I’m 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 way to half way there. Oh well.
I’m starting to get into the swing of things. For the last few weeks, I’ve struggled to come up with ideas for things I really wanted to write about. This week I turned the corner. I have the answer. Structure. Planning. Organisation.
I sat down last Sunday and said to myself “That’s it! You need a plan here.” I didn’t actually say that. I don’t often talk to myself, and if I do, I’m not that polite. People who talk to themselves are weirdos, and besides, I am far too busy arguing with imaginary or real, but absent adversaries. It frightens the children, but I always seem to win, which is good for my self-esteem. But I digress.
My plan involved monkeys. All the best plans do. I would write three posts about the monkeys of the Lowveld. Half the week taken care of. Easy. And so, of course, I awoke the next morning and wrote about dancing. The next day I got to the poo-flingers. But not the monkeys. Politicians. Then I got round to the monkeys. And the Bushbabies. And the baboons.
I have never been very good at doing what I’m told. It’s not that I am some sort of brooding James Dean type or anything. It’s just that I have the focus and the attention span of a Jack Russell puppy on Benzedrine. Somehow knowing that I have a defined task laid out in front of me inspires me to wander off and do something else. So that’s it. No more writers block. If I set myself a strict schedule to ignore, I will never run out of ideas.
It was quite fun to see where the ideas came from. On Monday, I was going to write about Bushbabies. And then I read in the news that the lead singer of Yothu Yindi had died. I liked Yothu Yindi. So I Googled them for old time’s sake. And up came Midnight Oil, who were apparently quite close to them. So I Googled them for old time’s sake. And up came Peter Garrett. Who dances like a PCP addict with Alien Hand Syndrome. Post sorted.
Something else has happened that is quite interesting. I have written about South African wildlife since I started this blog. But I started at the bottom. With creepy crawlies. It was sometimes quite tricky finding enough interesting stuff to make a post seem worthwhile. Now the opposite is starting to happen. Take baboons, for example.
First of all, baboons are incredibly complex and interesting creatures. They are smart. They live in large, socially complex groups. They steal. Secondly, people have spent a great deal of time studying them. We know an awful lot about baboons. I could have gone on forever. Writing about wildlife in future is going to be as much about knowing what to leave out as finding stuff to put in.
And the thing is, I’m not hugely fond of baboons. By the time I get to things I really like, like Hyenas and Elephants, not writing a book each time is going to be quite tricky. But fun in its own way.
The research is quite fun, too, and every now and then, you stumble on something unexpected. The best explanation I got for a weird blog I stumbled across was that it was written by a machine in order to fool another machine. Apparently, as the computer-writing detector-machines get better at weeding out computer generated content, the computer-writing machines get better at writing like people. Nice. I got to see the genesis of Skynet from the Terminator movies.
Just another six weeks to go. Wish me luck. Here’s your vote for the week. Have a good one.