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shadows of echoes of memories of songs
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I'm worn out already and it's only just over halfway through November! What I really want is to take a long break from blogging, but I am determined to post something every day this month. I think it's doing me good: I've probably finished more sentences this month than in the entire preceding year. (If you're finding this unnervingly out-of-character, just stop reading here and instead imagine me waving my hands around and descending into rambly self-deprecating mutterings, undermining everything I've said.)

So anyway, today's rather thin offering is partly this post here, and partly a new short-ish buycurious post. I do find those harder to do, in some ways, because they're more about the information than the opinions (I can have opinions on pretty much anything at the drop of a hat without necessarily knowing anything about the thing(s) in question — though it's a tendency I try to keep in check); so why am I doing it...? Basically, because I always seem to have a head full of information about shops and where to buy things, so I wondered if I could make that into something that might be faintly useful for other people. I had plans to do all sorts of things with the blog at one point — price-comparisons for specific objects, profiles of individual shops, overviews of areas of Oxford, an opportunity for people to email in "where can I find..." questions like the Guardian magazine does — but every time I had an idea like that I had the same form of Blogger's Block that I usually get with new blogs: "I have a great idea for a post about [whatever] but I have to sort of establish the blog and get some readers before I use up the really good ideas". This then leaves me struggling to find something boring-but-not-too-boring to say in order to pad it out a bit before I post the stuff I actually want to post, which is a frankly rubbish situation to be in and it's no wonder it puts me off posting. (NB I don't really think my "great ideas" are so great that they're worth being that precious about, and I'm sure a lot of the things I blog about are actually quite boring; this is really just trying to explain the mental block I normally get when it comes to actually posting things.)

There's a bit of a general problem here, though: blogs let you publish things easily, but they also come with some kind of expectation of regular or frequent (or at least not-just-one-off) publishing. It's as if every author got signed up for a 10-book contract automatically (though with no promise of payment for any of them!). Yes, people do set up single-purpose blogs, but what I really want (both to read and to post to) is a blog which works more like a magazine: that is, a combination of good one-off 'feature' articles and regular columns, written by lots of different people. Unlike most magazines, though, I'd like it to be unrestrained by the need to have a unifying style or theme, except, well, being interesting. Okay, so maybe I'd be disqualifying myself from this blogozine with even just that single criterion... but that's fine, I'd still be able to read it. :-)

[Will that do? — Ed.]

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vinaigrettegirl From: vinaigrettegirl Date: November 20th, 2009 10:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Any reason why you couldn't set up some guest editors and contributors with requisite privileges?

Also, blogs are quintessentially not works in stone.

i won't patronise you with yet more praise of your writing but I implore you to remember that everything I utter at you is predicated on the unchanging foundation of my pure enjoyment of your writing. most of what I read and listen to is such dreaful sh1te - I'm trying to pay attention to a James May YouTube clip admire by others and I shall shortly turn it off because it's just so bloody unoriginal and tricksy, my god, it's BORING (to me) - and I simply don't react that way to what you produce.
j4 From: j4 Date: November 20th, 2009 11:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Any reason why you couldn't set up some guest editors and contributors with requisite privileges?

Oh, it's technically do-able, sure (Wordpress makes that sort of thing quite easy; even LJ can probably do it with communities) -- maybe I just haven't found a blog that works like that & has the good content, yet.

I suppose the other point is that individuals make their own 'magazines' like this by subscribing to the blogs they want (and there are even services which let you select a load of articles & shove them into a PDF so you can make a 'news-sheet' of your own to read on the tube etc), but to me that feels too singular -- there's something slightly more joined-up about a group of individuals writing for the same magazine (and something slightly more community-ish about reading the same magazine as other people).

I think the concept I'm groping for here is the idea of editorial oversight, which is something that the internet publishing revolution seems to have devalued (indeed, the idea that people might even self-edit a little bit seems to be losing traction).

I continue to be surprised but delighted that you enjoy what I write!
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