what I learned from blogging
As it is now nearly 2 years (and 350 + essays) since we started blogging, we can share some things learned from the experience.
Mistakes were made. This is undeniable. To avoid offending readers, it would have been better to always have used the “summary” option for posts so that a subscriber’s inbox would not be filled with the entire text of an essay that he/she might find objectionable. (Certain of our political views, our views of some historical topics and some portions of our essays on marriage and sex within marriage can and do make some readers uncomfortable. In this sense, one could fairly say that we were insensitive to our blog’s subscribers on a few occasions. This was more of an oversight than intentional.) If a reader desires to read an essay based on the descriptive title, he/she could always click to go to the blog site for the entire essay. We have a diverse readership and we have written on a number of different topics. Not all essays are going to be of interest to all readers.
In the first 2 months of blogging in mid 2012, we kicked out quite a few essays. Between mid June and late July, 2012, we were literally posting an essay on average every several waking hours. This is no exaggeration. At this time, we were not thinking of pleasing readers, actual or potential readers. (Also, we did not yet have an avatar, and were using a poor theme or background on the blog.) We were writing honestly of our sincerely held views and observations on a number of different topics (see the monthly archives for June and July, 2012). You might say that our blogging was at its purest and most uninhibited during this exuberant, early phase of our writing. Later, and we can more easily notice this in hindsight, we began to consider what the subscribers (I do not care for the word “followers”) of our blog might think of what we wanted to write. Thus, a certain amount of self-censorship crept in to our essays, and our choice of topics to write about. We have consciously avoided some incendiary issues because of this concern. This may be something many bloggers experience.
We now know that if we had opted (at the start) to be a specialist blogger and focused all of our writing on one main subject (such as marriage and sex), we would likely have had much more traffic, more visitors (readers) at our blog. This, however, would be too limiting for us. Over the years, we have pondered and studied and have had some experience with several subjects, although we do not claim expertise in many, if any, of these. Being a generalist blogger has both its challenges and its rewards.
My wife of many years, Lucy, has learned about me and some of my views from reading the essays. It may be that I am a little better at expressing myself through writing than through speaking, or that I feel freer to open up in writing. It is probably better that neither my wife’s family nor my family reads the essays on our blog. Given how rigid in thinking some of these folks are, and given how our thinking and opinions are quite different, reading the essays would not likely be of any benefit to them.
It is rather funny (humorous) looking back and finding that the lengthy and well researched essays did not get many, if any, likes, and received few, if any, comments. Whereas, a few of the quickly thrown together essays have been read thousands of times. This is likely due to appearing in the first page or two of a Google search’s results. As well, when larger blogs have linked to an essay of ours (this has happened a few times), we see from the WordPress statistics that the linked essay is read (or at least seen on a computer or hand-held device screen) periodically for weeks and even months after.
The actual writing, which entailed quite a bit of editing and often rethinking on how we tried to develop the main point of an essay, was therapeutic for us. Kafka did not write for a living (he worked in insurance), but wrote in his spare time for psychological solace. We know that we cannot change the world, which currently is very messed up. But, writing about some of the issues of these times made us feel better. Perhaps, we have helped to expand the perspective of a few readers (who we will likely never meet in this life nor in the next).
It has been our sincere hope that at least some of our essays would be of some benefit to readers.
A couple of final items of note. 1. We have found the support staff at WordPress to be very helpful the few times that we had to request their assistance. We thank them again. As well, it is appreciated that WordPress supports blogging. 2. You may have noticed the word “we” is used frequently in this essay. In some instances, “we” refers to my wife (our blog’s photographer and principal advisor) and myself (the writer and typist of the essays). In other instances, it really refers only to myself. I do not like to use the word “I” so frequently. We ask that you forgive this literary license.
Yes, we will continue to blog when the mood takes us. We do not have an answer at this time to the question: Is there life after blogging?
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