Sunday, January 17, 2010

Focus... foooo-cusss...

Just recently I've been thinking about the nature and purpose of this blog. Over and over again I've read advice from various sources that the best way to bring readers back to your blog is to pick a clear, specific topic upon which to focus, and stick to it. I'm sure this is very good, accurate advice if the idea is to drive up readership -- but I just can't seem to bring myself to do it.

Does this blog have a focus? Not really. Sometimes it's about real life, sometimes not; sometimes it's personal essays about family, sometimes photo essays about various adventures. Mostly it's about whatever ephemeral thought happens to stick in my noggin. If I had to write a current, one-sentence summary of Confessions of a Laundry Faerie, it would be, "If you're Soozcat, you'll probably like this." Somehow, in my hubris, I expect random visitors to stop by, read one entry, become intrigued and stay to check out the three-plus years of archived confessions.

Yet when I come across other personal blogs, that's not usually what I do, unless I'm absolutely enthralled by the first entry I read and I must have more. Ordinarily, the first thing I do is to look for a blurb that provides quick context -- What This Blog Is About, the short version -- and let that blurb help me determine whether further exploration is justified. I imagine this is probably what most other blog readers do as well. Shouldn't I attempt to create a focal point for my own blog if I expect readers to stick around?

I suppose. But I'd rather just wander wherever the whimsy leads, and hope that you'll come along with me. Maybe this lack of focus will mean that I'll never have more than three and a half readers. But do I want to make this blog more interesting at the expense of other ideas? I'm not really sure.

Right now I contribute to two other specialized blogs (you can see them under my profile, if you're curious). They're rarely updated, and that is largely because they're specialized. This blog, on the other hand, is updated on average two or three times a week because it's free-form; whatever I happen to take an interest in writing about is fair game. I've resisted the idea of trying to specialize, maybe just because I keep remembering Heinlein's comment about specialization being for insects. Then again, maybe all this commentary about keeping the blog free-form is merely an attempt to justify being a lazy writer, and lazy writing is not acceptable.

So maybe I'll hand it over to you, my 3.5 readers. The point of this exercise is to create a better blog. To that end, would you like to see a little more focus here, and if so, what should the area of focus be? (For those joining the program already in progress, I have heretofore posted journal entries, written serial fiction, posted photo essays, written short essays about family, written short personal essays, and dabbled in other random formats now and again.) Any suggestions you might make will be read and carefully considered. Thanks.


PG said...

I write both my blogs for myself as a kind of diary, not really for other people, though it's nice that so many enjoy it. So I can't really advise you, as I've never been bothered how other people perceive my blog and I certainly wouldn't stop doing it if I had no readers at all. I never understand why people make huge apologies for not blogging as if they were performing some kind of obligatory public service. I suppose people have different reasons for having blogs, but if I had any advice, it would be to do what you want to do.

Dori said...

You know, Sooz, I like the non-focused focused. I get bogged down reading the same thing over and over from others--I tend to skim over those writings. I know I have a tendency to be all over the place in my own writing, but that's the joy of writing for myself--I can do that.

So there ya go...write on!

LDahl said...

Just think "it takes all kinds" and continue to enjoy what you are doing. Your posts always give me something to ponder on, so I continue to visit. I'm interested in what you have to say.

Wendy Jean said...

Some people write diary type blogs, that IMO are more for their own personal use... and for some reason they are the same thing, went here did this, car broke down kid threw up.

I like that your blog is a mixed bag. I want to get to know a person. I want to know what they think about various subjects. I want to know what people are passionate about.

And finally focused blogs often end up with quite a bit of filler. I have totally seem focused blogs, such a recipe blog give useless info just to fill space.

tlawwife said...

I like your kind best!