7. Tilting at windmills

A couple of weeks ago, I read somewhere that a good blog should be getting about 60 000 views a month. Had I been the sort of person who cared deeply about things like that, I would have been crushed. In ten months I had got precisely half of that. I’m not though. So I wasn’t. But a seed was planted.

A silly seed.

A silly seed.



That seed has grown into a very stupid idea. I’m trying to do a post a day, for a hundred days. And I’m trying not to cheat. No limericks or pictures of funny shaped sticks I found in the street. They have to be proper posts. I have set myself a ludicrous and unattainable goal. I want to get 60 000 views in those hundred days.

Why am I doing this? I could tell you lots of things. I want to push myself as a writer. I want to see if I can put something worthwhile out every day, even when I’m not really in the mood. I want to see if I can write shorter posts. There might a shade of truth in all those answers. But none of them is the real answer.

The real answer is a bit harder to express. Because there isn’t one. Not really. My father had his eccentricities. For a while, we had to cut all of our firewood into six inch lengths. He collected tens of thousands of rocks to put into his garden. He washed his glasses with methylated spirits every day. If you asked him why he did these sorts of things, he would have had a well thought out, rational answer. That wasn’t true. Not really. Because the real answer was that he was quixotic. He spent his life tilting at windmills. He would get an idea into his head and follow it through with a deep but temporary passion. And he was richer for it. We all were.

And that’s why I’m doing this. For no reason at all. I just got the idea into my head, and I have seen first-hand how much happier life can be if you tilt at the occasional windmill. I have nothing to gain. I won’t get any richer, or wiser, or better looking. I’ll just have a little bit of fun.

Somehow it looks cooler when he does it!

Somehow it looks cooler when he does it!

But there’s a rider to all of this. I started this blog for absolutely no reason at all about ten months ago. And in those ten months, people have started reading it. Some of them actually seem to enjoy it. They take the time to say nice things about it. I am hugely grateful to these people. I didn’t expect them to be there when I started out this blogging thing, but now that they are, they have become the main reason that I do this. They make this fun.

And I don’t want to punish them for it. So if you are one of those people, here’s your chance. You can stop this nonsense right here. Every Sunday for the next 93 days, the little kingdom of 23thorns will become a democracy.

And how’s it all going? Shockingly. Yesterday’s post was posted at one minute to midnight. I’m getting less than half the views I need to come even close to the target. I have not once hit the target of less than 700 words. Thinking up something to write about every day is proving to be harder than I thought it would be. But I’m having fun so far. And I only have another 58 230 views to go!

My failure to acheive my completrely arbitrary goal, represented graphically.

My failure to acheive my completrely arbitrary goal, represented graphically.

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33 thoughts on “7. Tilting at windmills

  1. Spy Garden says:

    I go for 3-5 posts a week. I wouldn’t do less than that. More is bonus, but even Martha Stewart takes the weekend off from her blog haha Good job!

  2. Mmnm says:

    I now know a day has passed when I see another email from 23thorns. So please don’t stop, otherwise I will need to find another way to count my days again.

    On a more serious note though, you do have a special kind of humour, and as long as you keep to it, I’ll happily read as many posts as you’re capable of churning out. (Q: will it boost your pageview if I refresh often? or is it counting by IP address per day?)

    And since this is my first comment on your blog (I think? @_@a) I’d like to add that your fashion post is fab, your maggie’s instant noodle post is also fab, and so is your haiku post, amongst many others.

    Winston Churchill approves of your endeavour, thus he appeared to cheer you on.

    • 23thorns says:

      Thank you. No need to do the refreshing thing- cheating is not allowed when chasing arbitrary and meaningless goals. Bully and trick all your friends into logging on instead.

  3. Chickening out already? It that what the poll’s for, to have an excuse? ‘Well, I had to give it up. They didn’t want me to continue with the challenge’? But, ha-ha, it ain’t working as you see. WE won’t let you quit! No sir! A hundred days is nothing! A meager third of the year! And, you know, you can always write two pieces on a good, inspiration-filled day, and post the extra one when you hit a dry spot or when you don’t have the time to write. We don’t have to know.
    Seriously, stick with it. You never know, you might even hit the 100 000 views. Or not. Nobody knows – yet. And it’s been fun reading your stuff. Really interesting too to have these little peeks into your South African life.
    Did Winston quit? ‘For my own part, looking out upon the future,’ he said in his speech in the House of Commons, 20.8.1940, ‘I do not view the process with any misgivings. I could not stop it if I wished; No one can stop it. Like the Mississippi, it just keeps rolling along. Let it roll. Let it roll on full flood, inexorable, irresistible, benignant, to broader lands and better days.’ (Yeah, I am a geek who has the best of Winston Churchill’s speeches in her home library…)

  4. Marcia says:

    I vote yes. Resoundingly, yes! Any day with a post from 23 in it is a good day! BUT. Remember what they said in the 60’s? No, not “Peace, Love, Dope.” I’m talking about “If it feels good, do it!” This can be applied to many things, though since blogging hadn’t even invented during that era, I doubt this is one of them. Regardless, the sentiment applies. If you are enjoying your run at the windmills, I say go for it. I get upwards of 200 emails every single day. One more from you will not cause my Inbox to explode. But a day without laughter might cause my head to. Write on, 23. Myself, will be in that number who will be reading it. *going off now, looking for my “Make Love Not War” t-shirt.

    • 23thorns says:

      You have inspired me! I’m ready to take on this challenge! As soon as I’m done with these replies, I’m going out to get me some weed! I can decide about this blogging thing some other day.

      • Marcia says:

        That’s the ticket! Relax. Lie back and stare at the clouds. Watch bacteria multiplying on formica tabletops. Wait for inspiration to strike. Wait a bit longer. Inhale. Deeply. Hold it. Go on waiting. Your Blog Muse will show up someday. And if she doesn’t, well, what does it all matter anyway? Exhale now. Peace, brother.

  5. Keryn says:

    Keep going, only 93 posts left. And luckily the number of readers is exponential; the more you get, the quicker it grows. A post a day seems just right, but feel free to have the weekends off, we loyal readers wont desert you.
    As an Australian reader I feel a kinship with a lot of what you describe; living in a harsh but beautiful land, larrikin people, amazing animals, spiders and snakes that can kill you with no trouble, strange offsrping, irreverent humour. I love reading your posts every day, and you now rank right up there with my favourite Aussie writer Clive James. I wonder how many hits he would get on his blog? Does he even have a blog? You’re ahead of him there.

  6. narf77 says:

    I forgot to add…would you like me to share you with my New York Hooker? That’s another “1” for your tally? 😉

  7. narf77 says:

    When I started blogging I did it to get my mother off my back. We had moved from my home state and she was demanding an email a day. Blogging seemed like the perfect way for a frustrated writer to out herself to the world whilst minimising time spent typing about dahlias to my mother. I posted once a day for the first year and my muses seemed to be more prolific than I care to investigate. I think I have more than my fair share of them because they never let up. They are always in my ear telling me to “TYPE”. I get up at 3.30am to read posts that “other people” write from all over the world. My admiration for these wonderful wordsmiths, recipe inventors and amateur philosophers outweighs my need for sleep and when I hit 7am, time for the real world to wake up, I am invigorated, mind and soul, and ready for my day.

    There are worse things to do in life than tilt at windmills and as the wonderful Mrs 23 Thorns has so rightly pointed out, Mr Winston Churchill is a wild stab at hooking the crazies via a tag. I am very careful about what I tag now. I once got a hooker from New York following my blog thanks to a crazy tag I decided to run with (“Quiet you muses!”).

    We, your dear constant readers, are all here for 1 reason. You write amazingly well. We have all decided (without your knowledge) to buy any book that you are contemplating writing before you write it. That should be a sign that you have a loyal following. You have set yourself an interesting challenge and we are all here to see where that challenge leads you and where we all end up. Most of us have NO idea about what African life entails. Africa is where elephants live…period! You have a prime opportunity to educate we, the rest of the world masses, about the intricicies of African life. You could tell us anything really, what would we know?! You could tell us that giraffes are really just elongated zebra’s and we would probably believe you…such is the power of the information highway (well…”I” wouldn’t believe you but hundreds might 😉 ).

    Sorry my comments are so long. I really enjoy wordplay and your blog is one of my most prized early morning reads. I reserve it for my first cup of tea and have to stifle my guffaws so that the rest of the house don’t wake up at this ungodly hour. Kudos on your gift sir. Kudos on how you knit your words into something eminently serviceable and uniquely beautiful and stop sweating the small stuff…let your words do the talking. They are the stars and so far, they haven’t ever let you down ;). See you tomorrow…ask your kids about their perspective, ask Mrs 23 Thorns about being a woman in Africa, ask your underpants gnome about her journey to your underpants drawer…seek and you shall find! 😉

    • 23thorns says:

      I have no idea how the Winston Churchill thing happened. It all seems a bit odd. But if you could teach me to recruit those New York hookers I would be most grateful!

      • narf77 says:

        No idea…my best guess is include the word “life” in your tags…that always seems to get the most hits from the crazies with me…

  8. Why did you tag this post with ‘Winston Churchill’. Do you secretly intend going on to the end, fighting on the beaches without surrender?

  9. elizabethweaver says:

    I like this post, and like others you’ve written. But, I wonder…if you’re really writing a manuscript, why not spend the creative time working on the MS rather than creating an arbitrary goal for a blog? I ask this writer to writer rather than as a criticism. I never have enough time for my real writing so keep the blog as non-obstructive as possible…and it still obstructs, though it’s also pure joy. However, I don’t come close to your readership, so perhaps your decision is the best way to create one. Good luck! (and I hope you share your thoughts re: my question.)

    • 23thorns says:

      The MS is on the back-burner at the moment. I sort of lost the plot (literally) when the company I was working for began to implode. I’ll try to get back into it soon, but until then, this is a fun way to keep my hand in.

  10. You could sign up for the Trifecta writing challenge (as well as the daily prompts etc mentioned in previous comment) – it seems to be only 33 words…
    Also – I hate to be a bearer of bad news, but for some reason, even though I follow your blog, your posts are not showing up in my reader. Because I set everything to come to email as well, I am finding them that way. But it ain’t going to help your stats if people can’t find you via the WordPress Reader. Same thing happened to someone else I know who switched to paid-for-WordPress, so it might be worth checking out with the whatyacallem…happiness engineers?!

  11. artourway says:

    This is a lovely way to spend time.

  12. avian101 says:

    Do not push yourself unnecessarily! How about 3 times a week? We all love to set up challenges but breaking records is not a priority. There’s a tendency to lower the quality of whatever you do when pressed by time and deadlines. Besides you should not forget about your social life and spend some time with the kids.
    What ever the outcome of your survey I’ll continue reading your posts! Good luck! 🙂

  13. If you are having a hard time thinking of things to write about you should really sign up for WordPress’ Daily Posts, Weekly Writing Challenges and Photo/Writing Challenges. I find them very helpful, at least, and getting involved in them broadens your ‘potential’ audience immediately because of how they work. Check them out! 🙂

  14. I don’t ming getting a post a day. I would rather read your posts than messages from my Real Estate agent about some bill I haven’t paid or a broken doorknob. In fact, I feel I should join you on your quest- but I’m too lazy.

  15. I write my blog so I don’t have to ring my mother.

  16. If I could fail at blogging the same way you think you’re failing, I’d finally feel like I was getting somewhere! Everyone needs the occasional windmill, just to keep things interesting (and that’s coming from a guy whose entire career has consisted of working with criminals and the insane, so we could talk about interesting sometime!) Don’t quit!

    • 23thorns says:

      It doesn’t look like that’s on the cards quite yet. By the sound of things, you don’t need any windmills. You need to pour your heart and soul into the dullest hobby you can find. Ever tried macrame?

  17. I enjoy your posts and I will have to stop reading them if you load up my inmail like that.

    • 23thorns says:

      Sadly I don’t know how. If I did, I would set aside this blog and get busy with a 419 scam. You see I have this uncle who has passed away, leaving a fortune of $10 000 000. I need some help getting the money out of the country. Keen?

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