Brian Micklethwait's Blog

In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Monday July 06 2015

This is another of those “memo to self” postings.  Well, really, all the postings here are memos to self, but this one is more than usually of that sort.

Earlier today, I managed, at last, finally, to do a Samizdata posting, after a gap of well over a month.  It seems to have been quite well received, which is very nice, but really the big thing for me now is that I have done it, well received or not.

And in the course of doing it, I think I have identified an error in my thinking about how I should be writing about Samizdata.  I think I was in the grip of what “writing for Samizdata” was supposed to be, for me, and what writing for Samizdata was supposed to be was writing one or nearly one Samizdata posting per day.  And then, there came a time when I was unable to do this.  And since I couldn’t do it, I pretty much stopped doing it.  By aiming at too difficult a target, I was failing, day after day, and that made me just give up totally.  That is very silly.  But that, I think, is part of what was happening.

But now (in fact the change is long overdue) I think the time has come to revise my model of what writing for Samizdata should now, for me, mean.  Me writing for Samizdata means not that I post something on Samizdata pretty much every day, but rather, that I work on my next Samizdata posting, pretty much every day.  This means, for example, that by close of play tomorrow, I should have made some headway, not necessarily very much, just some, towards doing another posting there.  The sequence of events will be: decide to what write about at Samizdata, and then start.  Make some headway every day.  Work at it.  Polish it.  Try to make it good.  When it is good, or seems so, then publish.  And if that takes a week, it takes a week.  The idea of doing something once a day survives, but not in the form of a finished blog posting once a day, just some work on a blog posting, every day.  Believe it or not, I took several days to concoct this latest posting, coming back to it again and again.  And that felt like the way I should now be doing it.

The thing is, posting something here every day is quite easy.  Not a total breeze you understand, but quite easy.  This is because my standards here are very low.  When I say something, I do mean something, aka anything.  But Samizdata demands stuff that is better than that.  It demands stuff that has been polished, worked on, really thought about.  In 2005 you could shovel any old junk onto Samizdata and get thousands of readers, and we did, and actually it was pretty good stuff because we had all spent the previous quarter of a century thinking about it, and because we knew that thousands of people were reading it, and commenting in their hundreds.  Now, that doesn’t work, or not for me.  I now feel that Samizdata, unlike this place, needs better than just any old thing if it is to compete with the mainstream internet media, as it now does.

We shall see.