Sometimes I go to parties and there are other cyclists there. Rarely there will be a cyclist who reads this blog and that person, after several strong drinks, will sidle up to me and say something like, “So how do you write stuff every single day?’
By “stuff” he means “crap.” Still, the output impresses him.
“I don’t write stuff every single day. I skip days now and then.”
“Yeah, yeah, but I mean how do you come up with stuff? For years and years? How?”
My answer is always the same. I sit down at the keyboard and think about the day and then write something. For example, today. I was in the local Sckubrats with a friend minding OUR OWN FUGGIN’ BUSINESS when this portly dude walked up to us.
“Excuse me,” he said, “do either one of you own a Mercedes?”
It was kind of unexpected since we both looked like bicycle owners (purchased on a 72-month installment plan) rather than fancy German car owners. “I wish,” I said.
The guy showed us his key fob. “Do either one of you know how to put one of these on a key ring? These fobs don’t have a little hook thing for a key ring to go through.”
“Why don’t you just give it to your butler?” I asked.
He stared for a second, then laughed. “You’re funny,” he said in a way that meant he didn’t really think I was funny at all.
See? That’s all I do. Something happened and I wrote about it. I might have made up certain parts, such as being in a Starbucks, being talked to by a person about a Mercedes, or having snappy retorts, but otherwise it was all true except for the parts I made up. Simply, really.
But I started to think about it and thought that maybe this wasn’t the best way. Maybe I should be structured and planned and disciplined and shouldn’t say “fuck.” Maybe I should plot my stories out. Maybe I should be more organized.
So I got on the Internet and read about how to have a successful blog. There are many important things about being a successful blogger, but apparently the most important one is having lists. People like lists. You should, in fact:
- Make lists.
- Write shortly.
- Use photos and video.
There were many other important things I should have been doing that I wasn’t. For example:
- Republish old stuff.
- Use infographics.
- Meticulously research your readers’ wants.
- Develop algorithms pegged to categories.
In other words “Be someone you aren’t” and “Do things you can’t.”
So I decided that from then on I would be a super disciplined blog researcher who carefully analyzed each post, thought it out in advance, and produced a beautiful, well-listed product every single day. This was very different from soaking my fungal feet in a brass pot and writing about how baking soda reacts with vinegar and spores and toe juice while getting dropped by a pack of wild hyenas.
I endeavored to persevere and planned everything out carefully. Here is what my roadmaps looked like:
After all this planning, which took forever, I then went out and dutifully executed, and I can say for sure that when you go out for a bike ride planning to write a blog about your ride, your ride will totally fucking suck. Plus you will get dropped on Nichols Canyon.
In other words, it was a horribly huge amount of work and the end product was just as jake-leg as my spur-of-the-moment toenail opus. What was worse, the planning took all the fun out of the blogging. Not that there is any fun in blogging, but it’s better than, say, being dead. So the planning made it feel like being dead. Moreover, clever subscribers like Waldo noted that I had resorted to listing and wanted to know WTF was up.
So to sum up:
- No Mercedes.
- No planned blogging.
- No lists.
I feel lots better already.
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