State of the Blog, 2019

As of a few days ago, this blog has been going for four years now (basically), and has racked up 222 posts! Wow! And now it’s over! Done! No more blog! Okay not really, but going forward the blog won’t be updating weekly. Except for the next several months.

TL;DR The War of Paraguay will go up weekly for the next few months, then the blog will update only irregularly for the rest of time.

For a more detailed explanation, let me just start from the beginning.

Past

I started this blog with very clear goals: create a “platform” that would allow people who had already read my work to know when I had a new publication, and that would pull in other people who had never heard of me and present them with a whole bunch of past publications. Each post would act as advertisement for my fiction writing, which I guess, if the blog was the platform, was the thing standing on the platform.

I also wanted to update at regular intervals, to get in the habit of producing content at a consistent rate. For the first year or so, I aimed for weekly updates, though I never explicitly said that’s what I was trying to do on the blog. I pulled from a lot of different blog post genres—some travel writing, some writing about writing, some book reviews—really doing anything that grabbed my interest. Pretty soon I realized how difficult it was to come up with something completely new every week. I’d originally envisioned the blog as being primarily focused on writing and reading—that is, posts about writing advice, and posts about books I was reading. Posts about books were easy enough, though I didn’t read enough to post weekly about them. Writing posts were much more difficult, because so much about writing has already been said. I didn’t want to retread well-worn advice—and even if I did, each post would essentially be its own little essay, requiring it’s own unique structure and planning.

Spring of 2016 I started posting my political analysis notes to the blog. The fact that these were in series made it easy to lay out several weeks of content ahead of time, and the fact that they were just repurposed notes that I polished up a bit made them very easy to produce. That was how I was ultimately able to achieve my goal of weekly updates—by figuring out series of blog posts, and working on them ahead of time. Since those political analysis notes, there’s been The Absolute at LargeThe Only Series that MattersPlay TimeThe War of Paraguay, and most recently Last Year Comic Chronicle. I sometimes felt that this was kind of cheap, turning notes or honors projects into blog content for the sake of having regular weekly updates. But, as I’ve come to care less and less about an indefinite weekly blog, my perspective has shifted.

Future

At this point, I see the blog not as a platform for my writing, but as a platform for any weird project I don’t know what else to do with, which can comfortably fit a serial format. The platform isn’t built of weekly updates, but of all the posts that I’ve already written. Less a platform, more a ziggurat of odd, incongruous scaffolding, reaching up ever higher. The only mainstays are the book reviews, and I guess Recommendation Dumps as well. I still post whenever I have a new publication, but at this point I don’t see the blog as a commitment that I have to keep up for the sake of my fiction writing, but rather a potential home for all kinds of different projects—writing, comicking, translating, etc.

And a big part of that is the fact that, going forward, I have no intention to try and maintain weekly updates. Obviously, in the past I’ve had hiatuses, but in those cases I always specifically stated when the end of the hiatus would be ahead of time (and even stuck to it??! What the hell?!). This is different. After The War of Paraguay is finished, the blog will go on an indefinite hiatus.  As with past hiatuses, I will still have little one off posts that go up irregularly. And the hiatus may last a month, or a year, who knows. I actually have a lot of ideas for series of blog posts, or projects that could fit the serial format—I just don’t want to commit to anything specific.

In the past year I’ve been trying to free myself from indefinite commitments, and I’ve been wary of starting any new projects without first determining a set end.  Last Year Comic Chronicle was limited to a year for a reason. So with the blog. I want as much flexibility as possible going forward, and having a chunk of my life intractably dedicated forever and ever to one thing is limiting, to say the least. In the end, I may just happen to want to write enough posts, and have enough time to write them, that there is actually no discernible difference in how frequently the blog updates from the outside. Even if that’s the case (highly unlikely, but still:), there would be a world of difference on my end, in clearing up mental space by not always having to figure out how to keep the blog going, and in not feeling like the posts I write are an obligation (I think you can actually see this mindset change in the second half of LYCC, but now I’m making it official.)

So, thank you followers who have come with me this far. I’m sure a lot of you only started following my site for one kind of post, be that comics or travel writing or writing writing, and even if you ignore all my other posts, I’m happy to have your support nonetheless, and I’m thrilled you’ve been able to get something out of my work.

Like I said, my War of Paraguay translation will be posted here weekly, probably wrapping up sometime around the end of 2019, and then the indefinite hiatus will begin. There will definitely be plenty more posts this site in the future, but beyond TWOP I make no promise of when, what, or how much.

Oh! And if you enjoyed Last Year Comic Chronicle, know that some time in the near future I will be putting out an ebook version of it conveniently collecting all the comics in one file, with some bonus black-and-white comics and other stuff thrown in! So, be on the lookout for that.

Alright, that’s all, xoxo -Francis

Happy Birthday to the Blog!

Four years ago, I wrote the first post of this blog. And then a few weeks later I stopped writing blog posts. Almost two years ago, I restarted this blog, and it’s been going strong (more or less) ever since. So I want to take this anniversary to discuss the past and future of this blog.

The Past

This blog started out (or re-started out) with a very explicit purpose: I wanted to have a place for new readers to land if they’d read me somewhere else, and a place to announce new publications to old readers. A “platform.” And just as importantly, I wanted to get in the habit of writing posts. I wanted to get good at regularly producing content, so that by the time that I actually started pulling in lots of readers, I wouldn’t “be fumbling around with weird disorganized posts like this one, or slacking off and going through long hiatuses.”

Mission accomplished! For the past seven months, I have been publishing one post a week, with the only exception being the week of January 30 – February 5. And, with over a hundred posts published on this site, I’d say I have a platform. It’s a multicolored, wildly erratic platform, with topics ranging from political analysis to theatre to uhhhhh this?, but a platform nonetheless.

So, now that I have achieved this, and this is the new status quo, what is the future of the blog?

The Future

First, something that’s already happened: the blog’s URL is now just “francisbass.com”! Yay! “francisbass.wordpress.com” still redirects to here, but if you have it bookmarked maybe change it anyway, just in case? Anyway, that’s fun.

Second, and more importantly, I definitely want to continue posting every week—specifically every Friday, because that’s the day of the week I’ve been posting on for the past four months. I like blogs / youtube channels / webcomics that update regularly, and I like the way doing this forces me to steadily add to this growing body of work that is the blog as a whole. However, I might have to have occasional hiatuses. I’ve had posts queued up all this summer, but now I’m quickly approaching the end of that queue. I have ideas for other stuff to write for the blog, which I’ll get to in a moment, but it’s pretty involved, meaning that it may take awhile to produce—and I’m heading into a heck of a year, in which I’ll be kept very busy with college, especially Spring of 2018. So rather than slowly squeeze out posts at irregular intervals, if I can’t update weekly I’ll just go on a planned hiatus, which I’ll make sure to announce on this site in some way—probably with a planned date of return as well. Because I appreciate regularity. Be the change you want to see in content creators, right?

Now, here’s the thing about posting weekly, regardless of whether I’m busy or not: the reason I’ve been able to do it for the past six months is that I’ve been putting out two very long series of posts—the Rereading ASOUE series, and the Play Time series. Writing these longer series is a lot easier than writing several stand alone posts, because writing a series, it’s easy to develop a specific format and style that can be used in every post, instead of having to figure that stuff out fresh, as I do with each one-off post. So that’s essentially how I plan to run the blog from here on out, writing multi-part series of posts. Still, I don’t want the blog to be totally overtaken by one topic for months at a time, or to eschew one-off topics that can’t be stretched into whole series, so I’ll try and throw a couple stand-alone posts into the middle of the series as well (as I’ve been trying to do, with some success, these past seven months.)

As for the actual content of those series, I have a few different things I’m mucking about with, which I’m still not certain have enough substance or are interesting enough to make into a series—but one thing I know for sure will be going up on this blog is La Guerra del Paraguay! It’s a Spanish translation of an excerpt of a work written in Portuguese, Um Estadista do Império, and I am currently translating the Spanish excerpt (which is book-length in its own right) into English. The excerpt covers the Paraguayan War, mostly through the lens of the Brazilian parliamentarians and diplomats. I plan to post my translation chapter-by-chapter on this blog, and publish a version of it with translations of appendix material and footnotes as well—though I’ve been working on it all summer, and only just now got to the point where I can start writing the english translation, so who knows when that’ll be. Hopefully starting this fall.

So, that’s the state of the blog, 2017. If there’s any type of post you’d like to see more of, or some preference for frequency of posts you have, or if you think this type of post where I’m just writing about the blog itself is boring, leave me a comment. I feel like it’d be nice to have one of these types of self-reflective posts every year, or maybe every two years like the Olypmics, but who knows. Here’s to finding out!

Blog Re-Beginning

So I’m going to pick up this blog thing again.

It’s for me, not for you. Apparently it’s good for a writer to build a platform, so that when you publish new stuff people can buy it, or if readers look you up they can see what your past publications are. And since I actually have something published now, and may have more some time in the sometime, I’m going to give this another shot.

Yes, it’s all about money. And on the topic of money, !!!THE TRIAL OF ADBOT 579!!! is a ¡¡PLAY¡¡ by me about advertising robots and humanity and you can buy it HERE HERE HERE.

In the past I did this blog (three whole posts worth) just because I felt like screaming into the void. I think I gave up on it because I ran out of things to say. Whatever happened, I’ll try to update regularly now. Maybe weekly. Maybe less often.

Although the point of this blog is to attract attention so that people will buy my stuff, the posts will rarely be advertisements.

Speaking of advertisements, I actually wrote a —-> ONE ACT PLAY <—- about an adbot called PLEA$E GIVE ME MONIE$ which you can purchase HHEERREE.

I’m not sure what the posts will be. I don’t even know what this one is. I feel obligated to start this blog with an introduction, even though this isn’t a book. Plus it’s not introducing anything, because I don’t know what this blog is going to be about.

So instead of trying to introduce a never-ending book I haven’t written yet, I’ll elaborate more on why I’m doing this blog. It’s only sort of about money. That is to say, I don’t expect this to do anything for my nearly nonexistent revenue until I have more major publications, ones with bios that point back to this website. I’d like to get into the habit of writing blog posts regularly though, so that when it actually matters I won’t be fumbling around with weird disorganized posts like this one, or slacking off and going through long hiatuses. I’ll have already been keeping up with this for awhile, and will have no problem continuing to post.

Now that I mention it, posting is kind of like…oh screw it.