Books vs blog posts

Been outlining a couple of book projects.

It’s a to do I have left for vacation.

Reminds me of a colleague I had once, younger person. I asked him “What do you read?” He said blog posts and stuff. Oh boy.

Well, if all you write is blog posts, you aren’t really writing.

Blog posts are short. Much can be forgiven. But you can’t just write that way if longer.

Books usually need:

– an argument. Alone, you typically cannot construct one. Online community might be able to help but offline academics have something good. The fifty comments on a blog/git are a fraction of the intense debate and contest an academic writer has to traverse (talks, citations of great thinkers, editors and committees).

– literature. This is evidence you have engaged with at least the established sets of ideas. “Epic content” style blog posts do link a lot. Books do this a lot more.

– a big story. The hero sets out to fix a problem through ideas… (A. World is on fire. B. The secret mechanism. C. The road ahead.) Blog posts usually amount to one observation or hack.

– small stories. The little anecdotes that move 3-page blocks. A blog post is usually just one of these or less. Books need lots of these.

– characters. Hero, villain, angel, mentor, comrade etc. You have to identify and contest with someone to care.

– feeling. Stories need feeling and characters elicit it – but don’t forget that the personal investment is because the reason cares about something.

– how about some jokes?

– pictures or charts?

– avoid equations

– lists are nice

– summaries too

– STYLE. How do you write? How does it make people feel? What does it tell people about you or your ideas? Write! Earn it!

I used to work in philosophy and many of the writers aspired to a naturalist type of writing, like a science paper. Usually not much style. None of the above stuff really.

So I am learning about writing as I write.