2017 – Bringing focus to my blogging
“Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.” ― Henry David Thoreau, Walden and Other Writings
I wrote my first blog post on 28 December 2009. Since then I’ve written close to 1,000 posts. (Not all of them are on my site, having been caught out by a virus that deleted over 20%.)
If you check the archive, you’ll see I’ve straddled a number of disparate themes. More latterly, I’ve been absorbed by spirituality and making the most of our gifts but, in many ways, I feel I’ve been rowing against my own tide, particularly when I’ve been at pains to point out the virtues of personal branding (yuk), excellence, leadership, holistic lawyering and social media.
In all, do I think I’ve cracked the blogging code?
In fact, I still think myself a dilettante.
Actually, it’s worse than that: I’ve never nailed the two seminal questions of any blogging enterprise, namely:
(a) Who am I writing for? and
(b) What am I writing about?
This year will be very different.
No, I mean it.
For a start, I’ve already mapped out the 10 themes to write about — these will be set out in a subsequent post — but, more particularly, the time I’ll have available will be significantly reduced and that means I’ll have to be laser focused in what I do. In short, I want to move outwith the realm of the slightly ethereal to something more concrete. As an example, I intend to talk about how I’m working to achieve financial independence (FI) by the time I’m 60, so that Alli and I can travel around the British Isles and Europe working as necessary to fund our travels.
When I think about my audience, I’ll still be aiming my writing guns at those people who seek meaning in their lives — or certainly more meaning than a moribund career might offer — but until I start writing under the various themes, I won’t know if I’ve landed any (big) fish or gone down like a sack of sh*t. Excuse the profanity, but for some people they might be content for me to write about spirituality but, for others, they may be intrigued with why FI is now of interest, together with the other, less prosaic, subjects.
In the final analysis, and as hackneyed as it sounds, blogging has and will remain a journey of the soul; and, I do it because I’ve no choice. Oh sure, I’d love to grow my subscribers to the mega numbers that only a few ever reach (think Seth Godin), but I’d be content to touch a few people sufficient that they too, might one day say, “Is this it?”, and then proceed to do something about it.
I’m also intent on eliminating the grammatical errors I’ve previously allowed in. This means giving myself more time to edit and rewrite. I’ll keep things to a manageable length — say, 750 words maximum — so that (a) I force myself to get to the point and (b) you don’t spend unnecessary time trying to understand what the hell I’m trying to say.
One last thing. I’d love to get your feedback. Drop me a line, Tweet me or perhaps we can do a Skype call. In the end, it’s the one true way to get better, i.e. to listen to my audience.
Oops, I nearly forget. I’ll be writing to this blog and nowhere else. I’ve already canned juliansummerhayes.me (WordPress.com — I only subscribe to and read blogs but no longer post there), Livejournal (I hear it may close down in any event) and Tumblr (I’ll only be sharing my poetry — do sign up if you’re interested). I’ll share this blog on Twitter but if you’re not there, the best way to subscribe is to use a RSS feed like Feedly.
As they always say, let the (new) journey begin.