31 January 2007

Is this stupid stuff?

I'm not sure why I looked at my stats today and did some quick calculations. It isn't something that I do routinely, although after my post about keyword searches the other day, I did check. For some reason, I seem to be motivated today to do an end-of-month assessment.

Others have written recently regarding their reading, writing or blogging goals (see Kate, or Danielle, or Emily, or Mandarine for instance) and that has had me thinking. Before I read Kate's post a few days ago swearing off of a goal she set for herself, I had thought that perhaps I should have set such goals for myself. I'm not very good at that. Heck, I still have on my daily work to-do list, where it has been since 1st week of January, to write departmental and staff development goals. Those haven't been done either.

I considered setting some very specific goals -- how often I would post, how many books I would read, at which levels I wanted to see my blog traffic by the end of the year. But, I tend to resist such goals. In my work life, I have to live by them (well, mostly; if crucial I'd have completed those dept goals by now....) But, if I do so in my personal life and apply it to something that I consider recreational, like reading and blogging, it seems to suck the life out of it quickly. It becomes just one more thing that has to be done. ugh!

So, how did I do in not meeting the goals I didn't set?

1) I've written several vocab words in my notebook, but I haven't looked many of them up. I decided to include words that I know in context, but that I really haven't made my own, words I might not be able to define if pressed to do so without a context. This was the only true reading/blogging goal that I had -- and it wasn't a specific measurable goal: just to record and post new words on a regular basis. Number of posts on this topic in 2007: 0. Number now planned: Probably 0. Just not sure that it would be interesting for anybody and the notebook serves it purpose for me.

2) Keep a reading diary. This lasted about 2 weeks. I found myself wanting to write more in the book margins than in a notebook. Putting the book down to jot a note was a burden. I might still keep this in some manner, but only to record things that I might blog about later.

3) Reading goals. Didn't have any. Didn't hit any targets. Right on track! Read and posted on 1 book of poetry, blogged about 1 movie, participated in Poetry Thursday 3 times and posted an additional poem. Finished one memoir/nonfiction book (There is No Me Without You, Melissa Fay Greene) which I intend to write about soon; started another memoir, Julie and Julia which I will probably post about as well. Am buried up to my eyebrows in reading Jeffry Sachs book, An End to Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Times. I'll definitely write about this one, but it is slow reading. Why? Did you notice the word 'economic' in the title? It is surprisingly readable for a book about economics and public policy, but it really makes me think, which is what slows me down. This is for a discussion group on Monday; I hope I finish it by then.

4) Reading groups. Participated in one online (A Curious Singularity), and 2 in-person groups. Even read the books for them, something that I don't always accomplish. I've been thinking that I should write a post about one of my groups; it is an interesting mix. Maybe I'll do that soon.

5) Posted 13 different entries, a slight increase that I attribute to not forcing myself to adhere to a schedule. I'm actually posting more. Received 82 comments on those posts. This really surprised me. As I've said before, it is the comments that make the community; it is the community that makes blogging worthwhile for me.

6) I've had a large number of hits on my blog this month. The hits have been steadily increasing over the last 3 - 4 months. When I looked at the stats, I thought "Only 8 more to reach 'x' for January". And then I realized that was a silly thought. It isn't quantity that should count (which is why I am not revealing the number, probably higher than some, lower than others).

7) Didn't sign on for any challenge that I would have felt guilty about not completing. By not committing to reading from my stacks, for instance, I've actually started 2 books that I've had for awhile. Reverse psychology? Maybe.

What's ahead? I'll keep on reading, and posting. See you around!


danielle said...

I didn't really set any goals for myself other than reading goals in general. I am already not sticking to them--not many short stories read, though I did finish a book of essays. Didn't read the last story at a Curious Singularity (I am hit or miss there), haven't read one classic (actually I am going to coutnt he Bruno Schulz book as a classic--a 20th C. one!), so one classic. I am not sticking to challenges very well if at all (though I did read all my book club books for once). Oh well, I enjoyed the books I read this month, so really for me that's all that counts.

Chris said...

The only reading goal I made was reading books from my TBR list. I joined the TBR Challenge- though I only joined b/c I thought it was a good idea. My stack of books keep growing since I can't seem to stop buying! Makes sense to try to balance them.

I don't have goals for my blog. It's just fun to do and I can keep track of what I've read this year.

And I admit that I check the sitemeter everyday, just to see if I've had more hits today than yesterday. It's a little sad!

Dorothy W. said...

I like your approach -- I found that after I decided not to keep posting every day I still had enough ideas to post every day and had the energy to do it too. Getting rid of the rules and goals really frees you up to just enjoy whatever it is you're doing!

litlove said...

I keep wondering whether I should set myself goals and then I think, well, they'd only be to keep posting and to keep trying to say something of interest, and people could pretty much guess that anyway. I like your monthly round-up, though, Cam. It's a good idea, and probably more significant to see what you actually did than to speculate on what you might one day do.

mandarine said...

Indeed. Setting quantitative goals as if blogging performance came into account for next year's bonus or raise is probably not the right way to start the 2007 blogging season.

For me, goals are just a way to know what I want, and to confront what I want with what I can do. Publishing them is a good way to know it is really what I want (cos if it's not, I'd hesitate, wouldn't I?)