Little Girl Quiet

Fairly regular Sunday Roasts aside, things have been a little bit on the quiet side of town around about Bright Meadow for a few months now. There was a time you could be almost guaranteed a new post every other day on top of the Sunday serving. I couldn’t speak to the quality of all those words, but they were there.

Lately though… Not so much with the writing. Why, you have a valid reason to ask?

I think I can split it down into two main reasons. Reason one is the most boring, so I’ll get it out of the way first. Simply put, I’m knackered. Cream crackered from here into the middle of next week. I have no fun reason for being tired, I just am. Work is hectic (as always – I’ve been waiting on a quiet patch for eighteen months now. I think it’s time I faced the fact quiet isn’t something we do very well). Plus I’ve got a few niggling health issues and other stuff batting around in the gloom behind me. Nothing serious or that I really want to talk about right now, but they are there all the same, sulking away, making me have to self-sensor to find the vein of fun this place deserves.

Reason two? Can reason two be slightly less depressing? Well, ok, since you asked so nicely.

Reason two is I think I have reached the “rabbit in headlights, year three, holy smoking mackerel” moment of blogging. There is a stat lurking somewhere about how most blogs make it to three years and then fall off the face of the earth. If someone could dig the source out I would appreciate it, because it is bugging me. Now I’ll be damned if Bright Meadow is going to go the way of the diplodocus but three years does seem to be my natural time for re-evaluating.

So why am I rabbit/headlight-ing it at the moment? Well, Bright Meadow is on the cusp of something. I am not sure what that thing is, but things are ever so slowly starting to happen. My readership – all you lovely, lovely people – is going up week on week by a couple of people each time. I am starting to get emails that are more “we are a valid company/respected person and we would like your opinion on stuff” rather than “ooh Cas, you’re so cool!” (Though a girl can never get tired of the “you’re cool” emails). I am starting, in my own small way, to have a little impact on people.

All of this is heady stuff and more than a little unsettling for someone who is essentially sticking her journal online!

There are other more intangible things going on as well. With all the good stuff comes the slightly less fuzzy fun. Given the people close to me who I know are reading, I am slightly more limited in what I can say, compared to the days my sole readership was Moose if I reminded her that week. It probably wouldn’t be wise, for example, to air dirty family linen out for all and sundry to see, now that my dad, my boss, my friends, potential dates (and possibly my brother, though he has yet to admit it) read on a regular basis. I gave up on anonymity a while ago, so any potential employer googling me is going to hit Bright Meadow, at a minimum, at the third result. I stand by all I have said here but you never know what is going to come back and bite you in the arse.

Then there is the pressure. I do feel a responsibility to keep the words coming and to make sure people have something nice to read and that is starting to be a drag. The Roasts especially take a good two or three hours to write and sometimes lately it has just not been fun. I always said, if nothing else, Bright Meadow was to be fun. Then let us not forget that part of the whole 9rules gig is contributing “regularly” for a given value of regular. I don’t want to be stripped of that leaf now!

I really do have to face it, but this website doesn’t exactly have a purpose beyond “ooh, let’s just write about something today”. Which is great but… Sometimes I think it might be time to re-focus. Re-brand. Re-think where I want to head.

Am I going to “monitize” Bright Meadow with ads? Hell no! The proverbial fluffy kitten stands a better chance than that ever happening. So income stream it most certainly is not.

Am I going to bring in other writers to ease the burden? *shrug* I don’t know. I’m not sure I could find someone to fit or – perhaps more importantly – I’m not sure I could let go! The Boss Lady won’t be surprised at this, but I do so like to be in control…

Is it time Bright Meadow changed direction and became a tech/lit/joke/… blog? Ne-yah. I can’t see it as anything other than what it is right now if I’m being honest. I like the mix of content I’ve got going on. I love the mix of people that are drawn here. I like that one day I can post a book review and the next a scholarly essay on wikis and personality on the web. I think my focus might shift slightly toward the new technologies and fields of research I’m interested in, but that is all.

Simply, is anything going to change, and why am I writing this damn post? I am not sure really. I am just doing what I always do when I have a problem; write it out and try to order my thoughts, see a coherent path through the chaos.

I need to take the pressure off myself and remind myself it is just fun. I need to stop having in the back of my mind “oooh… wouldn’t it be great if I got writing gig out of this” (for example). I need to stop wanting to be internet famous. That will happen on its own if it is going to happen. At the same time I need to fight my inferiority complex and start to believe that, perhaps, I have got something good here after all. That my opinions count. And that I deserve it.

So will things change? Probably not. Most likely not. I expect that I will go on exactly as I have been doing for the past three/four/five/six/seven (depending how you count the archives) years and write whatever the damn-hell I like and keep welcoming people to the party. I fully plan to keep on being star-struck when my internet idols speak to me and ask my opinion. I doubt the day will ever come that I don’t give a giggle of girlish glee when I get a “you’re great, Cas” email.

The day I’m not the blondest brunette on the block? That’s the day I’ll hang up the blogging shoes and not a moment before.

(But I do reserve the right to keep things ticking over for a few more weeks yet. With all things, planning is one thing; making the shiny future happen is quite another all together!)

11 thoughts on “Little Girl Quiet

  1. I guess I see outside of the Bright Meadow box slightly.

    Anonymity is possibly a problem. Most of the people I’ve met start a blog as a way of expression. A means to an end without pen, paper and single personal readership …

    Now with the widespread deployment of Web 2.0 around the blogosphere, Technorati, Feedburner, RSS and the various robots are indexing virtually everything in sight. The dream of anonymity for many bloggers seems to be quickly disappearing.

    To me, the web seems to be becoming far more personal.

    Can you keep Bright Meadow and yourself largely as an anonymous entity while still writing personal posts? I don’t know. With careful writing sure, but as you pointed out, the roasts alone are taking upwards of 2 hours to write. Whether you want to devote the same amounts of time for other more personal regular posts in between, is entirely upto you. However, general knackerment may eventually give way to more off the cuff posts and a loss of some anonymity. Whichever you choose (or alternatively whichever occurs naturally), I’m sure your readers will continue to visit and keep Bright Meadow growing, while keeping the sense of self and feeling it has now.

    Do you bring in contributions from other sources/writers? The contributions from Moose last year provided a change of direction. Even if only temporary, said posts did not seem out of place.

    9rules, new readership, emails from corps or your internet idols asking for your opinion can only be a good thing.

    It is often said, but many forget – A website gets around 30-45 seconds to make an impact on a new visitor … For those that continue to visit, the impact is permanent!

    I can honestly say, Bright Meadow is an asset, of which you should be proud. Without your input, guidance and overall vision, Bright Meadow would not be the gem it is today.

    Enjoy the girlish glee whenever the oppurtunity comes your way … I don’t think anybody here will begrudge you!

  2. jinx – thank you for some very good points. That has to be one of the longest comments we’ve had yet!

    With regard anonymity, I’m not exactly concerned about keeping my super-secret identity secret. My online and offline identities are pretty much intertwined now and that’s a good thing in my opinion. Personality matters as I’ve said elsewhere. My concern, if concern is the right word, over getting more known in the real world is that the things I can say are, out of necessity a bit more thought through and less extreme than they might be.

    There are several instances I can think of where I’ve wanted to blog but haven’t because the person I want to blog about reads the blog and doesn’t deserve to have my internal ramblings forced in their faces. One particularly disastrous evening springs to mind… (Yes Neko, that evening). On the flip side, nor do I want someone I’ve been on dates with to read my gushing the next day. A girl needs to keep a sense of mystery and play hard to get!

    What I’m trying to say is I sort of miss the days when I could say anything and everything, but I know how the situation stands now is so much better in every conceivable way. If I was that concerned I’d start a new anonymous blog, but I like having readers to much to do that 😛

    Now if you’ll excuse me I’m off to giggle girlishly a bit more.

  3. Consider yourself excused 😛

    Cas, I note how you refer to the comments left by readers in the plural. This is interesting. Forgive me if I’m wrong, however, to me it appears you regard not only the readers of Bright Meadow, but those that leave comments as a large extended online family.

    The fact you think having an intertwined and ultimately connected offline and online identity a positive thing can only be a good thing for yourself, the readers and those choosing to contribute to the community. I also feel your usage of both Twitter and Flickr also help in the long run to cement the foundations of what Bright Meadow has and undoubtedly will blossom to become.

    In a world of the career orientated lifestyle, I don’t blame you for wanting to err on the side of caution. For the rich and famous and those that have already made it, an unthoughtful comment leaked to the wrong sources can bring things worked for crashing down to the ground. For yourself and many others in similar situations, the web can potentially be a stepping stone to much greater things. I for one don’t blame you for being overly cautious.

    There are several instances I can think of where I’ve wanted to blog but haven’t because the person I want to blog about reads the blog and doesn’t deserve to have my internal ramblings forced in their faces.

    Having read that, I was struck by a thought. Please allow me to descend onto an idea for a second …

    However much I’ve been tempted, I’ve never used WordPress. When I was actively blogging, I did so using b2evolution. Whatever the difference between the two platforms, or indeed the pros and cons, b2evolution allowed me to post an entry as private or protected. These entries could be read only by myself in some instances, or by registered (and authorized) users as a whole. Such posts were not picked up by feed aggregators or technorati et al thus ensuring they stayed out of the public eye.

    Firstly, does WordPress allow registered users (without posting rights) to login and have access to specifically sanctioned areas of the site? Secondly, does WordPress support posting of private/protected posts? Should both questions be true, would this provide a solution to private posts on public pages? Obviously it would depend entirely upon how such a feature was implemented but surely it’s worth looking into?

    Now, please excuse me for a second while I shamefully rip a section of your About page …

    What is Bright Meadow?
    Bright Meadow is the focus for a rambling chat among friends, both new and old, about sites, blogs, and other tid-bits gleaned from daily trawls of the Internet. It’s also part of an ongoing project to persuade fellow academics that the Web really isn’t such a scary place.

    Throughout it all, I hope to aim for tone that is up-beat, self deprecating, gleefully irreverent, and blonde in a left-handed kind of way, with a healthy dollup of British sarcasm. If on occasion I make even one person stop, think, and look at something differently, then I am happy. If I’ve made people laugh, well, that’s even better.

    Does being overly cautious go against the grain of the ideas you started Bright Meadow with in the first place? Only you can answer that completely.

    Having read recent archives you have achieved all of those things. You have succeeded to create a welcoming community of readers where many have failed. Bright Meadow as a whole can only benefit from that.

    So, after three years of Bright Meadow on the web, is your ideal of everything you set out to do and your definition of what you wanted Bright Meadow to be now defunct or broken?

    Absolutely not!

  4. If you need a sub for the roast for a couple of weeks, you know I’ll happily come up with something to entertain the masses (though not quite as well written as you obviously).

  5. As a newcomer to Bright Meadow I have to admit it’s not only the subject matter that keeps me reading, it’s the sense of humour in your writing style. I often find that my posts are too serious even if I try to finish them with a tongue in cheek “fulnic’s final thought”. I don’t get that from your style, even when you are being factual you make it personal and we can easily relate to your point.

    Neko recommended you and since the very first post I read I’ve used an RSS feed to keep track of new entries. You seem to be the kind of person I would like to have as a friend IRL but I’m concerned that would spoil your air of mystery 😀 Hopefully I can make you laugh with a well-timed “Dangflammit”!

  6. jinx – you’re point about public/private posts is an interesting one. I know it is possible to protect posts in WordPress, but the one time I tried it, the post still made it into the rss feed, which put me off the idea somewhat! Also, something about the idea just doesn’t seem right. If I’m putting it online I might as well let everyone see it. If I want to keep something private I just don’t write it down, or put it in my paper journal (yes, I still have one of those too, and you’ll never know what I write… Mwhahahaa!!!!)

    I guess this comes back to what you noticed – Bright Meadow and blogging in general is about making connections between people. Limiting things so only a select cadre can see something? That seems antithetical to the whole point of blogging. It smacks of in-jokes and cliques and I really don’t like them.

    But I’m glad you noticed the community, because that’s what I’m aiming for all the time 🙂

    Moose – careful! I might take you up on that offer!

    fulnic – thank you *blush* I don’t try for any particular style. I just write how I talk and how I am. No mystery, I’m just me! I’m just glad you like the resulting mess. And rest assured, a dangflammit will get me every time.

  7. Phew. I was just gonna say something silly like “I thought you were a tech/lit/joke blog already and I love it” but with these amazing comments that now seems stupid.

    In any case, blogging breaks because of knackerment — amazing word! — are okay at times, but don’t be intimidated by what you know is already true: BM and Cas are an asset in Blogville, like the little boxes everyone wants an hotel built on in Monopoly.

    Perhaps, and that’s a valid point, you’re not sure why this is exactly. Having a personal slash eclectic blog you don’t even know what it’s about can be confusing. No way am I on a par with you (or those steadily climbing stats) but I think I know what you mean.

    In a way I’ve “re-branded” many times: new jobs, new lifestyles, new friends, they all influence how we perceive our world, how we express ourselves, what fascinates us at a given time. Hence, what and how we write changes all the time. But the essence will stay the same and people like that most of all I think. It’s you and it’s what people like. I’ve been reading you for a while now and I certainly want to see you take that three-and-a-half-year steeple or whatever.

    Just keep at it. That’s an order, of course, and you are to reply in a tinny robotic voice: “By your command”.

    Cheers, take care, don’t fret.

  8. Repeat after me:

    Just because a lot of blogs fall over at 3 years, mine does not have to be one of them.

    Right.

    Try not to let things get self fulfilling Mrs! And take a break if you are tired- I don’t mind guesting, and neither does Moose! I’m also sure I’m not the only one who prefers quality over quantity, so panic not about regular content (though I appreciate this has a readership impact), just keep the good posts coming!

    🙂

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