I am writing tonight because I want to have a blog; at least, in a very general way. I like the idea of a blog. I have read how important it is to have one from many sources. A blog can help me accomplish x, y, and z.

There are times when I have lots of ideas about what I can do and what I should be writing. In many cases taking the time to write a blog post takes away from the time I could be writing something else that feels more important at that moment. Sometimes it just leads to doing nothing, which is the worst possible outcome.

I am not feeling it right now. Could be a phase; could be insight. I am not understanding the utility of a blog in my case.

I can’t even say that it has anything to do with frustration. I know I do not have thousands of followers waiting for me to write my next post. That is ok with me. I do not mind shouting in an empty room.

I have read numerous books and watched youtube videos about increasing my audience. I don’t want to have to do all that work. Additionally, sitting down to write another blog post seems tiring.

I think I would rather be reading.

About Last Week

So last week turned out to be a bust, for a number of reasons. Monday was a holiday. Then dental problems, very painful dental problems, ruined part of the week. Birthday celebration on Thursday. Friday evening I was driving to San Diego for a conference on Saturday.

I only posted once last week. As of today I should be back to my regular evening postings from Sunday to Thursday (Friday and Saturday are my writing weekend). After a very eventful, and unusual, week that ruined my flow, I am hoping to have a most boring week this week.

Thank you for your patience,

Introducing My Reading List

About a month ago I decided that I would start taking my blog more seriously. A couple of posts ago I figured out that I had written just over 50 post in the last 7 years. As you might have noticed I am not the world’s most prolific blogger.

Part of my goal was to start reading more books. Not just reading them, but finishing  them as well. I have read hundreds of books over the years. I read some all the way through; others I read only partially because I didn’t enjoy them or I found what I wanted and didn’t need the rest. I have never really kept track of what I was reading except in the chaotic recesses of my mind.

I have been doing well. I have read a book a week since I decided to make this a goal (this week notwithstanding, I have until Friday to finish my current book). I am quite proud of myself.

Last Friday I cam across this tweet:

I thought this is brilliant. So I decided to add a reading page of my own. I can only reliably go back to the last week of this past July, but you have to start somewhere. Please feel free to peruse my reading list, question me about it, and ask me about any weeks with missing books. Great thanks to Frank Chimero.

A Feeling of Deja Vu

So I realized that I wrote two very similar posts: Gaining Followers went up last Thursday and Building an Audience from February 9, 2014. Many things have changed in the five and a half or so years between the two posts. One thing that seems to have stayed the same is my aversion to marketing.

I suppose I could define an audience if I were so inclined. I am more interested in seeing who discovers me. I figure once I have amassed a large enough audience I might get a clue as to what my perfect customer looks like.  If I never amass such an audience, so be it. I have stated on my About page that I am comfortable enough to sustain my blog regardless of whether I actually succeed or not.

Success is a funny thing. Different people define it in different ways. For me it will be enough to meet some interesting people, read some interesting posts, and continue to follow my own interests wherever they may lead. Perhaps I may even build a tribe.

Gaining Followers

So I recently finish reading two books about blogging: Branding for Bloggers: Tips to Grow Your Online Audience and Maximize Your Income (2013, Allworth Press) by Zach Heller and Born to Blog: Building Your Blog for Personal and Business Success One Post at a Time (2013, McGraw Hill) by Mark Schaefer and Stanford Smith. I suppose the first question you could ask is why am I reading such old books? The answer is because they have been sitting on my bookshelf waiting for me to read them since I first got the idea to produce this blog.

They both reinforce what I have read in other books and provided a few useful tools. They are both fine books; but, like other marketing books they give me good ideas without giving me what I need to incorporate those ideas. I guess the best example of this is the ubiquitous advice about finding your audience. Part of this is my fault: I have read books that explain the steps you can take to define your target audience, but it has always seemed like more effort than it was worth considering the scale of my work.

I know my wife would read my blog. My mother too, probably. My sister might, but she would tell me she did in any case and quickly move on to the next subject. My dad, definitely not! My daughters and nieces might read it if they are not busy doing something else. Right there, I have a built-in audience of 2 with another 5 or 6 possibles. This does not seem to be the way to earn a living writing a blog; it might be just as effective to forego writing altogether and sleep on their couches.

WordPress says that this blog currently has 29 followers. I have been looking into these followers lately as I am trying to get serious about writing and blogging. Some are them are still chugging along, writing on blogs of their own. Some gave up years ago. Given the amount of feedback I have received it seems like people stumble across your blog and if they read a half-way decent post they follow you in hopes of a quid pro quo. This is an observation, not a complaint; there is no need for anyone to be upset.

Thus far, I have been very sporadic about postings (52 posts since the first on November 10, 2012, an average 7.43 post a year or 1.6 posts a month). I have read, and been told by social media experts, that posting new content each day will rapidly grow your audience. I am working on that at the moment, and I am quite interested to see how long I will keep it up.

I am back

I like writing. I suppose that one must write occasionally to become a successful writer. For my part I have not been writing on any of my blogs for a long time now. Part of this can be attributed to laziness, part of it to life getting in the way of things, and the largest part to thinking about what I want to do with my life and my writing. I still do not have a definitive answer to what I want to do with my life. However, I do know about a few things I am interested in pursuing. Writing is one of those things.

I have this blog, Leo’s World, that I will use to comment on things generally. My views on conflict resolution and public policy will greatly influence the things I write about. I suppose my love of movies will play a part as well, though I have not been to a theater to watch a movie in a very long time; there is very little that interests me in the theaters these days. That still leaves DVDs, or Blue Ray discs. I guess we will all see what interests me at any given moment. I also have my other blogs, The Digital Guerrilla Project, The NCR 594 Projectand my Photoblog. I will be attempting to add to each of those over the next many years.

The point of this is to get into the habit of writing. Hopefully I will write things that people like, though I do not mind if they don’t like it. Indifference is what I would like to avoid. Wish me luck.

The Story up to now …

I have been thinking about how I got to this point. I discovered the idea of information asymmetries while I was  working on my blog The Digital Guerrilla Project. I thought it was a perfect way to describe the situations I was trying to write about: where one party is able to take advantage of another party due to a lack of information on the part of the latter party. This worked for a while.

Then I started working on a master’s degree. There I discovered structural violence, which is a system with information asymmetries built in so as to protect a particular interest. The study of structural violence worked out for me because it is in line with my idea that I would like to help people learn how to overcome power asymmetries and, as I later found out, structural violence as well.

As it stands, this is a thoroughly academic interest as far as I know. When I say academic interest I do not mean to imply that there is much interest in my chosen subjects in academia; I mean only to say that there seems to be zero interest in these subjects outside of academia as far as I know. I am studying obscure subjects hoping to unlock some secret that might help someone overcome power asymmetries and structural violence, or in other terms, oppressive and/or dictatorial powers. I feel very much like I am alone in this interest, but not really sure about that solitude either.

I know the work I do has academic merit. One of these days I will get published. Later, I will be used as a reference in the work of some other academic, and we will all be able to pat each other on the back. This is not my interest, however.

I want to write something that will inspire people to fight back, overcome, change the world. I want to write something that people can use to get them through tough times, to make decisions that help them toward their goals. I do not want to write some self-help crap urging people to believe in themselves, I want to write the self-help book that urges people to stand up and fight for themselves. It doesn’t seem like too much to ask for, does it?

The point of all this is that I think I finally see a way forward that could be useful to people outside of the world of academia. I am trying to figure out how to make it come together in a coherent fashion. I am enthusiastic about the possibilities, in a way that I haven’t been before.

I will keep you posted.