This New York Times story is interesting in that while the mainstream media just loves talking about blogging, this is the first I’m aware of to take this angle: blogging can kill you. The piece attributes a couple of deaths and heart attacks to the stress and grind of blogging, and I can see how that is. I’m thankful that I don’t get paid by the piece – or worse, by the hit, like Gawker Media does it – but I still understand the feeling of stress that comes with writing for the web. I wonder how guys with longer deadlines do it – web guys have to read and process something almost immediately; sometimes when I have a few days to think an editorial over I feel like I’m luxuriating.
My health is certainly worse for sitting in front of a computer all the fucking time, but what really suffers is the writing. Sometimes writing fast can bring real purity to the work, but it often also brings sloppiness and half-finished thoughts. Extensive rewriting has never been my style, but the demands of web news gathering sometimes means not only doing a first draft but doing it directly into the back end of the site, not even porting the text from a word processing program. No time to waste!
But of course the number of days where it feels like enough has been written can be counted on one hand. Some days there’s legitimate slacking – energy is the coin of the realm when it comes to writing well, and while there’s a hit to quality that comes from speed writing, some days no words will come at all – but most of the time it’s the nagging knowledge that there’s still more to be covered. Sometimes it’s easy to envy the sites that just cut and paste the news from the trades.
Oh well, who wants to live forever anyway?