July 13, 2010

How long should a blog be?

When I first started writing this blog in February, I had set myself a couple of goals. Much akin to New Year’s promises, these have kind of been broken a few times.

I set myself a goal of 1000 words a day. I set myself a goal to write every day. For the most part, I think I have kept up with these goals. The 1000 words is usually not a problem. My mother jokingly (or not!) says I have the gift of gab. Sure, like most people, I like to talk. Since writing this blog, it seems to get easier to go over the 1000 word-a-day limit. Sure, there have been a couple of times where I have not written that much, but then, on days like July 12, I far exceeded that goal. Yesterday’s blog was well over 3500 words!

Surprisingly enough, I got a few comments about it. Not bad, just surprise comments. Surprise for me that my friends and colleagues in Tainan actually read my blog! So far, and it has only been one day, I haven’t received any comments from home. I’m sure it will happen at some point.

One of my favourite movies is, “The Big Chill”. One of the actors, who coincidentally, was also in “Independence Day”, played a character who wrote for a tabloid newspaper. Of course, there is no indication which tabloid, but one can imagine it being something like “The National Enquirer”. Nonetheless, and I will paraphrase here, he states that the articles he writes for this tabloid should be no longer than it takes the average person to ‘do their duty’ in the bathroom. So, how long is that? Well, depends on how long you ‘sit and think’, I suppose.

The other goal I set for myself, was to keep this a daily blog. Sometimes, as any writer will attest to, writing every day is sometimes not possible. Time doesn’t stand still just so that a writer can get his or her work done. Life still goes on. On some occasions, for me, I get busy doing my class work, and either forget or just don’t have the time. Other times, as with a few days ago, I wanted to write a ‘series’ about our students in the story-telling contest.

Okay, so these articles were written the same day, but back-dated so as to appear as being written every day. Cheating? I suppose, but then again, it is my blog, right?

I suppose most people opt to place a title at the top of their blog entries. Makes it easy for others to search for a particular topic and read about it. I opted to use the date as my title. It may not be an original idea, and certainly at times, it is not ‘totally’ accurate, but then again, I did write. And isn’t that the whole idea of a blog? To me it is.

The other thing that this blog hosting site (wordpress.com) has introduced lately, is audio blogging. This is a cool idea. It may not be totally practical for everyone, but once in a while it could prove to be interesting. When I first got the message about it, I tested it out, just to see if it, indeed, worked. Lo and beheld, it seemed to work fine. I got a few comments from the other side of the world saying it worked fine, and that my voice hasn’t changed?! Hmmm… okay.

On July 11, I decided to try something a bit different. I wrote my blog, and then audio’d the blog as well. If you, the reader, goes back to listen to the audio recording, you can follow along with the blog entry directly below. The only problem for me, and for most people I suppose, is that the number you must dial to do an audio blog, is long distance. For me, in Taiwan, it is VERY long distance. It is in the ‘713’ area code, probably somewhere in the US – California perhaps? Doesn’t matter, the number is not in Taiwan!

I have listened to it myself. Of course, I find the mistakes that I made in recording, but who cares. It is a great way for others to ‘hear’ you speak. For me, it is strange to hear my voice over a recording. The thoughts, emotions, intonations of my blog entry are somewhat transmitted to the audio recording. Perhaps as people listen and follow along, they will get a sense of what my thought process is when writing these entries.

I am by no means, an expert on blogging. I first read about blogging in an article I did with a class about 2 or 3 years ago. At that time, it was a fairly new idea. Now, there are blog hosting sites all over the internet. I don’t know how I came across ‘wordpress.com’, but for anyone that wants to know, I really like this hosting site.

‘WordPress.com’ provides statistics for the blogger. It shows you graphically as well as in numbers, the number of hits to your site. It shows you which days are being looked at by the readers. For me, this has been helpful. I get to see what type of articles or writings people are reading. I don’t know WHO is actually reading it but as with yesterday, seeing that over 60 people have read my July 12th entry, is interesting, to say the least.

Another question I was asked was how long it takes to write an entry. Again, this is all relative to who you are. For me, having the ‘gift of gab’ so-to-speak, a 1000 word blog takes about 15 minutes to write. Some days a little longer, some days a little less. But 15 minutes is about average. Therefore, yes folks, yesterday’s blog took me almost an hour to write!

I have seen other blog entries by other people – friends, relatives, strangers – and everyone writes differently. Depending on your typing speed, thought process, topic, passion for your topic, are all factors in determining how much you will write. As I’ve mentioned before, blogging in my opinion, is a personal thing. It is something you do for yourself. It is a way for you to express or say what you want to say, without interruptions. It is not important what you write about, the thing is that you write.

Over time, go back on your blog entries and reread what you wrote. It may seem a little strange to see how you’ve evolved, even in as short a time frame as 5 months. A few times I have gone back on my entries, and find it rather interesting to see what I wrote. With the help of the statistics provided on ‘wordpress.com’, I have also been able to go back and see what people are reading.

I think we all need a little time to put on paper (or in a blog) what our feelings, thoughts, ideas, etc., are. If not for our readers, than certainly for ourselves. Anyone who is thinking about writing a blog, my only suggestion to you is DO IT! It matters not what you write about, but more about writing. So often in our lives, life passes by so quickly. We want to remember a certain event. We have thoughts that just NEED to be written down. What better way to remember our lives, and to pass that on to our prodigy.

We have the technology. Why not use it? Writing by hand in a journal or diary is great, but is vulnerable. The book could get lost. Damaged. Destroyed. Over time, even if it is safely guarded, begins to deteriorate and fall apart. Once a blog entry is saved or published, it is available to anyone. Okay, it may or may not be a personal entry, but you can decide how to disseminate your blog. You can give others, or as in my case, publish the address on another site, such as Facebook. Or, if you want or need to, keep that info secret. Don’t let anyone have the web address, thereby giving you a ‘diary’ or ‘journal’ feel to your entries. A personal record of YOU.

Again, it doesn’t matter how long, or what the topic is, or how often you write. The main thing is, that you write. Don’t worry about what others may think or say. It is great getting comments, both good and bad, but perhaps people will begin to understand you better. As the slogan for “Nike” (I believe) states, ‘Just Do It’!


1 Comment

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One response to “July 13, 2010

  1. Pat

    still thinking about it..

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