May 31, 2015

Writing Quality

About a year ago, I told myself that I would lower my mental thresholds for content to force myself to write more. Not just blog posts, but code too. I’m not sure if it made a difference for blog posts or not, but I don’t agree with that idea anymore. When I look back at all of the posts I’ve written so far on Misframe, I see plenty of issues. I frequently find typos, issues with how the writing flows, and some things that just aren’t that good. The typos I can fix at any time. The more significant issues… not so much. I know that I’m probably getting better all the time, but that doesn’t make a difference unless you’re only looking at the latest content. As I keep raising the bar of writing quality over time, older posts look worse.

Recently, I’ve been thinking about archiving all of my old posts and starting over (again). I like the way Jason puts it:

When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.

I have been blogging for over 12 years. Much of that history was here on jmoiron.net. The first few years I had cobbled together a web journal in bash on my university’s free hosting account, and shortly thereafter I moved to a unparked and forgotten domain nondeus.org. I had built up almost 400 posts.

So where are they all?

While true digicide is essentially impossible, I’ve decided after a lot of writing that it was time to cut the fat; to trim the burdens of a long digital legacy, and move on.


What I really want is a collection of posts similar to Paul Graham’s essays. I’ve only read a few of his, but I believe that all of the ones I have read have approximately the same quality, as if he wrote them all at the same time. I’m not much of an essay writer. Each essay assignment for school consumes most of my time for a few days. In contrast, many of my existing posts have been written in one sitting.

Things have to change in order to bring my writing quality to where I want it. I don’t think I can remove the existing posts. Some of the popular ones (the ones referred to by other sites) are those that I think have the lowest quality, for various reasons. Instead, I’m modifying the front page to only show recent posts. They’re all still accessible at their existing URLs, so links are not broken, but new visitors to this blog will not be able to discover them easily. I will add an archive page at some point. I think this is an easy way of raising the bar. I am also making changes to the way I write, revise, and publish. It doesn’t make sense to go into detail about it here, especially since I have not figured everything out yet. Let’s see how things go.

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