Apparently, suggest the cognoscenti, my blog lacks focus.
“If you think you have what it takes and are determined to stay the course then know that blogging begins with defining a purpose for your blog that clearly expresses your aim to blog with passion about something that matters…. From the outset you need to be able to describe your blog’s purpose by expressing what you intend to blog about in as few words as possible.” (Creating an Effective Blog Description by timethief)
One option, of course, is to embrace the obvious dichotomy between this recommended requirement for a “grand unifying theory” — as the physicists might call it — and my blog’s present lack thereof. My focus, in this case, becomes its inherent lack of focus, a deliberate thematic diffusion. A menagerie of miscellany. Which, I suppose, it already is. As are most blogs, I would argue, regardless of their purported descriptions.
I tried to start with a focus. My “official” tag line, below The Gooseyard banner, for example, is “Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think…” Hopefully that supposition at least hints at the fact that I’m interested in thinking / writing about the end-run we’re all attempting to make around the concept of our own individual mortality.
Then, beneath my author’s photo (as you’ve probably already seen if, in fact, you’re reading this blog) is a more explicit, supplemental attempt at defining a unifying principal amongst these digital pages: “A (mostly) literary blog.” Except it hasn’t been. Not really. But I do talk a lot about Ian McEwan. He’s awesome. (Though, truth be told, I’m somewhat less than impressed with his website.)
The “literary blog” thing, in retrospect, turned out to be more of an “aspirational” tag than an elucidating descriptor. It was required of me far too early in the process. Like asking a child what he wants to be when he grows up. We can’t all be firefighters after all, but we never really understand this little heartbreak until it’s too late.
Thus far, it turns out, my blog has simply been about what it’s been about. I’m sure there’s a special place in hell for those of us who traffic in such tautological pedantry, but I’ve decided — experts be damned — that I’m simply not going to be pinned down at the moment. Mainly because I’m not sure exactly what I’m doing yet myself. I don’t know if what I’m attempting in this forum can ultimately be construed as entertainment, human interest, or maybe just wordpainting for dummies. Comedy or tragedy? I don’t know if it’s good or bad or utterly indifferent. If it’s poetry. Or therapy. Or a plaintive cry for some last vestige of human community — digital or otherwise.
What I do know is that, when it comes to the various blogs that I follow myself, what matters to me far more than how accurately the authors describe what their blog is about is the quality of their writing. In fact, I seldom find myself reading blogs that focus on single-topic content. Blog-wise, I quickly determined that I’m far more engaged by a good writer writing about something in which I have no particular interest, than I am by a bad writer writing about something close to my heart. Ultimately, the quality of the writer / writing matters far more to me than the consistency of the topic.
And it’s this type of simply-write-about-whatever-may-catch-your-attention-but-make-it-interesting-and-writerly approach that I seem to have adopted by default. I suppose I blog at all because it is an inherently un-focused activity. I’m focused all day — every day — at work. Like a laser. If I were then to also maintain this focus into my non-work hours, well, the universe might actually begin to falter. That would be waaaay too much focus for anyone to deal with. With that much focus I’d be liable to generate another big bang or something. (SHUT UP! This is so a brilliant metaphor! The big bang was all about things becoming too concentrated, too focused, right? Same as me. Really! I’ve done the math!)
So what’s the take-away in all this bloggerly beating of breast and gnashing of teeth? I’ve decided to revise my tag line to “An (occasionally) literary blog.” Whew, I’m glad I got that off my chest! I bet the suspense was killing you.
NB. timethief (onecoolsitebloggingtips.com) also writes that there are about 39 million posts uploaded to WordPress every month. Talk about the perfect opportunity to fall through the cracks and never be heard from again! Given those kind of numbers I may end up having to simply Freshly Press myself at some point. Though I imagine this would be considered rather gauche by all those who have actually already achieved such distinction. And probably frowned upon by the folks at WordPress.
Not that it really matters anyway given that timethief further advises that the stats indicate that most of us new bloggers won’t last out the year to begin with.
I may need to reconsider my subscription to onecoolsitebloggingtips…