Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Dogged to death by data

I blog for fun, I run the Belmont Rural website as a Sisyphean labour. Beforehand I edited the quarterly Belmont Voice for three years and it generated a parish-wide storm of apathy. When I closed the mag to start the website the parish, collectively, burst into tears. “Too late you inert bastards,” I said to myself.

That was five years ago. Website progress was glacial. I interviewed people, learned to unknot Dreamweaver and nobody cared. More recently I started blogging, then resumed the novel. At a time when I could have usefully closed the site it took off. Now emails pour in keeping me away from novel revision. I flew a kite about whether Belmont Rural deserved to endure and, alas, I got lots of email support.

With projects like these it pays to take a long-term view. I started Voice because I was a retired journalistic smartyboots and wanted to wipe the face of my neighbours. Amazingly it attracted advertising which allowed the parish council, who financed the printing and distribution, to cut their budget. Reader response (other than the aforementioned bout of sobbing) was zilch and I found myself on a treadmill of deadlines.

Websites aren’t governed by deadlines and there was the technical attraction of starting up from nothing. However, once websites become popular they can overwhelm you. This morning, when I should have been carving Chapter Three (which some of you have read in its embryonic form) into something more readable and which is as hard as anything I’ve ever done, I had to break off and instruct a website emailer on verse scansion so that his “poetic” contributions didn’t grind my teeth.

Like WW I contain multitudes and they’re getting me down.

Editing progress: May 2, 2010. Rather alarming. Untouched, the MS totalled 99,407 words. After four chapters this has shrunk to 97,964. If this slash-and-burn average is maintained the total will drop to 92,204. You may well ask why I wrote all this unnecessary stuff anyway.