Category Archives: blogging

Slowly writing…

I’m sitting here typing slowly and watching repeats of old comedy programmes. There are worse ways of spending an evening – I could be watching the news, for instance. I read something a couple of years ago which recommended avoiding the news for the sake of your mental health. It seems to have worked as I am now happier and without actively seeking out the news I seem to absorb all I need to know.

As I type I drift off from time to time to wash up, browse eBay, read a new poetry book that arrived today, or make cups of tea.

Picture of Hedd Wynn’s statue from an earlier visit. That was the day we saw the Red Kites.

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That’s how I’ve managed to spend three hours writing just over 100 words.

From the writing perspective it’s unimpressive. From a procrastination perspective it’s world class.

 

 

Posting Challenge – Day 60

I’m over the hill and on the downward slope.

So is the posting challenge.

It’s a slightly blemished record, as I’ve only posted on 59 out of the 60 days, but I’m quite pleased with it. On the other hand, it is slightly annoying to have missed a day. You can probably tell this from the way I keep mentioning it.

What have I learned so far?

I suppose the main thing I’ve learned is not to set myself challenges, and definitely not to tell people about them. If I set myself any others I will make them shorter. When you hit a slump 100 days can seem like an eternity stretching ahead.

It has certainly made me post more, and I’ve been more disciplined about my posting, but I can’t honestly say I’ve improved. If anything the quality of the blog may have gone down as a result of writing short snippets just to hit a target. This isn’t a great loss as it wasn’t great literature or hard-hitting journalism to start with.

I’ve also had a good look at the stats, decided they mean nothing (which I sort of knew anyway), started to get back into reading other blogs and begun to get the site under control.

When I started the blog I did it partly to get back into writing practice and that seems to have worked. I started the 100 day challenge because I seemed to be getting into bad habits and I wanted to start writing more regularly.

Discipline and quantity have both increased with the challenge, as has the average number of readers. It’s not a bad result. It would be nice to see an improvement in writing quality but I’m not sure you can do that in 100 days.

I shall now insert a few more photos from yesterday, as I’m a cynic and cute animal photos always increase visitor numbers. When I was more involved with Twitter I could predict the increase when I had a lamb as the Featured Image. Puppies and small children were quite good too. Piglets, goat kids and chickens didn’t show much of an increase, if any, and it was a cat-free farm so I was never able to test the kitten effect.

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Seals at Donna Nook, Lincolnshire

Looking back, I should have seen the potential for problems. A farmer who doesn’t have cats is not a man to be trusted.

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It’s not dead, it’s just very relaxed

I promise you the one on its back is alive, it actually turned over while I was watching it.

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Sea Buckthorn, Lincolnshire Coast

Finally, a flying bird of the day as an homage to Tootlepedal. It’s a female House Sparrow. And it’s slightly blurred.

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House Sparrow

 

Reeling in the Years

I’ve just been looking at the early months of 2017 on the blog. I seem to have had a much more interesting life in those days, though I did have more spare time, which probably helped. Annoyingly, I also seem to have been a better writer and proof reader.

That gave me the idea for the title, and sent me off to You Tube for an hour or two of nostalgia interspersed with cooking, picking Julia up and checking eBay.

That’s the trouble with the internet – always so much distraction.

I have put the leftover curry in the fridge (for my lunch tomorrow), made the tomato and vegetable sauce for the pasta bake and am currently roasting chicken and vegetables. I keep meaning to take photos but I always forget.

We were planning on seeing the seals at Donna Nook this week, but the weather forecast for Wednesday is looking bad – high winds and rain. We may leave it another week. I actually wrote a second post about the seals last year.

Loking at last November I’m struck by how little we are now doing, and, at the same time, how much remains the same.

I also need to know how to search my own site, instead of searching entire months for infornation. Does anyone know?

 

 

 

A Few More Thought on Numbers

After yesterday’s discussion on numbers I had a look through the list of people I follow. I’m surprised by the number of them that haven’t posted for a year or more. I’m also surprised by how few of them I actually remember.

A quick survey of 18 people I follow indicates that a third of them haven’t posted for a year or more and quite a few of the others haven’t posted for over a month.

The sample is from the earlier days of my WP use, but if you allow for this it’s still likely that I’m following several hundred people who no longer exist as bloggers.

As for the ones I don’t remember, it’s unlikely they remember me either, so they can probably go too.

I first came across this false friend syndrome on Facebook. I joined because the Nottingham RFC U16s were touring in Canada and the idea was for them to communicate with the parents via Facebook. In fact they didn’t post much as they had better things to do. I stayed as a member for a while but the inane communications and spurious friends irritated me so much that I deregistered and have never gone back.

If anyone has recently started following me, please don’t think any of this is aimed at you, it isn’t. Unless you are a site with a business name in your title. I tend not to reciprocate when business sites follow me as I don’t believe they are following me for my content, just to build up followers.

It’s a funny old world.

In the next post I hope to be more interesting, so keep an eye open for it.

One final comment – having tried to find a suitable photo for the top of the post I find the old problems have returned. It looks like it’s only the new editor that will allow me full access to my photographs.

Bah!

Looking at the Numbers

I’ve just been looking at my stats and have finally realised why my numbers aren’t looking so good this year. I still seem to be getting comments and visitors, and the site seems busy enough by my standards (which are, admittedly, not as high as the standards of some sites). The difference, as far as I can see, is that I wrote 465 posts in the 365 days of 2017.

I’m not sure if that’s really possible, but it’s what the numbers say, so I’ll have to accept it. It’s either that or go back and count the posts.

Year Total Posts Total Comments Avg Comments per Post Total Likes Avg Likes per Post Total Words Avg Words per Post
2014 44 22 0.5 49 1.1 11,285 257
2015 252 850 3.4 1,657 6.6 80,901 321
2016 288 2,539 8.8 3,812 13.2 99,157 344
2017 465 8,431 18.1 10,725 23.1 155,383 334
2018 325 5,893 18.1 7,345 22.6 101,535 312

This, of course, raises another question – how important are the numbers?

When everything was going well last year I was happy to think I had a growing audience but as they’ve gradually declined I haven’t really noticed any practical difference in terms of interaction. I really only need to see a few people, and I can’t follow and read too many other blogs.

It’s a bit like followers. I have 1,500 followers but get an average 18.1 comments per post. That tends to suggest my real number of followers is nearer 18 than 1,500.

It’s enough. I’m happy with the followers I have and don’t need the other 1,450 fictional followers.

What does anyone else think?

 

Fallen at the 26th Hurdle

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear…

Twenty six days into my hundred day blogging challenge and I fell asleep in front of the TV. That’s not unsual. Unfortunately Julia had gone to bed after a hard day in the Mencap Garden and I slept, undisturbed for several hours.

That took me through until the early hours on Saturday morning, missing my midnight deadline.

Ah well, it’s annoying but it’s a target rather than a deadline. Nothing bad will happen as a result of missing it and I will just potter on. The new target is to do 100 posts in 100 non-consecutive days. I’m on 32 posts in 25 days so far.

The challenge was about self-discipline and regularity and 25 consecutive days isn’t bad compared to the erratic posting I was managing.  It may be a failure in terms of falling short of the target by 75 days, but it shows what can be done and, like all failures, is best seen as a foundation for future success.

This is a huge subject. I’ve seen adults paralysed by the idea of failure. I’m sure it prevents many people being happy and successful. All I do is smile sweetly, apologise and move on to Plan B.

As I may have said, the challenge doesn’t help with the quality of writing. It may help fluency and speed but I’m not sure it helps anything else. I really want to be a writer of posts on important, serious and thought-provoking issues. Instead I’m not sure what I really am, though current possibilities for subjects include waking up with a nosebleed, the poetry of Les Barker and curry for breakfast.

Which reminds me, I’m peckish and there’s a large pot of curry on the stove top.

Time to move on and read a very fine comic poem.

Decisions…

I’ve delivered Julia to work, I’ve re-set my car clock to GMT and I’ve had a drive round to look at nature from the inside of a heated car.

I hadn’t intended driving round so didn’t have a notebook with me, and have returned with two haiku and a couple of notes scribbled on the back of a car park ticket. I keep meaning to get a recorder to carry with me – this phone doesn’t seem to offer that facility.

I’m now facing a big decision. Do I do the laundry or do I write a post? I think you can probably guess the answer from the fact you are reading this.

It will save time later, as the days soon pass and I’m so disorganised that it could easily be close to midnight before I actually press the button to publish. That’s what happened last night. I  started writing around 7.00 and it was close to midnight when I eventually posted. It didn’t, as you may guess, take me five hours to write. But somehow I managed to fill the rest of the time with eating, napping, watching TV, talking to Julia and surfing eBay.

At the moment “out of control” is the theme of my life. The garden needs tidying, the house needs a serious declutter and I have letters to write regarding both health and finance – all important stuff.

I have also lost control of my haiku. I don’t know how many I’ve written on my challenge (though it is at least ten a day, so I’m keeping up with it) and I still have a lot to edit,  type and index. It’s the indexing that’s tricky. They don’t have titles. They don’t lend themselves to numbering due to my habit of making and keeping multiple edits. Quite often they have the same first line (see previous comments on multiple edits). All in all they are slippery little creatures and trying to keep them under control is like trying to herd hamsters.

Looks like I’m going to have to look at numbering again, or risk upsetting an editor.

This post marks 21 successive days of posting. Early days yet, but I’m starting to establish a habit.

At this point the 21 days could be significant, as the old saying is that it takes 21 days to form a habit. This, as with so many things, is a myth. Newer research indicates that it takes between 18 and 254 days to form a habit.

Writing haiku, which was a development of my normal poetry writing only seemed to take a week to take hold but my broken blogging habit doesn’t feel established after 21 days. Eating salad would probably take 254 days to become a habit. Even at 254 days it wouldn’t so much be a case of forming a habit, more like breaking my spirit and me losing the will to live.