Publishing Note (Off-topic)

Published by marco on

I’ve been approached by some loyal fans of the blog as to when I will react to the cavalcade—the tumult—of events that most definitely qualify as public policy & politics. President Trump and his flying monkeys have been very busy indeed.

It’s not that I haven’t been paying attention. I’ve been reading a lot. I publish my reading list on Instapaper and you can see the list of articles I’ve liked (RSS newsfeed) as well the firehose of all articles I’ve read (also an RSS newsfeed). I also cross-publish the articles I’ve liked on Twitter.

I still take copious notes—I just checked and I have over 80 pages of unpublished notes and citations in my Public Policy & Politics alone. I’m falling behind, though, because everything ties together and, the longer I wait, the more source material I find—ironically enough, in articles that someone has managed to publish—and the notes grow longer, which takes longer to edit together, which gives me time to find more source material, and so on and so forth.

To date, I’ve applied the following requirements to my long-form articles:

  1. Digest ideas, discuss heartily with others, collect viewpoints from other sources
  2. Use and name reliable stable sources
  3. Don’t react too quickly (I leave that to nearly literally everyone else)
  4. Copy-edit for grammar, spelling, conciseness, etc.
  5. Avoid just re-posting large citations without any analysis
  6. Publish common material together so that the reader can see the connections

Even when my time for blogging is more restricted, I write down my thoughts, but it’s never in what I consider to be publishable form. As I wrote above, I’m still reading a lot—and definitely discussing a lot (rule #1). Keeping track of sources with citations isn’t a problem (rule #2). I’m definitely not reacting too quickly (rule #3) or I wouldn’t be writing this article.

That leaves me with material that is either just citations with a few ideas and notes (violating rule #5) or so much material has come together that either copy-editing (rule #4) or universality (rule #6) has to go. I’m not going to ditch copy-editing, but I think relaxing rule #6 will lead to far fewer violations of rule #5.

The conclusion is that I’m going to make more of an effort to publish more regularly instead of dumping a giant 25-page article every 30 days or so.