Thursday, May 10, 2012

Blogging

 This blog started in November of 2010 with just an occasional entry.  But blogging about my life was pretty boring; how many times can one talk about the day’s run, weeds pulled out of the yard or the number of lines of code written.  If I was in the public eye that kind of stuff might be more interesting, but few people care about how an average Joe spends his day.  The first 10 months of A Clay Jar consisted of 15 posts, mostly centered around my journey with cancer (which was a little exciting), but also including holidays, running, hiking, a trip, and a couple of Bible studies.

Two things happened in September of 2011.  The first is that my go to the office job terminated and I suddenly had a lot more free time.  And the second is that I decided that there must be someone in the world, other than my wife, who might be interested in what I have to say.  And so I began to write much more frequently; mostly concerning the Bible or other things related to Christianity, but also about things I have done and opinions that I had previously kept to myself.

At that point I started trying to write a couple of posts a week and more recently have upped that to 3 a week.  And this is now post number 101.   It’s kind of hard to believe that there has been so much inside me wanting to come out.  What has been even more unbelievable is that there are a few people who actually seem to care about what has popped out of my head.  It always amazes me when someone will tell me that they have enjoyed reading something I wrote.

The average post I write is read by about 50 people, although that is greatly skewed toward the ones about backpacking.  Most posts are cross-linked to Facebook and Google+, but the backpacking one are also listed in the North West Hikers forum.  My top 10 posts are all backpacking posts and get their lofty status because of bored readers on NWHikers.net.  I generally consider a post to be successful if it gets 30 reads, although there are some that fail to reach half that total.  It seems to some extent to depend on when I post it, and how appealing the tag is on Facebook.

Most of the views of a post come within a few days of its being posted.  But I am starting to find that there are more and more hits against older posts.  It appears like I am starting to show up in some of the search engines.  Although some of it is also likely because a new reader with nothing better to do will look through the index and find something that appeals to them.

One of the primary rules I have read for blogging is that to be successful you need to focus on some particular topic.  But I have violated this rule and have chosen to write about whatever I want to.  While most of my blogs are related somehow to Christianity or the Bible, with a smaller number about backpacking, I have also been known to ramble about work, homeowner stuff, running, and pretending like someone else might care about my opinion on a variety of topics.  And my intention at this point is to continue with the same approach.

Fundamentally this blog is really more for me than it is for anyone who might read it.  I do indeed care that others read it and find value in its words.  But more importantly it is a discipline that I am working on, to focus my thoughts more clearly by committing them to a printed form in a way that hopefully is clear and makes sense.  Writing has always been something I have used to bring my thoughts into focus.  Committing to a blog schedule keeps me focused on doing that regularly and consistently.  Without the blog it is just too easy to skip the writing; because after all, it is hard work.

If A Clay Jar has value to you now, and in the future, great.  And I appreciate any feedback you might give.  Hopefully I will continue to write as long as I have thoughts that I would like to sharpen into something somewhat concise and cohesive.  But as a word of warning, you may find that some of those thoughts are unexpected and not what you might look for from me.  Thinking can be a dangerous activity and can lead down unexpected pathways.  But regardless where it takes me, there is joy in the journey.

Thanks again to those who read this.  And here’s to the next 100 posts!

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