I’ve been filling in for a sick friend on his blog, along with other people who either sent me stuff to post for them, or posted their own articles themselves. It’s a popular blog that gets a lot of visitors, which means that a hiatus, however, brief, can lose the audience’s interest. People were somewhat bewildered when on a Monday morning, only two of the usual posts appeared, and after a little reflection, I posted one of my own articles to distract the audience from their ‘what’s happening here?’ concerns. Just pick up the walking staff and carry on.
Fortunately, I had access and didn’t have to ask for permission to post an article. As a result, the sigh of relief was tangible. After a couple of days, I put a routine together which the audience seemed to like, found plenty of material to provide grit for their grindstone – that’s a metaphor, really – and things went on as before.
That was the best lesson I’ve ever had in making something happen. If you want it, you have to earn it, whatever ‘it’ is. No one is just going to hand ‘it’ to you or do the work for you. I’ve said before that we all want to be heard. The reason that some blogs prosper and generate a large following is that the blog owner focuses on what he/she wants to present and forges ahead, regardless of the size of the audience, and continues to make posts whether anyone reads them or not. At some point, the blog begins to get noticed more and more often, and finally, like a waiting daisy, begins to bloom.
Now, in my case, minding the store or guarding the fortress while someone else is out with the sickie-poos is not a big deal, but does it interfere with continuing to work on the novels I’ve started? The simple answer to that is ‘No, it does not’. There was plenty of time available for me to reflect on what I want to do, where I really want those stories to go, what the Big Bad Guys may be like, what parts I neglected. Now that the owner of the other blog is getting back on his feet, some of the problems I was facing have been solved and I can work on that. I’ll still be posting stuff on his blog because it helps him out, but I won’t be neglecting my own at all.
I never got around to making a list of subjects to cover, and I’m not going to do that, either. It’s better to have a general idea and allow it to find its own path to follow. This is, after all, about writing and the process of writing, how we communicate with others, and what it means to be persistent, to be able to stick to it until a project is finished. It isn’t as easy as it seemed in the beginning.
How you set your own up and what you want to do is up to you, but a staying audience, one that comes back repeatedly to see what you said today or yesterday, takes a while to build. The extremely small number of people who have had instant hits should be a clear indicator of what it takes to build an audience.
In view of that, and taking into account what I got out of minding someone else’s store for a while, I have a better idea about what I want to do here. Let’s consider it a new way to keep a journal.
Spring will be here soon. Be ready for it. Stick around.