Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Thoughts About This Blog

by Chris McGinty (According To Whim .com)

We’re coming to the end of the year… And the end of all mankind! At least according to one calendar.

At the beginning of the year, I talked about the trouble with daily goals that read that absolutely this specific thing has to be done each day. This had to do with a project that took me many years to successfully complete, to write a poem a day for a year. The problem is that even when I successfully did it, I was twenty minutes late with one poem, and so it feels less than perfect.

Nathan and I set out to post a blog each day this year, and as I announced recently, we will be moving over to a less than daily format in 2012. The problem is that we found ourselves struggling to keep up in spite of it all. I’ve recently been posting some of my pieces a day or two late, because I’m at guard posts that don’t allow me the chance to write on some nights, and have no means of charging my laptop anymore on nights that I can write. My daily writing output has decreased significantly, and it’s been harder to keep up.

This got me thinking about people who write for a living and have deadlines for a living. How do they do it? I mean the obvious answer is that they get paid for their writing, so the idea of writing for eight hours a day isn’t quite as daunting. They also have days off, even writing for a newspaper. Maybe Nathan and I should have had weekends off and a couple of vacation weeks. Who knows?

Also, I’ve been talking to Nathan about the other seeming problem with our blog. We’re According To Whim. I came up with that name for the audio show in 1999, and it was in reference to the recording schedule. It was meant to be whenever Miguel and I felt like starting a tape and talking about stuff. On a strange level, According To Whim became even indicative of not only what we talked about, but what projects in what medium we were doing at any given point. For the According To Whim blog to truly be the According To Whim blog, it can really be about any subject we can think of to write, which is great for people who want a variety of subjects to read about, but not so great for the internet culture.

I was reading Writer’s Digest the other day, and they had a list of writing websites that they thought were the best. There were quite a few that had “blogspot” in their URL. The ideal situation – to be included on a list that your core audience would likely read. If only we could pinpoint our core audience. The problem is that we do write about writing. We do write about video production. We do write about politics. We do write about self-help. We do write humour. We do write fiction. We do write about games. Heck, we write a lot of stuff. But a video production magazine wouldn’t have us on their list. A writing magazine wouldn’t have us on their list. A political magazine wouldn’t. A humour magazine wouldn’t, not in a box, not with a fox, not with a cat, not when I say silly things like that.

By the very nature of this being a blog that is a catch-all for subject matter, it’s probably also a blog that is a catch-hardly-anybody for readership. So, I guess the question is what to do about it if anything? We’re already scaling back how much we write for the blog, so we can at least limit the amount of throwaway material we post. That will be a good step. So here are some thoughts.

Do Nothing – Why not? What we’re hoping for in the long run is for people to read what we write just because we wrote it. Technically, we would be doing something, getting our names and work known. We just wouldn’t be changing the function of this blog.

Streamline – We could decide that from here on out we only write about the work we do for the show or other marketable projects. Given that we are mainly video-makers, writers, and occasionally do audio shows, we would be a blog that writes about making videos, writing, and the audio shows speak for themselves. Folks would know what to expect.

Many Blogs – We could write multiple blogs, making them themed by content. This was the odd thought I was having that brought me to write this. The problem I kept coming to with this idea is that then we’d have a lot of blogs that would each be getting little updating. If we had six blogs, and one of us or the other wrote one post each week for each blog, we would still be writing less than we were this year (not by much though), but talk about a confusing schedule. The argument I have for this is that even if the blogs were updated irregularly, eventually they would each have a wealth of on-topic writing, and a person finding the blog for the first time might have plenty of time to catch up.

Table of Contents – How do you have multiple blogs while only having one blog? You create a blog post with contents separated by topic. Say that someone clicks on a post about writing, and there is a link to other posts about writing. They click on that link, and there are links to every other article about writing over the years. They could just read what they wanted then. I like this idea, though I realize I would have to do some work over the course of 2012 to organize our blog in such a way, possibly even going back to create links on all our previous posts.

I’ll be going to Nathan’s on Thursday. We can discuss this then. In the meantime, I was just looking for something to write about, and I had to get it done, because I’m posting it a day late.

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