23 December 2004
How to write

I find writing difficult.

It's fine when I know what I think.  That has been one of the delights of doing this blog: I have some very definite ideas about how blogs should be - so, for once, it's reasonably easy for me to sit down and say what I think.

But when it comes to politics I often don't know what I think.  Or more to the point I know what I think but I find it difficult to explain why I think it.  This matters.  I spend a lot of time writing to my 16 or 17-year old self.  He's not going to accept assertions.  He needs reasons.  Supplying them is hard work.  But blogging isn't supposed to be hard work.  The great thing about blogging is that you can just spout away.

I also find that when I set finger to keyboard I often come up with lots of ideas all at once.  That part's not too bad.  It's when you order them.  That gets tricky.  And then you have to polish the English (I have to do a lot of that).  That's hard.  Often you find that one idea rests uncomfortably with another.  It's not so much that they contradict one another, more often that they are too similar or that if Idea A is true it is difficult to get it to fall into a logical sequence with Ideas B, C and D.

But the explaining yourself - that's the hardest part.

The strategy I came up with at Transport Blog was to fire off a “shoot first, ask questions later” post as quickly as I could in which I stated what I thought but explained absolutely nothing.  Explanations, reasons and definitions would come later.  Maybe in footnotes, maybe in follow-up posts and (it has to be said) maybe not at all.  Some of the time it worked and some of the time it didn’t.  Some of the time it was great because in the follow-ups you would create posts that could be used time and again.  “Safety is not the only thing”, “Safety is dangerous” were two of my standards.  But on other occasions the follow-ups were much more esoteric.  One offs.  The effort didn’t seem so worthwhile.

So, I don’t know.

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  1. Sometimes commenting can be pretty difficult also.  Had you thought about that?

    Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 23 December 2004 at 06:17pm

  2. By the way, I told your blog to remember my personal information, and it remembers my name but not all the other crap.  Please .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

    Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 23 December 2004 at 06:19pm

  3. No, I quite agree about comments.  I find that by the time I have something sensible to say it is far too late.

    And I’ll look into the personal info thing though I suspect it’s not a bug but a feature.

    Posted by Patrick Crozier on 24 December 2004 at 04:46am

  4. The personal info thing should be working now.  At least, it works for me.

    Posted by Patrick Crozier on 24 December 2004 at 04:53am

  5. I like it!

    Posted by ??? on 27 July 2007 at 10:20am

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