Archives for posts with tag: Blogging

Like many bloggers, especially the phenomenal ones who commit to daily posts, I usually have a couple of weeks’ worth of posts stored up, so they get published about half a month after I’ve created them. Then again, from time to time I like to slot them in as I write them. This is such an occasion, while the thoughts are fresh.

I went to a high school reunion a couple of days ago. I’d never been to one before. They’re an institution in places like the US, and Grosse Pointe Blank is one of my favourite films, so I was expecting something not quite as surreal and a lot less violent.

I hadn’t seen most of the attendees for over 30 years, and hadn’t talked to anyone from my class year this century, so it was odd yet hugely gratifying to reacquaint myself with people who had either changed remarkably little or who had changed out of all recognition.

Once I had triangulated my memory with name and face, It was very easy to slip back into a relaxed conversation with folks, as though a few weeks – rather than a few decades – had elapsed since we had last caught up.

Some had done well and were retired, some were doing well and still at it, and most were in the lifelong experience of parenting. There was good news and sad news, but it was an unfailingly pleasant night. Some of us promised to keep in touch with each other, so we’ll see what the passage of time does to these easy pledges.

There was no violence, apart from one unfortunate soul who slipped and banged her head, and it was completely, utterly surreal. I scored 50% there, which I think is a pass at school, right?

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I introduced the notion relatively recently that I might stop blogging on this page after 1,000 blog posts. I produce 3 blog posts a week, always on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and that cadence works for me, so 1,000 posts will take me a fraction over 333 weeks, the guts of 7 years.

And then I read Seth Godin’s post yesterday, which talks about the first 1,000 blog posts being the most difficult…Mr Godin’s blog is one of the inspirations for me starting my own back in 2013, but then again he writes a daily blog post, and we aren’t talking weekdays only. That’s over twice my input. That cadence obviously works for him.

His first para reads: “For years, I’ve been explaining to people that daily blogging is an extraordinarily useful habit. Even if no one reads your blog, the act of writing it is clarifying, motivating and (eventually) fun.” I could have written those words myself, except substitute ‘thrice weekly’ for the daily bit, because the sentiment is spot on.

Some of Mr Godin’s posts are very short indeed, and then some of them are quite involved, whereas I try and stick to a 4-to-5 para, 250-or-so words, couple-minutes-to-read kind of a thing. That said, his output is prodigious, helped no doubt by an enviable book-publishing remit that allows him to kill two birds with one stone.

Interestingly, Mr G sees a trend where people get the bit between their teeth after 200 posts or so, which is a little over 6 months. Maybe the time in the saddle is more important than the cadence, since 200 posts take me 15 months, which is a different proposition altogether. Or maybe it’s the cadence that counts…

As for the first 1000 posts thing, for me it could well be the only 1000 posts, and I think the daily discipline would become a daily drag, perhaps for you too, as the ‘customer’.

 

Well, bloody hell, 800 blog posts out the door! At a total elapsed average time from idea to creation, to fine-tuning, to scheduling of half an hour per post, that’s 400 hundred hours of blogging.

It’s also 10 solid weeks of nothing but blog posting over the last 5 years, 1 month, 1 week and change. There has to be a book in it somewhere. That doesn’t mean it’s a book worth publishing or buying, and if it’s not bought is it really a book? If a tree falls in a forest and no-one hears it does it make a sound? If I signal to turn left and no-one seems my signal, has it been received, to make it a signal to someone?

When I published my 750th blog post I talked about the possibility of packing it in at post number 1,000. That’s in 200 blog posts’ time, just over 15 months away, roughly the dawn of 2020. That seems as good a time as any, like when Forest Gump had run thousands of miles and then simply stopped, because for him the time was right. Maybe I’ll keep on going after the 1000th blog post, having become institutionalised to commit my musings to digital paper.

For me the act of blogging has always been a self-centred thing, something I do for the discipline and flow of regular writing. I’ve never actively promoted the blog and the size of the readership and followership is not important to me.

For now, though, the next thought is blog post number 801. Thanks for reading!

This is post number 783. I was going to write about the number 777 in blog post number 777, but I forgot. This post is 6 posts too late, but I’d still like to make a point and hold your attention for another minute.

The significance of seven seven seven relates to luck, the bible and my past. Seven is considered a lucky number in some societies, so 3 sevens must be very lucky. A missed opportunity for this blog, therefore.

Also, seven is a biblically important number, at least in Christianity, with seven cows and all that kind of stuff.

Finally, I always associate the number seven and 3 sevens with fruit machines. You can still see them on fruit machines today, and 3 sevens usually means the jackpot. Back in my youth, before the advent of devices and gaming, the fruit machine was the only visually interesting machine to hold the attention of kids. We weren’t yet in the era of Space Invaders and Pacman. The cherries (small payout), oranges (slight larger but still small payout), bells (medium payout) and red sevens (large payout) were what ruled our spare time as we watched other people spend their money for their – and our – entertainment. A significant symbol of my youth.

Not significant enough for me to remember it on the right day, however.

 

We’re generally on the receiving end of irony. Things that end up being ironic are almost always not in our favour. Irony in business is the same. Commerce tends not to like irony. It likes to deal in good fortune and certainty where possible.

Towards the end of 2017 I finished the final draft of a book I’ve written on how we should deal with our lot in life and leisure if we’re generalists rather than specialists. People who can do a few things well, but are not standout in any one thing.

Since the end of 2017 I’ve been trying to find a agent to take on my project, get behind it and find a publishing deal. In other words, I’ve been trying to persuade a number of specialists that a book written about generalists is a worthwhile project.

The irony of this task is not lost on me. In fact it’s a constant companion. ‘If you’re only pretty good at a few things, why should I, who am great at this thing, take on a project, and why should readers read something, that is probably only pretty good, pretty well written?’

I’m going on holiday shortly for a couple of weeks, which necessitates having at least half a dozen blog posts ‘in the can’. Notwithstanding these literary guardians at the gate, I might publish a few pages of my book as posts, to see if I get any kind of a reaction.

When Paul McCartney and John Lennon were writing songs in the early Beatles days, they would come up with a memorable melody, piano riff or guitar riff, with no way of recording and saving it at home, before they could get to the studio. If they couldn’t remember it the next day, it wasn’t good enough to be worked on.

Writing my blog is not quite the same thing, and the end result doesn’t have the same world-beating quality either. The process is different. In some cases you come up with an idea for a series of posts, such as a 7-step B2B product launch process. In other cases, a thought comes to me or an observation mushrooms into an viewpoint I can talk about.

I usually write it down straight away, or tap a few words into my phone. If the thought or observation comes to me while I’m driving, and I’m on my own, then I have to try and commit it to memory, until I can stop and record it.

If I can’t get a thought down on phone or paper before it disappears, it’s often lost forever. I would say that over the last 50-plus months dozens of ideas, thoughts and comments have gone to the ether, never to return.

Is that a bad thing, or a good thing? I don’t know, but probably neither. It is what it is.

Well that’s the 750 up, as we would say in cricketing circles. We wouldn’t say it all that often, as amassing 750 runs in a single innings is a pretty rare occurrence. Well before then, the other team would have got us all out or we’d have declared, which is the cricketing version of ‘we’ve had a good go, let’s see what you can do.’

I guess 750 blog posts is a pretty rare occurrence too. At 3 times a week it’s 250 weeks’ worth of blogging, which is 10 weeks – or 30 posts – short of half a decade of committing thoughts to virtual paper. Put that way, it sounds a lot.

I’m not sure if that puts me in the top 10% of prolific bloggers – and a quick check on google leads me to conclude that it’s not that easy to find out – but it’s a decent quantity. As to the quality, well that’s for others to decide.

When to stop though? All good things must come to an end and I’ve always said that I’ll stop when the fun stops, to borrow a gambling compliance term.

Going completely against that sentiment for a moment, though, 1,000 posts seems like a good number to finish on. I might have run out of things to say by then. There’s also the added bonus of it not being easily divisible by the 3-posts-a-week cadence. We’ll see.

 

Better late than never, as they say, which is typically true I think.

I usually like to celebrate the anniversary of this blog post in two ways. First, on the anniversary itself, an annual reminder of when I started it. Second, every time I hit a 100-post milestone.

I noticed today that I’ve recently clocked up 700 posts – enough for two full and fairly random books. In fact I think this is number 704 – at 3 posts a week that’s two hundred and thirty-some weeks’ worth – so please excuse my ‘institutional’  tardiness.

Sometimes late is not better than never, you need to bury it and move on. On this occasion, I think it’s pretty harmless.

Onwards and upwards!

Titles can be misleading. We can oversell things or we can simply misdirect people, either by mistake or on purpose. I know that now, from the title of a relatively recent post.

This is the sixth year of blogging for me. I started in 2013 and now it’s 2018, which is six years, at least as far as the Gregorian calendar is concerned. This is different, of course, from my sixth year of blogging, which I will only reach after five years in the proverbial saddle, and even then I’ll only be a hair’s breadth into my sixth year.

In real terms I’ve only been blogging for about four-and-a-third years, which is why the sixth year of blogging sounds so much better. We take advantage of mathematical and measurement rounding to make things appear better than they are. If I’ve won a golf major in every decade for four decades, or had a child in every decade for four decades, it sounds like a span of forty years, but it might only be a spread of twenty-one years.

Overselling things, or overstating them, is OK, as long as we don’t create a false impression in people that we can’t then deliver on. They might turn away for good.

4 years blogging. That’s 620-odd Monday-Wednesday-Friday posts over 208 weeks. Blimey. It’s a long time, isn’t it? For nearly 7 and half per cent of my entire life, and roughly 20% of the existence of the medium, I’ve been blogging regularly.

The one thing that strikes me when I hit these milestones is this: where the bloody hell has the time gone and why is it going so damn fast? It doesn’t seem that long since I penned my first post on ‘domino chain’ theory, complete with fancy self-made picture.

Over this time I’ve stayed very true to the blog’s strapline, putting into words my ‘musings on things that I come into contact with’. True to that, I’ve written on a range of topics, from sales and marketing through to language and communication, behaviour and attitudes, cultures and conflicts, travel and tribulations.

As I’ve always said, I enjoy the discipline of penning the regular post, and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading the odd one too.

How long will I continue doing this? Well, to borrow from the gambling phrase that sits under all ads, at least in this country: when the fun stops, stop.