Confessions of an addicted blogger

As I look back over 900 posts written since I started this writing journey back in late 2009, there is so much to learn.  Here are a few observations that might be of interest.

THE NAME

Why in the name of God's green acre do I call it Middle Age Bulge?  Well, initially this was my weight loss journal/incentive tool.  It has served that purpose several times over the last 4.5 years and might need to serve that purpose again as the bulge is slowly and ever so surely re-emerging.

WHAT GETS READ?

In the early days, very little.  I wrote what I thought were great stories back when I started this writing adventure.  When I went back to the beginning to look at my readership stats, I was a little chagrined to find out that there were more than several posts that had readers you could count on one hand.  That changed as my network of regular readers grew.

What gets read the most?  Anything that gets initially perceived as negative or controversial is read in much larger numbers.  Also, any post that is connected to an artistic effort that involves lots of participants and parents has a good reach.

By way of example, Saturday's post, Maybe this is as good as it gets, caught fire and attracted an audience 5x the size of a normal post.

READERSHIP

75 readers - an average post

100 - 300 readers - a post that is connected to a lot of participants, parents, friends (ie. To the Barricades)

500+ readers - getting to this plateau is usually reserved for a piece that offers a strong perspective on a contemporary issue (ie. Bridge Over the River Snye)

1000+ readers - these are exceptionally rare so far, reserved for a mass media topic or a natural disaster (ie. 2013 Fort McMurray Flood)

DO PICTURES HELP?

In my mind, images help punctuate the story.  My most recent piece that took off worked exceptionally well as a photo/essay; the words helped the pictures, and the pictures helped the words.

ROLE OF CONSISTENCY

I don't write every day, but I almost do.  Even if I have nothing in my mind when I wake up in the morning, a topic will appear by the time I pour my coffee and sit down at my computer.  I trust the instinct and I go with it.  My writing muscle is very developed after almost one thousand posts.  I'm also pretty good at not being over analytical about my choice of topics.  Writing has become a part of who I am. To start the day without writing just feels odd.

CHOICE NOT TO PUBLISH

In the last several months, a number of blog posts have been written, but not published.  On occasion, I use this platform to explore what I'd like to say about certain hot button issues.  However, I am very mindful about hitting the PUBLISH button.  I have ended up in the eye of the storm a number of times over the years with my choice of what to write about and when.  If I'm not willing to jump into the fire, or if, in reflection, I feel that my post doesn't add value to the conversation, I will just let it sit written but unpublished for several hours or days.  Nine times out of 10, I will delete the past rather than sending it out to the world.  Me and my gut have a very trusting relationship.

DELIGHTFUL SURPRISE

I have been delighted numerous times over the years, when people have come up to me to share that they are regular readers.  In some cases they are people I know only a little; in other cases they are people I don't know at all; in all cases I am honoured that people read my posts.

THINGS THAT MAKE ME GO, HUH?

I don't fully understand the viral effect as it relates to blog posts that catch fire.  For example, Saturday's post that took off immediately and has attracted over 500 readers, started as all other posts do, with one post on Facebook and one tweet.  It would be fun to map the readership, how many come to the content because of a retweet from influential people like Theresa Wells or Ken Chapman.  Or, is it more organic than that?

The teaser is critical, as is the timing and the image.  When you hit all three of those, it's amazing to see how quickly a post spreads.

DO I HAVE FAVOURITES?

I guess I do, but I'd really have to reflect and review to come up with a list.  There are times when the content and the images hit the sweet spot, like that time I hit that baseball with my #33 bat in 1982 and it went sailing over the outfield fence - it was the greatest feeling in the world.  I'd like to say that happens often, but it doesn't.  Generally, I feel pretty good about what I write, but it's only once in awhile that I feel extraordinary.

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Well, thanks for reading.  It's time for me to shut the laptop and get Ben ready for Camp Fusion.  Have a productive and joyful day.

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