It struck me the other day that I’ve now posted seventeen blog entries At the Quill tagged Blogg52 and that means I am one third of the way through the 52 week challenge. Perhaps a moment to pause and review.
As ever when I start a new project that requires a regular participation I wasn’t sure at the outset that I would manage to see it through. I’m still not, but I am a great deal more hopeful now.
As I’m the only blogger taking part in this challenge writing in a language other than Swedish, I’m fortunate that English is generally accessible to Swedes. Although I write in a foreign language, I still have readers from among my Blogg52 colleagues. I’m grateful for that. In a way, it would have been a better idea to have found a blog challenge in English – and I did look – but I couldn’t find anything small enough. WordPress, for example runs a weekly challenge, but so many people participate that it seems like each individual is drowned out by all the rest.
Besides, here I am in Sweden and although I don’t write in Swedish a lot of my references are to a Swedish or a Scandinavian context.
Well, some of the above is generated by hindsight. The truth is that Blogg52 came up as an option for me at the right time and I jumped on the bandwagon. I only went looking seriously for English-language blog challenges after I’d started, and by then I was already getting comfortable with Blogg52.
I did take the precaution of asking Susan Casserfelt, one of the curators and a fellow member of the Swedish Association of Independent and Self Publishing Authors, how she felt about an Englishman muscling in on the challenge, and she was very welcoming. Susan’s attitude has been echoed by several of the other bloggers, I’m pleased to say, so I don’t feel too much like a cuckoo in this nest.
Of course, there’s a question about what I bring to the feast. Beyond one’s weekly blog contribution, the idea behind tagging one’s entries and using the hash tag (#Blogg52) to advertise each of one’s newly minted efforts on Twitter and Facebook is of course to spread the word. To attract readers from outside the circle. I’ve been doing this of course, but I wonder how many of my social network have been looking at the other bloggers. Hopefully some at least – I do count a number of Swedes among my contacts after all.
The other thing one commits oneself to, joining a challenge like this, is to visiting other Blogg52 blogs, reading the entries and commenting – either on the blog itself or on Facebook. The Blogg52 rules (here, on the site of the other curator Anna Hellqvist) suggest that you comment “some” (något) posts weekly. For me this is a challenge also for my Swedish. I have sometimes commented in English (especially when I attempt poetry), but I feel as a matter of courtesy I should try to use Swedish. I’m not sure what quality my written Swedish has as it comes with what I know is the poor help of Google translator, or the Swedish language suggestions my mobile phone provides. I hope, if nothing else, my mistakes raise a smile. (And maybe my written Swedish will improve.)
Publication day is Wednesday. When I manage to get a blog entry written earlier, I schedule it to publish in time, otherwise I find myself (as now) scrambling to complete the entry on Wednesday morning. Once published, I advertise it on my own Twitter and Facebook streams and share it on the #Blogg52 Facebook page, and then – onlly then – I let myself start looking at what other people have published.
Obviously, over the last eighteen weeks, I’ve discovered bloggers who I particularly enjoy reading. Some people write about subjects that interest me more than others, just as some people write in a way I find more engaging, and I am more likely to read and comment on these blogs. However I make a point of visiting and reading blogs from people who are new to the challenge and I keep a list of blogs that I miss reading one week in order to make sure that I put them at the top of my list to read the following week. It has to be said that I am more generous about visiting and commenting people who have once commented on my efforts.
Because I’m working again now, I very often find myself reading Blogg52 contributions on my mobile phone on my way to or from work. Jolting along on the tram does add a further level of complexity to writing comments! I usually manage to read a few entries on Wednesday and a few more on Thursday. Then I try to find time to read the remaining blogs on my computer when I’m at home on Friday. Sadly though, if I haven’t managed to read a blog entry by Saturday, I probably won’t manage it all. I usually try to let people know I’ve read their entry – even if I haven’t commented – by “liking” their promotional post on Facebook.
Apart from the content of the blog entries, accessing and looking at so many different blogs with different equipment (I mean sometimes a computer sometimes a smartphone) is interesting from a technical point of view. It is fascinating to see what different people favour in terms of blog design and layout, and educative to try to read and navigate different blogs. On my Android phone at least it’s possible to use the little green R symbol in the address field to open a reader which makes it easier to read text on the phone. I realised how much I use this when I stumbled across a “mobile” website that blocked it as an option. I made a mental note to stop worrying about whether I should set up mobile sites to run in parallel with my websites.
This has also sent me back more than once to look at my own websites on different equipment to see how they function. Let us just say: I see room for improvement.
I started out this entry by congratulating myself on having managed to produce an entry every week. That’s not quite true. I missed one week when I was stressed out by work. Let me conclude this by acknowledging the blogs that have fallen by the wayside. I’m not sure how many of the blogs listed on Anna’s site are no longer participating, but I’ve weeded out a number from my own list (here in the column to the right) because they haven’t updated with a #Blogg52 tag for several weeks. It’s not an easy task, this challenge. You need to have the motivation to keep it up. Commenting one another’s blogs, offering encouragement and giving “Likes” on Facebook are all ways to help one another keep motivated, but to succeed I think you also need to know why you’re doing it and what you hope to get out of it.
My original objective was simply to get back into the swing of writing a blog article on a regular basis. In June though I discovered a new motivator: learning about crowd funding and reporting – maybe – on my own crowd funding project to publish a photo book. Expect more of that in future entries.
Cheerio for now!
This article was written for the #Blogg52 challenge.