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The Write Stuff


The Confluence needs writers – do you have what it takes?

A little over a year ago this blog didn’t exist.  Now we not only have fans but we even have stalkers.  But our goal isn’t to be the best little blog in Left Blogistan, we want to make the “A” list.

We need good writers who share our values and ideals – and who want to write.  We want diverse voices writing interesting posts about all kinds of topics, and doing it on a regular basis.  We are looking for self-motivated individuals – There are no assignments, deadlines or quantitative requirements (“I want 1200 words on Valerie Jarrett by Thursday!”) 

While we would happily publish single works from a guest poster, we need a few people who can publish quality essays several times a week.  We can help you with some technical stuff like graphics and proof reading, but you have to supply the content.  We generally don’t tell our writers what topics to write about or prescreen their work.  A couple of times we were all asked to do individual posts on the same topic but it was a request not a demand.  Someone may suggest a topic to you but you’ll be your own boss. 

Writing isn’t a skill you can teach, it’s an art.  Blogging is a weird mix of information, entertainment, argument and stream of consciousness writing in pixelated print.  I’m not claiming that I’m a great writer, but I’ve seen a lot of bad writers who were technically proficient at spelling and grammar.  Right now The Confluence has several commenters who write well enough to be front-pagers.  They may not believe it but they have more than enough talent to be bloggers. 

Speaking for myself, I spent more time and effort on my very first blog post (at Corrente) than I have with any post since.  I really worried and stressed over whether it was “good enough” or not.  I can’t tell you how many posts I have done since, but I no longer worry about what people will think, I just write. 

Some of the posts I worked hardest on were less well received than some I just “threw together.”  I drew unexpected fire from posts I thought wouldn’t be controversial, and was I was disappointed that some posts I thought would cause a reaction got little attention.  The only thing I never want to be is boring and predictable.

I don’t try to be just like anyone else.  I try to mix generous amounts of serious and snark, with a dash of tongue-in-cheek and a little tinfoiI to seal in the freshness.  I try different things from time to time, not always with success.  Sometimes what I write is all snark, sometimes it’s an angry rant, sometimes I’m not sure myself what it is.  My mood and my muse exercise editorial control.

I sometimes leave unanswered questions in my posts in order to stimulate discussions, while other bloggers (like Glenn Greenwald) prefer posts that are narrowly focused but comprehensive and exhaustive with little room for discussion.  I bounce around from topic to topic, but bloggers like Bob Somerby prefer to devote their full attention to one topic.  (No, I’m not claiming that I’m in the same league as Glenn and Bob, I was just using them as examples of blogging styles.)

You don’t have to be a feminist, a PUMA or even be interested in politics.  Movies, music, food, sports and travel are all welcome subjects.  We will accept fiction, non-fiction, prose or poetry.   Everyone has something they are knowledgeable and passionate about.  If there is something that you are interested in, chances are others are interested too. 

Obviously we don’t want to provide a forum for racism, sexism or other forms of bigotry, nor do we want anyone posting official talking points, propaganda or intentionally false and misleading information.  It’s okay to be controversial  or to ruffle some feathers (we prefer that to dull and boring) so long as you aren’t unnecessarily rude or offensive.  (We want to attract and keep readers, not chase them away)  But if you take a position on a sensitive issue, you can be certain someone will take offense.

What I’m trying to say is there is no one method, topic or position we are looking for.  Yes, we are liberal-leaning Democrats in exile and we have strong opinions, but we would still welcome alternative points of view.  However please keep in mind that we don’t drink Kool-aid around here.

I’ll warn you – writing is a bad habit to get into.  The pay is nonexistent, total strangers will mock and insult you, and people you like and respect will occasionally tell you that you’re full of sh*t.  Some days I can’t think of anything to write about, and other days my muse is hyperactive. 

I have partial drafts that I never finished for one reason or another, and a few times I finished a post only to discover someone else had already posted on the same topic minutes earlier.  Oh, and don’t forget we all have this thing called “real life” that intrudes on our blogging – family, friends, pets and whatever it is we do to pay the bills.

This isn’t a temporary or once in a lifetime opportunity.  We will always be looking for talent.  I would like to see about 12-16 original posts a day here at The Confluence, spaced out from 7-8 am EST until 10-11 pm PST.  Multiply that by 7 days a week and 52 weeks a year and you can see there is lots of room to fill. 

If you are interested let us know – either in the comments or by emailing Riverdaughter at theconfluence08@yahoo.com  We may ask you to submit a draft essay so we can evaluate your writing (especially if you only want to do a single guest post.)  If you aren’t used to writing full essays I suggest you go to http://wordpress.com/ and open a blog of your own (it’s free) and practice practice practice.  If you keep posting quality work on your own blog several times a week we will track you down and ask you to join us here.

Right now we are only averaging about 5-6 posts a day, but we don’t want to double or triple our writing staff all at once.  To avoid confusion and disruption we want to ease new writers in a couple at a time,  so if we don’t say yes right away we will still keep you in mind for the future.  If we have multiple people interested we will give preference to someone with special expertise or other attributes that we are currently lacking in our staff. 

We aren’t just looking for quality writing, we are also looking for qualities like loyalty, stability, consistency and congeniality.  We want writers who are interested in being part of our team and want to help push The Confluence to the next level.  We want them to be willing and able to carry part of the load and do so reliably without supervision. We want people who are strong-willed and independent, yet who are open-minded and willing to “agree to disagree.” 

And we want them to stick around.  While there is nothing wrong with guest posts or someone who does infrequent posts we can’t grow The Confluence without a base of quality writers who post an average of several times a week.  If we have lots of good posts by good writers then our readership will increase and other blogs will link to us more often. 

Inciting blogwars and similar stunts may provide a temporary boost in traffic, but the only way of attracting and keeping more readers is to offer them consistent quality.  There are some excellent writers in the blogosphere who post erratically – sometimes going weeks without anything new.  We want The Confluence to be the place people go first when they go online because we always have fresh new posts that are interesting and informative.

Success begets success.  Although some of our writers will inevitably be more popular than others, newer writers and guest posters will gain exposure when people come here to read established Conflucian bloggers.  While some turnover is unavoidable, our goal is to add new writers, not replace old ones.

So, do you have the “write” stuff?


120 Responses

  1. Don’t everybody talk at once!

  2. How are your bennies?

  3. Everyone’s emailing RD or creating an essay for submission. No one has time to comment now.

  4. I am not so sure that having so many posts in one day is a good idea. Too much is passed over. Why not adopt the “slow blogging” approach and let us digest at most two or three a day, with one open thread. Sometimes I am too busy to spend the time that I need with even Riverdaughter’s post. As long as I have a job, I don’t have time to take in lots of front-page posts.

    There are so many of D’s economic posts that I flag to go back and study. In fact, all of the posts are worth reading, but there are just too many!

    • I have to agree with CB. I don’t have time to read everything that is posted as it is. I see posts that get hundreds of comments and others that only get a couple of dozen. That seems to happen because another post has been put up, not because people aren’t interested.

      • In my humble opinion, number of comments do not correspond to quality of the post. I have not come across one post on TC that I have not enjoyed reading head to toe. When I don’t have time, I make sure to read the posts and catch up with comments later.

  5. I am not so sure that having so many posts in one day is a good idea.

    As long as we don’t sacrifice quality for quanity it will be good. We can never have too many good writers.

    • Also there are structural things you can do to make it easier to see entires when the number goes up. For example smaller summaries before the fold, side bar by category and by author, among many more. In other words, as the number of posts goes up, some organization things can be done to make it easy to get around.

  6. what about a “conservative in residence” position….?

  7. ” I can’t tell you how many posts I have done since, but I no longer worry about what people will think, I just write. ”

    Best advice ever!

  8. can we draft pat ???

  9. what about a “conservative in residence” position

    You were one of the people I had in mind when I said “we would still welcome alternative points of view”

    • Sign me up… maybe a guest spot every now and then… I wouldn’t want to over promise and under deliver… my name ain’t Geithner!!!

  10. I am not so sure that having so many posts in one day is a good idea.

    I think we’re a long way from having to worry about that.

    We might find that we start using Open Threads for regular conversations and keep to the topic on the more thoughtful posts.

  11. can we draft pat

    I wish – but it’s strictly voluntary

  12. The more posts the better IMO. I don’t read them all so it would be nice to have more to pick and choose from.

    • I agree. I would like to have more posts. I think if a post is up for an hour or two, then it’s time for another one. And not everyone wants to comment on every post.

  13. The quality of the Front Pagers who have appeared on this blog for the past year is extremely intimidating. And I mean that in a good way. To even attempt to replicate the writing that so far has been highlighted would be daunting.

    I could not imagine trying to keep up with the quality of writing that is brought daily by the voices of Boston Boomer, myiq, Riverdaughter, Cinie, Shtuey, gary, SM, katiebird, dakinikat, State of Disbelief, madamab. I marvel at their talent.

    Commentating is the best that I can do and even then it does not rise to the level of excellence of these scribes. I learn from them. And besides, I am not always in step with every post or point of view.

    • Pat,

      You read so much. One possibility would be that you could post book reviews when you felt like it. But there’s no pressure. All you have to do is say the word.

    • Pat, you must. I for one would spend even more time here if you did.

    • Pat
      I will make and send you cheese cake filled chocolate covered strawberries if you will join the front page.
      There a lot of people that have not had to make a dollar go as far as two dollars while trying to raise a family.
      From what you have written about raising children on a budget you could help a lot of people.
      Both you and I know it is not an easy thing to do.
      All posts do not have to be about politics.



  14. And besides, I am not always in step with every post or point of view.

    All the more reason – and you do have the ability.

  15. Pat maybe you could ease into it by doing the Open threads. I think you’d find that it’s more fun than you expect.

  16. Give it a try Pat, I like your cynicism. I mean it.

  17. You guys are the “masters”. I have said that repeatedly over the past year. I am not in your league by a longshot.

    • Then host and moderate open threads – you can have fun sending trolls to hell

    • Pat,

      There’s no “league.” Each of us does what we are comfortable with. You are one of the best snarkers ever. But, again, I would never want you to feel pressured about it. You should do what makes you happy.

    • Pat, I think your writing is first-rate and your points of view are valid, even if some of us don’t always agree with what you write. We might disagree with you occasionally, but it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t express yourself.

    • Pat, I love your comments – they are thoughtful and thought-provoking – I’d love to have you post on some of the significant things that are happening – open threads might indeed be a great place to start!

  18. purty please pat????

    can we barter away nesting to gain pat??

  19. Another argument for having more posts is that we could post news items of interest without writing a long essay. That is the kind of thing that Myiq has done very successfully. We don’t have to have 12-16 “think pieces” every day.

  20. Okay, I will give it a try. But no snickering or spitting.

  21. Here’s how I get a lot of my posts – I surf the blogosphere until I see something that makes me laugh, pisses me off or just makes me go WTF?

    Copy – paste – link and write a paragraph or two expressing my reaction. Find a graphic or a video that fits the subject, think of a catchy title and voila!

  22. Writin’ is hard.

    I admire all the people who write stuff here or on any blog for that matter daily, sometimes many times a day. It simply demands a lot of time, and a lot of depth (if you want to write compellingly).

    I’m thinking about submitting some stuff from time to time but as a regular poster it’s almost impossible. I have a tough enough time showing up to work regularly.

    I don’t know how RD does it every single day.

    • MABlue,

      You’ve had an open invitation for a long time. You could keep us informed about what’s happening in Europe.

      • Thanks BB.

        I know you’ve been encouraging me to post for a while now. I’m seriously thinking about your suggestion and would probably write something about what is going on here in Western Europe and the view of US politics from here.

  23. I’m thinking about submitting some stuff from time to time but as a regular poster

    Guest post submissions are welcome too

  24. I love your idea of expanding TC.

    Fiction is interesting, too.

  25. It is one thing to “stick your toe” in the water. Another to hoist yourself off of the diving board. It is the degree of “wetness” that makes the difference.

  26. And you can only say “Obama is an idiot” just so many times.

    • For me, there’s no limit to how many times I can hear that. Anyway, Pat, it’s the *way* you say it that is so appealing. I am looking forward to your first front-page post!

    • Well…. I don’t know about that.

    • You’re wrong. Remember during the primaries, someone called Sara would just show up once per day and make the following comment about Obie:

      “I hate that fr!ckin weasel!”

      It never ever got old.

  27. Just saw the above comments.
    Pat, you are really a wonderful writer. Really. You don’t have to be afraid about your ability to do this. It would be great.

  28. Pat J — for crying out loud! Your posts are the best part of every thread — I’m going to do it & you are a lot funnier/better writer than I could ever be.

  29. Pat J — you should have held out for getting rid of nesting (per indigogirl) before you agreed — but I’m looking forward to it.

  30. OT — I saw this list of positions in the Treasury Department that require a WH appointment (complete with Senate hearing & background check, ect) to fill:

    * Secretary
    * Deputy Secretary
    * Under Secretary — Domestic Finance
    * Under Secretary — International Affairs
    * Under Secretary — Terrorism and Financial Intelligence
    * Assistant Secretary — Economic Policy
    * Assistant Secretary — Financial Markets
    * Assistant Secretary (Deputy Under Secretary) — International Affairs
    * Assistant Secretary (Deputy Under Secretary) — Legislative Affairs
    * Assistant Secretary — Management and Chief Financial Officer
    * Assistant Secretary — Public Affairs/Director — Policy Planning
    * Assistant Secretary — Tax Policy
    * Chief Counsel — Internal Revenue Service/Assistant General Counsel for Tax
    * Commissioner — Internal Revenue (five-year terms of office)
    * General Counsel
    * Inspector General
    * Inspector General — Tax Administration
    * Treasurer — United States

    Of those 18 positions, the Obama WH has appointed ONE — Secretary Geither.

    Is it any wonder calls to the U.S. Treasury Department from other countries are going unanswered?

    Tell me again the reasons for all of Obama’s faux pas & downright f*ck ups? Because he is busy working on the economy? Yeah, right.

    • Holy Cow! Where did you get the list? I heard there were three new people who were promoted from within–subject to confirmation.

    • Mmmmmm-Finance, financial markets, international affairs, internal revenue, tax administration-Do you think he’s doing it accidentally on purpose?

      • It makes it seem that Treasury is not where the decisions are being made–which is obviously true. I don’t don’t know who is really in charge–Summers? Orszag? Goolsbee?

    • There have been so many people who have been unable to assume the position they were appointed to in the Obama administration because something nefarious had escaped the vetting team.

      My question is:

      Was the entire vetting team of Obama focused solely on Hillary Clinton? These guys have missed ALL and I mean ALL kinds of miscreants so far.

      WTF is going on with this vetting team?

  31. Pat -I think it would be wonderful if you could do a piece on your book club meetings.
    I’ve always been curious about those.

  32. This is like your relief pitcher coming into the ninth inning and wanting to redo the whole game,” Orszag said. “Next year we’re going to be the starting pitcher, and the game’s going to be completely different.” source Peter Orszag, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, got a little news for berry & his obama-thugs relief pitchers are sent into win the game not throw in the towel. hmmmmmmm
    in 2012 if he runs again & thats a big if mabey berry & his obama-thugs will come this is the 4th quarter so im going to need to go into OT

  33. A conversation with Timothy Geithner, U.S. Treasury Secretary – Charlie Rose


    • listened too it all the way thru-but can’t remember a word- 😦

      maybe I should listen to all 54 minutes of it again…

      • Good comments on it -for example:

        “Most people didn’t see this coming”

        You know who saw this coming? Bank Loan Officers. If anyone had bothered to ask them, most would have acknowledged the decline in underwriting standards. If anyone had then bothered to ask “Then why are you issuing these loans” most would have cited fear of losing market share. But Mr. Geithner was too busy “strengthening the system” to bother, so he didn’t see it coming.

        • Yeah, strange that. He was part of the problem, from early on. As head of the NY Fed, he oversaw the transfer of trillions of dollars to and from Wall Street every single day. NY Fed also covers relationships with the largest cluster of hedge funds in the country. NY Fed’s board today has nine members, including such luminaries as Immelt GE/NBC Chair, Nooyi Pepsi Chair, Dimon JP Morgan Chair. Very incestuous.

    • In business lingo, Charlie Rose is a problem child.

  34. Over here in a very small town about 40 miles away, an Italian journalist and writer founded in 1984, the “archive of diaries of Pieve Santo Stefano”. Otherwise known as the Memory Bank. A local bank decided to fund an annual prize for autobiographical tales and unpublished diaries.

    Since then over 6000 diaries have been collected-many of them written by women.

    this is a link to this year’s prize ceremony


    All kinds of things are there-such as diaries from the Paris rebellions of 1968, or another of a very young group of Tuscan pop musicians (called Le Stars, who thought they were signing a contract to see the world -but instead were sent to entertain the troops in Vietnam.

    Or a film made based on 3 women’s diaries from the sixties which tell of female emancipation, of the fight for recognition of basic human rights, of sexual freedom, of a search for identity.

    Many diaries are about the war, some about the first peasant leagues of 1919, the fights for agrarian reform, and stories of fascism.

    There are so many stories of people here on this blog. It would be so nice to have some sort of Autobiographic Tales section

    • What a wonderful idea.

    • Great idea.

      You get glimpses of life behind the people here, what moved them to seek this place out, and it’d be nice to see a more complete picture.

      And it’d be a great record for the future.

  35. I remember receiving compliments on my writing. In high school my English teacher (and Jerry Seinfeld’s cousin) once told me my essay on Sinead O’Connor was good enough to be published. But I always had a huge problem coming up with topics. Freestyle scares me. I need to exorcise my inhibitions!

    • Exorcise away. Looking forward to it DYB.. 🙂

    • yes DYB-give us a diary on working in a reality show-starting with what time you get up…

      Or life in Russia…

  36. I could write a series called “Living with an Obot.Don’t Drink the Koolaid.””

    Well, maybe not. Too awful.

    • I would totally read that. And not just because I may have the same issue..

      • You MAY have the same issue, TW?

        Does that mean she isn’t sure? Or she doesn’t admit to it?
        Or you guys don’t discuss it? (That’s probably the best idea.)

        • We stopped discussing it. And in case she’s passing through, Hi Honey!! 🙂 (waving vigorously)

  37. Hi myiq! One of the few – and I mean very few – bright spots of this last year has been finding you. I look for your writing everyday and always forward it on to my friends.

    You write really beautiful stuff and always make me laugh, to boot! I wish I had a mind as sharp as yours.

  38. I’d love to write for TC, except my stream of consciousness is strictly ADHD and I only get motivated when I see the opportunity to say bad words… A LOT of really bad words… and generally I say really bad things… with A LOT of bad words… and I am a half-ast thinker anyway, much less writer, AND I wear tin foil ear phones… so I will continue to just sit back and enjoy, like I do now.

  39. MYIQ@XU:

    YES!!! Bring the growth!!!!!!! New blood – there are so many great commenters here that are phenomenal – Pat Johnson, AngieNC, PUMA-SF, Chevalier, Three Wickets, Valhalla, Simofish and others that I failed to mention but- you are INCREDIBLE, AWESOME human beings!

    I know – I’m an asshole.

    I’m trying to get my life together again, the way it should be, the way it used to be – and it’s not like I’ve left, it’s that I have to do my health and me right now- I gotta get back on track.

    I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • You are not even close to being a a$$hole. It’s great to see you, SM! All the best.

      • I love you BB!!!

        I’ll be writing again soon – it’s that life gets in the friggin way.

        I WISH I could blog all day – but I don’t have that luxury right now. 😦

    • (slapping THAT idea down)

      SM!! I was just thinking about you today on my walk. Will you have time to call into the show tomorrow?

    • Hey – miss you and hope things get better soon. Take care of your self and your family, and we’ll be here when you get back.

      (we ain’t giving away your spot – you ain’t getting off that easy)

  40. Katiebird!!!! love & hugs to you!!!!


    I’m going to be a contestant on SOD’s show tonight – and I’ll be available for tomorrow. COUNT on it!

  41. Katiebird, I think you’ve been feeling my aura, I’ve been thinking about you too, and it’s about something you said that is making so much sense to me now, especially since Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman told me this last Friday, “the stress is making you sick.”

    • It does make you sick SM. We can only stand so much. And if we are under too much stress our immune system can’t handle real illness.

      I think spending MORE time at The Confluence would relieve a lot of stress 🙂

      • AWWW!!!! I WISH I CAN SPEND MORE TIME!!!!!!!!

        Seriously, you were right. Doc said

        But the source of stress is everything, My anemia kicked me in the ass in a serious way again (which I’ve dealt with most of my life since a kid and does affect the immune system majorly) which I can manage with an iron-rich diet and folic acid in regular times.

        But stress kills whatever progress I try to make. It’s a combination of things, I had to disconnect from everything – but I’m feeling better. I had to also get into major PUMA cub mothering issues which I plan to write about soon.

        Either way, I love you all. Thank you for the love.

        If you’re thinking about me – it’s cause you KNOW I’m thinking about you, It’s that woman’s intuition thing!

        • Do whatever it takes to get and stay well. Checking in here from time to time cuts down on our stress levels. Thanks.

    • SM, I think of you everyday. There is no normal for anybody anymore. Our health, a roof and the people we love, and in my case there’s also puppy. Stay close, okay..

      • PurpleFinn & three Wickets – THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        I LOVE YOU all – I’m getting there!

  42. Finally, my copy of vanity fair arrived and I don’t have to rip off the cover or any section of it any more to make it tolerably readable

  43. I’d be interested in doing border issues, environmental, women’s, NA, LGBT topics, that sort of thing.

    Will send you some samples.

  44. Sometimes I think I’d close down IA if I could join up with The Confluence…but then I get my second wind…

    Our gang has had our share of hits recently, but we keep marching on…who knows for how long? I keep saying I’ll stop for my health and sanity…but then I come up with nuggets that grow into big research pieces…

    Sigh, I just want to get to the gym and play some chess. That’s all I want, other than sleep!!!

    Maybe someday…

    • insightanalytical is a nice site-you’re getting people from all over the world!

  45. MABlue, on March 11th, 2009 at 2:00 pm Said:

    My question is:

    Was the entire vetting team of Obama focused solely on Hillary Clinton? These guys have missed ALL and I mean ALL kinds of miscreants so far.

    You know I believe Barry’s gang thought they would get a pass on everything like Barry did. But that pass is completely untransferable

  46. Hi, myiq, delurking….

    I haven’t seen any discussion of the Middle East here. The U.S. needs to recognize Palestine as a state and soon. Every once in a while I rant on the subject–here is a hurriedly assembled one ranting against an anti-Hillary editorial in a Lebanese paper:


    If you wished to republish this or something similar I would be interested.

  47. Oh, and this one about Jordan and Hamas has been getting a lot of hits lately:

  48. I was about to post the same thing. I would love to post about ME issues but I warn you I have a very pro-Palestinian stance and favor a one-state solution. That said, I’m a good writer (So I’m often told) and well informed on the subject.

    Another subject I can hold forth on at great length is Books and Why You Should Read Them.

  49. A one state solution, Dancing Opossum? How curious. Muammar al-Gaddafi also favors a one state solution. I suppose he plans to drive all the Jews into the sea. It’s hardly a unique plan, but one little detail you never hear about is how this Final Solution is supposed to be accomplished. The last time I checked, Israel had an army good enough to beat the armies of six Arab nations combined.

    No, I’m with Hillary all the way on this one. Two state solution. Now. No preconditions, no reservations, no excuses. Nike thing–Just Do It.

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