Five paragraphs, one topic, deep in the night.
So, as a blogger who tries to take his mission seriously even though there are many folks out there who think blogging is just a way for unsuccessful writers to do something that helps pass the time, I’ve been a bit peeved lately about the traffic results for my tiny little website. This traffic disappointment is really nothing new, thousands before me have lamented about the difficulties of getting folks to return to your (hopefully) creative little sphere on a regular basis. There are so many distractions on the web that it’s a wonder that anybody even contemplates going back to a place that they’ve already been. Ergo, my pain.
From an analysis perspective, as I run about and try to torment the few regular visitors to my blogs into fessing up what makes them actually come back, there are two schools of thought. The more encouraging Avenue of Revelation is that some people have convinced themselves that they should check on my latest postings with some type of regularity because they are at least minimally assured that they will find something of interest. (I love these people and would willingly have sex with each and every one of them if it would ensure that they remain followers.)
Sadly, on the flip side of things, we have the field reports that some people stop coming back because I don’t post every day. Why check a website only to find that there’s nothing new, and you’ve already chuckled over the crap that’s already stale? And I know that this is an issue. When I was a little virgin blog poster, just starting out with my feeble attempts at coherency, more mature bloggers let me know that you cannot be a slacker. (Sample advice: “Dude, until you become Jesus or something, your ass better be posting every 26 seconds.)
Duly noted. Well, sort of noted. I understand the rules. But I haven’t been following them, at least not lately. My posts can get very expansive, running several pages, because that’s just how my mind works. There’s gotta be a setup, there’s gotta be a valid flow-through, and there’s gotta be a final paragraph (or 12) that wraps everything up in a manner that would satisfy my eighth-grade English teacher because I still worship her and simply couldn’t continue living if I disappointed her in any way. These missives take time.
But still, there’s this “keep the people happy and coming back” angle. I know I need to do that, at least until I’m Jesus. So I came up with this (probably dumb-ass) idea to force myself into a finite structure where I have to make a point in 5 paragraphs. And I have to be working on it by midnight, every night. (I’m a total night owl.) Thusly, we now have what is probably the most asinine blog series title ever, “Five After Midnight”, aka “5AM”. I’ll still be doing the long-form posts, I can’t give that up, that’s still my true reason for being. But I’ll also have this side-mission objective where I have to be productive on a daily basis, creating a stockpile of shorter blog posts that I can slap out there when the longer productions aren’t ready for publication. This whole project may collapse within hours, but I need to give it a try. Are you with me?