As my regular and faithful readers know both the content and quantity for this blog has been highly variable. When I was first starting I hit my record of 69 posts in a month but lately my output has been far lower. Why?
I think a lot of people start blogs expecting the world to beat a path to their door and end up with a huge mob of loyal readers and tons of comments and fame and even eventually profit as writing becomes a money-making activity. Of course that almost never happens. Out of the millions of people who start blogs only a handful get large mobs of readers and thus the gratification that someone actually listens to what you say.
I started my blog, nearly two years ago (wow, has it been that long) with a different goal, simply to write up things that interested me (to make up for lack of audience to say all this stuff to verbally). And that worked for a while.
But even if you’re not a great blogger with well written (and compelling/popular) posts blogging is time consuming. So like most any activity eventually one (me) tires of it a bit. And we get lazy and find other ways to waste time.
Now an interesting idea I got from The Best Atlantic Technology Writing 2012 is the idea that having a place and a deadline actually helps to write posts. It’s easy to get the point of a deadline: it focuses you on having to get something done, but also the time limit focuses on getting the post finished without excess rambling on. OK, fine – good idea.
But what I’ve found is it is the “place” (a place for work, whatever work it is) that is important for me. At first I used to write at home, but this blog is my secret and there are people who could eavesdrop on my screen and see what I’m doing that I don’t want to know I’m doing this. So, for a while, I used to blog while no one was around (working, when I wasn’t) or asleep (since our wake schedule is wildly different). But now with my obsession of weight loss (now maintenance) much of my free time is spent in the basement on exercise machines, so bye-bye blogging.
So it’s come down to mostly blogging while at my “office” (my exile at Starbucks, voluntary today). And this idea, having a private space, without interruptions, is critical to almost any activity. It’s not just concealing the activity from someone else, it’s also being “in the mood” and/or being focused as a consequence of the place (there are lots of things I could do at Starbucks, including being sociable, but mostly I do my blogging here and I’m not “here” that much, so not so much blog output).
So place matters and in my case lack of place (at least regularly) has impacted my quantity of output (I won’t even comment on “quality” since readers judge that).
But the other factor I’m finding is that “ranting” is less fun than it used to be. Simply, there is too much to rant about. The Repugs are so stupid and doing so many insane things I am (now) mostly numb to “current events” so those rants have mostly stopped. And the nutrition scolds are also really stupid so it doesn’t take many of those posts before I burn out on those attacks. So, simply, most of the subject matter I used to blog about is no longer interesting.
BUT, I also had another purpose. Maybe someday, when my arthritis keeps me from typing and I’m bedridden with some illness I can go back and read all this stuff. Various times in life I’ve done journals and often I wish I’d done that more thoroughly, documenting all the events in my life (again assuming someday I’d actually be interested in reading all that, the few journals I have are pretty boring to read). But with this blog (and the free storage WordPress.com provides) I figured what might be interesting, say 20 years from now, wouldn’t be all the prose of each post but simply “what was I thinking/feeling” when I wrote this (that’s much harder for me to deduce in my old journals since the young me was really silly and I don’t think that way any more).
So despite some burnout I think I’m going to try to establish some “routine” to make sure I keep up doing blogging.
So, of course, that means a digression in writing a program.
I’ve tried a few things, unsuccessfully thus far, to keep a list of things I want to blog about. But lists get lost and/or discontinued, so I need an app. Some place I record my idea plus a calendar and a “nag” function to tell me to get busy and write a post because a deadline is approaching. Now since I already have about half a dozen projects (some with apps to assist) going already who knows when I’ll get around to doing this.
Fortunately WordPress.com’s statistics provide a certain amount of nagging, so maybe I can just do this the low tech way (oh, forgot to do my meds, even though I thought of it, damn, I hate missing those, but this is typical for me, new things on my mind drive out the previous things on my stack I should have done).
And, of course, now, I’m just procrastinating about doing taxes and 15April is rapidly approaching, so the thoughts of the IRS penalties is nagging me now, so adieu.