Until a couple of hours ago, my first post of 2014 was going to be an apology. Having not (properly) blogged for over a month – having no computer and no internet will do that, unfortunately – I was going to apologise to you, my reader, and promise to be a better blogger in future.
I was going to follow that up with some New Year’s Resolutions about how I’m going to try to be a better blogger, how I’m definitely going to blog more often (once a week was my first thought) and how I’m going to treat my readers better.
Then I realised one crucial thing: you probably don’t care. Now let me clarify that one quickly – that’s not some sort of desperate cry-for-help or pity-posting. I don’t think my readers careless or unkind, and I appreciate every one of you. But put in your position (as I am frequently, reading other people’s blogs) I don’t think I’d have noticed that a particular writer hadn’t blogged for a month – and I certainly wouldn’t hold it against them or need an apology.
Realising that, I scrapped my planned post and started to think more about how I can be a BETTER blogger this year – and what that actually means for what I write about. So, on the drive into work this morning, I came up with a list of the things I’m going to try NOT to do this year. The aim of the list (like most new year resolutions) is to hold myself accountable, in the hope that saying them now means I’ll stick to them. But I should probably warn you now – my will-power is pretty appalling, so if I do stray back in to any of these, I’m afraid I can’t offer any refunds on your time… :)
- No apologies. As you can see from my introduction, I’ve come to the conclusion that most of my readers read my blog in the same way that I read other blogs. That means no need to apologise if I’ve not blogged for a while, or if I want to share an opinion which might make me unpopular. You guys are free to stop reading any time you like, and this blog is completely free for all involved – so I’m just going to push on through and do my best at all times.
- No blogging for the sake of it. When I look back at my posts from 2013, I’m probably proud of about 50% of them. 25% I’m alright with, but probably wouldn’t have posted in hindsight, and the other 25% are just thinly-veiled excuses to post SOMETHING for the sake of it. I often found myself feeling anxious during the past year or two, for the sole reason that I hadn’t blogged for a while. Which is stupid, when you think about it – I’m not a newspaper or magazine, I don’t have deadlines or paid subscribers to worry about. From here-on-in, I’m going to try to only blog when I have something to say that is worth saying. I’m sure there’ll be a bit of dross along the way, but I’ll try to keep it to a minimum…!
- No seasonal posts. I guess this is an extension of the above, but it’s something I’ve TRIED to avoid in the past, and intend to continue. You know the ones – the blogs (or brands, come to think about it) who HAVE to write a post on Shrove Tuesday, even though they don’t really have anything to say about it. I see it more and more on Facebook – Hallowe’en was another great example, with my entire feed full of blogs, brands and websites all posting frantically about what they were up to, with only about half of them (or less) having something original to say. So unless I have something interesting or fun to write about, I’m not going to post about something JUST because everyone else is.
- No embarrassing my children. I don’t think I’ve done too much of this to date, but as my children get older and have more exposure to computers, the chance of them (or their peers) finding this blog increases. If (when?) they do, I want to make sure I haven’t written anything which will embarrass or shame them. The odd cute baby photo or anecdote is fine by me, but I don’t want my son to walk in to school one day to be faced with another child telling them about something they read about them online. Whilst I don’t go to the extent some bloggers do (you know the sort – “DH” this, “Child 1” that), mainly because it’s a bit late for that – with a surname like ours, it’s pretty hard to anonymise yourself or your kids online. But I’m going to endeavour to keep things positive and think of my children reading every post when they’re 18…
- No more Mr Grumpy. I’m often told that I should make my (personal) resolution being less grumpy – whilst I see myself as quite an optimistic person in most situations, several years of stress (mainly at work – though parenting is no easy-ride either!) seem to have turned me into a bit of a grump lately, and it often leaches into my blog posts. So in 2014 I’m going to make an effort to be more positive, both in my blog posts and in my parenting. It might not always work, but at least if I make a concerted effort I stand a better chance of succeeding.
- No click-bait. If you’re not familiar with the term ‘click-bait’, scroll through your Facebook feed until you hit a Buzzfeed/Upworthy/any-number-of-other-sites post, with a title like “You won’t believe what this guy did with a match and a bottle of bucks fizz” (hence my ironic title to this post!). That’s click-bait – cleverly written titles, designed to intrigue (and usually disappoint). These two XKCD cartoons sum it up perfectly:
So there you go – I tried to get it to 10 (just because I’m anal like that) but I realised what I was doing (writing just for the sake of it!) and stopped myself. So those are my semi-resolutions – do you think I’ll stick to them? I guess we’ll find out in my next post…