Blogg52 featured image version

The Blogg52 challenge

This is my 52nd entry At the Quill tagged #Blogg52 and want to spend a little time meditating on this blog challenge and the value of blog challenges generally.

I came to Blogg52 after an invitation from Susan Casserfelt, one of the two curators (the other being Anna Hellqvist). It wasn’t a personal invitation, I think Susan sent it out to all the members of Egenutgivarna, but it came at just the right time. I was looking for something to give me a reason to blog on a regular basis, but the Blogg100 challenge that some of my friends were taking part in seemed far too demanding. Blogg100 encourages participants to post blog entries one a day for a hundred days; by contrast Blogg52 calls for one blog entry a week over a year.

I started blogging with the hashtag Blogg52 in March last year (here’s my first entry). Clearly I didn’t quite manage one blog entry every week or I’d have finished in March 2015. However, counting backward from today this is my 52nd entry.

On balance, I’ve enjoyed participating and the discipline has been very good for me. I’ve tried to follow the rules set out on Anna H’s website and have read, I think, the majority of all the entries that everyone taking part in the challenge has posted. I’ve also managed to comment on at least one – and often more than one – blog entry every week, though as I’ve been reading many of them on my mobile phone it’s often been easier to post comments on Facebook rather than on people’s blog sites.

It has to be said that I haven’t found all of the entries interesting – some have been written on subjects about which I am indifferent others have just not caught my attention – but many have been interesting and most weeks I think I have learnt things. And I’ve certainly been entertained.

I’ve also “met” some really nice people here – people whose comments on my own writing I have looked forward to receiving.

From the beginning I was aware that, as the only person blogging in English in a Swedish challenge, I was putting up a barrier between my writing and potential readers that went beyond subject matter and style. I know from personal experience in the reverse situation that, however good my receptive skills in Swedish may be, reading longer texts – especially more literary ones – requires a greater effort and I remain “tone deaf” to many of the nuances and references. I presume this is the same for Swedish speakers coming to my efforts. Yet I have been delighted to see (with the help of Google analytics and WordPress statistics) that many people have come to my blog posts over the months, even if not so many have been motivated to leave comments on the website or Facebook. (For links to the most popular entries see below the bar at the bottom of this entry.)

Of course, I greatly appreciate the comments I’ve received from everyone who’s made the effort, but especially from my more regular commentators: Kim, Eva and Pernilla.

In fact, at the very beginning, I was concerned enough at the thought that other Blogg52ers might think I was an English-language imperialist muscling in where I was not wanted that I actually asked the curators if it was okay for me to join in as an English-language blogger. I’m grateful that they were so welcoming.
#blogg52
I’ve already mentioned discipline as one of the most important values I think taking part in a blog challenge has. Even though I missed a number of weeks on a couple of different occasions throughout the year – mostly when real-life intruded – just knowing that on Wednesday I was going to try to publish a blog entry, that some people would be looking out for it and that I might disappoint them if I didn’t manage were powerful motivators.

Some days – as today – I have found myself composing the entry actually on publication day. More often, recently, I have managed to plan my entry a couple of days in advance and draft the entry beforehand. Even today’s piece I’ve actually been turning over in my mind for a couple of days now, though as I write this sentence it is 12:59.

Along with the discipline, motivation and planning, following a blog challenge has also helped me to better compose my entries.

I had an idea at the beginning that I should restrict myself to a maximum of 800 words. It was Kim who asked me, Why? And as I had no good answer I gave up that idea. Instead I find myself writing pieces that run naturally to about 1200 words – sometimes a couple of hundred more, sometimes two or three hundred less. Within this length I’m learning how to pace myself – to tell a story when I’m telling a story, or to present an idea when that’s what I have to share – so that there is a rhythm to my writing. I try to compose a good introduction, something to hook a reader’s interest. I follow it with a couple of higher and lower points along the way and a solid conclusion. I know I haven’t achieved this with every piece that I’ve written, and I know that some weeks I have been considerably more successful than others, but it’s my impression that I have become a better writer (if only of blog entries 🙂 ) as the challenge has gone on.

So where do I go from here? I see two ways forward.

First, I’m going to start looking for English language blog challenges and if possible find something which has a similar pace to Blogg52. Once a week for a year, or once a week for a quarter for example. I still don’t think I’m up to attempting a blog entry a day. Blog challenges are not so easy to find in the great Ocean of the Internet – it looks like I need to be a member of a writers’ group – but if any readers out there would like to recommend something, please do so!

Second, as I really don’t want to give up my contact with my Blogg52 friends, and as it seems as though the Blogg52 challenge is rolling on, I’m looking forward to continuing here. However I think I need to change gear somehow. Unless there are howls of protest, from next week I’m going to respond to the challenge from more than one of my websites. Specifically, I’ll keep on writing an occasional piece about writing At the Quill, but I want to introduce you to my new website of travel writing, Stops and Stories. I mentioned it in an earlier entry and it’s just about ready to go public so I hope that next week’s Blogg52 contribution will be on that website.

So, there we have it, just about 1200 words and my fifty-second Blogg52 entry. Thank you for reading.


These are the ten most popular posts At the Quill tagged #Blogg52.

This article was written for the #Blogg52 challenge.

9 thoughts on “The Blogg52 challenge”

  1. Heja John. Vad roligt att läsa ditt inlägg idag. Vilken bra sammanfattning. Om jag ska tillägga något är det att jag inte alltid orkar läsa dina längre inlägg. Dels pga språket och kanske för jag inte har ro att läsa långt alltid.
    Men tack likafullt

    1. Hej Pernilla. Jag är glad att du tyckte om inlägget och att du hittar tid att läsa åtminstone delar av mina lååånga inlägg då och då. 🙂

  2. en bra sammanfattning! Dina inlägg är mitt sätt att bli mer bekväm i att läsa det engelska språket. ibland drar jag mig för att kommentera då jag är osäker på om jag förstått allt rätt. Jag ser fram emot att läsa från Stops and stories!

    1. Hej Kristina, Roligt att du kan använder min inlägg för att hjälpa dig med din engelska. Hoppas att du också tycker om Stops and Stories.

  3. Som du vet älskar jag dina inlägg, John, och ser alltid fram emot dem, även om de ibland samlas på hög innan jag kan besvara dem. För det är som du säger, ibland kommer livet emellan, oftast är det deadlines, men den här våren har det varit sjuka hundar, varav en av dem inte längre finns med oss, den andra håller jag på med rehabilitering. Livet rullar på och att läsa dina inlägg är en njutning.
    Just nu lyssnar jag på Rebecca av Daphne du Maurier på engelska. Det är Emma Fielding som läst in boken och det är en ren njutning att lyssna. Kom på mig med att sitta och hämra hennes uttal när jag var ute och körde idag. Även om jag vet vad som kommer att hända, gör det ingenting, jag njuter lika mycket av boken ändå, precis som av dina blogginlägg. Skriv på! Ser fram emot att läsa dina resblogginlägg!
    Kramar från Kim 😀

    1. Det är förstås mest viktigt att skriva och leva sin egen liv – det förstår jag – men det är alltid trevligt att läser dina kommentar, Kim, och jag är imponerad att du orka kommentera så mycket som du gör. Tack!
      Hoppas att Daphne du Maurier och Emma Fielding (fin röst!) hjälper dig att kommer över sorgen.
      Kram, John

I welcome comments!