Exactly one year ago today (I even watched the clock so I could say that) I pushed the publish button on my first post on this blog. The first few posts were very tentative forays but like all new babies, this offspring developed rapidly thanks to the help and encouragement of many other bloggers. I’ve even mastered some of the lingo (I no longer need to reach for the dictionary to decipher blog hops, memes and readathons).
So what have I learned?
Lesson number 1: Make Time to Blog. writing and managing a blog takes far more time than I ever anticipated. Blogs do not write themselves. Writing, finding photos, replying to comments, thinking of the next topic, playing with the design. Phew……this could easily be a full time job.
Lesson number 2: Think Beyond Numbers I’ve discovered that I am ridiculously thrilled when someone posts a comment or a ‘like’ — it tells me that there is someone somewhere out there that is interested. I’m not interested in building a large number of followers —I’d rather have a small number that engage in a discussion with me than hundreds of followers who never bother to say anything. Fortunately I’ve made many new virtual friends who regularly drop in on this blog and whose blogs I follow regularly. And they’ve been kind enough to help me find my feet.
Lesson number 3: Be Flexible. The blog has undergone a few changes since I started. In the first post I said I planned to read all the Booker prize winning novels and to write about them. I thought I would be writing only about the Booker prize or about the authors themselves. But I quickly realised that was too limiting a topic and there were so many other aspects of reading that interested me (plus I am not disciplined enough to confine my reading just to those authors). So now the topics are much broader – from classics to world literature and more recently, the history of the novel.
Lesson number 4: Blogging about Books is Risky. I already had a Alpine size pile of unread books when I started this venture a year ago. That’s now grown to Rockies proportions and just keeps growing. Every time I read a posting on another blog, I add it to my wishlist and look out for it next time I’m in a charity shop or bookstore. There are now easily 3 years worth of books to read and that’s not counting ones I want to re-read or ones that I haven’t even bought yet but which I know I will buy (my excuse is I need them because they are Booker winners or on my classics club list or on my Reading the World challenge….)
Lesson number 5; Experiment I write extensively in my professional life so I thought writing a blog wouldn’t be that difficult. But it requires a different style of writing than I’m accustomed to using. I’m not convinced I’ve found the natural style I want yet so I keep trying different tones of voice and approaches.
Lesson number 6: Join the Party Writing a blog can be a lonely experience if all you do is commit your thoughts to the virtual page and press send. Blogging is all about communication and communication is a two way street. So unless you just want a personal diary (in which case go and buy a notebook) then you need to participate in other groups and engage with other people. The more I’ve followed other blogs and commented on them, the more interesting this enterprise has become. I get a window on the lives of many people and can share their love of literature even if we agree to disagree on certain authors. How else would I get to know what a book club in Singapore was reading last week?
Mistakes – of course I’ve made a few, but then again too few to mention. So I won’t…….. I’ll just say thanks to everyone who follows, comments or just reads – and look forward to celebrating my next birthday with you all. OK it’s time to blow out the candles now…