Yesterday a friend sent me a link to a web guru's top 10 blog design mistakes. It should surprise no one, least of all me, that in my short tenure with my blog I have committed--and am committing--almost all of these sins. Nondescript posting titles, unmarked links, calendar-only navigation, irregular posting schedule, being on Blogger: yeah, I've done it all! I'm sure when I write anything remotely classic I'll be guilty of burying it, since everything is buried. If I were CEO of an airline with this track record, I'd be worth billions by now.
Ah, but the granddaddy of them all: Mixing Topics. I could claim that his suggestion is wrong, as I seem to have attracted a loyal readership of one or two people for each of the 17 subjects I seem to write about (well, except for my fake news stuff. Oh yeah, and the stuff about classical music. Oops, yeah, there's the yawning silence after most aviation posts, too. OK then, let's just say I offend equally on all subjects! Where's that skill in your little list, huh Mr. Smarty Slacks?).
But mostly, the list raises the question of what my blogging goals are in the first place. This rather lets the huge, hairy beast out of his cage, since I've struggled with this from the moment I contemplated doing this little adventure. Derek suggested to me when he so kindly answered my earliest questions about blogging that there is no right answer, that the reasons for blogging are as numerous as the bloggers themselves. But I've always been a bit afraid that my own motivations to do this amount to a character flaw.
I've never been clear about what I wanted to accomplish. (Is this what therapy feels like?) I guess mostly I was looking for a reason to write something other than a journal which nobody reads but me. (What a brilliant solution: a blog that nobody reads!) Yeah, I suppose that's pretty much it.
No one is self-contained, and I'm learning there's no way to put my stuff out before a nondescript public and not be tempted to follow their lead. But it's a Jekyl & Hyde thing: I simultaneously want to write whatever the hell I feel like writing, but I'm then (I feel rather silly admitting it) a bit crestfallen when certain topics just kinda go nowhere. I can't have it both ways.
But after contemplating this all a bit longer, I think this is the deal: I don't think I ever have had any illusions about my writing, quality-wise, and I don't think at any time I envisioned, or desired, that thousands of people would be reading what I wrote. I don't think that was any part of my motivation. No, I rather think I hoped to meet some interesting and like-minded people by way of this (does that mean that if I post on 17 topics that I'm hoping only to meet those suffering from multiple personality disorder?).
And in these three months I've done exactly that. I've discovered a bunch of bloggers whose writing I greatly admire, and whose comments on my own writing I value and pay attention to. Whether these new cyber-friends are people I have contact with in the long-term or not remains to be seen. But according to my own little yardstick this has been a grand adventure. So take your little top-10 list and shove it, you cock-gobbler* you!
Thanks for listening.
*(Not that there's anything wrong with that.)