A commissioner recently expressed her displeasure at one of my blogs.
When I suggested maybe she was reading too much into it, the commissioner replied: “Words matter!”
Yes, they do, fortunately. Between Just Wright Citrus and Florida Politics, it was a busy word week. So here are a few Friday words about words:
— Just to let you know how this works. I finished the first draft of Thursday’s U.S. 41 blog around 6 p.m. Wednesday. It was 1,000 words — 300 more than my target. Leaving for church, I knew I’d have some major slicing and dicing when I got back home.
Well, as often is the case, my blog changed entirely after church. Don’t know what that’s about. It’s not like I write these scathing rip-your-lungs-out blogs, then go to church and have Jesus set me right. (That happens regardless.)
Sure enough, I returned home and started editing. That quickly turned to a rewrite. Next thing I know, it’s 10 p.m. and half my idea went out the window.
(You think I have some elaborate process to write these things? Oh please. The words spill from my mind to the keyboard in no time. They disappear just as quickly. Sometimes I’M surprised by what I end up with.)
Which is WHY I failed to mention the I-75 fiasco in the blog about the U.S. 41 traffic. Plum forgot. Until Thursday, when I glanced at Facebook to see readers commenting, “Um, are you even awake dude? Did you not hear about this freeway backup?”
So, yeah, it’s likely the traffic through Inverness and Hernando was bumper-to-bumper in some respects because of the freeway mishap. But not entirely. FHP detoured traffic to the EAST off I-75, so the ones who headed west are drivers like me who ignore official directions and instead find their own route.
Set all that up on a road with a nervous disposition like U.S. 41, and what you see is what we have.
— When I first started writing this blog in the late 1980s, I figured the internet provided me with space that a newspaper couldn’t. I could write mini novels because I had so many important things to say.
Now I cringe at those early blogs because they’re so dang long. The social media gurus of Citrus County told me most people won’t go longer than 5 minutes to read anything online unless it’s a blockbuster — and that eliminates me.
So I zero in on 650 to 750 words. That’s about 3 or 4 minutes of reading and most of these are easy reads, meaning they’re not weighed down with government jargon or similar nonsense.
That’s why Just Wright Citrus has so many links. I’m a big fan of links as a reader so I link as much as I can, particularly past blogs, Chronicle stories, county commission meeting agendas, or government websites. Putting those links together is time-consuming but well worth it.
— I’m gonna have a nice day. See what I did there? I never would use “gonna” in a sentence. Ever.
Lately, though, I’m seeing “gonna” and “gotta” in print/online and, you know, I think I’m good with it.
The English major who reads my blog every night (before it’s posted, thankfully) wouldn’t agree with me, but this is conversation, not prose. It’s the internet. Here one day, here the next. Let’s chill on the grammar patrol.
— Some days my mind really is empty. I can’t make it to 650 words. I get to the end of the line and look forward to a Friday where I can disappear mentally for a few hours.
I am so appreciative of the readers, sponsors — and grumpy county commissioners — who read each day or at least give it a passing glance. Then jump on Facebook for cordial discussion.
Lookie here. Made it to 650. Thanks for another week, Citrus County.
Join the discussion on our Facebook page.
Mike Wright has written about Citrus County government and politics for 36 years.