Taming the Chaos of My Writing Archives

black and blue pens beside red covered notebook

As hard as I work to bring some order to the chaos of my written archives, there is a general disgust that I feel towards the vast majority of my written work. It’s extremely hard to overcome, and while I have had some outside help with trying to corral the best of my ramblings, I still feel great contempt towards the fact that I went relatively underappreciated for so long; to this day, I continue to mostly work in relative obscurity.

This isn’t to say that no one reads my work; on the contrary, many articles I’ve written about Pokemon, Magic the Gathering, and YuGiOh continue to get daily views from search engines. Some of them were first drafted almost a decade ago, and over the years, have been revised for current audiences to enjoy. No, what I refer to as lingering in obscurity is my non-gaming related works, outside of a few literary and academic essays that I’ve spent hours optimizing for search engines.

Much of my early academic writing showed obvious promise. Unlike in many of my journal entries and half-baked personal essays, the rambling and repetition was actually purposeful. I was trying to fill space, to reach a certain arbitrary endpoint based on the number of pages the words were meant to fill. The trouble is that the practice of this dry and forced style of writing is that these machinations being forced upon my developing writer’s brain led me to go in circles in other aspects of my life. Sadly, these bad habits continue to haunt my writings to this day.

My greatest struggle was finding a unifying purpose to my writing. As someone who couldn’t remain in a single niche, I resolved instead to follow some sort of pattern. At first, that meant posting daily whatever was going through my day. That started off well at first, even posting two short essays a day for several months. The problem is, the quality was extremely variable. As I returned to my writing archives to populate The Phoenix Desertsong, I realized a lot of these old posts needed to be either rewritten entirely, merged into one another into a greater piece, or eliminated altogether.

Around mid-2022 I found myself running out of available content that wasn’t terribly outdated or not at all up to my standards of today. In fact, I considered for some time cutting off all posting after January 1st 2023 indefinitely. Fortunately, in early September, while going through my archives, I stumbled across an old blogging tips post that I never got around to fleshing out. This article was about blog templates, and as much as I hate blog templates, I realized that there were some post types that I’ve never done very much. These include the content aggregator post, the embed reactor post, the quote post, and the stat roundup post.

While I’ve certainly written articles in these veins before, I always considered these as low-effort templates that led to uninspired content. But, as I’ve already established Sunday as my “featured article” for the week, I took these four templates and built them into a new posting schedule for 2023. On Mondays, I would create quote posts, either lists of quotes on a related topic, or diving deep on a single quote. On Tuesdays, I would find a YouTube video of interest to embed and write my reactions and analysis on it.

On Wednesdays, I decided to make it my weekly breather, just talking about what I’ve been reading or watching, as well as a weekly recap of my recent posts. On Thursdays, I would create a content aggregate post, such as a listicle or FAQ on a topic that I’d like to write an essay about, but decided there was enough existing content for me to shout out instead. Fridays would be my wildcard day, which will often be a gaming-related post. Then, Saturdays would be stat-related articles, another day which could involve gaming, but also sports-related content such as baseball.

This way, I can finally organize all of my archives into fitting into these content calendar pigeonholes. Again, since I have Fridays and potentially some Wednesdays as Wildcard days, I’m not afraid of finding myself ejecting topics out of hand simply because I don’t know where to fit them in. Also, since I watch YouTube daily and do a lot of independent research, I decided most of this content would write itself. So far, since I decided to undertake this strategy, I find the words flowing faster and more easily than ever!

Now that there’s some light on the horizon in taming the chaos of my literary archives, I’m actually looking forward to daily posts on The Phoenix Desertsong once again! Yes, occasionally I may cheat and revamp an older post here and there, but now there’s always going to be something new each day. Since I’ve found I can write at least three or four new pieces a day, and as many as eight to ten when I’m on a roll, there won’t be many gaps in my posting for the near future.

Amelia Desertsong is a former content marketing specialist turned essayist and creative nonfiction author. She writes articles on many niche hobbies and obscure curiosities, pretty much whatever tickles her fancy.
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