#BlogIntroChallenge – part 3

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 7.40.54 AMRules are hereScreen Shot 2015-05-27 at 10.15.44 PM 3. What is your usual blogging process?

For someone who was lukewarm about this challenge, I notice that these are some of my longest posts.

Because I publish different types of posts regularly, my process depends on the type of post, i.e. news, passing along links, ( for example) with editorial comments, new photos (example), etc., or something more substantive on Richard Armitage’s work, such as an impression of a performance or a role (here), or something that requires research about the topic relating to one his roles (example here). Sometimes, I’m just sounding off about current events in the fandom, or some action by Richard Armitage, (here).

Differing types of posts result in different processes. News or links to interviews, even with editorial comments, just get posted when I see them – usually first thing in the morning.

If there’s some topic about which I want to post that comes to mind, maybe a current events topic, such as discussing a new role, an Armitage tweet, or anything that doesn’t require any research or too many links, I work directly on the WordPress editing screen. Actually, I always work directly on WordPress. Not always a great idea. Just yesterday, a post that required two hours of internet research disappeared when my internet went out, and I thought that if I started over, the topic might be stale, so I’m not sure whether it will see the light of day.  But this has happened very rarely.

If I want to use images, sometimes I have the exact image in mind, and I find it in my own media library, either in my computer or on WordPress. Other times, I take the time to do a Google search or check out one of the fan sites to find the image I’m looking for, and insert it – either as I go, or afterwards. At times, I find it easier to create my own screen shot. ( I know, this all doesn’t sound much like a process).

Some of my posts revolve around images, so in those cases I may upload all the images to the WordPress editor, and then write around them.

For more detailed posts requiring research, I open up a blank screen, and as I research, I copy and paste the full link into the WordPress editor with a descriptive note, and, perhaps I also cut and paste a quote, and I just line them up in the post to use when I’m going to start to write. On the other hand, if the research and writing is happening over days, rather than hours, I also keep notes and links on a dedicated note page on my laptop.

I have no regular process for selecting or saving images for this type of post, if I use images at all. It really depends on whether the images are actually an integral part of the post, or just for show to break up a long text post. If the images are really crucial, than I paste them into the post at or about the same time I’m also pasting the research links in.

Then I start to write ( on WordPress) and organize everything together. Detailed, analytical and research posts take me a very long time to complete, all things considered.

It’s almost ridiculous to call any of this a process, but I’ll make a small confession here about my more detailed posts, those that ought to require multiple links to other blogger’s posts or my past posts, interviews, or other sources. Several are and have been at the draft stage for a long time. Some are still in my head. Here’s why.

Because it is expected that posts have links to back-up assertions or refer to my or some else’s prior work on the topic, these types of posts are similar to legal briefs or memoranda of law which I researched and wrote on a regular basis as a practicing lawyer. I imagine it’s a similar process for those bloggers who may be historians or are in other professions that require writing with footnotes and citations. As a lawyer, unless the brief was on the specific topic, using a specific argument that I  knew like the back of my hand, ( i.e. the highest court decisions  setting forth the law on proving a hostile work environment sexual harassment claim in the workplace)  it was my habit to spend at least half the time researching cases. But even though I was expert on the law, one needs to also look for cases with fact patterns that are closest to the fact pattern in the case at hand.

Usually, especially if I were researching a subject with which I was less familiar, one case might lead me to consider a new legal argument or theory that I hadn’t thought of before, so then, researching the new topic would add more hours of research.

Essentially, I used  part of the same method that I described above for blog posts,   For legal work, though, using Microsoft Word, I cut and pasted the relevant portions of the case I wanted to cite, along with the citation given in the online case, and often with a note about how I wanted to use it, or even with the exact language of my own legal argument that I might want to use in the brief. However, I also saved some of the cases in their entirety, on my computer and printed them out, so I could read them on the subway, or in bed, and make notes right on the paper.

While all this was going on, I was actually drafting the brief in my head, while on the subway, while cooking or cleaning, while walking in the street. I could do this, because by then I knew so well the cases, the statutes or  the record ( I haven’t even mentioned the blogging record, but we have one in Armitage World, too).

Just drafting and organizing a brief took me the other half of time for the entire project. Most of the time there were a number of arguments or points in one brief.  I would throw out arguments, move them around, organize and reorganize to make the brief more readable and persuasive. (Most judges set a page limit on their brief that could range up to 50 pages)  I would give one point a  rest for a day or several hours, move on to another, and then go back and change just about everything in the first point, or move it someplace else.

I guess it was worth it, because I can count the motions  I lost over more than 20 years, on my 10 fingers. I can count the entire cases I lost, on 10 fingers).

I loved all of this, and frequently, once I started writing, I  worked on a brief almost straight through until it was completed – sometimes 16 hours at a stretch, often forgetting to eat and too wound up to sleep much, or at regular hours.

What I hated, were the citations. It was so tedious to type them in, especially if it was a long brief with numerous issues or points. Eventually, I started to use cut and paste for the citations as well, and with the initiation of electronic filing, the citation could be made into a hyperlink so that the judge or opposing counsel could just download the brief and click on my cases, as I did on his or hers, but one still had to get the cite in in the first place ( I never figured out how to properly use the Word function for automatic citations).

Here’s an example of a simple citation:

Foman v. Davis,371 U.S. 178, 182, 83 S.Ct. 227, 230, 9 L.Ed.2d 222 (1962).

Here’s an example of a more complicated citation, because of a more complicated procedural history:

See Van Ooteghem v. Gray, 628 F.2d 488, 495 n. 7 (5th Cir.1980), aff’d in part, vacated in part on other grounds, 654 F.2d 304 (5th Cir.1981) (en banc) (per curiam), cert. denied, 455 U.S. 909, 102 S.Ct. 1255, 71 L.Ed.2d 447 (1982).

Here’s an example of string citations ( more than one case for the same proposition.) I used them judicially, as using too many string citations is considered poor practice:

Chapman v. Sheridan-Wyoming Co.,338 U.S. 621, 70 S.Ct. 392, 94 L.Ed. 393 (1950); Marcraft Recreation Corp. v. Francis Devlin Co.,506 F.Supp. 1081, 1087 (S.D.N. Y.1981). In claims asserted under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, “[t]he first inquiry … is whether the plaintiff has been deprived of a right `secured by the Constitution and laws'” of the United States. Baker v. McCollan,443 U.S. 137, 140, 99 S.Ct. 2689, 2692, 61 L.Ed.2d 433 (1979). See also Suffolk County Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, Inc. v. County of Suffolk,751 F.2d 550, 551 (2d Cir.1985) (police officers’ challenge to county’s procedure for appointing independent counsel in civil rights actions not cognizable under section 1983 because the “procedure violates no … federally protected right….”).

The fact is, that for a detailed blog post requiring research, I really have to be in the mood to do some of the linking that I think readers want in this type of post.

Sometimes I hedge and write something like, I read somewhere or I recall an interview (or now, a tweet) and leave it at that, and sometimes a commenter will come up with the link. But I’ve also received  many comments over time that say nothing more than “link, please.”

I don’t mind either the research or the  link to some outside sources that I’ve found on the net, such as an article or review, that I’m already working with, ( and I love looking for them and reading them – for example, factual information or scholarly articles, if I have access to them, on say, Arthur Miller, or The Crucible.) But I find it difficult and tedious to find the links to other bloggers’ posts on a subject, or to round up the interview, tweet or You Tube, that I know I saw someplace, or even if I know I can find it on a fan site, scrolling through for the exact article or link.  Sometimes I can’t even find my own posts for a link. ( I guess my tagging isn’t too specific).

Of course, links are a lot easier to manage than citations, but the bottom line is that blogging is a pleasure and a hobby, not my job, and I’m not getting tens of thousands or even thousands of dollars for my posts, so I really have to be in the mood to to take on one of the tasks I disliked immensely in my professional work.

As a result, as I’ve said before, I have a number of posts that are in draft without links, or in my head, and they are likely to never get published.

And there you have it. It’s more like my non-blogging process than my blogging process.

9 thoughts on “#BlogIntroChallenge – part 3

  1. I hear you on the citation! Having just finished grading term papers where a frequent grade killer is the absence of citations on the assignment of “fully cited” research, I feel like I spend half my life policing bibliography and notes, so it’s not always something I want to do for fun. At the same time, a career in Classics, History and Archaeology has ingrained the need to give credit where credit is due into my ethos…can’t really turn that off, even if I wanted to. Result…some of those less familiar topics stay in draft form an awfully long time…Arthur Miller, The Crucible, Yael Farber and Sophocles? I’ll get back to that when citation shock wears off.

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      • Everything I do is footnotes…as is typical..however, my university is heavy on nursing and education program, so the favored style is APA…ick. I require the history majors to use Chicago…and read abstracts on five page papers for the rest…*sigh* 🙂

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      • I did (read the post to the end), and I loved it. A big reason I’ve stuck around in this fandom is because its bloggers are literate and thorough, including you. (There are people who know how to use the semicolon out there!)

        I’ve often wondered how long people spend writing their posts, as I’m a slow writer (who really cares about grammar and punctuation—this post took 20 minutes, for example) who often thinks “That would take me hours.” You, too, so I’m not alone. Thanks for answering that question.

        I also identify with wanting to keep it a fun hobby that’s not like work, hence some relaxing of standards. Fun/not-work is my motive, too, as a participator, so I understand.

        Your insights are really interesting. Don’t hold back. I want to know what’s in that unpublished pile.

        I encourage you to give yourself permission to just put the stuff out there without the citations—and encourage readers who recognize sources to post the citations as comments. If you encourage—”can anyone remember…”—then the readers won’t be slammed for being “gotcha” mongers (my personal fear.)

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  2. Great comment. Thanks so much. About that semicolon, with me you also get them when you’re expecting an apostrophe. I almost always hit the semicolon key when I need an apostrophe. Frequent blog readers may pick that up when I miss editing them. Casual friends and family on email are usually warned, and I don’t bother correcting all the time.

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  3. I did. It confirmed why I will never blog and only comment. Good grief, that is so much work. I am too lazy to attempt anything so daunting and time consuming. But I loved reading about your process. It made me think my comments are too short and silly to belong here, or anywhere else, but I will press on.

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    • There’s no such thing as a too short comment – or a too long one. Commenting is a chance for non-bloggers to make a mini-post, if desired. All legitimate comments are appreciated by those who take the time to write. It’s certainly possible, more likely probable, that other bloggers are more organized than I am when it comes to longer posts. Thanks for the comment,

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  4. Pingback: #BlogIntroChallenge Part 4 | Armitage Agonistes

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