Writing Comments vs. Posts

Writing Comments vs. Posts

A line in Bhagpuss’ recent post on the subject of when to comment vs. when to turn it into a post and balancing the two, finally pushed me over the edge to sitting down and writing this out. Bhagpuss had noted in passing an observation that had been building in potential significance as a potential source of deeper insight into writing and my approach to writing.

In fact, in my experiment with writing this post — an undiscussed element of what I was looking at was how to capture some of the comment writing experience. Namely, as Bhagpuss said, “It takes me about five per cent of the time to write even a lengthy comment than it would to put a full post together.”

Writing a comment tends to just flow. Even long ones pour forth from thought to virtual-page. There is no second-guessing or rewriting of whole sections. They just… go.

Nyoooom. The speed of comment writing visualised.

Contrast this with writing posts, where rewrites occur haphazardly on the fly. I can jump at random back to the opening paragraph to touch it up five paragraphs into the work. Whole sentences will be wiped and rewritten in an attempt to make them ‘better’.

Best of all is when changing the structure of a sentence and then leaving artefacts of the previous structure behind. While not the source of 100% of the grammatical issues you’ll see in my posts — it’s probably right up there at 70-80% or more. I’m making a rather conscious effort with this post not to do any of the things I’m talking about while writing it, I should add. And it’s certainly speeding up the process, but it doesn’t quite feel natural yet.

And in fact, after the completion of that paragraph? I just noticed myself pausing to read back through what I had as a whole so far. This is very likely the cause of my editing and jumping around a post on the fly, actually. ;)

Another reason — and I just did this one now too, hah — is I’m very distraction prone. A comment in Discord, a random thought to google. You name it and I can break the flow, then necessitating finding my place again.

In any case. Back on track. I wonder how one might capture some of the efficiency and speed in comment writing. I think the difference in expectations between the two is a factor. Certainly in my mind, during the act of writing a comment it seems far more transient and throwaway — even though there have been times where what I’ve liked what I’ve put into a comment more than some posts!

Something that comes to mind here is a comment from Jeromai, about appreciating the ‘rawness’ of his writing. That over-preparation can end up diminishing his overall regard for a piece of his work.

Although really — it all comes back to the same conclusion as before. I need to get better at writing out complete first drafts before worrying about anything else. Just boom. Write. Turn the editor off. Tap some keys. Make some words. Maybe allow for some critical assessment at the end.

Comment writing proves to me this is possible. It’s just a matter of putting it into practice in a different, higher pressure context.

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9 thoughts on “Writing Comments vs. Posts”

  1. Oddly enough, most of my blog posts are written *fast* with minimal editing afterwards. I realize it often results in either a kind of ramble-y feel or a choppy one, but I find I enjoy blogging a whole lot more when I allow myself to write like I would talk about something I was excited about.

    Of course, I never expect to be a crazy-famous blogger. I’m content just chatting into the void.

    • I kind of *overly* leaned into the rambling with this one, but what you do is certainly a style I’m keen to experiment with some more.

      If you’re having fun and that comes across in your writing, I think that’s pretty compelling reading. Definitely a large part of my issue at the moment is with finding my voice in my writing, and part of the issue could well be the extent to which I write and rewrite. Maybe.

      I’m still learning! No major expectations of becoming crazy-famous either, but I enjoy the learning process (in general, on anything) a whole bunch. xD

  2. I’m in team “most of my posts are off the cuff conversations around a topic seed.” It’s probably why I can’t do longer response comments well, actually – I’ll write a whole post as a comment if left to my own devices, so I have to rein it in!

    • Haha. It’s a trap I’ve fallen into myself in comments to be sure.

      Honestly, you amaze me at how prolific you can be with well reasoned and thought out posts. If you’re writing those in the style of a comment it really doesn’t come across!

  3. “changing the structure of a sentence and then leaving artefacts of the previous structure behind. ”

    I do that all the time! I usually catch it eventually but often not until I’ve published the post.

    My usual process is this: Open New Post in Blogger and start writing just like it was a comment. Get two or three paragraphs in and find the post is changing topic under me. Follow the new direction, still just banging it out.

    After a while I’ll usually hit a point where I start doubting that something I’ve said is correct. I’ll go look it up to fact check and end up reading a whole lot of stuff and get a bunch of new ideas. Go back, correct the factual error if I made one, junk a para or two and re-write, going in a different direction yet again. Repeat that seversl times until I get to the end of the post.

    Then I move to editing. I use Blogger’s Preview function to read the post back as it would look on the blog. Almost always the introduction is now inappropriate and it’s usually the worst-written part of the post because it always takes me a couple of paras to warm up. Rewrite that then correct the many typos and spelling errors.

    When I’m satisified I move on to finding, cropping, adjusting and adding the illustrations, then writing captions for them. That often takes as long or even longer than writing the post. ThenI do the tags, which I hate doing. Worst part of the whole process. Finally I have to come up with a title, which often involves me googling lyrics and watching videos on YouTube. That can take half an hour sometimes.

    It generaly takes me between two and four hours although if I’m on a roll I can knock a full length post out in not much more than an hour. Doesn’t happen ofen though!

    • My timeline is very similar to yours, although being utterly honest – a lot of that is sidetracks and distractions. Often started with good intention though, e.g. going to research something ‘quickly’.

      Agree with you on tags being the worst part. For me this is largely because I still haven’t really developed a consistent approach to them yet. I thought I had. I was wrong. I really need to give this some consideration again in the near future and go back and fix things before it gets truly unwieldy. (Hah, as if it isn’t already.)

  4. I think I already mentioned this on Discord but for me I usually have a good idea of what I want to write when I get to it so that tends to speed up the process considerably. Of course I still end up changing things when I actually put the words on the screen.

    Once I finish writing I try to do at least one quick edit pass just to correct typos and awkward phrases. But come to think about it I should give a two quick edit passes. One for what I just said and another to make sure I didn’t introduce a new set of typos and awkward phrases with the first pass. XD

    Screenshots tends to be what takes most of my time as I try to get one that is appropriate for the post and doesn’t look like complete garbage. I still feel like I fail most of the time though.

    • Honestly haven’t noticed any garbage shots, I think you do quite well.

      Of course, as you can see I don’t precisely set a super high bar for myself in this regard. With the frequency I’ve been writing things lately that don’t tie to any specific game I’ve found it difficult to match there, too.

      So I’ve tended to go for screenshots of things I’m playing at the time I’m writing the post, sort of as a secondary measure of my gaming interests at the time when I come back years later to look over it all. :)

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