Believe it or not, this blog post marks the 100th entry on this site since I began it in September 2014. That includes a post every Wednesday and Saturday without a single gap, as well as a few additional entries that wormed their way in for various reasons.
I haven’t done meta posts at all really, so I thought I could use up a single entry to talk about the actual process of writing this blog. It’s possible it’ll come across as somewhat self-congratulatory, but I’m okay with that, because it’s something of which I’m actually quite proud. Not so much for the content as for the fact that I’ve stuck at something that has been difficult at times and would have been incredibly easy to let go. Ensuring there’s a new entry ready to publish every 3.5 days for almost a year has been a challenge. So here’s some advice based on what’s kept me going:
- Write multiple entries at once and schedule as far in advance as possible
I think there are still some people who believe that I’m posting blog entries immediately after I write them, whereas the reality is that on average I’ve had about three entries scheduled for most of the year. (For example, I’m writing this on 13th July.) At my peak level of organisation – when I was camping and had huge swathes of time to do nothing but sit and think – I had an entire month’s worth of blog entries queued. Now that I have a job in Wellington, it’s become a lot trickier, and a few posts have been hastily bashed out with the clock ticking. For example, my post on shopping was written the same day it appeared, which at least partly explains why it’s just rambling nonsense.
- Fit the blog to you, not vice versa
I am unbelievably grateful that my blog doesn’t have a theme. Sure, that makes it somewhat impenetrable to outsiders, but building an audience was never the point. A theme requires you to repeatedly birth inspiration inside a very small box, which would become near impossible with this frequency of posting, regardless of your passion for the topic. Because I don’t have to fit my blog to any notions of what it’s supposed to be about, I can find inspiration anywhere I want, and write whatever comes into my head.
For regular readers, this will surely be clear in the wildly varying tone, style and subject matter of the blog. I am fully aware that it veers between the goofy and the sincere with an alacrity that may induce emotional whiplash. That’s fine though, that’s me, always overly facetious or excessively grave. In fact, this tonal crazy paving has been great, because it allows me to…
I try, as much as possible, to deliberately write differently, partly to help me practise, and partly to keep it interesting. It’s more fun. This is about mood and style, but it’s also about content. Sometimes I write facts. Sometimes I write sarcasm. And especially of late, I’ve become fond of mushy and vaguely reflective hand-waving.
- Cheat and get other people to write the blog for you
Of the dozen or so people I’ve implored to write a guest blog for me, only four have so far given in, but I’m still hopeful that another few might acquiesce and help give me some breathing space! I love reading other people’s perspectives and hopefully it provides an intriguing occasional counterpoint to my own limited point of view.
- Collect feedback as motivation
I honestly wouldn’t have kept this up if I hadn’t had repeated encouragement throughout the year. I’m so honoured that people are still reading this damn thing, and if you’re one of those who have stayed with me the whole year, I’m so so grateful for your readership. What an achievement for you to have survived 100 posts of this inanity! Thank you, thank you, thank you.
If you’re enjoying this blog, please do let me know, I’m ever so grateful to hear it. Here’s a sampling of feedback I’ve received that has meant the world to me. (Don’t worry, I removed names so no-one needs know you ever said such a nice thing to me.)
“Dear Jonathan, I always enjoy everything about your posts.”
“Your blog is joy every week. Yours is a perfectly pitched voice. I could just read it all day.”
“Arghhh, so good! […] it is the best way to start the day.”
“You have made my crammed train commute in beeless central London very enjoyable. Thanks bee to you!”
“What a fantastic blog! You are so right in so many ways.”
“This is brilliant.”
“This post made me laugh a lot.”
“Always good to hear your adventures! Just the other day, someone called your blog ‘the best thing on the internet’.”
“Seriously, JT, I enjoy your blog an embarrassing amount. I think I may have commented the other day that you’re ‘like the new Bill Bryson.’”
“Once again your writing is brilliant, fast paced, gripping.”
“Curse you and your consistently brilliant writing!”
“You made me cry. Your blog is so moving.”
“Why must you write so many sad stories!”
“Oh Fof…..How do you write so beautifully?!?”
“Bloody beautiful Tan!”
“A beautiful post. Why aren’t you being paid to do this yet?”
“This is absolute genius! Beautifully written, with just the right amount of hyperbole, and worryingly just the right amount of truth. Magnificent work.”
“Your perspective is always so illuminating and completely relatable JT.”
“You’re gifted… love it”
“I love this blog and I love you”
“Just wanted to tell you that i love the way you’re writing, especially the sarcastic parts and also the pictures are so beautiful.”
“Loved the last blog… So informative! Keep up the good writing, making me very jealous!”
“Love your last update!! Very true! I may print it off and have it as a life guide!”
“JTan let’s get married. You’re so on point with things. I love your brain.”
“I enjoy your blog posts immensely. It is one of the few blogs I trouble to more than scan. Your language and perspective has a thoroughness of colour, and a lightness of touch, that is ever rewarding infectious and blazing bright is its humanity.”
Seriously, thanks everyone. Oh, this isn’t a quote. This is me again. Hello.
- Look at your stats… sometimes
I have been less angry this year than I’ve ever been in my life, to the point where approximately 95% of all my anger has been caused by WordPress (the other 5% is split between the time a drunk guy started threatening people in my hostel and the time someone at my job tried to teach me how to use a cloth). You can see my rage spill over towards the end of this blog post in particular.
Despite this, WordPress has its uses. In particular, it produces statistics for the blog. I love statistics. You could drive yourself mad watching every view come in, so don’t do that, but once every couple of weeks, it’s interesting to check in and realise that, hey, people are still reading the thing!
If you’re a subscriber, you’re in an elite group of 51 people. Amongst non-subscribers, numbers fluctuate from month to month, but fortunately not with an obvious descent. As an example, the most recent month of June saw 276 visitors view 716 pages across the blog, the best month the site has seen since January. These figures are tiny if you’re actually trying to expand your base, but they’re huge if you just want to check that your friends still care. 🙂
And just because I love statistics, here are some more irrelevant facts.
The most popular day to click on my blog is Saturday, when 30% of views arrive. The most popular hour is 11am (UK time), which accounts for 16% of views.
The 3 most read entries of all time on my blog are:
The 3 most read film reviews are:
The 3 most read stories are:
The best ever day for the blog was way back on 10th September, with 130 views in one day. (EDITOR’S NOTE: Although interestingly this has since been surpassed by 22nd July, which saw 144 views.)
Oh, and in total there are 100 posts.
Which brings me on to a final note. For those who don’t know, the asterisk in the title of this blog entry is a cricketing term denoting Not Out.
That is to say, don’t worry, I’m not done yet. I hope you aren’t either.