I haven’t done such a hot job of this recently. I’m not sure why.
Given my track record, there should be plenty of stuff to occupy my attention. College football is an obvious one, but not even a 9-0 start by the Buckeyes is enough to get me to sit down and get some stuff posted here.
I have a couple of guesses as to what’s going on. First — I may be experiencing a little bit of blog-fading. That’s a term that was initially applied to podcasters who inexplicably slowed the pace of new shows, sometimes even stopping altogether. You get tired. As of next month, Uncle Crappy’s been around, in one form or another, for four years. That’s a long freaking time. And while I’m not ready to quit — in fact, I’m still looking at new stuff to do, like my own podcast or maybe even an occasional Talkshoe talk show — there’s no question that this can be a difficult thing to maintain. And that’s how I’ve been feeling this fall.
I’m also feeling a little conflicted about what Uncle Crappy should be. When I attended the second Podcamp Pittsburgh in August, I heard one message about social media over and over and over — this is about building and maintaining community. There always has been a little community associated with Uncle Crappy — at least after I outed myself to friends in February 2005 — but I started thinking about what would happen if I wanted to participate in the community that exists here.
To do that, I’d have to become a little less concerned about letting people know who Uncle Crappy is. I’ve done that, to an extent. After Podcamp ended, I opened the door to a couple of Pittsburgh bloggers, who, being the smart folks they are, walked right through. And the world didn’t end. I also opened the same door to a couple of trusted co-workers, and they figured it out as well. Again — no apocalypse.
This means a couple of changes. The political posts of the past — the ones that are most likely to get me in trouble with current employers or potential ones — are in the process of disappearing, from these pages at least. And there won’t be any new rants posted here. I’m in the process of setting up another site, password-protected, that would contain the full Uncle Crappy archives — bleeding-heart liberalism and all — and be the new home to whatever political rants occur to me from this point forward. When it’s ready, a few of you folks who have been here for a long time will receive an email with log-in and password info, if you want to continue to read Uncle Crappy in all his unadulterated glory.
The other part of this has to do with what I’m writing about. Do my new friends in Pittsburgh really want to read daily updates about Ohio State football? Probably not. Will the people who have been reading since 2005 appreciate a steady stream of Pittsburgh-related stuff? Again, I’d guess the answer is likely a no.
What’s the solution? I’m going to do the thing that will make no one but me particularly happy — I’m going to do both. So it’ll be the same as it ever was, but with a little more Pittsburgh-specific stuff thrown in.
And my readership will probably plummet as a result. Whoo!
So. Uncle Crappy’s going to look a little different, but really, not different enough to be concerned about. Most of the stuff will be the same, including rule No. 1 — we’re still not going to name anyone here, especially not me, unless you’re comfortable with outing yourself.
And we’re going to solve the dearth-of-posting problem with an exercise. You may or may not be aware of NaNoWriMo, the shorthand name of National Novel Writing Month, which takes place each November. It’s an exercise where participants try to write a novel of at least 50,000 words in a month. I’m always blown away by the discipline necessary to even make an attempt, not to mention those who actually finish a novel in 30 days.
And I won’t be doing that.
I may be participating in NaDruWriNi — National Drunken Writing Night — or NaDruBloDa — National Drunk Blogging Day — if I can figure out when they take place. Those I can definitely do.
But that’s not what I’m talking about either.
NaBloPoMo, or the National Blog Posting Month challenge, is the one I’ll be participating in. It’s simple — you pledge to post once a day through November. Skipping a day just because you feel crappy or you don’t think there’s anything worth writing about isn’t allowed.
I think this workable. It doesn’t require the same level of discipline that writing a fucking novel in one month does — and we all know that Uncle Crappy shouldn’t even think about giving that one a shot — and it apparently doesn’t matter whether I’m drinking or not when I’m putting a post together. In my mind, this sounds perfect — and it should give me enough of a push to kick the funk that kept me from properly ranting about the season Ohio State has been having.
So, boys and girls, let the ranting begin. Tomorrow. On November 1.
I wish you’d try NaNoWriMo — it’s not as hard as you might think. But NaBloPoMo should be good, and I look forward to your posts.
NaDruWriNi is the first Saturday in November, which makes it this Saturday. I am so glad you reminded me! I have a party-filled night scheduled, but I’ll have to get home and get to the drunken writing as soon as possible. It’s often my most interesting blogging day of the year.
I believe in challenging but realistic goals. Trying for 50,000 words in a month — on top of the writing I have to do for work — would be difficult at best. The post-a-day thing is attainable, and it’ll give me the push I apparently need to get back to a respectable posting schedule here. And Saturday night? We’ll be in Columbus, a few hours removed from the conclusion of the Ohio State-Wisconsin game. Drinks are a distinct possibility.
If you don’t mind me asking … what are your thoughts about the content here, especially pertianing to my questions about writing for new readers vs. old? I have no idea what the right balance should be, and it would be helpful to hear your opinion…
I like the content here, especially the mix of topics. For example, I don’t follow college football at all, but it’s interesting to see the thoughts of someone who does.
I face similar questions at My Brilliant Mistakes. It’s a hodgepodge blog, and it makes sense that a more focused blog could be easier for people to understand. And I would enjoy having a larger audience — more people to pummel with my pounding logic.
But there are other things I could try first to improve audience retention, like posting consistently, commenting on other blogs, and providing more entertaining content.
Posting every day is, I believe, the most significant thing one can to do build and hold onto readers. People don’t use RSS feeders, and even if they do, they like to see new content often.
So rather than rethink what you’re writing, focus on writing more, of anything. The easiest thing to write about may be what you enjoy, so go for that. NaBloPoMo happens to come at an ideal time for you to run this experiment, doesn’t it?
If you figure out when those alcohol-related blogging days are, can you drop me a message/comment/line?
Also! Good luck with NaBloPoMo. I’m registered, but still have yet to decide if I can really make it through. I guess I’ll see what tomorrow feels like.
I look forward to your Pittsburgh posts.
Cindy: Thanks for the advice. It occurred to me this morning that I’d probably be better off doing what I intended to with Uncle Crappy in the first place, which is writing for me. I don’t mean forgetting about whatever audience I have, but maybe I’ve moved away from the blog’s original intention, which was to give me a place — and a reason — to do some writing that wasn’t work-related.
Posting consistently would help though — I think I remember someone mentioning that at Podcamp? — so NaBloPoMo should at least be a good start.
Rachel: If I can do this, you certainly can. And go ahead and incorporate the NaDruWriNi event — glad Cindy told me it was Saturday — into the program. I can’t find a date for the other one, so I may just make one up. Or maybe we do a Pittsburgh-specific drunken writing day? “Pittsburgh Sloppy Blogging Day?” Something like that?
Cindy: I’d be a natural.