The Slow Writing movement

You know you’re a bad blogger when it’s been so long since you updated your blog that you forget the domain name. Just now I went to update my blog and had a momentary panic when I realized it had been so long since I posted that I couldn’t remember the web address to sign in to my own blog. I tried to sign in on a platform called Blogger for awhile before I remembered that i use WordPress to write this. Sheesh!


The truth is I never meant to really be or become a blogger. I’ve always wanted to write stuff that became ink on paper. I know that is old fashioned. This blog was conceived of more as a website that would contain links to my paper-based writings; which unfortunately take an awful damn long time to make. It was never meant to be a blog-blog that was updated on a regular weekly basis. The problem is that by definition that’s what a blog is: it is something that is packaged in regular and frequent installments by definition.

Writing a book on the other hand, unless your a freak like Stephen King, takes a long time. DIY Magic was conceived a couple of years ago, took months to write, and it’s a comparatively short book. You can read what took me several months of work to write in the space of 3-4 hours, if you’re a fast reader! (I think this can give writer’s a sort of “performance anxiety” and is the reason we get so many bloated masterpieces like Moby Dick and Infinite Jest from male writers.)

And my last book was a relatively quick thing to write. I also just finished a novel that I have been working on for 4 or five years! It clocks in at just over 200 pages . . . likewise writing up a 24 page comic script took all of last Spring. My point is that real writing – the paper based, this is going down on the permanent record kinda thought takes time and lot’s of it. Writing this blog post on the other hand, let’s see (*looks at watch) 10 minutes.


So it’s a lot more “efficient” to write a blog than a book right? But hold on. I want to make the case for the paper-based permanent artifact. You can re-read a good book over and over. The Great Gatsby and Catcher in the Rye are still going to be read by your children’s children. I doubt that the same can be said for 99% of the content that is going to be posted on the internet today. Sure, popular blogs like Zen Habits or Slate (really just a collective blog) will probably be around in one form or another for years to come. But nobody will be digging up the old content. We read stuff like blogs because we are addicted to the new. It is a part of the modern mindset. However the ideas that are really worth sharing, and that are going to be around for awhile are still the ones that take a long time to write down.


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