17 November, 2013

How long a blog post takes

What, you write blog posts more often than once a year?

Sometimes, yeah. I spent about five minutes thinking about this blog post by Sacha Chua that prompted this reply post from me, as I thought a post would be better than a comment. After all, her original post was made three years ago.

Thinking about what to write

This takes the longest length of time, funnily enough. It’s one of the reasons there’s such a long time between posts on my blogs. Of course, once I’ve actually got a subject to talk about, then it’s just a case of clawing together some details, which takes time. Most of it is definitely spent just plain thinking about how to write my subject matter.

An aside—selecting tools

Using a standalone editor—emacs, (g)vim, kate, TextMate or gedit—vs a web-based editor? It doesn’t matter, both of them work with getting words into a framework. However, with the standalone editors, I have to write in html source mode. Render mode won’t happen until I get it into the “render” mode of the blog, so it’s better to put some of the framework into place while I’m writing the blog entry. If I was really insane, I’d write in TeX and use a LaTeX renderer to output into HTML, PS, PDF or other supported output formats. Unfortunately, I’m not familiar enough with it to be comfortable writing in markup alongside of paragraphs.

I had a tinker with posting back ends—I wrote the bare text and headers, while the posting back end handled turning it all into HTML goo ready to be viewed by a browser. Most of these editors didn’t do what vim does—nor emacs, for that matter. Often, they were a bit simpler, providing clipboard operations and a preview-ish window.

Anyhow, I seem to have settled on using vim, writing my text out to a file to preview in a browser as I go. It’s just the tool I’m most familiar with. It doesn’t slow me down particularly, or at least no more than other editors would.

Working out what the text will be.

Adding material

Once I’ve got the germ of an idea, content writing takes a while in its own right as I’m not exactly a quick thinker. Waiting for thoughts to shuffle around and arrange themselves on the stage of my mind is simply a case of waiting for other thoughts to come out of hibernation and percolate around the original thought.

Cutting material

Sometimes, stuff just plain doesn’t need to be there. it either repeats what I already said, or it doesn’t fit and should be shifted somewhere else or removed altogether.

Correcting goofs, rewriting and adding new material

Thankfully, this doesn’t take long. Often the previous section happens in parallel with generating text just to make sure I don’t miss too much. I inevitably miss something, of course.


Shortest bit. About 3 to 5 seconds. Done. Now to check the post… oh heck, I missed that???

Posting again!!! after correcting goofs I missed the first nine times!

Even with “proofing” manually in a browser, there’s inevitably something I’ll end up missing by the time I post, so by the time I get my final content posted—and edits applied, it could be a little while longer. Especially if weblinks change, that can take a little while to percolate through. I hate dead links.

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