I’ve been doing a lot of meta thinking lately about my writing and the direction it’s going in. I’ve come to a conclusion.

My body of work lacks direction and focus. I don’t have a stable of set issues I write about and I am starting to believe that this lack of focus makes it much more difficult and overwhelming to consistently produce quality work. I am going to change this. I think focusing close attention on a handful of topics will make me a better writer and enable me to produce more professional, polished content for myFDL.

My thinking process is also a way for me to figure out how to write and contribute and keep myself healthy. I tend to allow myself to get overwhelmed by news and happenings. After that I burnout and need long rest periods where I pay attention to nothing. I need to make myself more sustainable and I hope that focusing my writing and reading more can be part of my solution.

Focusing on a narrower band of topics will enable me to be more consistent in my output and make my writing better. I’ll be better informed on the topics I cover and I’ll be able to get into detail in a way that I haven’t been doing.

Now that we’ve covered all that, what am I going to cover? Well, for now I’m picking three key “buckets” that I’ll be regularly covering.

Arab Politics and News – I think that the Arab Revolutions and their context are relatively undercovered at FDL (although FDL’s volume and quality of coverage is world’s better than most any mainstream media outlet or blog).

I strongly believe in the idea that revolutions are not fast or quickly settled, ever. Even after the initial “action” of a revolution (example: Egypt getting rid of Mubarak) the work continues for decades to cement the values of the revolution, expand the benefits of the revolution and continue the fight against counter-revolutionary forces. Revolutions can be hijacked, perverted, misled and misfire at any time after power has been taken (or taken away, as may be the case).

I strongly believe that the Arab world is in a revolutionary epoch and that it deserves our attention, support and a place in our hearts. The Arab Spring will be stretching out for years and I don’t want it to get swept under the rug or suffocate due to lack of attention. The cause of progress and self-governance deserves no less, especially because the cause has so few true believers.

Remember how those images and stories made us feel in February and March? I’m not about to just let that go!

Additionally, I’m six months deep into my personal project to learn the Arabic language and I have a longstanding interest in this part of the world. I’m learning more Arabic and becoming more qualified to do this coverage all the time.

Ideology and Social Movements in the West – I also have a longstanding interest in the far right – particularly how religion mixes with far right politics (let’s be honest – all far right politics have some degree of religious basis or ideology). We are in an economic environment that historically fosters the the “darkness lurking out of the shadows”, so to speak, and I don’t think we can throw too much light on the dominionists or the pentecostals or the Christian Identity movement.

I’ll be continuing my series on the far right in America and Europe this week.

Religion in Mainstream Politics – I left this for last because once I start writing about these issues the pieces will have controversial content. Let’s not forget: it’s the “moderates” that make the extremists possible and enable them to make claims of moral purity and uprightness. “Moderate” religious people are necessary for extremists to exist, therefore even the most “moderate” religion is every bit as large a social and political problem as a limited, but growing, number of extremists out there. Some days I think there is too much religious content on FDL and not enough pushback in comments and the like.

Then again, my idea of too much religion is even uttering the word “god”, or a statement that implies dualism, or an epistemology that isn’t wholly physical.

Also, notice that I put “moderate” in quotation marks. Maybe a better way to say it would be “less crazy”. Either way, I find it very hard to see anything moderate about truly bizarre and insane belief systems that manage to exist in huge numbers with reams and reams of evidence against them.

So, suggestions or feedback anybody?

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There is no war but the class war. – hunaaka laa Harb lakin al-Harb-al-Tabaqah.