the instructions I leave for people. It’s like I think they are 3 years old or something…with really good reading skills. I need to organize my thoughts and it is NEVER easy for me even though, like you I thought I was a very organized person.

    • Tracy @LogyExpress
      Monday, July 2, 2012 at 6:07 pm #

      We are clearly twins. I need to have every base covered, so I drone on a lot, especially with instructions. I sent a 5-page memo to my blog redesigner with my thoughts. I’m surprised he didn’t run away screaming.

  14. Amy
    Sunday, September 16, 2012 at 7:41 am #

    I know what you mean. I always want to do things from every angle, and then I noticed posts around 500 words or less – lots of likes and comments. Posts over that, even if technically they’re better? A lot less love. Trying to keep it contained is tough!

    • Tracy @LogyExpress
      Sunday, September 16, 2012 at 9:17 pm #

      Yeah, I’m a babbler. In person and in writing. Although in person, I have two modes: silent and babbling. The faucet on my mouth is broken.

      I have such a short attention span myself a lot of the time, why should I expect others to want to read 1,500 words of my genius? I just have to keep reminding myself I have a point (when I actually have a point, that is).

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