A blogging challenge.

I haven’t posted anything for a while. I’m not sorry. You see, I have been much too busy. I went for a swim. Here.

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My mother took the whole family (Nine adults and nine children) for a holiday in the Seychelles. It was very hard work indeed. Every morning, I would have to wake up and choose a special holiday outfit. I simplified this difficult process by wearing the same swimming costume for over a week.

Then there was all the walking. The sea was more than 20 metres from our door, so going for an early morning swim was a gruelling undertaking. The hotel restaurant was right on the beach, which was nice, but there were steps. Seven of them. It was exhausting. Then there was the punishing hike up to the hotel pool, at least thirty metres in the driving tropical heat.

The long, lonely walk up to the pool.

The long, lonely walk up to the pool.

It wasn’t just the walking. Floating in the warm, clear water while trying to carry an ice-cold and surprisingly heavy beer was an ordeal I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. And spending eight hours a day in the water did terrible things to my skin. It made it wet.

As you can no doubt tell, I somehow managed to survive the whole ordeal. I’m not ready to write about it yet; the horror is still too fresh in my mind. Instead, I’m here to announce that I have decided to put anyone naïve enough to follow this blog through an ordeal of their own.

Just before I left, I made the mistake of trying to see how my blog was doing. I thought I was doing pretty well. I get over a hundred hits a day, and have even managed to get a few followers. It turns out, however, that my blog sucks. A brief search of the oracle of our time, Google, reveals that a good blog gets 60 000 hits a month. Oh.

A good blog.

A good blog.

My blog

My blog

I have reached precisely half that number in over ten months. It would seem I still have a way to go. And go I will. I have, in the past, tried a couple of things that were outside my comfort zone in order to get the most out of the whole blogging experience. I did a photo post. I wrote a poem. I even wrote about pants. But now I’m going to take things to the next level. I’m going to follow some advice. I’m going to try to do things properly. And then I’m going to stop. Because I don’t like following advice. Or doing things properly.

There seem to be thousands of people out there who blog about how to blog properly. And they all say pretty much the same sorts of things. Posts should be short; five to seven hundred words. You should post often; preferably once a day. You should find a niche and stick to it. You should engage with other bloggers. You should do guest posts on other blogs. Right.

So here’s my plan. For a hundred days, starting next Monday, I’m going to write a post a day. Of five to seven hundred words. As for finding a niche, bugger that! I can’t imagine writing five to seven hundred words every day about model trains or box-girder bridge construction. If I’m going to have to produce five to seven hundred words a day, I’m going to have to ramble on about everything and anything I can think of.

I might even do a post about model trains AND box girder bridges. I'm wild like that!

I might even do a post about model trains AND box girder bridges. I’m wild like that!

As for engaging with other bloggers, I’ll try. I’m not the world’s best engager. If you check up on your blog over the next few months and find something mawkish like “Hello. I’m 23thorns. Please will you be my friend? I’ll let you borrow my shoes and send you a picture of my dog if you say yes.” I apologise in advance. I’m just doing what the experts have suggested.

I don’t really know what a guest post is. I know it’s when one person writes a post for someone else’s blog. I just don’t know why. Blogging is, for the most part, a hobby. I don’t want to collect stamps for anyone else, and I don’t want anyone else to go on a hike for me. But I’m game for anything. Except finding a niche.

And the point of all this? 60 000 is a good looking number. Its’ all round and curvy and sexy. I want it. I want to get sixty thousand views in a hundred days. Just like I wanted a guitar when I was younger. I’m going to be cheesy about it, too. I’ll set up a page with one of those huge thermometers they use on phone-in fundraisers, so that you can gloat about how far off the mark I am. What fun we’ll have!

My blog. As much fun as a televised fundraiser.

My blog. As much fun as a televised fundraiser.

What I don’t want is to alienate anyone who has been kind enough to follow me so far. All you maverick nonconformists who don’t understand that you’re not supposed to like 3 000 word posts. So I’m going to keep on doing those too. And I’m going to give you a way of avoiding my little folly. If you are following my blog already, and see a post with a number in the title, avoid it like the plague. It’s just me prostituting myself for anonymous fame.

And if and when I get there? I bought that guitar. And I never learned to play it.

My blog in a hundred day's time.

My blog in a hundred day’s time.

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96 thoughts on “A blogging challenge.

  1. albertine says:

    Are you really still writing non-numbered blogs? I came in a little late to your performance, so I had to guess some of the background to the plot. This post helps a bit. I’d really like to see one of your longer posts, and turn myself into an authentic follower, not just one of your fly-by-night, hook-up-for-the-moment-to the numbered blog people.
    What happens if I re-blog a post of yours? Do you get to score the views that happen as ‘mine’? (It’s like the eternal puzzle in Scrabble – in what circs. can you score double word scores twice?)

    • 23thorns says:

      Nope. It was too much. But my numbered blogs have all got a bit longer.
      I have no idea what happens, but I am always hugely grateful when someone reblogs a post.

      • albertine says:

        I did reblog one of yours – but given my tiny readership it probably didn’t make much difference. What I really like most is when someone comments on mine. Glad to see that you are back with the replies, though. It worried me when they fell through the floor.

  2. […] trying to do a hundred posts in a hundred days, and get 60 000 views while doing so. And I’m just about half way there. In terms of posts. Views, not so much. With those, I’m half […]

  3. […] the day has been a little busy. But I’ve come so far with the whole 100 posts thing that I couldn’t resist putting a little something out. And besides, something has been playing […]

  4. Rebecca says:

    Great post. I fear I’m getting caught up in the numbers part of blogging too much too. It’s a lot of work. Thanks for the like to “theworminmyapple.” Good luck. I’ll check back soon to see how you’re doing. Hey, quick question. Does anyone know how to get rid of what I would call “spam followers?” Thanks.

  5. sisteranan says:

    You’re hilarious. I’ll be your pal… hold on the shoes tho…

  6. Thanks for adding to my blog visits at: http://blueribbonfair.wordpress.com/2013/05/16/so-call-it-bad-luck-murphys-law-when/ and liking. You helped me with your moment here of discouragement. I feel that a lot also.

  7. matvee says:

    Nice piece. That was breath taking and good advice to me too.

  8. zephyrseas says:

    I liked your blog and love the background. I need to check into mine and figure how to make it still instead of scrolling. Thank you for checking my blog site. Come back if you can. I put up all sorts of stuff. There is a theme of sorts though I’m just getting it started so it is still a little hard to spot. I’ll be checking back on you often. You’re doing great.

  9. vioramayobo says:

    I really love the appearance of your blog as well as your blog posts. I just want to thank you for visiting my blog, and please, come back and visit again.

  10. FH7 Productions says:

    Ha ha, good one.

  11. kelloggs77 says:

    So when I read this, I was out of the country. And since I hate doing any form of typing on my phone, I told myself I would comment as soon as I returned. But what I was thinking at the time was NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! Not because I wasn’t super jazzed to have more posts from you to read, but because I somehow took comfort in knowing a really great blog wasn’t on the “I must blog like clockwork twice a week” bandwagon. I have been struggling with much of the same, wondering how to get myself out there more, knowing I need to “network” and guest post, but just not being able to find the time. I also don’t want to fall into the trap of producing quantity over quality. Anytime I would start to feel bad about not being a “serious enough blogger,” I would tell myself, “Hey, 23thorns isn’t all up in my inbox every time I check my email, and he is a smashing blogger. That makes it okay to go eat cheesy poofs and watch Criminal Minds instead of blogging.” Now you have deserted me. But after reading some of your posts since this, I see you’ve been able to keep up that whole quality thing. So more power to you. I can’t promise I will read every post (you know, because I have all that cheesy poof eating and Criminal Minds watching to do), but I’ll still be hanging around. I say as long as YOU are enjoying it, write away my friend. With that, I think I might go work on my first blog post in three or four weeks. Feel free to post some mawkish comment on there, no apologies needed. I prefer my friends on the mawkish side anyway.

  12. A.J. Goode says:

    You have a lot more followers and better goals than I have, so you must be doing something right! Good luck with your challenge.

  13. Sorry, but I like long posts vs. shorties! Hope I can contribute to your blog’s success. Plus I like that you stick to your own purpose of the blog. I do the same and don’t give a d#*m about the numbers. I do it for myself and it makes me happy.

  14. Yes I will be your friend. You can send the pic of your dog but please keep the shoes, we ware flip flops here in Florida. Living in paradise, I understand the predicament you were in during your “workcation”.

  15. javaj240 says:

    I’m thrilled when I get 100 hits in a day. I guess I just like failure. Oh, well.

  16. menomama3 says:

    Bring it on. Every day. I dare you. I will not avert my eyes no matter WHAT you post. S. African politics and all. Hey wait a sec. You posted this on April 26. Today is April 28. So you’re going to start tomorrow?

  17. joyceahood says:

    Oh no. Yours is the only blog I still allow email notification for. If you’re going to blog every day, I’ll have to move you back to Reader. I expected more (or would that be less) of you.

    • 23thorns says:

      Oh dear! I’m starting to think that this might not be a very good idea. As I said, the last thing I want to do is alienate anyone. Cut me off for a hundred days, ignore anything on your reader with a number in the title, and then move me back. I promise to be as erratic as ever once I’m done!

  18. Marcia says:

    Aha! Now I know why you go by 23, instead of a first name with actual LETTERS in it, like most of us! It’s that Numbers Thing of yours!

    Your vacation in the Seychelles sounds like exactly the kind of pain and torture a glutton for punishment such as myself really NEEDS! Now if only I can talk my mom into paying for one! Seriously…what a spot to go beer floating and colada spewing. Some folks have all the luck.

    As for your new plan, I have to say this: If you WRITE it, they will come. Be it 500 words, 3,000 words, or 120,000 words (as in a BOOK). As long as you are not seriously judging your blog and/or your writing by someone’s arbitrary numerical standards, you’ll be fine. And I don’t think you are.

    Writing every single day is a good thing. I’ve heard it’s the best possible exercise for staying creative. Of course, it doesn’t necessarily follow that you have to PUBLISH what you write every day. However, I do see the upside of building readership when you are planning to write a book some day, which you would like to be commercially viable. As long as you never find yourself writing for the lowest common denominator in the crowd, that is. You are far too witty and clever and funny…and don’t forget pithy and erudite…to need to pander to the masses! What’s that? Pandering can fill your pockets??? Oh. Well. Maybe I better rethink this whole thing. One is never too old to learn to pander, right? I’m only 69 and 41 days. Is there hope for me, too?

    I’ll be watching closely to see how your experiment works, and I will be reading ALL posts, numbered or otherwise, except those that might be remotely political. (Maybe those could have a big “P” in the subject line, too…or a skull and crossbones?) I avoid politics like the plague when I’m relaxing online. I get enough of that on the news every day. So. Other than that, I’ll be reading and waiting to see if you really CAN stop writing after 500 words. My money’s on YOU, 23, and I’ll bet those shorter posts will be as funny as the longer ones.

    Now, look. I’ve written a 3,000 word in response to a blog on shorter posts! Oh, the irony! (Isn’t that a literary device?)
    *snort*

    • 23thorns says:

      You’ll be missing out. The stuff you avoid is American politics, which is dull and unispired. I will be writing about South African politics. Thats another thing entirely.
      Our president has four wives and over twenty children; the leader of the communist party spent $110 000 of tax-payers money on his car; and the hottest, most bitterly contested issues last year were public toilets and a picture of the president with his privates hanging out (it was called “The Spear”). Our politics is fun.

      Don’t worry, I’m not jjudging my blog. I’m not even trying to build up a readership. I’m just having some fun. If it doesn’t work out, and turns out to be lousy, I hope that someone with 69 years and 42 days of accumulated wisdom will tap me on the shoulder and tell me to pull myself together.

      • Marcia says:

        Ooooooh. South AFRICAN politics, you say? Well, that’s a different story altogether. Apparently an X-rated one. I’ll be all eyes! (Averted at the appropriate times, of course, since I do NOT want an image of The Spear seared into my brain for all eternity!) Okay, you’ve won me over. (You always do.) I’ll read ALL the posts, once again, subject and length not withstanding. (Once again, trying not to envision your president in the public toilets!)

        And fun? Well isn’t FUN just the BEST thing to have??? I’ve always thought so. Go for it. I’m reading, and I will have a ruler handy with which to tap you on your shoulder, using all the weight of my accumulated wisdom, and order you to pull yourself together for the sake of your adoring fans.

        Now, aren’t you supposed to be writing something today? I’m not getting any younger here, you know……………………..

      • 23thorns says:

        Nope. I start tomorrow. I am actually trying to do a normal post today, but there have been problems. Small problems. With loud voices. And obscure demands for plastic earrings and cupcakes.

      • Marcia says:

        Oh, I have “small problems with loud voices around here, too.” So far, they have not made obscure demands for cupcakes and plastic earrings. Of course, they are dachshunds. Doesn’t rule out the cupcake bit, though.

    • Unleash the hounds. Hopefully, it’ll be like a one-a-day vitamin.

  19. Good luck! I hit 92 views in a day yesterday! I was super happy about that. I especially enjoyed the photos of the mountain and then the dirt pile. I look forward to reading your posts.

  20. beebeejaybee says:

    sounds like a horrid ordeal, lucky you made it through to tell the tale

    my inner Buff is looking forward to tales of model trains and girder bridges……. or whatever

  21. Indeed, screw the blogging advice. You write well, niche or niche. Enjoyed this, thank you!

  22. mrsgillies says:

    100 hits a day?! I wish i got that.
    That holiday sounds amazing. Sigh.

  23. Leslie Jo says:

    Good luck to you. That’s quite a challenge you’ve given yourself. I know there is a lot I’m not doing to get better numbers, but I don’t know what to do to get them and I’m just enjoying what I’m doing and hoping to magically get discovered by someone who wants to publish my “work”. I loved your story about the grueling vacation that started this post off, by the way. I hope you reach your goal.
    Leslie

  24. Learning the hard way says:

    Great idea, massive challenge. I wish I had the fortitude. Of course currying favour with fellow WordPress folk leads to nominations for a plethora of awards so beloved by our American friends too – brush off your tux. Godspeed. I look forward to your offerings.

  25. dste says:

    Hey, I like 3000 word posts! Although I’m not sure how many people agree with me.

  26. Nothing like a bit of blatant blog prostitution for numbers. 😉
    Good luck hitting your target and I like the idea of challenging oneself to write daily. Probably a good thing if you intend to write a book. 😛 I look forward to reading your posts, numerical or not and I know I will have the pleasure of seeing a 23Thorns post arriving in my reader every day for the entire month of winter. 🙂 My first reason ever not to look forward to spring. 😉

    • 23thorns says:

      I decided to do this while sitting under a palm tree in the blazing heat. I forgot all about winter. These might be the whiniest 100 posts in christendom- I don’t like being cold in the same way that I don’t like being stung by wasps.

  27. narf77 says:

    You LUCKY bollocks! Holidays? FREE Holidays? No wonder you are off to prostitute yourself in the blogosphere…you are obviously seriously addicted to holidays and are trying to work out how to pay for more. Hope that heavy beer didn’t overdevelop that right arm ;). Maybe you could start at “A” and go from there…thats 26 posts already covered (thank me later). I am a masochist…I know I won’t be able to stop myself from reading those number posts…I am already regretting it but can’t… stop…reading…sigh…

    • 23thorns says:

      Don’t worry. I foresaw the risk I was taking with my right arm and manage to avoid it by always having a beer in each hand.
      I’m glad you’re on board. Just another 59 999 masochists to go!

  28. Kami Tilby says:

    Random weirdness on a daily basis sounds delightfully painful, like your little trip seaside. I’ll brace myself for the torture.

  29. mambolounge says:

    Good luck with the challenge. I look forward to receiving your annoying blog post notifications in my inbox for the next three months.

  30. museconfuse says:

    aww the seychelles holidays sounds like a “torturous” experience. You’re right, I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy 😉

  31. Oh, and that Seychelles holiday? You poor thing – noone should have to put up with treatment like that…

  32. Good luck with your 100 days – I’m looking forward to reading your blog every day – even the ones with numbers in the titles! 🙂

  33. lylekrahn says:

    Your humour was hitting all the high notes today!

    I have this love/hate relationship with stats especially since I’m not sure what they mean. I read the other day you can get something for Instagram that goes around and likes posts on your behalf. Yikes. At least if people comment about your topic, it means they read it.

    My two cents on blogging every day – I would rather read quality stuff less often but I only count for one hit. Good luck with your experiment. I’m sure you’ll keep us posted.

  34. anmaru says:

    Please, 23thorns, ignore all advice. Continue to march to your own drummer. (I am pretty sure you will anyway.)

  35. Mom, you should follow and read this blog…

    [image: photo] *Kelly Greenwood* Greenwood Landscape Design t: (650) 996-4612 http://www.greenwoodlandscape.com http://www.sweethollowalmanac.com [image: Twitter] [image: LinkedIn] Get a signature like this. CLICK HERE.

  36. Personally, I’m looking forward to more. I love seeing the little email with your latest post, because I know it will be a good laugh. I’ve learned not to drink anything while reading, though. :o)

  37. Erica says:

    I don’t know where they get that 60,000 is the measure of a good blog. Yours is a solid blog, a good blog, a blog I look forward to reading every time I see that you’ve posted something. And if your numbers are small, my numbers put my blog somewhere in the realm of “Do you even have a blog?”

    But if you post, I will read. And I hope you hit your goal if for no other reason than to say “Yeah, I can do that, but I don’t wanna anymore.” 🙂

  38. smallpebbles says:

    Cheers! It’s really interesting to take a look and see “who” wants 60,000 hits and why? Will it really make “you” feel better? And then, for how long? Why not just allow the fun and joy of blogging just be in the present expression of whatever wants to come through, 3,000 words or 20 (this is a self-reminder of course)…..and what comes out of it by way of response from other bloggers, well just that a few “tune-in” or thousands, does it really matter? Why not just rest in a sense of well-being and gratitude for the creativity as it flows. ….and what a mom! glad you had such a “miserable” vacation! in peace…

    • 23thorns says:

      I’m not really in to the 60 000. I do want to see if i can push my creativity though. I don’t think that many of us bloggers do this for anything but fun, and I think it will be fun to put some stuff up that hasn’t taken me three days or so to think through, just to see if i can.

  39. Art Brûlant says:

    I do really feel badly for you. The Seychelles would be a real chore! Then to add the drudgery of following advice……….just awful. Mind you if that is what is considered a “good” number of hits my own blog is on the “nano’ scale. Reminds of me what they call in the business a Micro-Coffee Roaster. My own numbers place me again in the “Nano” range!
    Good luck with the numbers!

    • 23thorns says:

      I suspect it’s that “lies, damn lies, and statistics” thing at work. There’s some bastard out there getting five million hits a day who’s just making the rest of us look bad.

  40. I’ve been blogging here nearly three years. If my numbers stay on their current trajectory, I might hit 60,000 hits in, oh….six more years…

  41. Loved the hilarious initial half of the post! And all the best for your 100 day project. I am also planning to do a 52 week project on my blog, so I appreciate your thoughts behind it.

  42. Uh oh, I spot someone who’d be Munro-bagging if they lived in Scotland. A good blog gets 60,000 hits a month? Says who? Using what definition of ‘good’? The one that goes ‘good = popular with thousands’? Eh… so you’re a fan of 50 Shades now, are you?
    Your blog is good. Already. There you go, you can relax now – you really ought to be taking it easy after all that hardship your unfeeling mother has just put you through.

    • 23thorns says:

      The hardship and deprivation I have just suffered was good training for my coming ordeal. But I will not be able to move forward until I know what Munro-bagging is. Pray tell?

      • Google it for the details! Basically, though, it’s ticking hills over a certain height off a list as you climb them. The numbers seem to take over from considerations such as ‘is it a nice day to climb? Will there be a lovely view from this mountain? Now that you’ve got a blister, shall we just have a picnic in this perfect spot, rather than struggling to the summit?’

      • 23thorns says:

        It sounds like twitching for people who don’t like moving targets. My parents visited Scotland when I was small, and brought back lots of photographs. It was all very stark and beautiful, but from what I can remember, the best place for a picnic in Scotland seems to be indoors!

  43. If you are doing something wrong at 100 hits per day, that means I am miserable at this. But I already knew that. Good luck hitting 60,000. I’ll be there in about 7 years. Save me a spot, would ya?

    • 23thorns says:

      I read somewhere that publishers would start looking at you when you had 100 000 hits. I am looking at international fame and fortune in ten years time. We can buy a yacht together.

  44. TamrahJo says:

    No harm in trying something new – but I do hope the 500-700 word restriction does not harm your wonderful wit and charm 🙂

    There are vast writings in cyberspace that could and should be ruthlessly edited down to fit this standard – could be easily done and no one would miss a thing

    But I am also reminded of an exchange in the movie “Amadeus”:

    Emperor Joseph II: “My dear young man, don’t take it too hard. Your work is ingenious. It’s quality work. And there are simply too many notes, that’s all. Just cut a few and it will be perfect.

    Mozart: Which few did you have in mind, Majesty?”

    From the 3,000+ word camp – – 😀

  45. Joanna says:

    You could ( are you seriously doing this?) add a flag counter to the blog, they are very cute and free, my Dad was very impressed with mine, but then I changed theme one day, the widget wandered off to some hidden spot on the Dashboard and I never put it back. Trot around and comment back on people’s blogs, even a smile or a wink, that is usually enough to get a fellow blogger to come and check you out. It reminds me of those Georgette Heyer novels with people dashing around Bath leaving their calling cards but it works, especially if you actually comment with reference to their post. Good luck anyway, I once did an alphabet post for 26 days without any prep, nearly finished me off for good but I did get more views while it was ongoing 🙂 Joanna

    • 23thorns says:

      I am doing this, but not very seriously at all! Part of me just wants to see if I can write every day, but mostly I just like numbers. I brush my teeth in multiples of eight, and I used to count how many times I pushed my son around the garden in his pram when he was a baby (he was not a sleeper. The record was 237). After I write a post, I stay up all night checking my stats. So now I’m not going to sleep for 100 days!

  46. Oh darling, don’t be hard on yourself. Your blog is not a pile of rubble. It is at the very least as impressive as Norscot Koppie. And those special posts in which you call me a crack addict, those all on their own are easily as tall as the dump off London Road.

  47. NOoooOOOOoooooooo. Another blogger reads blogging advice articles. I know it’s part of the natural cycle of blogging. I hope you get over it. I enjoy your blog as is, but I’m also a creature of habit. Good luck!

    • 23thorns says:

      Don’t worry, the blog as is will be there too. Just avoid anything with a number in the title. I’m mostly just trying to teach myself a little self-control, and seeing whether I can write when I don’t feel like it. I’m not too fond of blogging advice columns myself they’re all so painfully earnest.
      I do like numbers though, so now I’m going to chase one!

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