Monday, January 02, 2017

Blogging Every Day - Reflection

2016 was my year of daily blogging. Lots of writers do this to build an audience and to make some money. I'm not a writer, so I was not looking to be creative or to write thought-provoking prose. I am mindful that the word "blog" is an abbreviated version of "Web Log" - in a sense it was originally intended to be a web diary. I have only once ever kept a daily diary before and that was in the year 2000 when I was given a Whoseday Book as a gift - this was before I had any kind of an on-line presence other than email. I wrote in it by hand every day - on 2nd January 2000 I noted that I got a puncture in my car (Volvo V40), lost £1 at bowling to Claire in Castlebar, and watched "Blazing Saddles" on TV.

So 2016 was very much an experiment to just see if I could do it. I had no plan on what to write, though I knew that I would still be writing about education, YouTube, sport, books, travel, and family as I had done in previous years. Similar to the Canadian writer Stephen Downes, who has a blog called "Half an Hour", his blog is a "place to write, half an hour, every day, just for me". 

In addition to my regular types of post, I also published a lot of material from the Eileen Ryan Collection belonging to Roma. In May I did the Jeff Goins 500 word a day challenge. Throughout the year I wrote about Big Data as I am becoming more involved in this at work. There was also two elections to write about: Trump in the USA, and our own General Election last February. I tend to comment on events of the day or things I have done. As I showed to myself in the Jeff Goins challenge, I am not creative at all so I cannot make things up.

I did find the challenge of writing "anything" every day difficult. Some days it was easy, but others I was often reduced to looking up something in the News and write about that. There were plenty of times throughout the year when I had four or five posts in the pipeline ready to go, sometimes I would find or see something interesting and flag it for later. As Jonas Ellison in his blog post "How one year of daily blogging changed my life" writes:

Blogging every day forces you to notice the details of your life. You need fodder for the day’s post. And you’ll scour your world to get it. You become hyper-aware. You find ways to turn little subtleties into big ideas. You start writing with questions only to be faced with answers by the time you reach the end of the post. Your headspace literally becomes transformed.

The web site "Blog 2 Print" allows bloggers to convert posts into a book. When I create a book for all posts in 2016 it runs to 360 pages! That's 150 pages longer than my Wild Atlantic Way book. While it is tempting to order a copy for myself, the cost ($192.95) is prohibitive. But you can see for creative people that if they get into the habit of writing a post every day, than a book could easily follow.

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