Half a year throwaway weekly

My first blogging steps
Half a year ago I started throwaway weekly blog. I was curious about blogging and liked writing. How did it work out?

Well, my curiosity on blogging was satisfied. I now know publishing once a week is doable. I’ve worked out a workflow. Surprisingly, the greatest thing, however is people are actually reading my entries, and even take the time to like or comment on them.

Doubts
Despite all this, the last weeks I have had strong doubts on continuing throwaway weekly. English is not my native tongue, and writing something that grabs and holds the attention takes much time and energy. Yes, it is fun, but I’d like to use the energy for something a bit more meaningful. Like writing a song. Like writing about something I’m passionate about. Moreover, my stash of publishable photographs is getting thin…

For me, blogging is here to stay. I’ll try to continue publishing on throwaway weekly until I find something new …

For all people reading me: thanks for having me!

 

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Hi there

Beam in Roissypole stationInitially I had a picture of the Roissypole train station (Paris Charles de Gaulle airport) in mind for this weeks  throwaway weekly post. A brutalistic concrete cathedral. The picture, albeit a bit boring, is not bad. But it didn’t feel right in this place and time. I now know this is because the picture doesn’t tell a story. At least not one I can discover. I think the post I did in stead is a definite improvement over this one.

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Seth’s Blog: Talker’s block

Very, very true: Seth’s Blog: Talker’s block.

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Shitty titles

As you might know from the previous post I use myself as a benchmark reader. Today I looked at the list of my posts on throwaway weekly and I noticed something about the titles. Most of the titles did not pique my interest at all. Would I start reading an article called “a ministry of finance”? Or “a bridge”? Or – heaven forbids – “another bridge”? No I wouldn’t. Having these kind of titles is an excellent way to make the blog fail, but it’s a very boring one.

The good news is that one or two posts have somewhat less boring titles, and low and behold, the last one even got a like from a fellow WordPress blogger (thanks the wuc) .

As an exercise, and to have some fun I made up some titles to replace the really boring ones:

I won’t start reading… … but this title might just lure me …
A gate Terminal world
A urinal On pissing
A trash container Humongous red hinges
A ministry of finance An ugly blob of concrete
The new ministry of finance Openness. And what it might lead to.
Another bridge Not a voluptuous claw hammer

I fear it’s a bit too late for the poor posts in question, but I’ll pay a bit more  attention to the next ones.

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Who cares?

The throwaway weekly is live for several weeks now. I have churned out some photo/ talk combos of photo’s I like, and have more than enough ideas to last me for the rest of the year. The editing workflow I wrote about in the previous meta entry is working well now, and I have developed a feeling for the blogging software.

As I expected from the onset, there is no slew of followers, the tagline of Throwaway weekly is not “this blog will fail” for nothing. To my surprise the statistics however show, there are about two visits a day on Throwaway weekly (and zilch on meta). Even on days I carefully do not visit the site myself. If you are one of those visitors: HELLO! And feel free to leave a comment :-).

What makes me visit a weblog?
The questions I have been asking myself in the past days is whether I would want to visit the blog myself, and if I would come again. The answer to both questions was not resoundingly affirmative, although I could not substantiate why. So, I asked myself: what makes me visit other blogs? I made a list of blogs I visit at regular intervals, and a list of blogs I stopped visiting. For each blog I noted down why I (used to) visit it, and I found two common denominators:

1. The blog learns me something, and repeatedly does so. Ken Rockwell shares his astonishingly simple look on photography and life. Joel Spolsky shared his insights in software development, some of which I use in my daily work.

2. The blog makes me think Seth Godin’s blog is a good example of this, just like those of the columns of a column writer in the local newspaper.

An added bonus is when the blogger makes me laugh or when there is an occasional manifestation of beauty.

How does this fit in with Throwaway weekly?
Throwaway weekly seems to focus on beauty, mixed with personal background stories. It means I would only read it when I personally knew me. Which is kind of hard, because I don’t really exist…

So, what’s the plan?
For me it means that, would I want to write something that would actually be read by people like me, I would have to take up a subject I intimately know or care about. My profession would be a likely candidate, or one of my more advanced hobbies. For Throwaway weekly this would mean a reboot.

For now I will continue to publish a picture and a short talk on a weekly basis as I still learn. My writing muscles have evolved a bit since the first entry and the weekly publishing rigor forces me to keep this up. Moreover: it’s fun to do.

In the mean time I will make plans for a blog I would actually want to read myself.

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Preparing blog entries

One of the first things I learned on blogging is not to rush things. The first posts I published as soon as I thought them ready. When reviewing the a week later on live, I was abhorred. Sentences like train wrecks. Words of the mark. Adjective-galore. Besides showing I’m not a native writer, the piece looked positively sloppy. The excitement of the shining new blogging thingy had obviously clouded my judgement. Of course I could edit the posts (and I did), but my workflow clearly needed adjustment.

Adding a hurdle
So, instead of entering the next post directly into WordPress for iOS, I put it in the iPod’s notes app that lacks the itching “publish” button. When ready, I fingered done and let the post marinate in my iPod for some days.

A few days later the same errors as on my first entry appeared, but this time I could correct them before embarrassing myself in front of the world. I scrapped adjectives, rebuilt, added and struck sentences. Distrustful of the result I done‘d it into notes again and left it there for some more days before publishing it.

Just writing
For anyone writing in a professional capacity this won’t come as a revelation: blogging is just writing, warts and all. It took me some entries to realize it. The folks at WordPress understand this very well. They have drafts, a “distraction free” full screen mode, support for third party feedback and scheduled publishing.

Finally: the low tech route
Currently I’m not even using a computer to make this entry. I’m sitting in the sun, with an old school notebook, a pencil and – most important of all – an eraser.

I hope it shows.

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