just some ramblings about blogging and that time I went on a TD binge

In a moment – inspiration. In another moment – inspiration lost. But some remnant of it is still there, like ripples on the surface of a lake, hinting at something that’s passed.

Sometimes I wonder what I used to write about before I started writing so much about my holiday to Japan, and about this Meditations book I’m reading. Well, I suppose it’s easy enough to look back at my blog archives and see that it’s just a bunch of random ramblings.

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in the middle

It feels like it has been a very, very long time since I last wrote anything here. The post from last week was actually scheduled the week before, so I suppose it’s technically been about two weeks since I actually wrote anything here; and it actually does feel really weird – almost like I’ve neglected a good friend.

But I’m still here.

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an open door

Back in September last year, I wrote that, hypothetically, given a year left to live, I would like to share my blog more. I must admit that, since then, I haven’t shared it to any great extent, but at least I’ve shared it more than I used to (which was practically not at all).

It’s kind of hard, though, going from pretending like my blog doesn’t exist, and not really having a solid answer for those times when people ask me what on earth I do with my spare time, to actually telling people I have a blog. I find that, of the few times I have shared this part of me with friends, that I tend to try to slip it casually into the conversation. It’s almost as if I’m hoping people won’t give it a second thought, but secretly I’m relishing the fact that people I know in real life have any sort of interest in the random things that I’m writing here.  Continue reading

audience participation

A couple of months or so ago, I noticed that I was getting increasingly obsessed with my blog stats – the number of views, comments and likes – day by day, and month to month.

Of course, it’s natural to care about this stuff, right? That’s what I told myself. But then I thought about why I’m blogging in the first place: I told myself that it wasn’t about trying to get famous or well-known – it was not about who did or did not read what I wrote. What was important was that I had this medium for writing, and for writing whatever the heck I wanted.

But the truth of the matter is that it’s not about me. If all that mattered was having this creative outlet, then I could just have a private blog. Here’s a revelation: I could write without a blog at all.

All throughout high school, in English, History, Economics, Media, etc – in all these subjects I studied, I was told (either by the teacher or, eventually, by myself) to always consider the intended audience of a text as I wrote it. I feel like this is something that has been so ingrained in me, that it’s now fundamental to everything I write.

I heard somewhere, some time ago, that those who read fiction are better at empathising with others. I can’t remember if this was backed up by any substantial evidence, but I think there is truth to it. It’s all something to do with being able to use your imagination to put yourself in another person’s position (even if they are a fictional person), and understand their thoughts and emotions. Perhaps this is another reason why people who read are good at writing – because they can perceive the audience’s reaction, and can thus manipulate their text to manipulate the audience.

Anyway, I digress. (Side note: I got a feeling of deja vu when writing the above paragraph about reading and empathising. Apologies if I’ve mentioned it in a previous post.)

While I noticed that I seemed to care a lot more about my blog stats than I did when I first started out on WordPress, I also noticed that I was thinking a lot more of my audience. I can’t even say this with certainty, but I’m quite sure that I used to just write whatever I wanted without a thought to who would read it; but now I have an idea of who my regular(-ish) readers are, and I care about writing posts that these readers would enjoy. (Yes, I’m talking about you.)

And, you know what, I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this change in the way I blog.

The truth is, regardless of whether I have 2 readers or 2000 readers, I would still continue to write and publish posts on this blog. But I value my readers. In its own way, it’s encouraging and validating to know that there are people out there – perfect strangers, even – who would read what I’m writing – and some who even like or comment on my posts. It’s human nature to seek the approval of others, right?

These days, however, I avoid looking at the stats page. Correction: I resist looking at my blog stats as much as possible until curiosity gets the better of me. Does it help? Maybe.

In his book What I Talk About When I Talk About Running (one day I might stop referring to and mentioning this book, but I’m afraid that’s probably not going to be any time soon), Murakami also writes about his experiences owning and running a bar in Japan. What I found rather humbling was his “one-in-ten repeaters” philosophy. It revolves around the fact that you just can’t please everyone:

“If one out of ten was a repeat customer, then the business would survive … it didn’t matter if nine out of ten didn’t like my bar.” (p.38)

He applied this mentality to his writing as well, saying that having a number of devoted readers (the one-in-ten repeaters) made him happier than having a huge number of readers. He was not concerned about writing top-selling epics or being “literature’s top runner”. He just wrote what he wanted, how he wanted.

Although I suspect that my fraction is a bit smaller, maybe it is true that the “one-in-ten” is all I really need. And maybe I just need to keep writing what I want because I suppose that’s how I developed my readership in the first place. After all, I’m sure this blog wouldn’t be sustainable for me if I didn’t write whatever the heck I felt like writing.

take me home

Just wanted to post this quickly to share this song: Take Me Home by Jess Glynne

I did mention Jess Glynne in a post a while back, and I’m still loving her music now, so I thought it was worth another post (albeit a short one – a very short one by my standards). Here is an excerpt from the video info explaining how the song came about:

This song was written to you. Not to the person who broke me in so many ways but the person who helped save me from drowning in something that wasn’t worth drowning in.

I’m filing this post under “reblogged” as well as “music” because I reckon that blogging is mostly about sharing stories (often personal ones), and, really, this is just a blog-type story in a different format.

Also, just quickly (because it’s not like it’s that big of a deal or whatever), my last post was my 500th post on this blog. I knew I was approaching 500, but had stopped keeping track a long time ago. In a sense, I reckon it was better to have written my 500th post without knowing that it would be the 500th one (less pressure and all that). How fitting for me, though, that the post is about thinking (and running).

79 and counting

I feel like there’s been a resurgence of posts on my Reader this last week compared to the weeks leading up to the end of the year. This is not a bad thing; it makes me smile, like seeing a familiar face again. I mean, after all, I wouldn’t be following blogs that I don’t want to read, right?

This afternoon, I caught up on some blog reading. I spent almost two hours reading blogs, and I’m kind of wondering if that’s a bit much. Granted, there were about three days’ worth of posts to read from various bloggers, and I’m not exactly a fast reader, but two hours seems like a long time. I could have watched a movie in that time.

Just checked my Reader, and it tells me that I’m currently following 79 sites. To be fair, though, I scrolled through part of the list quickly, and there are a lot that I don’t even remember because they haven’t posted anything in so long. I’m kind of wondering if I should unsubscribe from these dormant blogs, since it’s kind of pointless to follow them; or if I should just leave it as is, since they’re not posting anything anyway (but might resume posting one day!) Well, I’m feeling a bit lazy tonight, so it’s probably going to be the latter option.

I’ve already been limiting my Facebook time, so maybe the next step is limiting my blog-viewing time too. But this means I’ll have to be more selective about what I decide to read, and I don’t know if I’m ok with missing out on good content because I’m supposedly time-poor, or should be doing other things (what other things??)

Theoretically, though, I should have more free time this year. My CPD and reading goals are lower, and I’m not attempting to write a book. (Side note: reading goal is probably not going that well, seeing as I haven’t done any reading these last two days, and I’m only on page twenty-something of David Copperfield.)

The question then, perhaps, is ‘Do I want to reallocate this loose concept of “extra free time” into blogging?’ Maybe I should just reallocate it to reading my books…

Something else that I’ve been doing more and more of in recent-ish times is listening to music – either on the radio or on my phone/computer. I’m almost always doing something else while listening to music, but I suddenly feel more productive (and less like I’m wasting time) if I have some music on (irrespective of whether I’m actually, really productive or not).

What else is great, though, is when a song I really like comes on, and I pretty much just stop what I’m doing, and just listen to it. Something so simple, but it really is great to know that I have that luxury of time. That would be a good enough use of my free time, right? I wouldn’t consider that a waste.