Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A month of daily blogs

Newsstand For the month of November, I accepted the challenge to make daily blog entries.

The NaBloPoMo initiative was brought to my attention through Amsterdam Asp, who used the opportunity to post daily observations on the topic of “Joy in Amsterdam”. Asp did a great job meeting his goal of daily, high-quality, themed postings; I missed three of the 30 days, but found it to be a generally good experience.

On the positive side, writing became more of a habit than an afterthought. Some portion of my mind was mulling over a topic to write about, and it was nice to take a half hour out for personal reflection each day. The regular posting helped me to develop a better rhythm and voice in my writing, and to be more constructively critical of what I have written. Daily posting forced more continuity to my narrative: I've discovered that my life, and my perspective of it, evolve at more of a daily pace. Weekly personal postings tended to be a bit jumpy; more regular entries certainly capture the changes in my life more coherently.

And it’s been fun taking new photos each day to illustrate each entry.


Finally, while the daily posting had little impact on comments, the hits and visits tracked at Icerocket showed that readership increased about 50%. I’m not sure whether people respond to seeing more posts being indexed (or whether I was just tracking my own activity in posting), but it’s interesting that regularity has an effect.

On the negative side, there is a tyranny to daily posting that pressures other activities in life: some things must be pushed aside to make room for writing. (Unfortunately, “going to lunch” was usually the victim.) Some days, admittedly, the blog had to give, and I would have to carry the notes forward and back-date a day. Maintaining content quality was also a bit concern. There was always a temptation to cut corners by posting some pictures or an interesting link of the day, fortunately resisted. I don’t like the idea of becoming a “Daily Dish” compilation of tweets; I always want to try to be reflective, insightful, and varied (the same qualities I strive for as an individual).

There has also been a tendency for the blog to evolve towards more of a personal journal than the series of personal essays that I usually want. About half of my entries relate experiences, concerns, observations, and small joys in my life. It’s probably due, in part, to the whirlwind of activity involved with changing jobs and residence this month. Still, I have mixed feelings about that. Self absorption can easily get boring and repetitive, echos of naval-gazing have no wider purpose in print. On the other hand, if simple observations and perceptions can relate to questions or experiences shared by other expatriates, then I think it it was worth publishing. I’ve learned to apply that test to my journal-ish writing.

I will, in all likelihood, stay dedicated (but not slavish) to near-daily posting for the near future. I do, as always, thank you for looking in and for leaving comments. I read many of your blogs each morning over coffee, and enjoy your thoughts and experiences. They open my perspectives and give me good things to think about as I head into the day: thanks for your writings, on any frequency.

1 comment:

Eric said...

Cool to hear your reflections of your experience, Dave. It actually jives very much with my own experience (the spike in stats, too). All the best from Amsterdam...