Not long ago this blog used to be called “Random & Awesome”, and was merely a collection of things I thought looked cool, and the occasional rant from me.
Then as I got more into “blogging”, or writing in general, I realized that “random” and “awesome” weren’t words that made people want to return, and certainly didn’t encourage someone to check back regularly, or subscribe, because who knew if they’d even like whatever came up next.
Of course, I took me a while to figure out that I should want to attract to me because of what/how I write, not attract them to my writing because of what/who I am. I was probably confused because once I’m hooked on an author, I like to read everything they’ve written. I suppose I made the bridge to the author and glossed over the reality that said bridge was built upon an already successful reading experience.
But, I digress….
So, a while back I decided “Random & Awesome” was not the name I wanted to continue with, but I couldn’t think up anything else. Thus “This Blog Needs a New Name”.
I really meant for this to only be a place-holder title while I thought up something fresh & catchy & attention-grabbing. However, that process has taken a lot longer than I’d imagined it would.
So fast-forward to multiple conversations I’ve had over the last few months. Whenever someone asks me for the name of my blog, so they can look it up, I sort of sheepishly reply “Well, right now it’s called ‘This Blog Needs a New Name'”, and they almost universally reply with “…oh…”.
Obviously that’s not the type of response I like to elicit, but I don’t blame them. I’ve really been slacking on this title thing.
I think the straw that broke the lazy camel’s back came the other morning when I met some fantastic folks for coffee, and in the midst of giving me great advice about pursuing a career in writing, I was asked what the name of my blog was, and I what I write about.
Well, the “what I write about” was pretty easy to spin, and discuss what I enjoy writing about and what sort of role I thought I could fill. But there, starting at me, was that damned question “what’s your blog called so I can look it up”. Damn, I wish I’d thought up a great name right there, on the spot. Then I could have just logged in from my phone and changed it and it’d all be legit. But alas, I was not that clever at the time….
So, here I am, on my Sunday morning, drinking coffee, trying to force creativity that even my subconscious mind couldn’t work out of the last few months.
Lately I’ve been doing neither of these.
And it’s not because I haven’t had anything to say, but rather because I haven’t put enough thought towards how to word things.
Really this is a carry-over from other parts of my life.
I’ve been in a holding pattern regarding a few major life changes for a few weeks now. Normally I put the “pro” in procrastination, but this round seems to have affected my interactions on multiple levels.
For example, my birthday is on Saturday. Last year I celebrated in New York, after months of meticulous planning by Anie. This year, no clue what I want to do, inducing weeks of WTF from Anie.
On the good side, though, it feels this week will bring some answers, and I’ll be back to my usual, arrogant/confident self.
The other day I was checking up on my favorite Street Art site, Wooster Collective, and found something unexpected. Instead of great, inspirational art, there was a page-long dissertation on the subject of “Passion”, and why we do what we do.
For a long time, Sara and I have been struggling with the fact that for us, the Wooster Collective website is still a very small and personal blog with no agenda other than to use it as a way to share with our friends the things that inspire us. Some of those friends we know very, very well. We meet each week face-to-face in New York to talk about art, family, New York, etc. Other “friends” we have never met, but we know from the emails that we receive that we share with them a common view of the world and the way we wish to live in it. The blog is a way for us to learn about new things, meet new types of people, and to take us out of our comfort zone so we can achieve new goals. It’s 100% a passion project and a passion project only.
…..To be honest, we’re not sure how long we can do the website. We have no intention of stopping it, but one of the joys of the site is that we can end it tomorrow if we wanted to. Since it’s not a business, the only ties we have to keep it going is our true passion.
While Marc Schiller wrote this message referring to his extremely popular site, I think it can apply to a lot of what each of us does everyday.
Don’t we often get involved in things we are passionate about, then end up making concessions and deviating from our original intent?
What are you passionate about?
What should you do today to make that passion more personal and more effective?
Way back when, I started blogging not because I thought people wanted to read what I had to say, but because I wanted to document what I had to say, because I was going through a time of a lot of changes and didn’t always know a constructive outlet to express how I felt about things.
I’d always thought I was a creative writer growing up, and recall with great esteem my triumphant moment when I got an A+ on my essay 5 Reasons Every Girl Should Date Ryan G. So, if I could do it then, why not now?
Of course, at that time, I thought I had brilliant ideas, but I look back on them and realize that my ideas were pretty typical for a young, angsty adult. Hopefully they were a bit more eloquent than most, but still typical nonetheless.
Then after my life became less of a whirlwind, my blogging desire waned and I started just using my blog as a place to record things I thought were funny or cool.
Shortly after that, I started talking to a few other people who blogged, and realized that I was quickly becoming known as the “funny picture/video guy“. Whoa, whoa! That is NOT a title I wanted.
I like being funny, but I have a serious side here, too. Crap, now I have to pull of a Robin Williams/Jim Carey Funny/Serious duality thing…
So around the holidays I decided to take up the mantle of trying to see what I could produce if I really wanted to use my blog as a tool/platform for my writing.
Of course, a big part of writing is knowing what others are writing about, knowing what’s relevant, what’s been rehashed too much already, and what can be elaborated on without being dull. To that end, I started reading a lot more blogs on various topics I had an interest in.
The outcome; I’ve learned more about things I never knew I felt this passionately about, and have profited by having an increased understanding of many topics.
I’m certain that several of my posts about urbanism or vibrant neighborhoods would not exist if I hadn’t started this whole process 4 months ago, because back then I wasn’t even sure how to answer when people said “you really like living downtown?”
So while I’m very clear that I’m far from a skilled writer yet, I know that I’m a much better thinker because of the exercise of writing and reading to be able to write.
I know I’m not a great writer yet, but I’ll get there. I believe it.
I’ve recently had a few conversations about RSS feeds, how many blogs is a standard number to subscribe to, self-promotion overkill and 1 really gigantic “subscribe to me” button.
So this morning, as I was thinking of what to read, and absent mindedly scrolling through my reader, I pondered, what does this list say about me.
Does someone’s blog reader hold the same window into their mind as their Bookshelf does? How about their cd/dvd collections?
Well, let’s take a look at how I spend my blog-reading time:
- Culture/Entertainment Blogs: 2
- Nerdy Blogs: 5
- Funny Pictures: 1
- Computer Blogs: 1
- People I know or met IRL: 3
- Cool Phoenix People I haven’t met: 4
- Poker Blogs: 2
- Design Blogs: 3
- Video Game Blogs: 3
- Random Personal Blogs Someone Recommended: 3
- Blogs about Blogging: 3
- Flickr Feed: 1
Having made that list, one thought is to summarize me as someone who’s “nerdy”, “environmentalist”, and into gaming, reading, and blogging. And clearly I’m interested in the view points of people who live near me. And you wouldn’t be wrong.
But then I looked at the categories that only had 1 blog, and those are honestly the ones where I find the most stimulating content, and/or have followed for the longest time. Perhaps I only follow 1 blog in that genre because the 1 I follow does it well and there’s no need for more….
As I’ve mentioned at the bottoms of my last two blogs, I’m accepted @iaagustin‘s 30-Day Blog Challenge. So now I figured I might want to do a little bit of organizing, so that I’m not just sitting her thinking, “crap, I HAVE to blog SOMETHING, what can I think up on the fly?”.
(between you & me, I’m pretty great at thinking things up on the fly, but you never want to exhaust your powers, right?)
Ok, so here’s a list of what I figure I’ll do to fill the days.
Okay, so I’m not good enough at planning to know day by day what will inspire me, but I definately have some topics I want to explore. Here we go:
- Finish off the drafts I never finished (7 Posts)
- Baseball Season Starting (3-5 Posts)
- Green/Urban/Environmental/Sustainable Topics (3-5 Posts)
- Why I Like Comics (1-3 Posts)
- News & World Events (1-3 Posts)
- Weekly 5 Things (4 Posts)
- Dear Ryan Weekly (4 Posts)
- Review the Challenge Post
There we go; that comes out to just about 30 posts or more.
Hopefully over the next month I can make some discoveries as I force myself to write consistently.
Hopefully I can also entertain while I do it.
Let me know when you think I’ve failed one of those.
(this is day 4 of the 30 day blog challenge)