I love writing. Always have. I usually confess that I am a better writer than a speaker.
I like the time that I can take to choose a word or phrase and combine them to mean just what I intend.
I like the opportunity to check a word’s appropriateness before using it. Often when speaking I leave my sentence hanging embarrassingly in mid-air while I grope around in the murkiness of my mind for the “correct” word. Why can my fingertips find the right word, without any thought, and the tongue cannot?
And of course there are all the opportunities that writing provides for self-expression, creativity and sharing ideas with a wider audience.
I started out writing stories, poems and songs, as most children, do and tried my hand at short stories, children’s stories and poetry as I got older. As I became more involved with my career in education, and in raising my children, I had (or made) less time for those creative pursuits.
There are many reasons I loved being a teacher and one of those was the opportunity it provided for me to be creative: creative and innovative in the way I worked with children to encourage their learning; and creative in writing resources to assist my teaching and the children’s learning.
I was fortunate in having a variety of opportunities to write materials for educational publishers at different times during my career, and I am currently writing documents to support curriculum implementation for my state educational authority. But I really wanted to be in control of my own writing.
At the back of my mind there was always the thought of sharing my teaching and learning resources with a wider audience. (Just a little bit further back, or maybe even close to equal footing, is the thought of publishing children’s stories, short stories, and maybe even a novel . . . one day.) I had had no success with submitting unsolicited manuscripts before and couldn’t think what publisher might be interested in the variety of educational resources I had made, many specifically for use on a computer.
So a couple of years ago I decided that a website of my own was the ideal platform for sharing my resources. Getting that website up and running is my primary goal. However, observers could be mistaken in thinking that writing a blog is my primary goal. The path to establishing a website has taken a side-track via blogging.
Blogging, Twitter, Facebook and other forms of social media were recommended me to right from the beginning as a way of targeting and establishing an audience. At the time I was familiar with none of these and set off learning how to become involved. It has been an exciting journey. I have learned lots and made many wonderful online friends.
However I am not sure how far it has moved me towards achieving my website goal. In fact, I think very little progress has been made.
- I have not found and established my “target” audience and am really none the wiser about doing that.
- The time that I am spending writing, reading and commenting on blogs is time that I am not spending on preparing materials for my website.
- I need to be more proactive in finding illustrators for my work.
- When I discovered the Teachers Pay Teachers site and established my Teachers Pay Teachers Store I had thought this may be an alternative avenue for sharing my work. But I haven’t been as successful there as I would like either. This may be telling me something about my website goal. What is it telling me? Should I listen?
So my dilemma comes down to these questions”
To blog or not to blog?
How to blog?
How much time for blogging?
The answer to the first one is easy:
Yes! I very much enjoy writing my post and receiving the almost immediate feedback from the wonderful community of writers I engage with.
Yes! I love reading and commenting on others’ blogs and joining in the discussions that ensue. We are a S.M.A.G. group: Society of Mutual Appreciation and Gratitude. What’s to not like?
The second two questions are a little more difficult.
The focus of my blog is education, but my audience consists of writers. Educators have shown little interest in developing a relationship with me online. I haven’t been able to figure that one out, but I have a few hazy ideas, none of which I think I want to address at this stage. If I change the way I blog I would quite likely fall out with the community I have become part of; and there is no guarantee I would pick up a teacher audience. So I’ll have to keep mulling this one over for a while.
The third question is the one I have been “researching” for close on five months. As time is limited and I need to devote more time to achieving my primary goal, it is important that time spent on blogging activities is worthwhile.
I decided to find out who is keen to engage with me and who isn’t.
I began keeping a record of the number of comments I made on others’ blogs, and of those they made on mine. It wasn’t always as I expected, and highlighted some interesting trends; the main one of which I have noted above:
Writers have a wonderful sense of community.
The record helped me ensure that, if someone visited and commented on my blog, I would visit and comment on theirs, maintaining a balance as much as possible.
This key explains how to interpret the information on the tables below.
I have removed names from the tables to respect privacy. (I don’t really expect you to look too hard at the tables. You have better things to do. But they do look pretty!)
November 9 2014 – Jan 24 2015
Jan 25 2015 – March 26 2015
I have not included all blogs I “follow”, or even all the ones I have ever commented on. Only the ones on which there has been some consistency in connecting.
I have also not included the comments of those who follow and comment on my posts but do not have a blog of their own on which I could reciprocate.
I generally post twice a week.
Others post more often.
Sometimes the number of comments I make on their posts in relation to their comments on mine is affected by the greater number of times they post. If someone chooses to post more often than twice a week, I will not necessarily read all their posts, regardless of how much I enjoy reading them, as there are other ways I must use my time, including a reading greater variety of writer’s work, and getting more done on my own. I’m sure they have enough other readers to not miss me!
Sometimes when a blogger posts less frequently than I do, their comments on my posts may tip the scales in my favour. I can’t do much about that either, but I do try to catch up when next they post.
I have found that it can take a few weeks of commenting on a blog I like to get a return visit and comment on my blog. Frequently I don’t even get a response to a comment I’ve made on theirs. I guess that’s how it goes. Some bloggers blog to develop community. Others blog to broadcast. I just need to decide how best to use my time.
If you have walked with me to the end of this post, thank you. It is rather longer than I intended. I had intended to respond to Anne Goodwin’s invitation to join in a writing process blog hop , Sherri Matthews’ invitation to join a workspace blog hop, and Sarah Brentyn’s questions for writers, as well as explain my writing goals to Sacha Black, thank Julie stock for her Sisterhood of the World bloggers award and draw on Paula Reed Nancarrow’s wonderful survey about Twitter #hashtag days and blogging. But they will have to wait. We all have others things to do.
Contributing partly to my procrastination with responding to these wonderful invitations, which I do very much appreciate, is that I have already nominated the majority of bloggers I follow, or if I haven’t someone else has. And the remaining ones don’t wish to be nominated. What is a girl to do? I’d appreciate your suggestions.
Thank you for reading.
I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts and advice, especially about how to increase time. If anyone knows a good time alchemist, I’d love to meet her!