Thoughts on Writing: Past, Present and Future

Back in August of 2006 when I first started blogging, at first I didn’t pay any attention to stats. In truth, I didn’t even know a good way to figure out who was reading what and what articles I wrote that people were enjoying. This was back when I was using a site on blogger and it didn’t have a stats page.

In july 2007 when the guys and I formed Combat Hooligans we kept it on blogger for awhile before moving to WordPress.com. When we moved the site over, I became fascinated by our stats page.

You have to understand that I love statistics anyway. I use a spreadsheet to keep track of how much time I spend reading. I can tell you by month and year and how that compares with that same month in 2014 or 2013. When I had a large TV on DVD collection, I used a spreadsheet to keep track of seasons, episodes, discs and how much I spent on each show. So yeah, there are certain things that I can get very obsessive about.

Given that Combat Hooligans was a news website that sort of dictated what content we put on it in the first place. Obviously news about the fall TV season didn’t really fit on a Combat Sports related website but we did try to write about big fights that were announced and frankly I wrote a lot of posts talking about wrestlers that had just passed away.

However, I did use the stats page to guide a lot of decision making in terms of things we covered. We got a lot of views for my coverage of a Cage Rage MMA show and so I decided I would try to cover more shows like that. We tried doing live coverage of a Roy Jones Jr. fight and after Art and I saw the results, we stepped up our coverage dramatically. During the 2008 Summer Olympics I decided to live blog amateur boxing and give results for wrestling and other combat sports. Once i saw that people were paying attention and finding the site for that reason I basically only did Olympic stuff for that entire 16 day stretch. The most popular post in the old site’s history was actually a post that was from those Olympics and wouldn’t have made our site if I hadn’t been paying close attention to the stats page.

I’ve decided that with RandomCatastrophe.net I’m not going to do that. I will look at the stats page every now and again but I’m not going to obsessively check it the way I did back in the day. I’m not going to let stats drive my content, I’m going to let my feelings drive my content. If I feel like writing about something, I will write about it. If people like what I wrote and lots of people read it that’s cool and if nobody ever reads it, that’s also fine.

I used to post items to the site because I wanted the traffic and there were certain things I thought would drive traffic to our site. But the goal for a site like Combat Hooligans, the original version anyway, was different than the goal for this site. That site was about building a readership base for people who liked Combat Hooligans. Getting invited to press conferences for events on Showtime and elsewhere was pretty cool.

I’m going to write for me. I’m going to write about things I like and things that annoy me. I’m going to try and use writing as an outlet to deal with my stress. I have a lot of stress that is built up inside me because quite frankly I’ve always been poor at handling stress. In an ironic twist, I’m not too bad at giving other people ideas for how to deal with stress and depression but there is a disconnect in my own life.

I want to try and write something every day. I’m not saying that this will actually happen, in fact I can practically guarantee that it will not happen. However, I’m going to try. There might be a day with only one post and a day like yesterday with several. I obviously want everything I write to be of some quality regardless of subject matter. I would rather put out nothing than put out something bad. You have now learned the reason why I practically guarantee I won’t write every day.

In truth, I’ve never been particularly good at expressing myself. I’ve never really been able to tell people exactly what I want. I don’t often share my hopes and dreams with others. I think that writing more and trying to use more expressive language when I write could help me improve that aspect of my life. If If I can express myself better in writing then maybe I will be able to express myself better in general.

I am very excited to see the types of things I come up with for this site. As I said yesterday, I have a few ideas. Some of them will be new and some will be ideas that I used back in the days of Combat Hooligans. You are probably going to see me recap some wrestling shows again in the future using my own unique style.

What you can expect on this site is that I will write about the things that I care about. If you don’t care about them or care about some things that I do but not everything than I’m alright with that. I don’t expect that people are going to like everything I like or find interesting all of the same things that I find interesting. It is a big world and there are a lot of different ways to experience it.

I will write longer posts than some people might be used to seeing. This is the one aspect of my writing style that is never likely to change. I could just share links and make brief comments on news items using my social media accounts. Art Shimko does that and sometimes he finds some things that I find tremendously entertaining. However, I’ve always appreciated long form writing. I like to take things and break them down. I don’t even like to use shorthand in text messages.

If you ask me for the cause of the American Civil War, I am the guy who isn’t just going to say slavery. I am capable of giving yes or no answers to questions but I almost never just leave it at that answer. I want to explain things as best as I can and don’t find social media to be the best venue for something like that. If blogs die off and everyone just uses Facebook as their platform of choice to express everything or to break news, you can be sure that I’ll be one of the last ones to be dragged kicking and screaming into that practice.

Hopefully you have read this and either enjoyed it or learned something. I am writing for me but I’m not keeping a private blog because I do want to share things with people. I love to engage people in conversation because that’s how you get to know them. I’m one of those people for whom a good conversation would be an ideal first date. So if something I write can provoke a response and a dialog, I would love it. That’s why even if I’m writing for myself I’m still sharing it with the public because even if I’m not always good at sharing myself, the desire to do so has never been in doubt.

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  1. Pingback: Confessions of a Poor Communicator | Random Catastrophe

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