This prompt is the brainchild of Dr Tanya over at Salted Caramel. I’ve recently started following Tanya and her questions are really good. This week, she asks:
What mistakes did you make in the first few months of blogging?
Okay, I don’t say mistake, for starters, rather it became more refined. One of those is brevity, it is something I am still learning.
Average Words Per Post
Blogger / WP
The brief storyline is that when I started the blog, it was as a diary, to chart my recovery. Posts tended to be “I walked to the shop today”. I had no readers. With no readers anyway, the length hardly matters.
I discovered I quite enjoyed blogging, and in 2018 the posts became broader. Two big themes were politics and job hunting. The posts became longer, but there were still no readers.
2019 started off much the same, with posts on the same subjects. Brexit was a big issue here. Midway through the year I found some WordPress blogs, and in September, I moved my own blog to WordPress. I started getting an audience.
2020 will be my first full year on WordPress. The subject matter is now all over the place. I enjoy taking part in prompts, but I figure that if I have got something interesting to say, then other respondents might have, too, so I try to read other responses. I’ll do so with this question towards the end of the week. If I haven’t got something interesting to say, then why am I posting at all?
As a reader, if their are 20 other responses, and each is just a 3-minute post, then that is an hour to go through them all. Largely because of my eyesight, an hour is a long time to be dealing with a single topic.
So I feel that, as a writer, I should keep my responses short, just in case there are other people like me out there. I don’t know how many people read other responses, I suspect on the smaller prompts, we do. Most of us tend to follow each other, anyway.
You’ll notice that my 2020 number of words per post is dramatically lower, largely driven by this newfound audience. For starters, it is largely international so I tend to (mostly) avoid UK politics. And there has been precious little job hunting to report in 2020, so another topic avoided! But also, I have become better at editing my posts. I like that my posts now have an audience, but I can’t really expect those people to be unconditional. If I want people to read my posts, the very least I can do is to put some effort into making them thrifty with words.
The nature of my blog is different, 2017 to now. I don’t get so hung up about health/progress and use it more as a day-to-day medium. I started responding to a word of the day prompt at the start of UK-lockdown. Posting daily was another way of saying I’m okay and this prompt was the ideal vehicle. As it happens I enjoyed it more than I thought I would, and I’ve gotten into the habit of responding to the prompt using poetry. For one thing, people seem to like them (no idea why), but for another, they are 1-minute posts. So, another example where brevity has been a factor.
It is not necessarily the length of the post. If we’re discussing a detailed topic, then the posts will be long. It is this thrift thing. We could all use a good editor.