Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Am I Boring You?

Michael Hyatt, CEO of Nelson Publishers in Nashville, has a terrific web site and blog. In a recent post, “Why I Stopped Reading Your Blog,” he gave six reasons he might unsubscribe to someone’s blog. I sat up on the edge of my chair and leaned in closer as I read, hoping that he didn’t nail me with any of his reasons:

Your titles make me yawn.

Your posts are boring.

Your posts are too infrequent.

Your posts are too long.

Your posts are too unfocused.

You don’t participate in the conversation.

I considered each of his reasons (and read the short explanation he provided for each) and decided that the main issue he might take with my blog posts is that they are often too long. He suggests 500 words/post. Mine are often 1000+ words. Hmmm, I read on…

You don’t participate in the conversation.
Okay, I don’t get very many comments, but when I do, I don’t often comment back because the comments aren’t usually that “conversational.” But I’ll pay more attention to this from now on. I promise. (P.S. In Jane Friedman’s Writer’s Digest blog, “There Are No Rules,” where I’m a regular guest blogger now, and at “A Good Blog is Hard to Find,”
where I post about every month and a half, I notice I get many more comments, and I do participate in the conversation. I’m thinking it’s because those blogs have a larger readership. (“There Are No Rules” has over 50,000 monthly readers. I don’t know about “A Good Blog.”)

Hopefully my posts aren’t boring, and they certainly aren’t too infrequent (averaging 3 posts/week), but are they “unfocused”? I had to re-read what Michael meant by this:

“One day you’re blogging on this. The next day you’re blogging on that. What is your blog about? Please remind me, because I am lost in the forest of your eclectic interests. You’re not a renaissance man (or woman). You are undisciplined.”

Okay, I admit that I am intentional in publishing a “forest of my eclectic interests.” And while I know I’m not a renaissance woman, I don’t think I’m undisciplined just because I have more than one interest. In fact, I was getting concerned that I was blogging too much about WRITING and not enough about the other areas of life, and so I did a post-count for 2010, and this is what I discovered:

2010 Blog Post Categories: (percentages are approximate)
Writing: 48 (40%)

Spirituality: 37 (30%)

Other (Personal, Psychological, Art, Misc.): 16 (13%)

Family/Travel: 11 (9%)

My mother/Alzheimers: 8 (7%)

And so, as we plunge into 2011, I ask you, my readers: are you bored with my blog? Are you tired of reading so much about writing? About spirituality? Do you want MORE about my mother in the nursing home and Alzheimers?

I’ve noticed that I tend to get more comments when I write about Mom and about personal, psychological issues, than when I write about art and spirituality. Not sure what that means.

Okay, I’m going to stop here at just over 600 words and pack for a trip to Jackson to visit my mom in the nursing home. But I’m also meeting with a writing partner in Jackson, and we’ll be critiquing each other’s work and talking about our writing, workshops, publishing, etc. Wonder which one of these topics will show up on my blog on Friday? I hope I don't make you yawn.


Gabriel Scala said...


Thanks for posting this - it's a question I often ask myself (being relatively new to regular blogging) - are people interested in this stuff? Is anyone reading? What do they like? What do they hate? What bores them to tears?

Who knows??

I started blogging as an exercise in daily writing - and that's been good for me. I try to keep my posts at least remotely related to reading and writing and the literary world - I can only hope that's helpful/entertaining to others.

As far as your blogs goes, I enjoy reading it. If you're looking for actual constructive criticism, I will say that it feels a bit cluttered - the page itself - which can be distracting from your lovely words. If you're not looking for constructive criticism, disregard this entire paragraph ;-)


Susan Cushman said...

Thanks, Gabriel. I agree that the design of the blog is "cluttered." Eventually I'm going to switch to Wordpress and hopefully come up with a cleaner design. But it's such a huge undertaking, I don't know when I'll do it. But I do appreciate the constructive criticism!

Ellie O'Leary said...

My posts are too infrequent, but that's what New Years are for. Aren't they?

Emma Connolly said...

I don't agree with everything Hyatt said. The eclectic forest to me makes your blog more interesting. I can read about writing or psychology or religion as my interests pull me. But to read your posts - well, it's as if you are being your real self, a multi-dimensional person, and that's much more interesting than a narrow-focused blog. To me anyway.

Emma Connolly said...

and one more thing . . . isn't all writing about "writing"? As writers, and as students of writing, we are told over and over to READ everything, inside and outside your on genre. I love reading about family histories, memoirs, mysteries, recipes, and all the other things that writers write about.