I like having an editor. And that is why I struggle with blogging. In the month or so since I’ve last posted, and indeed, all year, I’ve come up with ideas for posts, and started writing several of them. But I can never finish them. I’m terrified that they’re awful, that something is fundamentally flawed in my idea and that I will come out looking stupid. In the words of a far more distinguished writer than I:
Like many writers, I live every day with the vague nightmare that at some point, someone more knowledgeable than myself is going to sit up and pen a massive screed indicating exactly where my work is shallow and fraudulent and rooted in lame, half-assed assumptions. I see myself labeled a writer, and I get good reviews, and I have the same doubts buried, latent, even after my successes. I suspect many, many writers feel this way.
That’s David Simon, in one of my all-time favorite quotes.
Editors assure me that what I’ve written isn’t stupid and help me come up with other things to consider, other sources to interview, etc. But without the guidance and cover an editor provides, I’m at a loss for what to do as a solo blogger. The way I see it, there are a few options for me:
- Aggregate: My Twitter account basically does this. Anything I really want to highlight, I highlight there. For longer pieces that I want to highlight selections from, or for videos and photos, I’ve created a Tumblr. And it’s not like the internet is short on aggregators.
- Break news: I’m not a solo journalist at this point (vide supra), and although I would love to see this change at some point, any news I break is going on my employer’s site, not on this personal blog.
- Opinion: This isn’t an option at this stage in my journalism career. As much as I think the View From Nowhere might be bankrupt, I can’t go spouting off with my opinions on national issues if I hope to get hired by a mainstream news organization.
So that leaves me with one idea: write analytically, focusing on journalism, since that’s the one thing . Hopefully, you’ll see some of that writing in the coming weeks. But I’m sure my loyal readers (all
four three of you) have some ideas. What else should I do with this blog?
And from this point forward, consider what I write here to be a first draft, untouched by an editor. So if my work here is brilliant, all the credit goes to me. If it isn’t, well, remember the old saying:
Anyone who edits their own copy has a fool for an editor.