Saturday, December 19, 2009

1000 Posts

I just realized that this post will be number 1000.

Kind of intimidating to note that such a high round number as pretty as 1000 could possibly just be any old random post. So now that I've thought about it I figured I should make it count somehow.

So let's take a quick retrospective look at this blog, shall we?

I started this blog on a whim on March 09, 2005 -- a simple post, like so many first blog posts, feebly announcing, unnecessarily so, that I was starting a blog. The blog post was entitled Beginnings. So we now all know Mathew Growden is to blame for this (I won't bother trying to link to his elusive and continually changing online presence -- just know he's an influential dude)

Later that same day, I think I started in my true stride of blogging, and something that represents most of what this blog has been about -- personal reflections on things going on in my life peppered (I believe) with moments of humour. That blog post was entitled Not the TV show starring Dick and was about growing a Van Dyke beard (that is a mustache combined with hair on the chin, but not the cheeks -- ie facial hair that surrounds only the mouth -- people still call these goatees but a goatee is hair on the chin area only)

Funny, a real-world friend pushed me into the blogging world, and I ended up with tons of blogging friends (friends I met through the Blogiverse) some of whom have became real-world friends. Of course, there are still many whom I consider friends whom I haven't met in person yet but imagine I will some day. (Like this past summer when I was traveling on business in San Francisco, very close to the stomping grounds of Marcel Nunis and he made a trip into town to meet me: I Left This Post in San Francisco)

Over the years, I have created many posts centered on writing, bookselling, fatherhood and my observations about the world around me. I've never tried to be really serious (ie, stick to a particular topic or apply journalistic integrity to my writing), but occasionally I've done serious rants or blogged about things that were critically important to me. Mid-way through this blog, I started using tags, which have been useful in defining what type of post I've done. Of course, when you click on a tag, you only get the most recent couple of dozen posts -- so trying to find one of my earliest posts on fatherhood, for example, like Attack of the Carpet Critter, You Can Pick Your Friends or Child-Proof But Not Idiot-Proof requires intense searching which I doubt anyone would want to do.

Wow. 1000 blog posts in just under 5 years (it'll be 5 years in March 2010) -- that means about 200 posts on average per year -- not bad output. Assuming the average post contains perhaps 300 words, that means I've written about 300,000 words on this blog. That's somewhere in the realm of 3 novels worth of words.

Part of me wonders if I'd just applied that amount of time and energy into writing if I'd have more output and be further along in my career.

Very Possibly. (Most of my publications have been short stories and articles -- and while I have 3 books to my name, they're collections of short fiction or books I have edited which are compiled of other writer's work -- there's still no novel contract in my clutches) So, yes, it's possible that if I'd ignored this blog and spent that time and energy on the various book-length projects on my back-burners that I might have something more to show for it in that respect.

However, working on this blog HAS meant that I've been writing on a regular basis, which was one of the underlying reasons for starting this whole thing. (I remember, at first, I used to write blog posts offline while on the GO train heading into Toronto for work, and I'd post them once I arrived -- I'd spend about 5 to 10 minutes composing a post before starting into a writing project I did on the train. Most mornings now, when I get up between 5 and 5:30 AM are spent the same way. So, while blogging takes away from my time writing fiction and articles, it gives me the opportunity to continually work at writing -- and hopefully, by keeping at it, I'm getting better and better.

Consider Malcolm Gladwell's "10,000 Hour Rule" as described in his book Outliers -- basically, that the key to success in any field is largely due to practicing for a total of about 10,000 hours. Interestingly, assuming I spent between 5 and 10 minutes a day on 1000 blog posts, that puts me close to the realm of 10,000 hours, suggesting perhaps that I might be approaching the realm of "successful blogger" according to Gladwell's rule. In all honestly, though I've been writing since I was in my early teens and have easily logged more than 10,000 hours writing, the key, in my mind, is to KEEP practicing, and that, every single extra moment I spend writing makes me a better writer.

And while I'm not overly concerned with "hits" a quick glance at stats (at least since I began tracking, and who knows WHEN I added that), I have had about 63,000 visits to this blog over the years. I also know that there are RSS subscribers to this blog (people who never visit, but who pull a feed of this blog into a reader), but I'm not sophisticated enough to know how many I have -- also, this blog automatically feeds into my profiles on Facebook as well as Goodreads and perhaps others, but I honestly can't remember -- and I know there are folks reading through those spots as well based on comments, emails and IM's received.

So while, admittedly, as a writer, it's fantastic to know that people are reading, and while I do try to keep my diverse "audience" in mind, I'm really just writing things that are important to me, or things that I, as a reader, would enjoy reading. I find if I focus too much on trying to write something with only readers in mind, I fall flat -- my best posts, IMHO, are the ones in which I'm simply being true to myself and prattling on about things that I find important enough (or silly enough) to warrant spending a few moments pondering "out loud" on this blog.

So, for those of you with enough patience to be reading this long blathering retrospective post, and those of you who have been "following" my online postings, thanks for checking me out. I wish I'd thought to include a cake or something to make this 1000th post more memorable. But it has been fun to stroll a bit down memory lane.

Thanks for reading. And, if I might be so bold as to ask -- what is your reason for reading this scattered grouping of my online ramblings?


Lynn said...

Why do I read your blog? There are several reasons (off the top of my head and in no particular order): you're a Canadian author and I've read (and reviewed) one of your books; you *get* the things that frustrate me about the publishing industry; you write about being a parent without making me gag; you work at the bookstore at the university I attended a long, long time ago; you make me laugh and/or think.

Congratulations on 1000 posts!

Mark Leslie said...

Thanks for taking the time to let me know where my ramblings are working for you, Lynn. I really appreciate it. :)

lime said...

well i am late getting here but congrats on the major milestone!

i read because you tickled my imagination a long time ago and welcomed me warmly. i stayed because i love your snippets of fatherhood and your flights of fancy (lately i enjoy learning about the book business a bit). i'm glad to have shared the blogging neighborhood with you and call you a friend. here's to 1000 more :)

Mark Leslie said...

Thanks, Michelle - I'm extremely grateful that blogging allowed us to connect (you similarly continue to tickle my imagination and sense of childish spirit) - you're a kindred spirit and like the really cool sister I never had. :)