The Challenge of Finishing Posts

Those who read ZD regularly have doubtless noticed that we’re not always the best at consistently publishing new material. This is probably due to a number of life factors, such as family, work, and academic obligations, or the need to watch entire seasons of television shows from Netflix. But whatever else may lie behind our periodic post droughts, the problem does not seem to be a lack of ideas. The following is a recent screenshot (posted with the permission of my co-bloggers) of the ZD queue:

Some of these titles have been languishing here nearly as long as our blog has been in existence, and their authors may or may not remember that they’re there. Some are just titles or brief phrases, while others have multiple paragraphs written. But once posts fall into the black hole that is our post queue, it’s far from certain that they’ll ever emerge again.

I notice that I have a tendency in many areas of my life to start something new with enthusiasm, only to run out of steam halfway through and get diverted by another exciting idea or project. And I find that starting posts is frequently more fun–and easier–than finishing them. Also, while I enjoy blogging (obviously), I have to be in the right mood, the right mental space, to do it; sometimes I start things while feeling talkative, and then abandon them when I’m feeling quieter. (Not to mention that even after two years of doing this, I still find it a bit nerve-wracking to click on the “publish” button.)

I’m curious as to how others manage their blogging. Do you generally finish the posts you start, or do you have lots of half-written posts lying around?

[Full disclosure: I started this particular post over a year ago, in March 2007.]


  1. Holy crap, that’s a lotta drafts. BCC’s not THAT bad (although Aaron Brown has a ton of drafts).

  2. Haha. This is awesome, Lynnette. And I thought I was bad at leaving drafts half-written.

    Those post titles are fascinating. It would sure be interesting to be a fly on the wall in the ZD database, and read all of these posts ahead of time.

  3. I always thought I had the problem you describe until I read this post. Now I feel better about the number of unfinished posts I have lying around.

  4. Do you take requests? I’d like somebody to finish “Sister Looneytunes and the Church of the Freakycult,” please.

    I’ll send this comment when I get around to fin

  5. For whoever has started them, here is my vote for some that should be finished post haste:

    Is Pronunciation a Moral Decision?
    Why I Am Not Crunchy
    Stuffed Animals and the Transmigration of Souls

    Also, whoever started “Are Men Better than Women?” doesn’t need to finish that post because someone has already started on the answer “Men are Bad” and there seems to be a related post “Men’s Stunning Incapacity for Abstract Thought.”

  6. Ardis, that’s a great idea! Perhaps we should put up a poll every so often with a current post queue screenshot and ask what title sounds the most interesting. Then the author of the winner could be pestered into finishing that post, and the whole process could be repeated. It would be a big unwieldy pain, but it might succeed in getting more posts finished.

    I confess that I’m with you (and Eric) in wanting to read others’ half-finished posts that sound interesting.

  7. Something I find entertaining is to look this over and guess which ZD is responsible for which post draft. (I’m fairly certain that “Sister Looneytunes,” for example, is Eve.)

    “Men Are Bad,” hmm. I guess we’re not beating around the bush on that one! 😉 Maybe that could be followed by “Confessions of a Secret Misogynist.”

  8. Oh, man, you’re killing me here! All these fabulous post titles – and the posts just out of reach! You torment me with the tantalizing idea of all these posts, while withholding the goods! Finish them all as fast as you can! That’s my request. 🙂

    p.s. I think the one I need is “Are you an internet addict?”

  9. Kristine posted a draft by accident on BCC, “When Modesty…Isn’t.” It showed up in the LDSelect feed, but the link took me to an error 404 page.

    Aha! I thought. The patriarchs at BCC have suppressed Kristine! Ready to join in sisterly commiseration, I asked, “So, where’s your post?”

    “It was just a draft I posted by mistake,” she replied.

    Humph. She burst my conspiracy bubble. And she STILL hasn’t finished the post.

    Lynnette, were you logged in as yourself when you took these screen shots? Because my drafts always show up as mine, and others show up as others. And there are no drafts here labeled “your drafts.”

  10. OK, I hereby confess that both “What Profanity Means to People Like Me” and “Sister Loonytunes of the Church of Freakycult” are mine. In the vain hope that someday I’ll get around to finishing, I won’t say more, except that Kiskilili recommended I change the first title to “What Profanity Means to People Like Me, Damn It” and “Sister Loonytunes of the Church of Freakycult” is–or with luck may one day be–a reflection on my mission.

  11. Good question, Ann. I actually logged into the ZD Admin account to do this, so that my posts would be lumped in with everyone else’s.

    (Though I should perhaps confess that I wanted more ability to organize my drafts, so I’ve started composing them in Word instead. Many of those titles are here, but not all–so in other words, the situation is even worse than it looks.)

    And I’ve also posted drafts by mistake! It’s a bit freaky to see a post of yours in Google Reader that you hadn’t yet planned to share with the world.

  12. wow, seriously, wow.
    I do think you should take requests.
    My top three would be:
    Flirting with Patriarchy: A Feminist Confession
    Women’s Studies 101 (I’d like to see the whole series, so here is where I cheat on choosing just three)
    The Problem with the Eternal Perspective Appeal

    Good luck, I’d say this list should keep you guys in business for a few decades.
    Maybe you could ask for submissions of possible posts under these titles and co-write them with a guest.

    And I echo Jane, let’s see the posts! It is more than tormenting to see the titles without being able to click!

  13. Why do I feel like I just got a peek into the feminine, unspoken mind?

    I usually keep a queue of 6 to 9 unfinished posts, but recently it’s jumped to 12. (Some are just “notes to self.”) I finish every post I start. Even if it’s crap, I push that publish button to get it out of there. Of course, it’s never crap…

  14. This is probably due to a number of life factors, such as family, work, and academic obligations

    Ridiculous. Those are just excuses, and they are unacceptable. Please get your priorities in order.


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