A systemless system for productive blogging

 

cartoon of woman blogging
See the lady blog. Blog, lady, blog!

Do you have a system for blogging? A schedule? A spreadsheet with topics and times? A goal?

Wish I did. For a while I hoped that the Raewyn Gwilliam system would work for me. Every time she has an idea, she writes it as a sentence, which she saves as a draft title. Because it’s clear, accurate and specific, she remembers the whole idea. When it’s time to write, she opens WordPress, grabs a title that appeals and writes. Bingo!

I did the first part — for a while — but I’ve never used anything from my list of brilliant ideas. I also have truckloads of scribbly notebooks filled with other brilliant ideas.

Here’s what works best for me.

  1. Get an idea
  2. Blog it impulsively
  3. Publish it immediately
  4. Smile!

Life lessons for myself

  • A blog is not a book
  • Trust the moment
  • Write less, publish more
  • Get it done and make it fun.

 

The case of the missing blog posts

I am darned if I write more than 140 characters. Cos my last few blog posts have been kidnapped. This is just a test. Will this link do as instructed or lead you to Badlands 404?

Update on the missing blog posts

Problem solved, for now. Everything back in place. It was the pixies.

Of most concern were some drafts and scheduled posts: not yet published but almost ready to go. Along with the last few blog posts they had apparently vanished from my blog. My friends and followers were receiving the usual automated emails alerting them to a new post. Then they’d click on the link provided and land on a 404 (bad link,no-such-page) page.

No likes, no comments for about a week. Funny, I thought. What I had done to offend you nice people? Because it had to be my fault, right?

Then the phantom posts all reappeared again, and we’re kind of back to normal, I think.

I  haven’t copied or saved anything. I’m going to trust in the mighty community of WordPress developers to carry on doing their magic.

 

The beautiful number: 100 (in this case, followers)

ststephensfgr
The church (my Dad’s office) in the small village of Fairlie, where I was born. Population 100 at the time? Maybe.

A few days ago, this blog gained Follower #100. I am still savouring the moment, even though I can’t swear exactly when that moment was, and I’m even uncertain about exactly which person was the 100th follower.

“Exactly which person” — what a crazy prosopagnosic phrase, as if all readers were a blur of clones. Quite the opposite! The beauty of having only 100 followers is that I’ve looked up every one, seen your face or avatar, read many of your posts, and been delighted to receive your comments on my blog. So I can state without fear of contradiction that you (we) are all fiercely individual.

I mean, look at the avatars of the four most recent followers! Could they be any more different from each other or clearer in their individual goals? I urge you to visit their blogs and see for yourself:

makeitultra

@MakeItUltraPsychology

amysimonoff

@AmySimonoff

minimalistsouls.png

@MinimalistSouls

miagutu.png

@Miagutu

100 is a tiny village

I can celebrate this number with all modesty because it’s not 10,000 or even 1,000. It’s a friendly, human number, the sort we can imagine, a lovely number which is nevertheless within reach.

When I was doing social media stuff for my company I was puffed up with greater numbers. 5,000 email subscribers and 3,000 Twitter followers are now in someone else’s hands. Those numbers are still modest, but far too great for me to recognise as individuals.

100 people is:

  • The population of Fairlie (NZ) when I was born there in 1940 (that’s a creative but liberal estimate) — a place where every person in the village was known to every other
  • A century in cricket (or years or whatever) — caps in the air, yippee, surely that guarantees a win! (Actually not but hey.)
  • As a percentage, couldn’t be better, A+ and surely that means top of the class! (Actually not but hey.)

Thank you for being my WordPress village

My thanks not just to the latest arrivals but everyone who hangs out here now and again. You keep me going. You get me going. Right, that’s the happy 100 done and dusted — back to work, me!

Zq = inquisitive Kiwi

zed

Here I am at the mysterious Zq post, published by me, apparently. Some of you commented when this page was nothing but the headline: Zq.

You were puzzled. So was I. What did Zq mean?

To reveal that Zq was accidentally posted by a fat finger on my iPhone is too simple. Surely everything has a purpose? Or a meaning? Or a metaphorical significance in retrospect?

My initial thoughts seemed rather trivial so I waited for some more deep and meaningful deductions to emerge. And waited. And waited.

Nope. Here are my first thoughts, served cold.

Z & Q are both precious letters in my consciousness.

Hello Z!

I am a New Zealander who lives in New Zealand. We have a superpower: a unique way of scanning every page or screen: the letter Z leaps out and wiggles and woggles and tickles our eyeballs.  (By the way, we say Zed, not Zee.)  Zed is structural: every other word clusters around ultra-visible Zed. No Z can hide. No Z is safe from our nanosecond reconnoitre.

And when our eyes find the Z on a page, we sigh with relief, vindicated and authenticated. (We need that, coming from a country that’s just a few insignificant dots in the south Pacific ocean.) Never mind if the Zed is attached to zebra or fez or zebibyte or Alzheimers — we are home!

Zed wears a yellow safety vest.
Zed is precious. Zed is rare.
Zed is proud. Zed is ours.
Zed is me. Where Zed is lurking
so are we.

And hello Q!

Q is for questioning, questioner, questions frequently asked or not at all. I will cling to this faculty and never let go: the ability, the eagerness to ask questions.

To question is human. Children’s questions build a picture of the world — and also build their brains. To continue questioning into old age is to keep the brain alive and yes, even to keep it growing.

Specific types of brain activities are known to protect our brains from the ravages of Alzheimers. They include learning, choosing novel experiences, and meditation.

How can this be? Learning and complex thinking strengthen connections between nerve cells, building up “cognitive reserve” so that the brain can compensate for damage. (You knew that.) Meditation protects the brain in mysterious ways — and hey, meditation may be something you learn (big tick) and a novel experience (big tick).

Q: How come the brain instantly understood Zq and never wavered?
A. Fast thinking?

Zq is shorthand for inquisitive Kiwi

Maybe I should get a Zq identity tattoo. That would be a novelty.

How about you? What are your special letters and what do they mean?

 

One more for the how-to-be-a-terrific-old-person list: sex

timegoesby-on-sex

One more item has been added to the how-to-be-a-terrific-older-person to-do list: sex.

I give up! Shall I sharpen my brain to get more sex, or run out and get more sex for the sake of my brain cells, or both (to be on the safe side).

The dreaded to-do list has now swollen into a multi-dimensional database leaking into the stratosphere, dammit.

See Ronni Bennett on “Can Sex Keep Old People Mentally Sharp?”