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Nothing To Read Here

An occasional series in which people without proper jobs discuss the trials and tribulations of life in the pointless lane.

#12 Blog Editor:

As a blog editor I am often asked why do you bother and what do you do if you get up in the morning and there is absolutely nothing to "write home about"?

This is a complex issue and certainly a challenge for the novice or intending blog editor. Take for example the second half of the question in particular. Only this morning, I rose from my chosen furniture of repose and ascertained - as a result of a glance through a half-open curtain - that the sky was a dullish light grey [which I approve of on a sitting room or office wall, but find disappointing in a celestial context] and that - in the absence of any marked vehicular or transport-based activity - little of import was happening in the world. A moment's conscious thought - followed by a further re-evaluation but a moment later - confirmed that nothing of significance, interest - nay "moment" - was happening in that moment or was likely to happen in the moments that would follow. This is always a difficult and at times dispiriting moment as a sense of ennui [weakly yet certainly linked to an indefinitely referenced recollection of a state close to the post-experientially blasé] and accompanied by a strangely undefined feeling of lassitude, hints at consequential problems to come: zilch, zero, nada is abroad in the land and yet there are words to be deployed, virtual space to fill, the influenceable to be influenced.

I am often asked what, in these circumstances, can an experienced blog writer and editor do, assuming [quite correctly in most instances] that neither ideas nor contributions from writing "colleagues"* are likely to materialise - or as we say in the more expressive language often deployed in journalistic circles - "no contributing cavalry is going to come riding to the rescue"?

*an example of the kind of wishful thinking which arises in desperate or stressful circumstances where rational thought may occasionally give rise to false hope

Surveys suggest that there is a general indifference amongst the population to what journalists and bloggers call "content", with "content", "some content" and "absolutely no discernible content" scoring equally in blind testing. See Professor Brian Thrupiece [1003] The Blind Leading the Blind: Information, News, Journalism and the Absence of Content" [Threadbone Press]

As an experienced blog writer and editor I have come to realise that the answer - for me at least - is simply to start writing; to start putting digital pen to virtual paper and to accept that, a failed Pulitzer Prize notwithstanding, there is little or nothing to lose. As a modus operandi this almost totally mindless approach has the advantage that spaces on the page begin immediately to be populated by words, which - appropriately placed together - form into phrases which eventually result in whole sentences. As with any form of journalism, meaning - if it comes at all - comes later and is a secondary matter. Significance - generally regarded as a a higher form of achievement - is a rare bird and anyone setting out with this as "an object in mind", "goal" or "benchmark" is almost certainly heading for trouble and a very short career. At the risk of repeating myself, writing "something" is generally better than writing "nothing" - a discovery Barbara Cartland and the media-savvy have known since Roman times. Plebes stercore comedent, cum non est aliud bene [The plebs will eat s**t when there is no other option].

Still Seminal: Professor Thrupiece's classic treatment of contentless journalism remains timely.

In any proper consideration, one further matter is probably worth airing: that of "expectation"; specifically the level of expectation to be expected amongst our readers. This is something which lies, unhappily, outside the direct control of the author [we can almost certainly lower it, very rarely raise it and even more rarely exceed it, but these are not precise or wholly predictable calibrations and much of the power in determining the magnitude, scale and other parameters of "expectation" lies with the recipient of our labours not within ourselves]. The most we can hope for is that over a period of time we have established a level of expectation commensurate with our abilities to meet it. In other words by extruding, on a regular and systematic basis, low-level content and more or less meaningless, vacuous or worthless verbiage of the de trop variety, we can make life a whole lot easier for ourselves when we wake up with that "nothing to say here" feeling.

As to the Why do you bother part, that's even tricker and - for today at least - as I rise from my chosen furniture of repose and ascertain - as a result of a casual glance through a half-open curtain - that the sky was a dullish light grey - I simply can't be bothered.


Next time: #13: Loss Adjuster

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