}

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Blogging post

Are there some things that bloggers shouldn’t write about? My friend Roger Green promoted a recent post saying, “I'm told that blogging about blogging is a sin. But when there's an ask Roger Anything query on the topic, I MUST respond!” And so, he did.

A few days ago, Roger published a post answering a question about the “The hardest and easiest thing about blogging”. I could relate to much of what he said, and there was one thing in particular that I couldn’t relate to: “There was a point less than a year ago that I had 70 posts written and scheduled,” Roger said. “Right now, it’s 29.”

Roger has always been good at writing posts in advance, and I haven’t been. I’ve certainly pre-written posts in advance to publish later, at times I knew I’d be busy, but the only time I set up several posts to publish later—Roger Green Style—was when we went to Australia late last year for a surprise birthday party.

So, my own answers to the question Roger took on would have to include among
“hardest things” pre-planning and pre-writing posts. If I did that it would be so much easier to keep up the pace needed to meet my annual goal.

Of course, THE hardest thing for me over the past year and half has been beyond my control: Prescription drugs which have zapped me in similar, though different ways. The new drugs haven’t been AS bad, but it’s obvious that September was the month I started on them. This month, though, still running ahead of the daily average goal, is still lower than I’d expected.

But, of course, quantity isn’t everything (and, no, I’m not claiming quality is the alternative for me, even though some posts have been pretty good). The main thing that’s important is that I still enjoy doing it. Do I? Not always.

A week or so ago, I published a post and got the screen I always get, which is a list of all published posts from newest to oldest, 100 posts per page. That list includes the number of page views per post, and for no reason in particular, I looked at them: They’re all mostly fairly consistent—with consistently low page views. My first reaction was, “why am I bothering anymore?” My second reaction was, “THIS is why I never look at page view numbers.”

There’s a bit of advice that’s repeated so often it must be some sort of Blogging Law: Whatever frequency you blog, stick to it and be predictable. That’s important to building an audience, say the blogging experts (which is a self-claimed description; I couldn’t possibly comment on whether it’s a serious one or not). With the trouble I’ve had blogging over the past year and a half, it’s no wonder the page views remain stubbornly low.

Another reality this has created is that I’ve had no time or energy to promote this blog, so page views are unlikely to grow.

I know all that. I know enough not to care that much about it, particularly when I’m not in a position to do anything about it at the moment. But there are times it gets discouraging, and when it does, I absolutely don’t enjoy blogging.

So, I saw those numbers, was discouraged, and instantly thought of stopping blogging, podcasts, videos—everything. I thought a bit about what I might do with my time if I wasn’t blogging, etc., anymore. I thought about taking more photos—and then what? Change them around on my office wall? What good, I thought to myself, is working on them if no one sees them?

And that’s kind of the point of blogging, too. I can share my views and opinions about current events with friends and family, but that’s kind of the verbal equivalent of taking photos and hanging them on my wall. And they already know about New Zealand. I’ve learned that there’s always the chance that some post I publish will resonate widely, or even just deeply, for the people who see it, beyond anything the number of page views might suggest.

Nevertheless, it’s easy to get discouraged if one doesn’t see much result from one’s labours—page views, podcast downloads, video views, whatever. But it we focus on why we’re doing it, that can be far more important to us than any kind of literal reach. Anyway, that’s usually enough for me.

Time challenges, pharmaceutically induced lethargy and occasional discouragement are the hardest things. But I actually find blogging itself quite easy. I agree with Roger on the easiest part of blogging:
For me, the easiest thing about blogging is finding topics to write about. If one is reasonably observant, subjects find you. What are you reading? I skim a LOT on the Internet: left and right-wing politics, for instance. I’m an old political science major, so that’s interesting to me.
I never run out of things I to write about, though sometimes I just don’t want to talk about any of those things. A bit of that is the lethargy, and sometimes even I get sick of talking about a topic (usually political). I think that if I don’t want to talk about something (or even anything), I should listen. It’s always obvious when I’m just not into it.

Blogging is easy enough to do, though remaining committed to it can be difficult. But there’s one thing more: It’s possible to meet a lot of great people through blogging (like Roger), and that alone makes it worthwhile. Add to that individuals who get something out of your efforts, and that matters more than any of the negatives there might be.

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