Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Looks like I’ll make it

Barring disaster—personal, natural, or global—it looks like I will make my goal of an annual average of one post per day. Thank you all for your patience as I fought to meet my goal, and special thanks to my Facebook friends for enduring the barrage of Networked Blogs autoposts.

Thanks for your patience!
My marathon effort to meet that goal by posting a LOT this month was possible at all only because I had a big month in May, thanks to my series of posts for New Zealand Music Month, making May the month with the second-highest number of posts since I began this blog. Of course, this month’s blogging marathon would never have been necessary if I’d blogged more during the year.

Earlier this month, I talked about this goal, and the deadline today, and I said “for a number of reasons, I’ve really struggled to publish posts this year…” but I didn’t name any of those reasons. Well, now I will.

First, there was the standard: Lack of time. When I get busy, I have to cut things, and the first to go is podcasting (and my podcast has suffered far more than this blog has), and then I cut out blogging, too. I’ve never been able to get as disciplined and organised as Roger Green, who prepares posts in advance, so when I get busy, I have nothing to fall back on.

All that aside, there was one HUGE reason I didn’t blog as much this year: The New Zealand Election. June, July, August and September were the most active months of the campaign, and they were also among my least productive for blogging. I talked a bit about that at the end of September:
For all of April onwards, I was involved in this year’s failed Labour campaign. During that time, I mostly avoided saying what I really thought about a great many political things because I didn’t want to say anything that ran counter to the campaign narrative or that undermined it. Sure, I was also very busy during that time, too, but the main reason for my withdrawal from commentary on political issues was self-censorship.
There was one more factor that led me to pull back: The Labour Party slogan, “Vote Positive”. I noticed that every time a Labour supporter criticised the National Party or John Key—however mildly it might be—some Tory inevitably responded with “So! Where’s your ‘Vote Positive’ NOW, hm?!” and I frankly got sick of it. The fact is, National Party activists wanted exactly what they got—Labour supports not criticising National or Key—because they didn’t want their many negatives to be highlighted.

It was only after the election that I realised I’d fallen for a Tory campaign tactic by refraining from criticism. I wish I’d remembered that there’s actually a difference between honest criticism and mindless partisan attack. Moreover, such criticism doesn't have to be negative, and it’s not automatically negative merely because it’s criticism.

For example, in one post I mentioned how rude and boorish National’s Jonathan Coleman was in candidate meetings. There were plenty of other things he did that merely reinforced how awful he was acting, and yet I never mentioned them because of my self-censorship. I could also have criticised National Party spokespeople and their spin, but I never did.

Instead, I talked about Labour policy in the hope that would somehow show by comparison how bad National was. Trouble is, nobody but political hacks actually read party policies, so not contrasting them with National was a dumb idea. Live and learn.

So, my lack of posts this year was partly due to a lack of time, but also due to a big dose of self-censorship. Next year should be far more normal.

This month is on track, then, to save my annual average. It’s already the month with the most blog posts (so far). The most-blogged record used to be held by December 2009; December is a big month for me in most years, actually.

But the effort this month was also a lot of work: Every post on the blog this month (and nearly all posts in the entire blog, actually) was finished just before I clicked “Publish”. I sometimes start them days before I publish, but the form that appears on this blog is always finished just before it’s published.

I mention that only because, as I said in that post earlier this month, I feel like it could look like I was padding out posts to meet my average, but there was really a bit more work involved than mere padding. Well, mostly…

In any event, I’m almost certain to make my annual average. To me, that’s a very good thing.


rogerogreen said...

"I've never been able to get as disciplined and organised as Roger Green," You've left off demented.

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

LOL, you know, if we lived in the same town, we'd be hanging out quite a lot…