I started this blog on the 4th August 2016.Three months ago, and I think it’s time to give it a quick review, to see how we are getting on.
It has, so far, been an interesting and rewarding experience. One of the major points of the exercise was to instill some discipline into my saggy, middle-aged frame. get me to sit down and crank out some words, gain some confidence, loosen some rusty creative muscles.
I also wanted to pass along some of my enthusiasm for audio entertainment; be it drama, comedy, documentary, discussion or just plain weird. In particular the wildly expanding world of podcasts, the wild west of broadcasting, where anything goes. (Funny story. Whilst I did coin the phrase ‘Wild West of Broadcasting’ in my head, when I googled it, I found someone else had used it earlier. Still, points for effort I think?)
My third objective, and I’ll admit it was a long shot, was to gain a readership of millions and that someone would read my blog and think ‘What a great writer, I must give him a massive advance to buy a floppy hat, a London studio flat, and write the great 21st century novel.’
I did say it was a long shot.
So, let’s look at those objectives and grade how we have done.
1) Discipline. Grade B-.
Good effort has been made. Most weeks I have managed to churn out at least one blog post. Sometimes two. But, I think to make this more successful I need to be doing a minimum of two pieces a week. I also need to be planning ahead for times when I may not be able to thump out a piece, such as not being at home, or performing in a play all week.
I have enjoyed writing again though. When I was a younger man, I used to work evenings at a petrol station. There isn’t much to do between customers so for a while I amused myself by writing a fantasy epic, called The Dryad Saga. It got to about 100,000 words and was uniformly awful. The mistake I made was giving the characters names of people I know, as a gag and because thinking of character names is so difficult. But then it becomes hard to ruthlessly kill people you actually know. I did the creative equivalent of taking the novel out back of the woodshed with a shotgun.
If I can convince myself that I do have some ability I would like to expand my range. I have a possible outlet for writing something for the stage, which could be interesting. There is also a thing called #nanowrimo – National Novel Writing Month. It takes place in November each year and is a challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in a month. I would do it this year but, with a play coming up and, it’s the 6th November already, it ain’t gonna happen. I shall be ‘resting’ from the autumn production next year so maybe then. It’s not about quality but about encouraging people to have a go and stick to a target. Could be fun!
2) Spreading the word on Podcasts – Grade: D+
Yeah, well. Started well. But, well, um….haven’t really mentioned any in weeks have I? It feels an odd mix with the subjects I have been writing about to then flip to my favourite podcasts of that week. And I have been listening to some great new shows.
So, here’s the plan. I’m going to split the blog. One page with all my stuff and nonsense on, and another with my stuff and nonsense about podcasts. Individual entries dedicated to individual podcasts, making them more accessible to search engines. So look out for those changes in the coming week or so.
I have been interacting with the some podcasts via twitter etc. And it’s a lovely feeling when someone who’s work you greatly enjoy and admire take the time to acknowledge you back. ‘The Archers’ fancast – Dumteedum, actually read some of my review out on their show. Which was nice. They also described me as ‘so rude’ this week after I pinged a double entendre heavy tweet about an episode at them.It was meant as I compliment I am fairly sure.
3) Reaching out to Millions – Grade: F
I’ll be honest. I had no great expectations of gathering an army of loyal followers. When I started I took the decision not to bombard people with tweets and Facebook messages, constantly plugging my site. In return I hoped that readers would like and share on their own pages if they like a piece. It’s slow work, but it does mean a lot to me every time I pick up a new follower.
The analytics though, become a highly addictive drug. I can see how many people have read a piece, if they have clicked onwards to other entries or to other sites to look at Podcasts. I can see the countries, how they found the site and if they are a new visitor, or someone returning. I compare week on week, month on month, to see if I am growing or shrinking.
The most exciting post I made, that really picked up interest was my first ‘Am I Rob Titchener’. The link got picked up by the BBC The Archers twitter feed, and retweeted on their own feed. It got read by a lot of people and I received some really nice comments. In fact, when I have received feedback on any piece, it has all been good so far.
So, to improve my grades I’m just going to keep chugging along. I’m starting to tweet more at @fatbloketalking on Twitter, and I’ll start putting mini-blog posts on Facebook when little thoughts and jokes come to me.
I have a number of blog pieces I keep plugging away at, trying to get the right tone, balance and new insight. So I hope you’ll come back to look at it.
If you read my stuff, and like it, please tell someone. I like that people are visiting, but I would like more. And if anyone with a chequebook thinks I can turn a nifty phrase, or put an argument well, I am more than happy to put pen to paper in return for a pound or two. Those big floppy hats don’t buy themselves!