Blogging 201: Off-Course

A little over a month ago, I had started the two-week Blogging 201 course. The first assignment required us to lay down three goals for ourselves that we hoped to meet in the near future. I had set three goals that I expected to achieve in the span of a month. Neither the time frame nor the goals themselves seemed unreasonable, and I thought I’d be sitting triumphant at the end, ready to push those goals even further.

So how did I do? Not well. Not well at all. Here are the goals:

  1. Double the number of followers on both my blogs by the end of August.
  2. Develop a story bank, mainly over the weekends, so I’m not scrambling to write and publish a new one every day.
  3. Create a weekly or monthly feature within the next 4 weeks that I can consistently deliver on.

And here’s what I’ve achieved so far:

  1. Followers:

    On this blog, I had about 85 followers a month ago. Currently, I have 101.
    On my fiction blog, I had about 145 followers. I now have 173.

    So not really close to double on either count. I’ve started participating in more writing evens of late, both as a means to keep flexing my writing muscles and as a way to build a stronger community. But still, progress is slower than I’d like. There’s something I’m missing here. On the plus side, both blog now have triple digit followers, so there’s that.

  2. I have not developed a story bank. It seemed like a solid plan, and a relatively easy one, but it hasn’t really panned out. I’ve got some stories in the pipeline, but I haven’t really written them yet. They’re more ideas, or concepts. For the most part, I still write stories as they come to me and publish them straight away. However, I have chosen to take a day off, to prevent idea overload. I think that’s been working for me.
  3. I have no idea what to do for a regular feature. I suppose I could run some sort of weekly flash fiction challenge, but that’s still undecided. I had two regular features on this blog when I started. There was a weekly humor piece that slowly turned into a monthly piece and was eventually buried. The sort of off-the-cuff humor I was going for was getting harder to write, and it seemed like I was repeating myself or relying too much on very silly jokes. The second was a weekly art showcase, where I published one of my little doodles. Those were consistently my lowest viewed posts, so I dropped that idea.

    Now I’m trying to figure out what to do for a feature on this blog, or if I even want to do one anymore. We’ll see what, if anything, develops.

So there you have it. Blogging 201. A short course full of some useful lessons that I haven’t quite been able to capitalize on. About the only worthwhile thing to come out of it is finding a theme and look for my fiction blog that I’m satisfied with. So there’s that.

Solitude

I have a love and hate relationship with being by myself.

Sometimes it’s what I crave most, to be far away from family and co-workers and even friends, to be away from any person that takes up my time, and to instead devote that time entirely to myself and my own pursuits. Maybe I’ll sit down with a good book, watch a movie or play some video games. Or, as is the case nowadays, maybe I’ll write about something. No distractions, no responsibilities, no human interaction. Just me and my thoughts, existing peacefully. It sounds…blissful.

But then comes the other side of the coin. Loneliness is one of my biggest fears. Not having anyone to care about or that cares about me, never being able to have a conversation or crack a joke, never holding a warm hand while enjoying a shared moment. The thought of it makes my blood run cold. What happens when I finish that book? Do I pick up another? Maybe I’m done reading for now. Even a game can only demand so much of my attention; I’ll need to move around at some point. I cannot be confined to my own head indefinitely. That’s where the seeds of madness are planted.

It all comes down to being around the right people. When I’m completely comfortable with someone, I don’t go looking for the retreat of solitude, nor do I find myself yearning for companionship. An equilibrium is reached. Unfortunately, the right people are rare in this world.

So for now, I go back and forth, pushing others away and then pulling them towards me like a deranged yo-yo.

A Busy Month

Well, I must say, April’s been a crazier month than I’d anticipated.

After a year of slogging my way through a job I was grateful for (beats unemployment) but was otherwise apathetic towards (in large part thanks to a manager for whom I’ve reserved every colorful name in the book), I finally started work at a new place at the start of the month. Being involved with food in some capacity has always been a (somewhat passive) dream of mine, so being a food blogger makes me feel ecstatic. It’s been a bit hectic; I have a longer commute, I need to wake up earlier and there’s lots of articles to churn out on a regular basis. But I enjoy the challenge this job brings, and thus far, I’m very happy I decided to go for it.

Also, after forgetting to register in time two months in a row, I finally signed up for the Writing 101 course on WordPress, eager to sharpen my skills. The idea of daily prompts sounded fun, and seemed like just the kick in the butt I needed to develop a consistent writing schedule. From the time I saw the first prompt, I knew I was in for a fun ride. This course has helped me find my voice, which is something I’ve struggled with previously, and also proved to be therapeutic by giving me a forum to write about a topic that has been looming over me the past two years. I’ve also met some truly fantastic people through the Commons, and there’s really a sense of a blog community here. I’m happy to be a part of it.

It has also, on a semi-related note, been a busy month for birthdays. My dad, my brother and I were all born in April, so there’s been a lot of gift shopping going on. My brother and I also got two cakes each on our respective birthdays, so it was a solid month of cake eating for the whole family!

And now here I am, settled into my job, done with Writing 101 (already?!) and still hungry for cake. I’m hoping I can continue pushing myself to spin yarns for the good public without a daily prompt to guide me along. Life gets in the way sometimes and, honestly, I’m kinda lazy. But I’ll learn to kick myself in the butt. There’s a story to be told.