Below: Despite its ability to make one question the whole nature of blogging, the universe and everything, the Booqpaq is actually quite a well-designed backpack. I recommend it!
The Critical Theory of Backpacks
After pounding out four paragraphs of draft text on the keyboard though, I realized that what I was writing was a review, and that I had no interest in writing a product review of a backpack. I mean, this thing is sturdy, handy, very well-designed and includes a laptop pouch — which is a make-or-break feature for me — but I couldn’t muster enough interest in the subject to hammer out the details that would make a review useful… and even if I did, I couldn’t imagine that it would make for particularly compelling reading to anyone, including me.
Writing daily is a major chore, and I often wonder how long I can keep it up. It takes out a good hour or so of my day to draft a new post, edit it and create the illustrations necessary to make it presentable online. The manual labor isn’t that much of a challenge, though it leaves me a bit fried, but what really worries me is that I’m not always sure I’m actually practicing good writing habits when I’m writing here. At first, I thought that the important thing was to write, period, because doing so works the writing muscle, so to speak. But I’m finding that this pace often leaves me searching for subject matter, rather than devoting the time and energy into developing better essays.
Essentially, I’ve been favoring quantity over quality, and only now am I beginning to wonder if that’s such a good idea. On the one hand, I am infatuated with the idea of having a daily (or near-daily) record of thoughts in the form of a blog. On the other hand, I’d say that the overall quality of my posts has definitely suffered a bit for it. One good example are the posts on Howard Dean that I made last Tuesday and Thursday. There’s a subject that I care deeply about and that I spend a lot of time reading about, and yet I was only able to devote enough time out of my day to superficially explore it.
At times, I’m not even sure I’m really blogging at all, at least not the way that the most prominent bloggers, like Dave Winer or Jason Kottke, do. I feel like I’m writing a kind of daily column, albeit one of terribly inconsistent quality and virtually zero focus. In a way, the problem here is that this blog basically amounts to an indulgence, with too few goals, boundaries or benchmarks. I gotta figure this out.
This had better not be your “time off” post! I’d be pretty miffed if Subtraction went on “hiatus”, hint, hint.
Understandably, the nature of blogging is narcisstic, especially with personal weblogs or journals. I personally have, over the years, come to terms, or realized that a personal site is indulgent, and that after a while you write whatever you want to.
There have been times when I’ve questioned it myself and have written something only to never publish it, but that’s okay too, it’s something to enjoy.
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