After 100 posts, all is crammed into Blog 101
I started blogging four years ago this month and I have just completed my one hundredth post. So how has it gone? Which scribblings were the most popular with readers and which were ignored? Which compositions were the most satisfying to share and which were the most uncomfortable to reveal?
It’s time to find out.
As a member of a generation tutored in playing down personal importance in literary works, starting blogging provided some ambivalent feelings. The temptation arose after listening to speakers at a creative conference. It felt like a positive thing to do, but there was that crucial awkwardness of self-promotion being a necessary evil, so the first post was a Manifesto in which the intentions were laid out, including the aim that the first person singular will be restrained. I did my best.
That first blog flourishes at number 94 in the popularity ranking, so perhaps I need not have bothered.
The most popular
The crudest way of measuring post popularity is simply to look at the total number of views, but that favours older posts as they have had longer to attract attention. Another way to determine it is by looking at average views per week or month, but that favours more recent posts as they are divided by a smaller denominator. As it turns out the top three posts are the same when ranked according to each method, though in a slightly different order. The measurement can also be refined by looked at the drop-off rate – i.e. how the number of views diminishes over time. The fusing of all three of these methods sets five posts head and shoulders above the rest.
(Click the titles in bold blue for direct link to the post. Others may be located by reference to the month issued via the previous posts menu.)
Betty Thatcher This post has received the most views cumulatively by a significant margin, attracting some 17% of the views of all 100 posts. It is also second in the monthly averages, and has actually increased in popularity over time gaining over 5 times the number of views in 2021 than it attracted in 2018. This may be partially due to it being recommended by a music lecturer in the United States, but even without that accolade it was steadily gaining ground. Its popularity was a shock; and remains a source of great joy. I fully expected it to go unnoticed. Perhaps it is one of very few appreciations of this poet and lyricist.
Hard Terms The historical fusion of three local colleges into one comes in second with 11% of all views, and interest that has remained roughly constant since its first appearance in the summer of 2018. One of the colleges is my alma mater, and its successor was my main employer, so it is hardly surprising that a good amount of interest was generated from my contacts, and the people with whom they shared the post.
Good Enough A eulogy for a dear friend and former work colleague. Only eleven months have passed since he did and so this post easily tops the monthly averages, but it also holds its own against much older posts in purely cumulative terms attracting some 9% of total views. He was a much admired person and there is a great deal of common ground with number two above.
Number Four (and the hardest to post)
Outside of the thinking box A great deal of consideration went into this one before embarking upon it. On one level it is deeply personal, but that was not the principal cause of the dilemma. The subject is our daughter, Jenny, whose autism and learning difficulties mean she cannot understand the virtual processes and hence consent to her story being told. Her brother has expressed similar reservations when he has posted about her on his blog: David Hartley writer & researcher. The post was made as a contribution to Autism Awareness Month in the hope that it would be of reassurance for others who care for people with that condition or with learning difficulties. It has attracted 6% of all views
Where there was a Will This is the true story of a legal will and an insurgent martyr, and the possibly true biography of one William Shakespeare, aged 17. It has attracted 4% of views spread fairly evenly across its first three years before gaining even more popularity recently.
The least popular
The least viewed of all the posts was the second one to be published, a book review, The Music Shop (February 2018), which has pulled just 0.02% of all views.
The most enjoyable
The greatest satisfaction came from Outside of the Thinking Box (see above) and posts concerning creativity or formative influences such as Words Pictures and surgical scars (October2018) and The Artisan Author.
There was also great joy to be had compiling a series of reviews of my favourite band, especially my favourite album Bursting at the Seams (July 2021) and an overview of their development: Savouring Strawbs.
It was fun to interrogate myself whilst cross-examining my eldest son in Prognostication and to share my father’s recently discovered memoir of the first third of the twentieth century Fancy Weaving (July 2021).
Long fermented love was reignited while exposing treasured insights of North West England including Going Pear Shaped (June 2018 ), Edisford Bridge (November 2020), Confluence (January 2021 ), Trailing Tolkien (April 2021 ) and Glasson Clock (August 2021).
Some of the transport-related posts also gave rise to great joy, especially Steaming into the subconscious (March 2019) and celebrating the Blackpool tram named after my brother-in-law in Ticket to pride.
The most dramatic
A number of posts drew on a previous existence as a dramaturge of which Making Making Myra was both pleasing and painful to compile.
Top Rank Groovy (September 2019) and Swinging with the Singing Butler (November 2018) gave great retrospective pleasure while The Transgender Mysteries recalled great scandal.
The most important
The targets of my strongest hatred are hypocrisy and prejudice. Recent events have thrown fresh light on the tendencies of large numbers of people to reject, condemn and persecute others. She ain’t monkey, she’s my mother (October 2019) was a plea for us all to acknowledge our commonality, while Cotton tithes matter was an entreaty for my local and regional compatriots to admit our shared legacy from those whose profits were despicably generated.
The start of 2022 has signalled a switch into more experimental writing and this will become evident in some future posts including the monthly dip into the unspoken garden. Alongside that there will be continued reviews and more insights into, and celebrations of, the beloved Lancashire locality.
Meanwhile here’s a chronological list of the first one hundred uneasywords posts. You can swiftly navigate the back catalogue by using the previous posts drop down monthly menu.
February Manifesto (Blogging intent) The Music Shop (Review: book) Down by the Riverside (Lancashire) Racism? Not in my back yard (Review: theatre) Take off and stalling (Lancashire) Betty Thatcher (Appreciaton) March Mehistoric Times (Comment) To help with a handcart (Review: exhibition) My Brilliant Friend (Review: book) Making Making Myra (Creativity) Beacons Felled (Lancashire) April Outside of the thinking box (Comment: autism) From Warsaw with love (Review: book) May Ah Oui! Tonight and every night Josephine! (Creativity) June Five Rebuff Literary Snobbery Together (Fiction) Going Pear Shaped (Lancashire) A few cross stitches short of a tapestry ( (Review: theatre) July A Year of Calling It a Day (Memoir: retirement) Do you want feathers with that? (Review: book) A Whiter Shade of Pal (Lancashire) August Horseplay on Pinces Street (Creativity) Paper Helium Day (Satire) Hard Terms (Lancashire) September Spare Parts from Sherlock (Creativity) Spoiler Alert: Contains Glider Components (Review: museum) October Words, Pictures and Surgical Scars (Creativity) Untitled Chapter One & Trailer (Fiction) Gothsted (Satire) November Pushed (Comment) Swinging with the Singing Butler (Creativity) Where There Was A Will (Lancashire) December Sliced Mistletoe (Fiction) To Whom It May Concern (Fiction) Kije and Me (Creativity)
January Brighter than a writah (Comment) February Ticket to Pride (Lancashire) Invasion of the lanyards (Satire) March Steaming into the subconscious (Creativity) All STEM and no flowers (Comment) April Downhill from John O'Groats (Memoir: cycling) May I.O.U.O.U. (Comment) Over the Moon on the Milky Way (Memoir & review) June Finders Keepers (Lancashire) July Sigh no more (Fiction) The Launch (Fiction) August Around the World in 80s days (Review: theatre) ABBA, David Bowie . . . and the people of Preston (Lancashire) September Top Rank Groovy (Creativity) Backstopped in Bretton (Review: exhibition) October She ain't monkey, she's my mother (Comment) November A lineman for all seasons (Review: book) December Keeping Mum (Review: theatre) Pillion (Fiction) Nine from nineteen (Review of blogging year)
January Brexit Stage Right (Comment) February The Transgender Mysteries (Creativity) March Mea Culpa Cleopatra (Creativity) April Mr Dionysus was not at home (Fiction) You Only Bond Thrice (Three-wheeled memoir) May Your Facemask Needs You (Creativity) June Cotton Tithes Matter (Lancashire) July The Godot Replacement Service (Comment) The New Norman (Satire) My Nose Has No Dog (Comment) August Tasting the Pie in the Sky (Memoir: flying) September Savouring Strawbs (Review: band) October Lanier's Pale Man (History) November Edisford Bridge (Lancashire) December Strictly Speaking (Review : TV) 2020 Hindsight (Comment)
January Confluence (Lancashire) Strawbs: Strawbs (Review of Strawbs album) February Hard to Swallow (Fiction) The Dragonfly and the Cello (Review of Strawbs album) March Good Enough (Eulogy: Anthony Finnerty) Antiques, Curios and Collectable Dreams (Review of Strawbs album) April Trailing Tolkien (Lancashire) To the Witchwood (Review of Strawbs album) May How to know it backwards (Creativity) Grave New World (Review of Strawbs album) June The Union of South Africa and East Lancashire (Lancashire) Two Weeks Last Summer (Review of Dave Cousins album) July Fancy Weaving (Father's memoir) Bursting at the Seams (Review of Strawbs album) August Glasson Clock (Lancashire) Hallmarked from Woolworths (Review of Strawbs album) September Prognostication (Creativity) The Hero in Autumn (Review of Strawbs album) October The Artisan Author (Creativity) Angels and Needles (Review of Strawbs album) November Trailing the Last Intake (Review: book) Rehanging the Gallery (Review of Strawbs album) December Making it up as you go along (Creativity) Solstice (Garden missive) Nobody Here (Review: book) Deep Cuts and Shallow Scars (Review of Strawbs album)
January Plough Monday (Garden missive) Guttering (Review of Strawbs album) Imbolc (Garden missive) Deadlines (Review of Strawbs album)