It might probably go without saying that when times are tough, as they obviously are now, one tends to look closely at some of the behaviors one exhibited when they were doing a certain thing, when suddenly chance dictates that they not do it so much any more.
On The Blogging Habit
Such it is with me and blogging. I love blogging. I'd even go so far as to say, even if it were inaccurate, that I'm addicted to it. So, bereft of my main computer – where all my design files and whatever research and art play on whatever it was I was doing when the wall fell down – I don't blog as much, and when I don't blog, I seemed to naturally gravitate toward asking myself why I was doing it and what I hoped to accomplish.
I'm still answering those questions. The overall answer is that I just plain love writing. I always have. And it's quite empowering when even one person reads it and even comments. That's a palpable high.
And that may be indeed a physical response that can maybe qualify as addiction. I note in my pretty-much-constant reading that some researchers are treating being on the intermets as an addictive behavior. I also note elsewhere that someone figured out that the reason you go to Wikipedia and promply lose hours of your life clicking random links is because the very act of finding something out that you didn't know (or you didn't know you wanted to know) causes the release of neurotransmitters that deliver pleasure.
I'm no medical researcher, but it all makes sense to me.
Back when there was just TV News, you couldn't tear me away from the set during "the dinner hour". When I found the internet and UseNet, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. When I found the WWW, I revised that. When I found blogs, I revised that yet again (so far that's three dying-and-going-to-heavens. I'm probably pressing my luck here).
I guess you could call it an addiction, so.
On Stat Addiction
One thing I know I'm addicted to (or as near as makes no difference) is watching my hit count go up. I think that, in the end, that's probably a bad thing. I get about 100 hits a day, more or less and I want it to be more.
But how soon I forget that a couple years back, I only was getting 20 hits a day and was thinking I was really hitting my stride if I got more than thirty. Maybe it's tenaciousness but I really seem to be carving some sort of a niche.
The downside of being addicted to my stats is that when my stats go flat or fall (which seems to be the normal mode of operation) my smile tends to turn upside down. My Technorati authority was once over 70, would you believe? Then it started falling, and nothing I've been able to do content-wise have gotten too many people to link in to me. Noting that I've been leaning on the "easily distracted" part, I began to explore using my intense interest in design software to explore tutorials available online. It was fun, and when I'm back up and running I'll do it some more. I simply enjoy using Illustrator and Photoshop.
But it didn't result in any more inbound links or much of an uptick in stats. I really don't understand why. That was some fascinating stuff!
Also my quest to find out what artists I admire use and how they use it, which saw reality in a couple of posts about Dilbert's Scott Adams (which I still find dead cool) didn't get too much interest, which I thought funny. Who wouldn't be fascinated by such stuff?
One lesson I've learned about having a blog worth visiting is to not have one that's' banal. I think I've done my level best to get this blog there; after all, just before G4's PSU lost the magic smoke, I'll be a bit arrogant perhaps and say I've been doing the best blogging so far in the history of The ZehnKatzen Times. And I don't know anyone else who's experimenting with tutorials on line or actively finding out about the techniques of artists he likes, or even posting scans of his old Portland maps.
Where this section is all going, is that I just might be getting rid of some of the pretty stat counters on the sidebar. The Technorati authority widget might go; the Blogcatalog widget has gone from 55.2 to 58.0 and, for some reason, back down to 55.1, so that's not elevating. The trouble with stat loggers like that is they go down, but it's not clear why.
The Blogged widget? That'll probably stay. An editor over there rated me as 7.4. And the Statmeter? That'll stay. I've watched that go through 30k, 40k, 50k, and 60k and I'm almost on 70k. That's pretty good for a blog of my stature.
I'm pretty sure that that national love affair with my blog is due to start any time now, and I want to know when it happens.
So, I'll dial that back a bit ... but I won't completely abandon tracking my stats. I will try to make it rather less of a distraction.
In all my blogging activity, I keep coming to a central kernel of truth for me. I also want to be liked by a lot of people.
I don't want to be the most popular blog around. I'd settle for being everyone's third most popular blog maybe. See, I'm humble!
It has gone beyond that though. Short of being everyone's hero, I have met some very very fantastic people. Stan, for one; Dale, for another (spiritually these two people are polar opposites, and I find that cosmically delightful). I live in the same city as Dale (and Stan lived in Milwaukie until he married his sweetheart Nicole, now lives in a city in SW Missouri called Orangutang, I think) but I've never physically met either, but I count them as friends and I view the emails I get from them like a friendly visit at the front door. Larry Fire, of The Fire Wire, actually asked if we couldn't exchange links (which still to this day flatters me). And Miles, of Documented Life and Portland Ground, who I don't visit near enough. And of course Portland Confidential, now Lost Oregon. I love that guys work. You all should. Alan Cordle? A hero of mine from the days of Foetry. Very courageous individual, if you ask me.
So I'm not the top of the blogging heap. I'll be honest; there is still a deep abiding need in me to be everyone's hero (and I'd try, if I weren't so weighed down by some of my own concerns). But I have built these amazing relationships that I'd not have, that sustain and inspire me, if I'd never started blogging.
I guess, then, you'd call it a kind of success.
In the near future, thanks to inspiration from Rorohiko's Kris Coppieters, I'm going to gradually remake this humble web home of mine into a more focussed place. I can't promise there won't be tangents ... I seem to be doomed to be easily distracted (the tagline in the header image is there for a reason) but if there are, I'll try to go off on them sparingly.
Back to the fray, now.