So, Should I Remain Truncated?

I am by nature a bit of a windbag; a short, fat sockful of inconsequential whining.  It is my sole gift and I giveth of it freely.  And that, as you will be fully aware, is my downfall.  At least I think so.  I have been told many times and by many people – some more politely than others – that I do bang on a bit, and so, of late, I have been trying to bang on a bit less.  I have tried to reduce the word count in my average blog by something around 50% (a bargain in anybody’s books) and it is now time to take stock.  I earned a crust (or more accurately augmented my topping) for many years by contributing a pithy one thousand words a pop to any magazine that would pay me (for my younger readers, these ‘magazines’ were numerous sheets of paper, containing prose and pictures, lovingly stapled together, folded in the middle and sold through the newsagents that used to be where the takeaway now is) and it became a rut into which my brain happily fell.  I have many different ways of writing these little nosegays, but whichever way I choose to approach them, they always resolve themselves after the allotted one thousand words (+/- 10% for good behaviour) which is, by all accounts, far too long for a blog post.  It’s a peculiar thing.  Being very old I write in longhand before typing onto the laptop, I then print a hard copy which I proofread and correct in various hues of felt pen, before editing on the laptop and posting.  I read through the printed article many times before I post it and it always appears to be much shorter on paper than on the screen.  It is the transition onto LCD – or whatever it is that forms the images on my laptop, tablet and phone (phlogiston for all I know) – that makes them too long and, quite obviously, nothing to do with me.  My inability to use one word when twenty will do is not to blame.

In general I find humour in drifting off-piste – something which, in my current abridged form, I may be unable to do quite so often without falling off the edge – and if I’m honest I have no idea of whether the shorter pieces work at all.  I am fully aware (I would like to give thanks to my wife and children etc etc) that where I am concerned, less is definitely better, and writing these curtailed pieces is certainly less taxing.  A single idea is easier to follow and the knowledge that wherever I may get lost, the end really is just around the corner is a comfort.  If I’ve lost anything in this process, it could be that it is something I should have lost years ago.  I’m keen to know what you think, is 500/600 words a better target for me?  Maybe you think zero would be more appropriate.  I must be honest, if you tell me that I should pack it all in, I will probably ignore you.

After all, what is the point in being choc-full of hot air if you can’t share it with the world?

Guillotine

After a period of extensive research and reflection, I have reached the painful conclusion that I do have the tendency to bang on a bit.  When I write these posts I generally start with just one thing to say, but soon find myself meandering through about ten others before stuttering to a halt somewhere around a thousand words, which I know is far too many, but it’s just where the guillotine tends to fall.  It is the point at which the ideas run out and the denouement, however tenuous, clatters into place.

It’s not in my nature to use one pithy phrase when an inordinately long and convoluted sentence will do just as well: to fully explore the possibilities raised by a single conundrum when I can blithely skim over a dozen more.  Still waters may run deep, but I have an almost unrivalled variety of shallows to explore.  I see myself skimming a stone across a pond: each time the stone bounces, it slips across the very surface of a subject, but it creates a series of ripples that spread out until they mingle with those caused by each previous and each subsequent skip.  It is the intermingling that forms the weft and warp of these little crocheted bedspreads I concoct.  I do not have the brain power to dissect and discuss: I am very much a superficial glance man.  I am very much aware that when my stone breaks the surface, it will sink without a trace.

So, going forward, I have a plan to start lobbing single pebbles into the pond, so that I might simply trace the few concentric ripples they produce.  As long as I don’t get distracted, I should be able to cut myself off at a more appropriate word count, and all before the stone disappears into the gloop at the bottom between the mysterious half-tennis ball and what may once have been a frog.  It might not work:  I’ve been writing to my accustomed length for decades now and generally things resolve themselves in their own good time.  My main concern is that although this new, shortened format might well produce posts that are more linear, more straight-forward and easier to read, they might also be a lot less me.

However, from what I’ve read elsewhere, overlong (as well as badly written and meandering) posts get skipped through and forgotten.  I feel supremely confident that by cutting the sheer volume of crap I bombard you with, I will retain far more readers, and my access to vitamins and money-making opportunities will thus multiply exponentially – even as the hyperbole diminishes.  In short, I am certain you will agree, the less of me the better.  Which brings me to the nub of my current dilemma: it means that I have to get to the point in half the time I currently take and, if I’m completely honest, by the time I have reached five hundred words, I have seldom even the vaguest idea of what that might be.  With five or six interwoven themes tangling into some kind or Gordian Knot of bollocks, my crux can sneak up on me without me even seeing it coming.  I don’t even have to look for it.  But if I have to limit myself to a single notion, one solitary thread, I will have to approach each post with a fixed idea of where it is about to go and where it has to end, and if I’m completely honest it…  oh bugger!