Yes, I used the b-word, as “website-writer’s block” has neither beauty nor alliteration. At any rate, I usually have a few things to read in the evening that I might post about here the next day. Yesterday I had nothing: everything I read, including a science paper, was either tedious, poorly written, said nothing new, or wasn’t intriguing.
And then I remembered that for about the first 8 years of this site or so, I wouldn’t have the slightest idea what I was going to write about when I walked to work in the morning. In fact, that was a pleasure: to see a website appear out of neurons and thin air.
Those days are gone. In fact, they’re so gone that, when I was in that situation this morning, I felt I had to apologize for it here. Why? I suppose I feel a greater responsibility to produce content, and that’s buttressed by the many people who write me saying that they’re faithful readers, with some averring that WEIT is the first thing they read in the morning with their coffee. While that pleases me immensely, it also has imposed a bit of pressure on me to keep the interesting posts coming. I remember fondly the days when I didn’t feel that pressure, though I haven’t looked back to see if I post more now than I used to. (The total number of posts, by the way, has been 22,285, including this one, with 1,098,183 comments.)
One result is that I’m constantly starting posts and discarding them when I lose interest: the third figure below is stuff that you’ll probably never see:
There’s an 80-page list of draft posts, and I might as well delete them all save the Caturday felid posts, which I construct as readers send me cat items.
The other result—and not a good one—is that sometimes I weigh what interests me against what might interest the readers. When they coincide, it’s good. Often they don’t, as in cat posts, boot posts, duck posts, and even science posts. But when I think that what interests me might bore other people, I go ahead and post. When the converse obtains, I deep-six the post, accounting for the 1,586 draft posts.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the 10+ years I’ve been writing this site, it’s that I have to write about what intrigues me rather what I think would incite readership and discussion. (I could, for example, write a gazillion posts dissing Trump, but that’s just boring; go to HuffPost or the New York Times if you want that.) So nothing much will change, though I’m delighted to receive suggestions (except for those urging me to can the duck and cat posts!) The mantra will remain, “to thine own interests be true.”
Oh, I just thought of something to write about!