What to write

If you’re reading this, it means that was able to think of something and took the time to write and publish a new post on this blog, trying to keep a pace of at least 52 posts per year.

Many of my ideas don’t even get the chance to be converted into what could be called “drafts.” And then most of these drafts remain in The Archive for a while and eventually get deleted. Four main reasons for this:

  1. because the news piece or column covered was getting a bit too old/cold
  2. because I didn’t think my comment/opinion added much value to what was already out there
  3. because writing made me realise that my thoughts were not informed or clear enough
  4. because the topic doesn’t really fit with my blog.

Side note: maybe the fact that English is not my native language is a also barrier in the way of more inspired, useful, and frequent writing. Or maybe not. I don’t think my blogging efficiency would be much better if I wrote in French to be honest. Also, sorry in advance for the mess: this post kind of goes all over the place.

Let’s start with a fact: most of my posts originate in time spent reading someone else, whether it is a news article, a blog post, or a column. The less I read, the less productive I become, and the less new articles this blog gets. Reading is the fuel to writing and 90 percent of the time the starting point of a new draft. But reading requires discipline, time, and a decent amount of energy.

When my day job consumes a little too much of my brain, I find myself incapable of reading, let alone spending time articulating my thoughts into written words. And now that I am pushing myself to read more spontaneously, I cannot as easily continue to tell myself things like “I’m tired tonight, I’ll save and read it later this week” Most of the time it meant that the article was added to an ever-growing read-later list, and I forgot about it. Nowadays, I keep the tab to find it open in my browser the next morning, which may or may not be more efficient, too early to tell.

When it comes to the topics I cover on this blog, I focus mostly on things that I have an deep interest for, namely media and technology and their numerous meeting points like social platforms, newsletters, and blogs. I have the hope and the ambition that the commentary I add to these stories is the main value of my writing, the main purpose of the Jolly Teapot. Without this commentary, I am a bit lost on the role of this blog. Every blog is and should be different, and I don’t really mind mixing things a little. But at its core, I want my blog to have a general direction.

The theme of blogging is an interesting one. I can comment on news about the state of blogs in the current web landscape, but blogging about my way of blogging — or meta-blogging — is probably the easiest topic for me to write about (case and point). But done too often it also feels to me like a distraction, a shortcut; it feels too self-centred, too far from the media/tech news I want to write about, and what I believe should be the main value of this blog: opinions, ideas, comments on what is going on in a specific sector, something that would somehow satisfy the expectations of a specific audience.

Let’s call this very blog post an exception, but I know that it’s too easy to get carried away and write a new post every week about my workflow, my setup, and forget about the news I care about, and somehow let down a tiny audience that was expecting a little bit of value from the precious minutes spent reading my words.

Don’t get me wrong: I love blogs about blogging. I love personal blogs. I love blogs that mix up things as they go along. I love blogs that don’t care about the audience or having a specific editorial line. I just want my own blog to be a little more focused and providing value in a specific way, my own way, my own voice. I am also somehow convinced that crafting your own voice, whatever the topic, is the way to go considering all the AI content that is already invading the web.

Speaking of AI, I don’t really want to use AI to help me with drafts, topic ideas, and writing. Not only it somehow feels like cheating, but like I mentioned before, I need to write something down to fully understand and comprehend my thoughts, not the other way around. So if a piece of software like Chat-GPT removes or accelerate the actual writing process, I may never be able to fully grasp my original opinion or idea.

I may try to use AI to summarise a few columns, to do some quick reading as a first step into a news topic. If the summary looks interesting, I’ll dive in and read the whole original thing. I don’t understand why AI-summary features are not widely available directly on publishers’ websites yet: it would be good for page views, it would be a nice feature to offer exclusively to subscribers, and/or each AI summary could be sponsored by specific advertiser:

“This AI-generated summary of this 15-minute-read column about smartphone photography is sponsored by Google Pixel.”

This would work!

Anyway, back to read, read, and read some more: inspiration will come to me that way… hopefully.