The Forward Momentum of Bloggery

DH-Day-sand-duneWhat is bloggery?  The art and science of blogging, of course.

I used to have this professor who was fond of slapping a plastic overhead on the projector exclaiming, “Have a look at this piece of Tom Foolery.”

We would all glance over at eachother and groan.  He wasn’t kidding.  This was Tom Foolery.  It was one of Dr. Wildebeest’s famous equations.  Equations he had invented all by himself.  Equations that had four or five variables that were a mixture of convoluted calculous and mystical algebra. We would soon be invited to solve one of these foolish equations on a test.

Sometimes you will wonder how you stumbled into this foolish equation of a blog.  Oh, you will try to decipher it all, pondering the various variables involved: site design, writing, comments, growth…what it’s all about?

It is said that Albert Eistein had a flash recognition of his theory of relativity – he was riding on a ray of light – and it all fell together for him.  This probably won’t happen to you on your blog.  Your blog will probably move ahead like an elephant clumping through the Sahara, not like a ray of speeding light.

Site Design

I’m convinced you can put your site into motion yourself.  When I figured it out I wrote up a tutorial to share with others.  If the mechanics of design and implementation still elude you, hire someone to put it together for you.  But keep in mind you will still have to learn the bare bones of blog care yourself.  It’s a lot like cleaning the house and moving the furniture around.

Writing

This really is the meat and potatoes of your blog.  And for you vegetarians, the tofu and beans.  Recognize it may take awhile for you to get your footing, and that is okay.  Some very successful bloggers, like Vered, of MomGrind, for example, start out writing about a certain topic and switch.  You might get bored writing about one thing and want to diversify.  You can often do this by slightly diverging from your original topic.  Many business bloggers also write about inspirational topics.  Karen Swim, of Words for Hire, does this very successfully.

Growth

This is probably one of the hardest things to quantify.  Sure, you can measure your blogs growth by setting up a feedburner account and checking on how many people subscribe to your blog.  I check on these numbers.  But that is only one way to measure where you’re going.  Recognize that the art and science of bloggery is a process.  It is a journey that you have set yourself on.

If you get clear about your purpose, how you want to inform, enlighten, or entertain, then your statistical program can inform you who is linking to your blog and why.  I get really excited when I write a knock down article and I get a links from Trisha, at Ideas for Women , Ian Mackenkie, of Brave New Traveler, and Amy Derby, of Write at Home, for my post about Ethics in Photography.  It shows me that I can write stuff about topics that are important to me and people find it interesting.

Many bloggers lose their focus along the way. They get bored with blogging, or part of the blogging equation is not working for them.  Boredom is a fact of life.  I do not advocate giving something up just because you are bored with it.  But if you are encountering great resistance to blogging maybe you should give it up.  Only you can answer that question.

One way of looking at it is that the art and science of bloggery is challenging, and that it will help you grow.  After all, you do have to sweat over an equation before you solve it.  I’m thinking of the elephant analogy here, not the speeding ray of light.  But if you are one of these Albert Einstein bloggers who have it all in the bag – more power to ya!

To be continued….

Photocredit: © Ellen Wilson

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22 Responses to The Forward Momentum of Bloggery

  1. Vered says:

    can’t wait for the next installment. 🙂

    Thank you so much! I don’t see myself as successful. I am just starting out, really.

    There’s a blogger that I was close to when I just started, in Mach. I found out yesterday she took her blog down. It was a shock. I don’t have her email, or her full name so no way of reaching her. I guess it happens.

    Vered’s last blog post..Top 10 Fashion Mistakes To Avoid At All Costs

  2. Hi Ellen,

    The suspense is killing me…. 🙂

    You hit the nail on the head when you talk about the growth of a blog. It is a journey. Having blogged for nearly 18 months, all I can say is, it’s a good thing I love it so much, otherwise I would be another one of those statistics, the ones who give it up.

    Barbara Swafford’s last blog post..NBOTW – He Had Me With “Hello”

  3. The writing is the easy part, the house building and maintenance I have to admit I am finding frustrating. Fortunately, the Urbane Lion has more of a technical bent, but it’s finding the time as well! We are blessed with the valuable advice of fellow bloggers, which helps ease the way.

    Urban Panther’s last blog post..Cry me a river

  4. Ellen, first can I say that I love the photo? Great colors! When I get bored or frustrated with blogging, I just take a little break. Even a week off is enough to get rejuvenated. Or, I try to mix up the topics, like you’ve suggested. There is so many things to consider with blogging. Bloggery is a great word for that!

    Melissa Donovan’s last blog post..Work Your Jaws

  5. Um, yes, I just tried to stop my comment so I could change “is” to “are” in my second-to-last sentence, but it slipped away. The shame! That’s what I get for editing my own comments too quickly. Grr. *sigh*

    Melissa Donovan’s last blog post..Work Your Jaws

  6. Ellen Wilson says:

    @Vered – I think your blog is successful; it is unique and funny. But sometimes serious, too. I guess we have to define our own success with blogging.

    That would be unsettling losing a blogging friend like that. I think that would bug me for awhile. If I quit blogging I think I would announce it. Then I would have to go through separation anxiety without my blog. Love it and hate it. Ha!

    @Barbara – Oh goodie, I have you on your toes! It was nice writing a long blog, because I realized I had all my work done for the week.

    @Urban Panther – Yes, it is nice relying on eachother for that stuff. I also get frustrated, but I’m stubborn enough to stick with something. I hate giving up, and am proud of myself that I got it all running.

    @Melissa – Hey, don’t sweat the error. I know I’ve done a ton on your blog. It’s a lot easier to make errors in the comments. When I’m writing a post I usually go through two or three times to catch the mistakes, but even then I have them filter through. I read too fast.

    Yes, I’m playing around with different ideas so I don’t get burned out. I would like to write two works worth of posts so I don’t have it hanging over my head at the last minute. So far I’m one week ahead. Oh joy!

    Thanks for the compliment on my photo!

  7. Karen Swim says:

    Hi Ellen! Thanks for the link love! You are so right on about bloggery. I think what often discourages people or prevents them from getting started are the rules. I suppose it’s like math, the subject is often presented to young minds with an air of superiority and made to seem impossible to learn. In reality, math totally rocks. Bloggery is often presented with “shoulds,” and “must do’s” and formulas, numbers equations. It is what you make it and you can keep changing it as you go along. I also like the photo. Congrats on getting one week ahead. Every weekend I promise I am going to do a week of posts. I end up staring at the screen, and finally giving up to go do something else. Maybe this week I’ll get a jump start.

  8. Friar says:

    @Ellen

    Speaking of Blog Growth.

    In Engineering, they refer to a “Step change”. A sudden increase in a process input parameter, which affects the output.

    Like when you’re in the shower, trying to control the water temperature, and someone flushes the toilet.

    Funny…I saw the same thing with my Blog Traffic once (with my post on Bob Dylan). Suddenly my traffic increased tenfold in one day, then quickly dropped down to normal.

    What’s interesting, is this was a total human phenomenon, but the traffic response behaved like a classic mathematical model we used to describe heat transfer and chemical reactions.

    Anyway, for a brief two days, I was one of the “Cool Kids” at school. I felt like an A-Lister.

    But it was just a fluke, and traffic resumed it’s normal flow.

    Was fun while it lasted, though.

    Friar’s last blog post..Friar’s Random Olympic Thoughts

  9. Harmony says:

    I am grateful that in my various blogs I don’t have to present news. Those who break stories in their blogs are under a lot of pressure. Instead, like you wrote so well, I am writing and sharing and pacing myself. I didn’t pace well at first, and with all my other work commitments, I got overwhelmed. I think one of the most helpful things to learn is how much blogging is the right amount for you. How to stay in the creative zone and not write just to fill the page. I look forward to your future articles and always to YOU.

    Harmony’s last blog post..Silver Medal – Golden Effort

  10. Wendi Kelly says:

    Hi Ellen, I love the word Bloggery and that photo is great! I can feeling it zooming through space. For me, the most difficult part of blogging is all of the technical stuff I have to learn. Now that I have switched over I feel like I am starting over in many ways. I am amazed at how many people are still going over to the old blog ( by the numbers, it is still getting a high number of hits every day) and I am trying to figure out how everything works. A lot of that takes away from my concentration on writing and focusing on being creative. I think that I will have a quicker adjustment then I did the last time because for one- last time everything was new and two- this time I have Harry and friends to turn to.
    But….I LOVE blogging and couldn’t even imagine giving it up. It has opened up a whole new world for me that I really love.

    Wendi Kelly’s last blog post..For the Love of Words

  11. @Friar – I was Stumbled the other day for the first time, and my visits doubled. Next day, right back down to normal. Other than a brief shout of WOO-HOO, I really didn’t put much stock in it. In terms of Blog Growth, I’m going with the slow and steady approach. As fun as stat spikes are, retention is far more important. And hey, I’ve done my best to increase your search words beyond just plain old boring Bob. *grin*

    Urban Panther’s last blog post..The cost of relationships

  12. Ellen Wilson says:

    @Karen – Thanks. You know, I do not like math. I have always had to struggle with it. Really, I think the art and science part you just have to figure out for yourself. Anything you figure out yourself is much more satisfying. I’m shooting for two weeks ahead, but you never know what pops up.

    @Friar – Much of what we do on the Net probably can be reduced to mathematical models. Except the relationship part. Yeah, I remember you saying that about Bob Dylan. I’ve had spikes of around 300, and then I started checking my stats all the time because it was like an adrenaline rush and I wanted more more more! Then I started thinking, who the hell cares? I decided I won’t check my stats for another two months. Well, at least a month. It’s like that outer versus inner authority thing.

    @Harmony – Thank you for your heartfelt comment. It feels very nice. Yes, it is easy to get burned out, and pacing yourself is a good thing. Yes, filling up a page does nothing for nobody. It’s like eating potatoe chips.

    I know I never will blog everyday. Two days per week is enough for me.

    @Wendi – Surprise! Wow, I’m going over to your new blog! Yeah, it does take awhile to get used to. There are still things on my blog that I’m getting used to. Like for instance, my rough drafts don’t just disappear if they aren’t placed on my writing list. They are still stored. All kinds of little tidbits you always discover.

  13. Friar says:

    @Ellen

    I love to look at my stats every day (But I’m an engineer, I like data and numbers). I love to see the numbers go up (but if they don’t, I’m not heartbroken either). It just provides me with amusement.

    @Urban Panther.
    Yeah..thanks to you, people who look up “dildo” can find my blog.

    (But heck…I’ll take visitors any way I can get them!) 🙂

    Friar’s last blog post..Friar’s Random Olympic Thoughts

  14. steph says:

    I totally agree about blogging being a journey of growth. I meant for mine to be an exercise in writing. It turned out to be that and so much more. Others have commented on the difference they’ve noticed in me and my posts.

    In terms of growth of the blog itself, I’m not too concerned. For a while I wrote for myself, and I was content to do so, though a comment is thrilling. I have a nice little community now, and I’m very happy about it, and I’m happy when new readers visit, but I only have the WordPress stats to go by, and they don’t tell much. Slow on weekends, slow when I don’t post, spikes sometimes, nothing major.

    I do get tired sometimes, and I do feel even like quitting sometimes, but only because I have days that are so wholly uninspired it stresses me out a little to feel I need to maintain a blog under such conditions. At the same time, readers are overwhelmingly supportive of bloggers taking a much-needed break. It’s time-consuming to post and read and comment, and there is much more to life than that, as lovely as that all is.

    I look forward to your next post!

    steph’s last blog post..No Lamb For the Lazy Wolf

  15. steph says:

    PS. Great photo!

    steph’s last blog post..No Lamb For the Lazy Wolf

  16. @Friar – yes, well, now you’ve just helped Ellen’s stats LOL

    Urban Panther’s last blog post..The cost of relationships

  17. Ellen Wilson says:

    Just when I get bored I come back and find an odd conversation…

    @Friar – I just don’t know what to do about your dildos, clowns, or pointed shoes. There must be some kind of forumula for this.

    @Urban Panther – I get spikes from StumbleUpon too. Then it goes down. Up and down. I would think I’d get a bunch of subsribers from all of that, but I think it was Writer Dad? who said it well, most stumblers stay for a millisecond. Hmmm.

    @Steph – Hey, I’ve been thinking of you. I haven’t had time to come over and read a story. I’m going to do a fiction post in the near future concerning critiques.

    Oh yes, I do hear you. It is tiring at times. Okay, most of the time. I do like blogging, but yes, there is another life I’m interested in too. We’re all in the same boat.

  18. Cath Lawson says:

    Hi Ellen – I don’t think I’ve heard the bloggery word before. I think you’ve coined a new phrase.

    I think I’m more of the clodding elephant type too. I’ve blogged for quite a long time now and just when I think I’m getting something right – another thing goes wrong. And it’s always the post i don’t like so much that get more popular. the ones I’m really proud of always seem to divebomb.

    I wonder what Einstein would have been like as a blogger?

    Cath Lawson’s last blog post..Relationships: Are You Kissing Goodbye To Success?

  19. steph says:

    @Ellen: Cool! I look forward to that fiction critique post. And thanks for stopping by again!

    steph’s last blog post..No Lamb For the Lazy Wolf

  20. Ellen Wilson says:

    @Cath – Yes, I like this new term, bloggery. Very fitting.

    I too am an elephant blogging along. Sometimes I want to be popular, but I guess I would rather have blogging friends. Then I can actually talk to people on a one to one basis.

    @Steph – I knew you would like it. I think actually a lot of people might find it helpful. I just never know. Take care!

  21. I read this post and apparently forgot to post my comment.

    I love the motion and lighting in this image.

    Melissa D is responsible for luring me into tom bloggery.

    “Albert Einstein had a flash”
    Me too, when I was going to sleep, the title for my site came to me out of nowhere. The next morning when I checked it, I couldn’t believe it was available, especially when I found out several months later that my favorite screenwriting consultant had a book/CD of same title. Happy coincidence.

    “Your blog will probably move ahead like an elephant clumping through the Sahara”
    Yes, development of the site has moved more in this manner.

    At 8 months, I am still in the phase of enjoying writing my posts more than anything else I do. When I go to sleep at night, I think of so many post ideas I would like to write, get out of bed, and note them in the ol’ Moleskine.

    Limited time is the frustration for me.

    @ Karen Swim — I agree: the “shoulds” bum me out.

    Calculus was so hard but I loved the way it changed my brain processes in a way to figure things out by taking all the information one knows.

    Jaden @ Screenwriting for Hollywood’s last blog post..Write a Screenplay in One Month: Week Three (Prizes Announced)

  22. Ellen Wilson says:

    @Jaden – I get frustated with the time limitations, too. I also jot down my blog ideas in my little notebook with E’s on the cover. I wish I would have bought two, they were only a buck at Michaels. I like spinal binded notebooks.

    Fortunately, or not, I only have to do simple math now. But that kind of mathematical process – calculous – really makes the neurons in your mind stretch. It’s a lot like exercising a worn out muscle. This kind of mind activity keeps you young.

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