Yesterday I was chatting with a friend of mine about the various random YouTube videos we like to watch, and my friend suggested a user named John Fassold, who has an entertaining series on how various bands and musicians write their songs. To some extent, as human beings we all have patterns, and that is especially true when it comes to something like creativity. The very art of being able to come up with a reliable amount of writing itself itself requires a fair amount of creation of habits and patterns in order to handle the amount of creativity that one desires. Anyway, I thought it would be worthwhile, as someone who talks from time to time about my patterns and habits as a writer , to share how every Nathan Albright blog is written. Enter if you dare.
Let us begin with a discussion of the types of blog whose patterns are very easy to determine. Somewhere between half to two-thirds of all of my blogs are reviews, and the vast majority of these are book reviews. My reviews follow a very consistent format. First, the book, album, or restaurant is stated with some identifying details. Then, an introductory section discusses my own personal feelings and a personal context about what is being reviewed. The middle section then gives a detailed summary of the contents being reviewed. After this, the conclusion gives an idea of what worldview problems exist in what is being reviewed, what is the reception likely to be, what is the ideal audience, as well as what positive and/or negative qualities are present in what is being reviewed. The end result of this is usually 600-800 words. Other patterned blogs which are easy to recognize are the entries in my series on acts unfairly excluded from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, which has its own regular format and a length that is usually 800-1000 words.
The remainder of my blogs have their own patterns of creation that are somewhat less obvious, but still very patterned and structured in nature. For example, each paragraph in a post of mine will likely be 150-300 words long, seldom longer and very seldom shorter. Generally, a post will introduce with some sort of hook–a set of questions or comments or a story or a reference to a song on the radio or a video seen online, that gives the basic reason of what brought this subject to mind at this particular time. Often this will also give an indication of the reason for the title, as the song or video or book will often serve to provide the reference for the title that is given. After this will come a body of three or more paragraphs, usually, that flesh out the main point and give their own supporting detail. There is usually some sort of method or structure. This post, for example, is structured like a decision tree with various conditional statements based on the genre of blog entry one is dealing with. Some entries contain different vignettes that have at least a loosely connected theme, while others are much more tightly organized in a densely rhetorical form. There may or may not be a formal conclusion. Some personal essays, for example, end with a very short closing statement at the bottom of the last body paragraph, which makes sense given the fact that most of these entries are personal essays and once the discussion has reached the point where clarity is found, one does not need to go on longer than that.
There are, of course, patterns present in other sorts of blog entries that are neither reviews nor personal essays. A fairly large body of my writing, for example, consists of sermonette messages and personal Bible studies. My sermonettes (and longer messages), though, have a fairly straightforward structure even if they are longer than most of my entries, in that they have an introduction with some sort of hook, a clearly stated specific purpose statement, a body that sets up a clear compare/contrast, passage analysis, or multi-point homily, and a conclusion that reminds the audience of the essential point(s) being made. My own personal Bible studies have a similar format and are also often converstional in tone, and there is at least one paragraph of discussion for every passage of the Bible that is cited, providing an alternating pattern of God’s word and my own interpretation as a reader. These patterns and rhythms are consistent and can be recognized by those who are attentive to my writing.
What do these patterns reveal? To me, as a writer, they reveal that I have an organized mind that tends to find consistent sources of inspiration in observation of the world around me as well as attention to my own thoughts and feelings and a disciplined way of drawing insight from these sources of inspiration. Without either such a large amount of attention to potential inputs as well as a detailed and structured way of reflecting on those inputs, it is unlikely that I would write at the consistency or quality that I do. The patterns of my writing reflect the patterns of my thinking, including both a desire to summarize as well as to opine, a mix between objective and subjective analysis. There will often be a choice of characteristically elevated vocabulary and stock phrases that point to my level of approval of that which I am writing about. To some, perhaps, these patterns may be somewhat dull and tedious and immensely difficult to understand when I use unfamiliar words. Yet these patterns are merely the outward workings of my own mind and, to a much lesser extent, heart, and if you like what I have to say and the way I say it, the odds are at least good that you will like me and enjoy my company.
 See, for example: