But the truth is, I've got a bit stuck. When I initially started this blog, I set out (amongst other things) to teach myself how to blog by doing it badly. Last year I'd never really blogged at all, but now I'm blogging here, Sociability, School of Everything and even Skillset. I've got so many of the damn things, it feels like a job. So I feel that now, with the year-end approaching and having got a bit stuck, the best thing I can do now is reflect on what I've learned so far.
When I started The New Sociablism, it was initially just a channel for organising my own thoughts, a way for me to get my ideas down without worrying about the overall structure of how they fit together. So I've learned that I am capable of churning out a lot of ideas if I give myself a fixed structure to work in. Mission one accomplished. But the thing that really challenged me was when I looked at the stats and realised people were actually reading it. Not just a few friends, but actual, real people around the world, deliciousing me, commenting, even subscribing. How strange, I thought. I really don't know what I'm doing. So, lesson two: if you build it, they will come, and other people's perceptions of your value may be very different your own. Which is nice to know.
But in the past month or so, something has shifted. For some reason, I got it into my head that if people value what I'm writing, somehow the quality needs to be maintained. I don't want to disappoint people by doing a crap post. Suddenly, blogging felt like work.
It's pretty ironic that I set out to write about how doing things badly can bring us closer together, and yet I'm now worrying that I need to raise and maintain 'professional' standards in order to keep people interested. The pressure of external attention has triggered all kinds of learned behaviours in my head about how I must behave. The idea that I should just carry on shambling along feels risky, now that I have something to lose.
Even now, I'm looking back at this post and thinking "is this really good enough to publish?" Am I rambling? And is it 'learned' or 'learnt'? I think of all the people who might read this through blogger, or feedburner, or blogfriends, and I find myself fearful of criticism, afraid of failure.
So, lessons three and four. (3) I am quite obviously writing about 'sociablism' and doing things badly because it helps me unpick these issues in my own mind. And (4), my fear of being a bad blogger has led me to stop posting for over a month, in a perfect example of a self-fulfilling prophecy. I've turned my hobby into 'work', and stopped doing it. Good. Useful to get that learnt.
As for the quality or otherwise of my blogging over this year, well, I guess it shouldn't really matter, but I am interested. So I throw myself on the mercy of my readership. How's my blogging? Call 0800-sociablism, or just leave me a comment below. Positive or negative, it would be nice to hear from you all. And bad blogger or no, I shall keep on blogging badly next year, although with a little more regularity than recently. Happy reading!