This week we’re spring breaking in the Canary Islands (Spanish islands off the coast of Africa, in case your knowledge of geography is as questionable as mine.) This is a good thing for seven million reasons, but it’s also the perfect time to put myself to the ultimate of tests.
I’m going to try to write a series of short posts.
Like, actual blog-sized posts that people can read in one sitting.
The idea is to limit myself to 750 words a day and write it in one go, probably while Laken naps (as she is right now.) As soon as I’m done writing, I’ll press publish.
Wish me luck!
Hi, I’m Sarah.
Okay, actually I’ve wanted to address the issue of my insanely long posts for a while. One of my bigger flaws in life is that I’m extremely insecure. Confidence comes to me in little moments. But, it doesn’t take long for that confidence to nosedive into something where I become a sniveling, sad little rodent of a human creature, following Todd around and asking for his reassurance on all things. I am that honey, do I look fat in these jeans? person. Poor Todd—I know.
So, needless to say, I’ve been insecure about my long posts. Sometimes, after I press publish, I scroll through the thing and think, what in the damn hell just happened there? I start off with the idea that I’m going to write something succinct, and then I take off yikking and yakking, and trust me—I could go on for a lot longer than I already do.
For weeks, now—ever since I started this whole blogging experience—I’ve swiveled from a mind frame of being nothing less than ecstatic to be writing again, to a place where I’m ready to delete my entire blog, rename it Boo Chicken (my childhood nickname) and start over again.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked Todd, “Do you think my blogs are too long?”
At this, he turns on his loud coach voice (the man has coached everything from basketball to volleyball) and yells, “What do you mean by too long? Did you use as many words as you needed to use to tell the story? You’re supposed to be having fun with this! Why are you worried?”
I’ve been thinking about that last question a lot.
(P.S. I’m at 416 words right now. I have to be careful.)
On one hand—this is, in part, who I am. Long texts are my “hallmark,” as it were. My emails are legendary. The postcards I send my grandmother are in writing so small that I’m not even sure they’re legible. Writing thank you cards stresses me out to the point that I sometimes avoid doing them for years at a time (just because my wordiness means that it takes me a long, long time to get through them.)
But, the subject matter that I truly want to write about at the moment requires a lot of detail.
All of it is just simmering, eagerly awaiting the writing stage–from learning to give myself shots in the stomach during fertility treatments, to one of the darkest experiences of my time in Germany. I desperately want to write about it in full. With lots and lots of words.
But—I’m also a Language and Literature teacher for IB students. We spend the duration of a two-year course looking at different text types and studying their conventions. Blog posts are not typically 5,000 words long (like one of my last posts, haha, oops!)
I think what I ultimately need to do is challenge myself. As Polonius said in Hamlet, “Brevity is the soul of wit.”
I’m not going to give up my longer pieces so that I can really explore some things that have happened over the years. But, if one of my aims in starting a blog is to improve as a writer—I think I need to learn how to be a bit more succinct.
Even if it challenges who I am as a yikking and yakking human being.
Also, my mom is a retired art teacher. When students used to show her a finished project she’d say, “That’s great! Okay, now I want you to tear it up and turn it in to something new. Keep going.”
They’d freak out about this, but do it (and often come up with something even more interesting.) So, in the spirit of one of my mom’s lessons, I’m going to go back to one of my last posts and see if I can break it down in to something new–or at the very least in to shorter, easier to read posts.
As I said, a challenge.
How about you? What makes you feel totally insecure? Please tell me I’m not the only freak, always worrying about everything from whether my butt looks big to if I potentially offended someone by something I said.