Yep, it’s been 7 consecutive days of posting so I managed to stick with this for while – what will the future hold. I’ve been aiming for more than mere quantity, either per post or number of posts but do admit to a little running out of steam. This is a time-consuming process, for one thing, and then for me, I need to be “in the zone” to really be interested.
I tried blogging years ago, wrote a couple of terrific (IMHO, emphasis on H) opinion and sat back and waited for something to happen. Nothing did, not a single click or even the briefest comment. At that point I thought readers were everything and with no readers I thought what is the point and so quickly abandoned blogging, like so many other things I tried on the Net.
This time is different. I had just come back from a solo vacation where my dream was lots of peaceful time to think and as I’d done on other trip, just write up some thoughts purely for myself. Various things, including too much technology (a thread I expect to finish exploring soon), kept me out of that zone. Commitments and other schedule issues forced me to return rather than just staying longer and finding the zone, so somehow I decided the idea of writing, publicly, but unread, was the ticket.
Despite not expecting to be read writing publicly forces me to work at this a little harder. No readers means the freedom of saying what I want (without having to create what other people want so they’ll come back). And writing publicly means putting more effort into it, fact checking occasionally (instead of just spouting my guesses), some background “research” so the post makes a bit more sense, and doing at least some editing so obvious bonehead writing mistakes are eliminated. IOW, given it’s just for me anyway, I’m making better posts than I would if I weren’t writing publicly.
And I saved a few people some time as otherwise I might have fed them these posts verbally and waste their time. When you complete a post WordPress gives you a pithy quote from someone. I meant to write it down, but didn’t, but one quote was, to the effect, that writing is a way of thinking. By virtue of some weird brain wiring I’ve always been one who has to actually express my thoughts in order to have them. In my job I loved standing before a whiteboard, thinking on-the-fly, seeing my thoughts expand and get refined just via the process of expressing them. While I mostly wanted to be a one-man show (and by virtue of the authority of my position could push that) I didn’t want a passive unengaged audience. It was their questions, criticisms, or alternatives that pushed my own thinking. My work gave me ample opportunity, at least for job-related thoughts, to exercise this process but as I’m retired now (and even before, finishing my career via a telecommute job) I no longer have that soapbox. I still have ideas, triggered by all sorts of events, so I bore the few people around me, esp. when she comes home after I’ve spent the day thinking about my ideas, with mostly monologues. Every now and then someone listens but mostly I get politeness (and a time limit) to provide that sounding board I like.
So how is this working, having imaginary readers. I first amused myself with idea (didn’t really believe it, I’m not that crazy) that someone would discover me and see how great my posts are and I’d be off on a new career publishing or getting my own talk show. Of course that’s a fantasy and I always knew it. Now I have a replacement fantasy that since the Net never forgets decades from now some scholar will stumble on my posts and see them as commentary on the times and edit them down and publish my collective saying – right, and pigs can fly. But public is public and it is theoretically possible someone could read some of my writing so that gives me the excuse to at least try.
I really have no sense of why other people blog (other than all the stuff done for some sort of commercial reason). Even if you have some big following who is getting what rewards from the process. While I’m not myself interested I get Facebook (not Twitter though, everything I tweet is unread and as best I can tell most of the people I follow are unread as well). Facebook, at least as I’ve seen it used, deals with done to earth day to day life with a circle that probably is at least vaguely interested. But why write something, presumably with a bit more meat to it – for your friends? (why write to them instead of just have conversations, blogging is not very interactive), to impress people for some kind of gain? (like showing how terrific you are to potential employers), for academics unjuried publication that is quicker than real journals? Just the novelty of having a soapbox that can reach the world? Not sure, but obviously lots of people try it.
So shall I continue? I’d like to but it is work and I need some sense of this being worth my time as even though retired I have plenty of things to do. Does writing with no readers make any sense, given as I mentioned above in the past I wanted a participatory audience not just blank faces. We’ll see but at least I made it a week.