Friday, September 30, 2011

750words - the anti-Twitter

It's my birthday today. And almost like a new year's resolution, I've decided to make a point of making resolutions for my birthday and then sticking to them. So this, for example, would be one of them - writing 750 words every day.

Of course as of writing this I have only written 54 words and am concerned I may not be able to persist with it for a very long as the well runs dry. Still, it is about quantity, not quality, I suppose. But should it be that way? Shouldn't one prioritise quality over quantity? Is there not significant value in conciseness, in boiling down comprehensive thought into a sentence or two? Must we reiterate things in order to get our point across? (Oh lord I'm only a sixth of the way through this exercise. Must remember to use fiction next time. Or copy-paste an old thing. Yeah, cheating, that'll help.)

In truth I have resisted writing much of anything of late, beyond the odd tweet. (Okay, quite a lot of tweets to be fair.) It gets me into the habit of writing short, pithy, concise points that are easier for the audience to read but it is somewhat constraining; I don't feel like there's much I can do to develop it into something genuinely useful. If I want to take myself seriously as a writer (and do I want to take myself seriously as a writer?) I'll need to be able to write at length on any given subject. And this tool might just get me into a rather good habit on that front.

Oh lord there's still two thirds to go...

So I suppose in a way this tool is the anti-Twitter. Rather than forcing you to compress everything into under 140 characters, it forces you to expand everything into 750 words. Instead of publishing everything to a public feed that anyone and everyone can read at their heart's desire, it publishes nothing at all. Not even if you ask it to. You have to copy and paste your words into something else if you want to publish them. And no social interaction with anyone at all, you're in complete and total isolation, which only really makes a difference if you actually use Twitter properly in the first place...

Over half way through! And I only ran out of steam twice in that last paragraph. Not quite the home stretch, but we're getting there...

I suppose you might get to the point at which you've run out of things to say. Or unique things at any rate. You might end up repeating yourself. You might even find yourself changing the mode of narrative midway through the piece you're writing. You never know. Hey, you might be writing something that a thousand miles away somebody else has already written. In fact for all I know, and now that I think about it of course this MUST be the case, virtually everybody has chosen this as the subject of their first 750words piece - not that there's any way to find out, given they're all private.

That's five hundred words down. Note to self: spell out numbers as words, it counts as more words that way. Further note to self: also write out your self-instructive thoughts as these also count as extra words. Even further note to self: adding "further" to the front of the previous sentence was an ingenious way to expand it, don't you think? Final note to self: push this gag any further and you'll break its elasticity.

Anyway, I've filled this piece up with a lot of blather, most of it intended humorously, and if I choose to publish any more of these I'll probably edit them down before I press "send". Not the way I've written things in the past; I usually tend to edit as I go, so this is an interesting and different way of doing things for me (and perhaps for the better as I rarely got anything done in the past). Perfectionism becomes a lot harder when you have made tweaking everything into a massive task, so perhaps what I write will be a bit less interesting, but a bit more insightful. Look there I go again, transforming a "maybe" into a "perhaps" before I've even finished writing the sentence out.

Ahhh, relief. Only twenty-four more words expected of me. So I've nothing left to say, but fgkjfgjkf dfkodffkl sjdfkj opgfgiofgtio sjsdhbjerio drfotrkormjkwe dfiojgnir qwyewe cbklg dfio rfdjogtr sejesrhj

Friday, September 23, 2011

Me on Question Time

My bit is midway through part 2, where I call Harriet Harman on something she said toward the end of part 1. I remember seeing her physically recoil like a jack-in-the-box! (The camera doesn't quite capture this.) Watch the whole thing through if you'd like to see it in context. You can see me gawping throughout.

Choice twitter comments (using the #bbcqt hashtag):

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

George Osborne, 50p tax etc

Westminster needs to stop looking at any 50p tax abolition as a tax cut and start looking at it as the end of a tax hike. At 40% high earners would still be paying a higher proportion of their income than everyone else and it is to Osborne's shame that he's never put it in these terms.

George Osborne is extremely wealthy and yet does not suffer from the 50% rate as his wealth is derived from family rather than current earnings - and yet he uses his enormous wealth as an excuse to bash the aspirational. He is a petty little man and a weak Chancellor.