According to my calculations, today (or maybe yesterday) marks 2,000 days in a row of blog posts! (At roughly 300 words per post, that’s over 6 megawords, probably approaching 10 megawords.)
“It may not be good, but its consistent!”
I’ll take this opportunity to muse a bit.
What Do I think I’m Doing
Why am I doing it? Not for profit—I receive no money for it. Not for glory—readership is probably in the tens, although most of the response is from robots, so who knows? I must say that the rare positive feedback is very, very appreciated. It’s quite a trip to emit this stuff into the empty ether, and every once in a while hear that somebody actually read and appreciated it! Thanks, folks.
My original purpose was to keep in practice and maybe improve my writing. Upon retirement, it is important to exercise, including my brain. And as I discovered, posting even a short piece every day is a lot of work. I could not have done it if I had to show up for a job.
One of the things I do with the blog is write short comments on things I read. This has forced me to read more carefully, and think at least a little about what I read. I’m sure it’s good for me.
With weekly book reviews, I’ve had to read more that 50 books a year—which is my wheelhouse, but is also really good for me. I read a lot, but this makes me keep moving, and also write up short essays on what I read.
I also wanted to use the blog to develop long form topics for further work, such as articles or books. Initially, I was thinking of a book about cryptocurrency, about which I post regularly. But I also wrote quite a bit about the “Future of Work”, especially Freelancing and Coworking Spaces. The latter turned into a self-published book project.
So that worked. (And I have a couple of other potential book ideas lurking in there, if I could find the energy.)
What Have I Learned
I was interested in experiencing how the web works these days, in a sort of participant observation research way. Blogging with WordPress has proved to be as simple as I always hoped things could be. (I have endured a lot of awful software in my life, so I know what I’m talknig about. Well done, Automatic.
I also found that eschewing Facebook means that I’m basically off the air, non-existent, talking to noone. Traffic is very low, but it has been very noticeable when someone reposts a blog entry to FB—visitors jump dramatically.
I have also seen that the much-maligned Google+ seems to have driven traffic to my site, perhaps through Google searches. And I have little evidence that cross posting to LinkedIn does very much. But who knows?
Oh, and I have definitely seen the “long tail” effect that we all read about. Posting thousands of different items gives me hits not just on recent posts, but all the way back. It’s weird, but true.
Self-publishing was another exploration of contemporary technology that grew out of my blogging. Writing a book is hard work. Publishing is much easier than it used to be. I found Lulu to be astonishingly easy to use. The workflow isn’t too hard to use, and they have all the steps broken down into menu sized choices. Well done, Lulu.
Of course, I discovered that selling a book is just as hard or harder than ever. (Lulu and other people will help you, for a fee.) Simply having a book available in Amazon, etc., has not resulted in any particular notice or sales. I even broke down and joined Twitter to promote the book. I suspect that eschewing FB probably is fatal to any hopes of book sales.
So, I’ve learned a few things.
I do not know how long I will be able to continue daily posts. We’ll have to see. Life may intervene.
Supposing I do want or need to reduce or end the posts, what is a good protocol? I’ve never looked to see if there is advice on this. (Most advice is about how to grow and how to monetize—two things I really don’t want to do.)
Is there a way to gracefully shutdown or throttle back a blog? Should there be posts saying “there are no posts”? How long should the long tail be left around? How do you leave something out there without actively maintaining it?
Feel free to contact me with suggestions.
But for now, posts continue.
Read on, if you dare.