December 23rd, 2017

The blogger’s dilemma: what to write about and when to write it

Bloggers are continually having to make decisions not just on what to write in any particular piece, but how to choose topics and the timing of topics: what to write about, how long to make it, how much variety to have, how often to put up a post. That sort of thing.

Group blogs have it easy in a way, because they can push out content at a regular clip without straining any one person unduly. But as a single blogger rather than a group blogger (although I also post sometimes at the group blog run by law professor William Jacobson, Legal Insurrection), it’s just little old me who makes all these decisions at neo-neocon.

I’m not complaining, not exactly, because I like the autonomy. But it’s not easy to figure out how much content is enough and how much is too much. I’ve fallen into a certain pattern over the years of a few posts a day with some of it political but maybe at least 25-30% of it non-political. I’ve never figured out the exact proportions; I just do what feels right at the time.

I generally have more fun writing the non-political posts than the political ones. Although sometimes the non-politicals go faster, sometimes—particularly when there are a lot of YouTube videos involved, for example with my dance posts—they take a long long time to compose and especially to research. But often they’re so much fun to research that I would be doing it anyway even if I never wrote a thing on the topic. Sometimes posts like those YouTube-heavy dance posts are very popular and draw a lot of comments. But sometimes there are only one or two comments and I begin to question whether other people think the topic is quite as fascinating as it is to me.

Now and then I wonder why it is that I’ve decided to spend my semi-Golden years digesting political news and spitting out my opinions on it. But as with the arts posts, a lot of the political stuff is intrinsically interesting to me and I’d be reading it and thinking about it even if I wasn’t writing about it. It’s also in the process of writing that I refine my thoughts, so there are rewards for me beyond the blog and its audience (although the audience is a big big plus).

So now it’s Christmas weekend, one of the biggest holidays of the year. Traffic goes down online for just about everyone during a holiday, and if this year is anything like all the other years it will go down here. So, for example, I have a big long draft of a big long post on the topic of the GOP’s tax bill and its effect on charitable giving. That topic has the advantage of being timely in two ways: the bill is newly-passed, and December is traditionally the time when a great deal of their money (about 1/3 of the entire year’s haul) is taken in by charities.

But I’ve decided to wait till after Christmas to post it. I find that it’s not a good idea to publish bigger, heavier posts during a holiday because not enough people will see them. The holidays are for holiday-ing, after all—and to that end I hope your weather’s better than mine’s supposed to be.

Much of New England is in the throes of a snow/ice/rain storm right now, for example, and the same is predicted to happen for a goodly portion of Christmas Day. At around 3:30 PM this afternoon I ventured out of my home and ventured right back in again, encountering at least an inch of uneven ice, and a drizzle of what they like to call “mixed precipitation.” No reason to be out unless you have to be.

I’m getting a bit stir crazy and cabin-fevered—more than a bit, to be honest. On Christmas Day I was planning to drive a couple of hours to a friend’s house for dinner and conviviality, and I was looking forward to it. Still am looking forward to it. But I have my doubts as to whether driving will be advisable that day.


20 Responses to “The blogger’s dilemma: what to write about and when to write it”

  1. OldTexan Says:

    Best Holiday Wishes to you Neo and I am sorry your are experiencing bad weather. Stay warm and safe.

    I have been so grateful for your thoughtful posts for many years, I am amazed at the amount of work you put into each project and it’s been a lot of fun reading all of the comment responses from your loyal follower family.

    Once more thank you and I am looking forward to your posts in the coming 2018 New Year and where the heck did 2017 go so fast?

  2. MollyNH Says:

    Icy driving is truly dreadful if you can avoid please do.
    Happy hannakah, merry Christmas to all .

  3. vanderleun Says:

    Leave on Sunday. Return on Tuesday. That’s what I’d do.

  4. Ed Bonderenka Says:

    First off, Merry Christmas!
    As to your posting schedule, I personally think you post so frequently that it dilutes attention to the comment stream on the previous post(s).
    But your blog is a goto for me.
    Just feel I can’t keep up 🙂

  5. K2 Says:

    Yours is are one of the five blogs I read every day. The others are Instapundit, PowerLine, Urgent Agenda and Tim Blair. The first two are group blogs, the other two are solo.

    Quality is more important that quantity. Your posts are invariably well thought out, well written and interesting. What I appreciate most is your balance. Frequency / infrequency doesn’t enter into it. Thanks for many enjoyable moments!

  6. charles Says:

    “encountering at least an inch of uneven ice, and a drizzle of what they like to call “mixed precipitation.” ”

    Hmmm, sounds like a good time for your famous Flora’s Lebkuchen!

    Best wishes for a Happy, and healthy, New Year to you Neo and to all of your readers too!

  7. AesopFan Says:

    We just got #2 son in from the airport in Denver, 2 hours late.
    Stay in and stay safe.
    Neo, It’s Cold Outside!

  8. Mike K Says:

    Be safe. We drove to Orange County CA from Tucson Thursday to spend the day with kids and grandkids. We will go back Tuesday. No snow fortunately. It’s been a long time since I drove in snow but I did spend a year in New Hampshire.

  9. Sharon W Says:

    I love your blog and appreciate the balance. I would comment more often, but time, and my thoughts are often better expressed in the comments already made. I always read your non-political posts and find them interesting and worthwhile. When I am pressed for time maybe a “Thanks Neo” as a comment would suffice since you put a lot of effort into those. I wish you a safe and joyful Christmas and a New Year blessed with good health, peace, love, and joy.

  10. DownUnder Says:

    The weather is why I eventually left Massachusetts and moved to Australia. Inadmire your resilience for staying there, but am glad that I left. That said, I miss the ice hockey.

  11. Cornhead Says:

    After the holidays, follow the bitcoin.

    “Follow the bitcoin” is the new “Carthage must be defeated.”

  12. Sarah Rolph Says:

    Yes, if you want to go, I would leave today.

    I think you do a great job with the balance of posts, I appreciate the variety. It’s a LOT of good content!

  13. Sven Says:

    I admire the energy and creativity that goes into your writing. You spend hours writing something interesting, your readers tear through it in a few minutes and say, “Pretty good, what else ya got for me? And by the way, that thing you wrote two years ago was really great, but it was two years ago so…”

    If you write and post on a schedule that makes you happy, your readers probably will be too. I’d love to see new material from you over the holidays—especially because so many sources go into vacation mode—but I’ll still be here in the new year regardless.

  14. Cornflour Says:


    Just a couple of things.

    First, let me say that my opinion means nothing.

    In my opinion, you long ago went past the point of rational justification for your writing. You do it because it’s what you do. Don’t question it. When you really want to stop, there won’t be any doubt in your mind. Also, I think counting comments on a post is contrary to the spirit of this blog.

    Second, don’t try to drive on ice. Otherwise, you have new tires, so you can go anywhere slow.

  15. steve walsh Says:

    Neo: love all your posts and choices, even the ones I don’t agree with. Really like the musical/dance ones – I’ve long been a fan of musicals, particularly the stage versions, but know very little about them.

    IMHO, dinner and conviviality with friends on the holiday is reason enough to take the (small) risk of driving in bad weather to get there. If you are a confident driver and have a vehicle in good shape, just allow some extra time and drive a bit more slowly. If you will be a nervous wreck the whole time then it would be best to stay home.

  16. Irv Says:

    When I get to my computer in the morning I go first to Fox News just to see the headlines from overnight. Then I immediately go to Dilbert because he puts me in the right frame of mind for political commentary. Less than a minute.

    Next comes Lucianne for the 2 or 3 articles I find interesting, some of which aren’t covered elsewhere. Usually 5 to 8 minutes.

    After Lucianne is the Drudge Report to get the latest news and commentary and a wealth of cites to everything current. This takes a little longer than most of the others. This can take anywhere from 5 to 25 minutes depending on what’s going on.

    Then comes PowerLine for their deeper analysis of a couple of things. About 5 minutes.

    Next is Instapundit just to catch up of what’s happened since I last logged onto it and for the short comments on the happenings of the day. 5 minutes or so.

    I save Neoneocon for after all the instant news and analysis so I can read both the commentary and all of the comments, which I find very interesting in their variety and deep analyses by both Neo and the commenters. Anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour or more.

    These have been my must go to places for more years than I care to mention. I’ve made no comments on any of them except Neo’s and only started commented here during the election last year.

    If more time is available I might wander to the Corner, PJTV, Gateway Pundit, Liberty Tree and of course I often follow hyperlinks from all of the sites to get to original articles and news stories.

    All of this is my saying thank you Neo for your always interesting articles and commentary and I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas (we already had a great Hanukkah) and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

  17. Irv Says:

    Did I mention that I’m 75, totally retired and positively fascinated by not only politics but almost anything else that piques my curiosity at the time.

  18. expat Says:

    I hope Neo and all her readers and commenters have a great Christmas and entire holiday season. Neo, you are the only remaining blogger of the Sanity Squad, which I loved. And you have carried on very well. With so much hysteria today from both the rabid Trumpsters and the ignorant left (including MSM), it’s great to have a place where thoughtfulness and reason rule. And where else do they talk about jelly beans. Have a safe trip.

  19. Frog Says:

    To Neo and All:

    Joyeux Noel!
    Frohe Weihnachten!
    Merry Christmas!
    Feliz Navidad!

    My wonderful young MD daughter is here from Boston, so happy to be where it is in the mid-60s and clear today!

  20. J.J. Says:

    Merry Christmas to Neo and all her wonderful commenters.

    Like many others here, I used to read and comment on many blogs, but, due to failing eyesight, this is now the only place I comment. Also, like expat, I’ve been around since the Sanity Squad days. Cheap therapy is what it’s been for me. 🙂

    May 2018 be another interesting year for us all.

About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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