The end-of-year newspaper columns looking back at the big stories of 2013 are starting to roll out; the new year's resolution columns are popping up as well. Looking back, looking ahead--both of these bring to mind a familiar weakness of blogging, the fact that for most of us the posts slowly scroll down the screen into the archive never to be read or used again. Categories or tags sometimes help bring a good piece back into view, and links, of course, do the same. Some bloggers are very careful to keep their best work in view on the site--see the sidebar at Pressthink, for example. Some bloggers make a point of writing about older pieces from time to time. A handful of bloggers mine their posts to make up the first draft of a book. Sometimes a post turns out to be a draft for a piece published elsewhere--I have built radio pieces from blog posts, for example.
I am persuaded from personal experience as both a reader and writer that blogging has its own virtues and is completely worth doing on its own, but I feel like we're leaving money on the table if we stop there, letting most of the work slide down the screen into oblivion. I don't have a solution, just a long-lingering feeling that something is not being used to its full advantage. The content is spread out in dozens of entries, not easily reworked, but tempting. There are still useful sentences in there, in the e-dark, waiting.
Blogmath: 250 words a day, say, adds up to 90,000 words a year, enough for a book or a few ebooks.