It’s been a while

I’ve not been writing as often as I’d like this last week. Partly this is due to my having done the Birmingham International Marathon last Sunday and being in recovery from a knee injury from that. But I know that’s a pathetic excuse – there’s always my phone that I can write posts on after all.

That being said I am currently putting together a structure, a strategy if you like, for planning writing and publishing posts at a more consistent rate. Once it is all put together I’ll put together a list of the programs and services I am using for it.

I had a goal a few weeks back of getting to this site to have 250 published posts in total by Christmas day 2017. This post will be number 182 so I’m not sure if I’ll successfully manage 250 by then. But I will give it a good try.

Going to be going pumpkin picking tomorrow but don’t know what I’m going to theme my pumpkin on this year. Last year’s was Pinhead from Hellraiser. I’d love to hear some suggestions from you.

Take care, Dave.

Stop worrying about your niche – just write

Every single regurgitated blog post I see about starting a blog always says the same thing – find a niche and focus on targeting it. This can be a toxic idea as it has the power to both limit you and paralyse you from writing.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t have a focus in your writing, just don’t let finding a focus stop you from writing.

My advice to anybody out there wanting to start a blog is this – just open a free WordPress.com account and get writing. I mention WordPress as it is cloud-based, free, and has the ability for you to export your posts when you are ready to move to a self-hosted solution.

Just start writing.

Even the process of setting up a self-hosted WordPress site can be danuting for new people, but that’s okay. You shouldn’t need to worry about these steps when you are just starting out.

I highly recommend that you do have a self-hosted website eventually, just don’t let setting one up hinder you from any writing you could actually be doing.

You don’t need to feel that you have to publish everything you write either. Just writing for writing’s sake is good for you. Obviously if you can share your thoughts and experiences with the world then that’s all good, just don’t feel you have to.

“Visits” are real people too.

When trying to write every day, I find myself looking at my WordPress dashboard to see how many visits I’ve had up to that point. When the bar chart goes way higher than the average I get excited; when it is lower or completely empty I get down.

Sitting down to wait for my dinner today I thought to myself that these numbers on the bar charts are real people. Flesh and blood people who have landed on my website by chance. I have the opportunity to share something real with them.

I had recently tried maintaining a music-focussed blog, which I managed to keep up for a few months before leaving it to go stale. Those old reviews and interviews have now been brought under my personal website domain and I’m no longer writing to just “get views”.

Of course, the more people I have visiting me the better, but I’m not going to go out of my way to write things I don’t want to just because I think more people will want to read it. From now on I will try and just tell the truth; my truth.

Along with writeups/reviews of various things I see and do, as well as keeping a journal of sorts, I aim to make this an honest account of my experiences. Anyone who comes along for the ride is a bonus.

Thanks,

Dave.

P.s. if any of you reading this have your own website, let me know in the comments below. Cheers.

Taking my blog too serious

I’m finding I’m taking my blog way too seriously. Instead of just writing; checking; and publishing, I’m leaving posts in draft worried they are not professional enough.

This is stupid.

This website is for me and me alone. I’m currently writing (have written) a long post about my experience with playing Life is Strange and I’m too busy trying to make it sound like a professional review to actually publish it.

From a couple of podcasts I’ve listened to recently I have found this is a common issue for bloggers.

I’m going to do my very best to not censor or judge myself too much. Instead I’m gonna do my very best to just get writing every single day.

In this spirit I’m not going to proof read this post – instead I’m just gonna press publish…

…now.

A Deeper Appreciation For Music

As I’m writing this current review, of Bat For Lashes’ latest album, I’m realising that I’m gaining a deeper understanding of the songs than I would have done simply from just listening to them.

I’m finding myself focusing and even studying the music and the lyrics and feel like I’m getting so much more out of the album.

I have noticed it before with other albums I’ve reviewed recently, but it’s with this one – and specifically the song “In God’s House”, that I’ve have really noticed it.

Inner critics and just getting on with it

I have just written this post and then lost it without saving. I am annoyed. That said, I’ll try and rewrite without rushing too much.

I’m always tinkering around with this website. As a result I tend to sometimes get bored with it. I feel the design just looks dull and uninspired, and find that my backend could be a lot cleaner… phrasing. I then feel that my website needs to be improved – and as a result rebuilt.

This is the inner critic talking.

You know that guy/gal right? They are the one that sits back doing naff-all and only pipes up to say something when you’ve created something, or are thinking of doing so, and says “That’s shit – what are you thinking?”. The inner critic is a fecking wonker (intentional fake swearing) and needs to be put down.

Something I listened to last week really hit home with me about this. On this episode of The Web Ahead podcast, Jen Simmons talked with Jeremy Keith about understanding the web. I am always inspired when hearing Jeremy talk about the web and building for it

This is when the site never gets launched because it’s never quite good enough. The number of designers who haven’t launched because it doesn’t look quite right, or the number of developers because they haven’t finished writing their own CMS.

Jeremy Keith on The Web Ahead episode #110

In this episode He and Jen were talking about how people – in general – are so used to publishing on the web through a service – or gatekeeper as they called it. Also they mentioned about people’s habit of self-censoring and imposing their own restrictions.

It was after listening to this that I realised that my own reasons for thinking I needed to rebuild my site were all self-imposed reasons and that it was stopping me from actually writing stuff. I have been concentrating too much on the tools of publishing instead of actually just publishing.

So this entry is a way for me to try and break that habit. Let’s see how long I can keep it up for… phrasing.

What Is The IndieWeb And Why We Need It

Facebook, Twitter, Google plus – all places that help you to publish easily – and for free – on the web.

But guess what, the web is already free – or at least it should be – and many people’s only notion of publishing on the web is through one of these, or other, third party silos. It doesn’t have to be this way.

And it shouldn’t be this way.

Where are we now?

In the beginning there was the web. This completely revolutionised publishing and gave everyone a chance to have their voice heard. 25 years on and that is still the case. Only now we have these monolithic silos that have made publishing even easier, and for free (zero cost).

The problem with free though, is that it comes at a price. All of these companies that offer you the opportunity to publish and get your thoughts out there, are doing so to serve their real customers – their partners and investors. You see, every piece of information you pass into these silos, whether knowingly or not, is used to help profile you and your friends. This profiling and tracking goes on to help make you more susceptible to targetted advertising – the core business model of most modern-day tech “startups”.

Imagine a world where everyone’s thoughts and opinions are only published through one of the current “Ministries of Truth”, where the publisher only shows what it wants to show; hiding what it wants to hide as it “currates your timeline”.

We desperately need many more independent avenues of information and points of view from people, not corporations, if we are ever going to get a chance at a more free on open world online.

The Indieweb

The Indieweb is an initiative; a community, with the aim of publishing on ones own website and taking back control over the content that they publish.

Everyone who has access to the web has the potential – and it’s not as hard as it may seem – to get started publishing with you in control. The Indieweb isn’t about jumping through hoops to publish in a particular way either – the whole point is to do it your way and under your terms.

You should be able to publish and present your content in exactly the way that you want to. This post is about introducing you to the concept of the Indieweb – to the concept of your being in control of your own writing and publishing.

To get started on your path to online writing freedom, head over to the Indieweb site now for advice.