08 October 2010

Looking for new heights to climb

This is not a place I want to be.

I’m not talking about the physical, geographic place; it looks pretty there. I’m talking about a plateau in my writing and blogging.

I was trying to figure out what post I wanted to enter in the NESCent evolution blogging competition this year. (I lost last year. Rightfully so.) I entered this piece about the evolution of gluttony.

I wasn’t sure how many posts popped. None made me think, “Now that’s good. And it’s better than what I would have written a couple of years ago.”

I got serious about blogging three years ago. I’ve worked hard to see what I could do as a blogger. I aim for a post a day, and have generally made it. I worked my way onto the front page of the blogs with the most posts on ResearchBlogging.

My readership has increased (and thank you for reading), but it has been fairly flat for several months. And other blogs have, I suspect, built more of an audience in less time. And a boy starts to wonder: Should I post less? Should I be more personal? Should I be more focused? Should I go wider? Should I be more confrontational?

In an earlier incarnation of this blog, I had a tagline at the top: “Constant improvement is the samurai way. It’s also the scientific way.”

I want to keep improving. But I’m not sure how to do it now. Restlessness...

Photo by Al_HikesAZ on Flickr; used under a Creative Commons license.


Bora Zivkovic said...

- go offline for a few days. You may come back refreshed.

- stop posting for a week, during which you explore science blogs you are unfamiliar with. Fresh, new voices may motivate you.

- have you considered applying to join a network? This usually boosts one's motivation.

- have you considered a project of putting together a new blog that will aggregate posts from all three of your blogs? It may look and feel so good, that you may decide to just fuse the three blogs into one. That way you can provide only one URL instead of three on your business cared, in the sig of your e-mail, etc.

- try doing something new, e.g., draw/paint the images for your posts yourself, by hand + scanning them in.

Bjørn Østman said...

NeuroDojo is a faily specialized blog, which I think appeals to fewer people than you would apparently like.

I have also been thinking about what to do to increase readership, even though I am not really prepared or motivated to do anything. As I read other blogs, the ones that I know are read by many are pretty much always controversial in some way. Pharyngula is the best example.

Also, writing a book really helps, it seems (e.g. Coyne, Pigliucci).

Hyporbole and a Half started July 2009, and now has over 27 thousand followers. that's insane, of course, and I suspect that some blogs just go viral, and you as a blogger just can't control that very much (two months ago the number was only 18 thousand!). But, Hyperbole probably appeals because it is funny content that readers can easily identify with.

And as Coturnix says, joining a network will boost the number, too.

Lastly, may I ask why this is so important to you?

Zen Faulkes said...

It matters to me because I want to keep improving as a writer. That's the main thing.