16 November 2007

Thoughts On Experimenting With Blogging Every Day

Halfway through the month and I've managed to write a post everyday. I didn't think I'd make it past the first week. I was so skeptical in fact, that I didn't officially sign up for NaBloPoMo until Nov 1 and I didn't post any badge or statement that I was doing so. Nothing is more likely to kill my participation than publicly announcing that I will participate. Just how many challenges or group blogs have I pledged to be a part of, only to bow out quickly? I don't want to know.

But I've been at this now for 16 days straight. Although I've had a few moments of anxiety where I thought I couldn't possibly think of anything to write about, I've pulled through in the end. A few evenings, I've logged in way too close to midnight, typed a placeholder for a title and some gibberish for a first paragraph so that I could hit 'save' before turning into a pumpkin, the clock chimed. I realize that I could change the date, but I felt that if I had saved a draft and timestamped it, it would qualify. Although I'm not trying to qualify for anything -- just to push myself to write more.

I seem to have great ideas for posts when I'm nowhere near a computer, or sitting just opposite one but at work. Something about auditing project budgets and doing financial forecasts for next year seems to cause my mind to wander ..... But when I sit down, I do struggle for awhile about what to write. I am in awe of people who post regularly several days a week and sustain that for a long period of time.

I've thought of having themes for each week or a scheduled rotation of topics (reading, writing, poetry, book review, art, language) but that hasn't seemed to work. I have a tendency, especially late at night which is when I usually write, to forget what day it is. So while this theoretical schedule was great, it was wholly impractical.

Two of the shortest posts I've written represent both the longest and shortest amounts of time to create. The Yeats poem post, while not intended as something to just get me through meeting my quota, was the quickest. Posted so hastily, I did not notice until the next day that the font formatting was messed up. This post, regarding my 2007 Favorite Books and Blogs Survey took me the longest as I had to write the survey and set up the questionnaire and figure out the links, before posting. And it received the fewest number of hits. That's funny! While this is meant as an analysis of my daily posting endeavor, I realize that perhaps I might drive some more visitors to my little survey. However, maybe it wasn't that much fun last year and my annual survey will only live for 2 years. That's okay. I like the experiment. Experimenting was one of the reasons I started blogging in the first place. Not to experiment with forms of writing, but to experiment with writing for an audience, even if you don't know whether an audience exists or not.

My latest experiment is with a blogging 'roundtable'. Off-line, Litlove, Emily, Smithereens and Imani have been having an email conversation about blogging and books. Each of these bloggers has had interesting comments to share. I'm doing my final edits today and will be posting the results here soon. It has been a great experiment in trying to get a sustained dialog among bloggers on a specific topic. It's been lots of fun. I'm considering doing this again, perhaps on a regular basis. We'll see how it goes when I post. One thing I learned: I asked too many questions initially and the material I have is lengthy. I think I will be posting this conversation over a couple of days. I hope to have the first installment available by Sunday. I hope you will return to read it.


Dorothy W. said...

I look forward to reading the roundtable contributions! And about the survey -- I'm going to do it, but I'm waiting until closer to the end of the year. I liked the survey last year and am happy you are doing it again!

Imani said...

Same response as Dorothy about the survey -- I'm still reading and am hoping to read more books that would have an impact on my final list, so I'm waiting a bit before I take part.

Emily Barton said...

I'm with Imani and Dorr on the survey. Meanwhile, I am quite familiar with those blog posts that pop into one's head while pumping gas or wading through the editing of a particularly difficult chapter. Can't wait (of course) to see how others respond to the roundtable posts.

chiefbiscuit said...

I am posting every day in November too and I can't wait for November to finish now!

Smithereens said...

I hope the survey will still be running end of December when I'll have time to think about all those books read this year!

Cam said...

Smithereens, Emily, Imani and Dorothy -- the survey is open until 23:59 (Pacific time) on 12/30/07. I hope to publish the results on New Years' Eve. I hope you will participate towards the end of the December. I look forward to reading all of the responses to the survey.

ChiefBiscuit -- it is hard writing everyday isn't it? I'm enjoying your introduction of Kiwi poets on your blog. And the albatross.