I have now posted twenty pieces on this blog, good, bad and indifferent. How do I know? Well, WordPress very kindly keep a running total for you, with a status bar to show what progress you’re making towards the next five, and they congratulate you when you arrive at each milestone. This time there was a gold star – I’m a sucker for gold stars. I’m not sure what’s in it for them if people post more, as they aren’t obviously selling anything, but I presume that all the posts I write must somehow, somewhere make a difference to something. I hope it isn’t just a question of making my details available to yet more advertisers.
I never thought I’d keep going this long, but there is something potentially addictive about blogging, and certainly something enjoyable. It’s like writing a column, only without the pressure to produce something each week – and, of course, without the cheque at the end. You do get an audience, though. Since I categorised this blog under ‘writing’ I’ve had responses from other bloggers as far away as Canada and Argentina, some of whom have ‘liked’ a piece or commented on it. The expectation, of course, is that I will then ‘like’ theirs (I have to use quotation marks to show I don’t just mean like). Although I’ve looked at their blogs with interest, I find I wouldn’t necessarily want to ‘like’ them – not because they’re not good, but because the style or subject-matter doesn’t appeal to me. I have several friends who write blogs and I don’t always ‘like’ their pieces either, even though I like their blogs and am happy to go on reading them. If they write about a subject that doesn’t interest me a lot and is obviously aimed at a different audience, I don’t feel obliged to ‘like’ their posts. When something does appeal to me, then I will ‘like’ it. With the blogs of people I don’t know, I haven’t taken the time to read all their posts and so may have missed things that I would genuinely like, as well as ‘like’.
One person whose blog I looked at has posted a whole novel, which I’m sorry to say I haven’t read. Flexible though the blog format is, when I read a blog post I’m usually expecting something about the size of a short-to-medium article, more or less the attention span I would want to give it. I actually read about that much of the novel, which I know may be disappointing for the person concerned. I may go back for more later, but right then I couldn’t stop to immerse myself in it. At different times I’ve posted a poem and a couple of short stories and I’ll continue to post other writings if something seems to fit, but I have a feeling that people don’t always read them. And, of course, even if they read them they may not necessarily ‘like’ them, so that I don’t know whether they have read them or not.
The point of marking this twenty-first blog post (I’m old enough to remember when we celebrated twenty-first birthdays) is just to pat myself on the back for having got there. It feels like another little step towards becoming ‘a writer’, whatever that means. When I send my work to agents I can let them know the address of my blog – not that they’ll ever have time to read it – so that they can see I’m in there writing, and writing about writing, which shows I’m serious. I can tell my friends I have a blog and hope they will read it, even though some of them have no idea that there’s any difference between a blog and Facebook or Twitter, and can’t be bothered with any of it anyway. I can also share my posts on Facebook so that my ‘friends’, as well as my friends, can read them if they choose. All of which is saying, simply and crudely, “I’ve written something. Please read it”, just like the other bloggers who have ‘liked’ my posts. And of course nobody is obliged to read or like anything, just as nobody is obliged to buy a particular author’s book, or to enjoy it if they do read it. It’s a hard life, writing…