How and Why

ABFH composed a new blogging meme, which unlike many that are transmitted by assigned infection, is open for anyone to self-select. I thought her questions to be rather interesting, as the overall topic of “how and why one blogs” is something that I myself have contemplated upon occasion.

1. Is there a regular time of day when you compose your posts?

No, it really depends on what that day’s schedule is like. On weekdays I usually post late in the evening, and when I’m off work sometimes I post early in the morning. When I’m travelling I post whenever I can get some freaking internet access!

2. Do you prefer to write a certain number of posts per week (or per month)?

It varies; I think mathematically I average about three per week. Many weeks I’ll post almost daily, and then some weeks I’m really busy with jobs or am sick, and hardly post at all. Once in a while I get very overwhelmed by the absolute stupidity of the world, and cannot muster even the energy to rant, much less compose a thoughtful rebuttal. Fortunately those days don’t last.

3. Are you more likely to write a post when you’re happy about the topic, or do you mainly blog when you feel like ranting?

Neither; I post when some thought grabs my attention. I usually have half a dozen ideas in my Drafts folder (slush pile), so sometimes one will finally get finished as my thoughts on the topic coalesce. Most times an idea will just grab me by the lapels and demand to be written. I have very assertive Muses.

The funny thing is that when I started blogging, I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to sustain it for more than a month; it seemed like I only had a few particular points I wanted to mention. Some 200 posts later, I find that there’s always something more that I feel needs addressing!

4. Do you write from notes or an outline, or are your posts mostly spontaneous?

My “slush pile” posts often start off with a few pithy turns of phrase or some random statements that are then enlarged upon, but most posts are from the spontaneous end of the writing spectrum. I’m not a very linear writer — my mind jumps all over the place, and nothing’s so brilliant I can’t forget it a minute later, so I’m constantly jumping downpage to type a sentence so I don’t forget what I want to include, and then returning to my previous paragraph, and then stepping back a few paragraphs to check a wording, and sometimes moving sections around … it’s all very recursive.

Most everything I write then goes through three to five rounds of proofreading/editing before I hit the Publish button. Even then, when it’s finally published, I’ll often see that silly typo a little while later than that I go back and fix. My biggest typographical error lately has been my fingers “autofilling” and typing the wrong word that had some similar letters; it’s not misspelled, so the spell-check doesn’t catch it, unlike my more common errors of transposed letters. Overall, my spelling style and vocabulary wanders back between US and UK usages, which reflects both my own research reading background, and my inability to remember which usages are for which places. In light of the fact that I have readers all over the world anyway, I don’t consider this to be a problem.

One of my challenges is to figure out the reading level of my audience. When I post regularly, I get about 250-400 hits per day. Obviously not all of those result in someone reading the entire post, but even so, I really have no idea who the bulk of you blog readers are, or what your backgrounds are. I try to strike a balance between using technical or scholarly language with plain writing that’s not simplistic, and include links or definitions for those terms that are probably obscure to the average reader. Then again, I’m not afraid to use “big words” because I assume that none of you are “average readers”! (grin)

5. Do you try to maintain a central theme for your blog and avoid random topics that don’t fit the theme?

No, the theme has pretty much evolved. I do try to achieve some balance, posting lighter stuff (humourous bits, happy news) after I’ve had several heavy posts of ranting or bad news. After all, photographs of insects doesn’t really relate to social commentary about the world of Special Education. On the other hand, there are a lot of things I learned about behaviour and sensory processing with regards to insects that do have parallels in Special Education — everything in the world is related to everything else at some level!

6. Are there any interesting rituals associated with your blogging?

Well, I’ve found that it’s really difficult for me to concentrate when anyone else is around, so I blog when I’m alone in my room, cats & tarantula notwithstanding. I tend to rock when I’m thinking. I also like to put a piece of jazz or instrumental music on Repeat for background noise to drown out the tinnitus and help me stay focused. Right now I’m listening to “Take Five” by the Dave Brubeck Quartet.

Most days when I wake up in the morning I’m really achy, if not a trifle nauseous. But I’m always curious to see if anyone’s posted a reply to what I blogged about the night before, so that helps me roll out of bed. Unfortunately, a lot of posts never get any comments, and I’ve yet to figure out why people comment on some posts and not others! But for those who do, thank you.

On a Monday morning, a tired woman in yellow honeybee pyjamas is sitting in her rocker, staring blearily at her computer screen and checking to see if anyone else is out there in the blogosphere.

“Good morning, bloggers!”

1 Comment

  1. Diddums said,

    24 September 2007 at 22:46

    Good evening from a blogger in Scotland.

    Sometimes I don’t comment on posts that affect me a great deal, for different reasons – usually because there’s a lot going on that day, or I don’t really know where to start. Recently I’ve only been able to read blogs at night, which reduces the amount of commenting I’ve been doing – I’m hoping I’ll get some lazier days reasonably soon. Whether I comment or not, I always enjoy your posts.


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