Blogging 201: Goals

Now that I’ve been blogging for a while, I think it’s a good time to take stock and sort out what my goals are and what I want out of this blog. I am taking the Word Press Blogging U “Blogging 201” course for the next two weeks. The first assignment is to think about the following two questions and write down three concrete goals.

  • Why do you blog? 
    • For enjoyment
    • To clarify and articulate my thoughts and feelings, get them out of my head, and solve problems
    • To connect with people who have similar interests
    • To practice the craft of writing
    • To put my life in perspective
    • To publish photographs
    • To gain followers who could become readers of fiction that I hope to publish someday, either traditional or self
  • If your blog exceeded your wildest dreams, what would that look like?
    • Would you have a different design? Yes, I would probably get a professional designer and some part-time help keeping it up.
    • How many followers would you have? Thousands.
    • How much traffic? Enough to have at least an interesting comment or two every day and be able to start a conversation about whatever topic was bugging me at the moment.
    • What sort of community would participate?  People who have similar interests to mine, or who are willing to read something that interests me even if they didn’t think it interested them beforehand. “Ordinary,” non-famous, non-celebrity people. Kind, funny, insightful people.
    • How often would you post? 3-4 times/week, more on special occasions. It wouldn’t take me several hours to write a single blog post.

So, here are my goals:

  1. Stick to my 4X/week writing schedule: Monday, Thursday, Friday, and one weekend day. (That may not be the publishing schedule, but I can write and schedule in advance if necessary).
  2. Spend at least 30 mins/week reading and commenting on other people’s blogs that I like.
  3. Learn to blog more quickly, <1 hr/post. Keep track of time each post takes. Check in in January and see if I am improving with speed.

While #3 is hard to implement, I think it’s one of the most important. I’m pretty slow as a blogger, and I have a fear that if I try to go faster and be more efficient, my blogs will lose whatever quality and originality they possess. I need to find a way around this.

If you have noticeably upped your blogging or just general writing speed, what worked for you?

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9 thoughts on “Blogging 201: Goals”

  1. I did Blogging 201 – or rather tried to complete it. At the time, I didn’t have the time to devote and blogging wasn’t my main purpose. Writing was more important, and blogging was just the mechanism to make me more accountable. I should probably try it again now that I’ve had more practice and maybe a better idea of what I’d like to be doing. I can consistently manage to post twice a week. Sometimes three. Any more, and it is no longer enjoyable.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve read that 2416 Words is the average word count of top ranked searches!
    After 5 years of blogging, my writing speed hasn’t increased at all! My posts generally take a few hours of researching and writing. Then I save the draft and finish it a few days/weeks later. For me, the crafting of the post is my top priority and the part I enjoy most.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Good goals, except I’m not so sure about the speed part. What helped me was spending the first 10 years of my professional career on the copy desks of multi-edition daily newspapers. I’d recommend daily journalism for anyone just starting out.

    But coming out of daily journalism one needs to slow down. Daily journalism is like a crude first draft. When I followed that with corporate public relations and nonfiction book ghost-writing, I leaned not to be so satisfied with my output. Sometimes the right sentence flows easily. Sometimes it takes a while. Most (although not all) of the great fiction writers did, or do, a lot of revision.

    Nonfiction, too, needs time to simmer if you want the words and sentences to be right. I do a lot of my simmering in my head, but I think that’s a product of all my experience, and of course my stuff doesn’t come out perfect. Most people need to get the words down to they can see them again. I have a half dozen or so blog posts in my “Drafts” section of WordPress that I started, am not satisfied with, and may return to.

    You do write with great clarity and a consistent voice (which I happen to love). I’m not sure that you need to worry about speed. In fact, now that I think about it, maybe all of your self-improvement is a distraction. You might consider setting a date to become satisfied with yourself as a writer and go on to whatever you see as the next phase.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the kind words! I am reasonably satisfied with how most of my posts turn out, but sometimes it takes me the whole morning or whole afternoon, or even two such sessions, to finish and publish a blog post. And by then I’m kind of worn out and don’t want to work on my novel anymore. Plus, the laundry needs to be done. But I need to work on that novel. That’s what the speed goal is about: keeping up with family, day job, blogging, writing my novel, etc.

      Several years ago, on violinist.com, we were talking about Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery. At the time, I calculated that at the rate I was going, I would achieve mastery on the violin at approximately age 141. That’s how I’m feeling about writing at the moment.

      I like your description of “simmering in my head.” I do a lot of that also. What I find, though, is that I only want to let it simmer so long. To belabor the metaphor a bit (sorry), it can get overdone and burned if I simmer it too long without writing any of it down.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Have you thought of the optimum number of words for each post? I’ve found that shorter posts sometimes get more response than longer ones. However, someone (don’t remember who) said something like “sorry for the long letter, I didn’t have time to write a short one.”
    I enjoy your blog.
    j

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand why it’s good to write shorter blogs. If blog posts get too long, readers just start scrolling through and skimming . . . I’m certainly guilty of that practice, as a reader. (Which is why I like blogs with pictures–such as yours!)

      But I’m not sure how I would know what the optimum words for a post would be, beforehand. I do tend to be wordy, because I work out what I’m writing about as I write. Then I have to edit it down to be more concise (or not–sometimes I don’t bother). “Sorry for the long letter, I didn’t have time to write a short one” is a statement I can well identify with!

      One thing I have been noticing since I started blogging is that I’ll start out with an idea that I think is going to be one blog post, I start writing, it gets really long, and then it turns out I can break it down into two or three separate posts, and it works better that way.

      Getting better at the break-it-down-into-bite-sized-chunks process might be a good sub-goal, and a way to get more blog posts per unit writing time.

      But as far as writing my novel goes, I probably can’t speed up that process too much.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think you’re right about breaking up long posts into parts. I’ve done that several times with important ideas. The optimal blog post probably is somehow a function of the frequency of posting.
        I have found that my optimal is about 3-500 words, although most of the ones I do are 2-300, lately (with my artwork). But it depends on the message.
        Perhaps a good solution is a shortish post with hyperlink to a web page for more details. Ideally it would be one’s own website where ideas are expanded upon, but it could also be other sites for back stories.
        I’m novel writing is orders of magnitude more complex. Good luck!
        J

        Liked by 1 person

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