And at zero, the pay can be better

Andrew Sullivan on book writing vs. blogging:

  I have to say that producing a book – I have four under my belt if you count my dissertation – is a draining, soul-sapping catharsis. Part of the strain is working for a long time and not knowing if any of it will be worth it. Blogging is almost the polar opposite: almost everything you write is read and used by someone. On a simple hour-by-hour basis, blogging is harder work. But the thinking required for a book – the slow sifting and weighing of competing ideas, themes, structure, arguments – is a deeper, more painful process.

  Most of my books have clocked in at around 80,000 words. I write around half a million words a year on this blog. On a pain-per-word basis, books are harder. But at least there is a point at which they are over, at least in the writing. A blog never stops. The deadline is always with you…

Actually, Blogging is more like watering plants. Ya gotta do it often enough that they don’t die, but not so often that you drown the things.

2 comments

  1. Shawn Powers’s avatar

    Heh… that’s actually very interesting. I find the same thing with any monumental writing task. Blog posts, magazine articles, reviews, opinion essays — all are quick.

    Books are a pain, like Andrew mentions not due to the size, but rather the singular, monolithic type product.

    Blogging is much more modular. :) Yes, yes, books have chapters, but they must be wrapped up in a pretty bow before they’re done.

    Thanks for the link though, that’s an interesting piece.

  2. Mark Evans’s avatar

    Blogs are like eating dessert – quick, satisfying, then you move on. Books are like a multi-course dinner – takes a long time and you end up wondering why you ate so much. :)

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