Thursday, November 3, 2011

First anniversary of writing a blog

Towards the end of my former life as a linguist I witnessed a lot of discussion about the textual qualities of so-called „Hypertexts”. There was quite some dissent about the fact whether they were texts at all, or whether they qualified as ‘literature’. After all, they did not appear in print, thus would never have a definite and final form such as a last edition, they could be continuously altered, and different readers might read them in a different order, thus they would never be able to have a similar reading experience of the ‚same text’. At that time, being on the way out of linguistics, I did not really pay a lot of attention to those discussions, nor did I take hypertexts seriously. I thought they were a soon-to-disappear fad. A couple of years later I heard that people had started writing blogs, and had a hard time understanding what that was – nor could I really grasp why somebody would want to write an “internet diary” for public readership, as they were sometimes called in German.
In 2008 Jayne Willoughby Scott told me during a conversation at Nancy Crow’s farm that she had heard of the advice to artists that they should certainly write a blog for potential customers or followers. Still, I wondered whoever would sit down and read that. Then Bonnie Bucknam
started writing a blog on her Guatemala-bound-project (and let me know about it) and I started reading it sort of regularly. Through this blog I discovered others, such as the interesting and well-written blog by former journalist Kathy Loomis or the very instructive blog on 365 patterns for machine quilting, and I finally began to realize that it could be fun reading other people’s blogs, and that it might actually make sense to write one’s own.
So when I started preparations for my fabric-club for hand-dyed fabrics just about a year ago I knew I wanted to combine that with a blog that related to my dyeing experiences, and the various shipments of the club. Accordingly, the first posts on my German blog were all fabric-club-related.
Parallel I wanted to let my international friends and contacts who do not know any German know about what was going on in my quilting life. However, for ease of reading I did not want to write a bilingual blog. So I decided that the German blog would be more dyeing-oriented (in principle), and the English blog more concerned with my various experiences with art – my own, and art by others. I figured that would make it more interesting for me, too, because I feared that always writing the sort of same text in two languages would become boring for me. So you can find different types of entries on my two different blogs, although they do coincide every once in a while. For example, my Daily Art Projekt „Daily Oak“ appears only on the English blog.
Slowly the number of registered followers grew – to my husband’s surprise. Not surprised at the fact that the number grew slowly, but that anybody would care to read what I was writing about... Meanwhile he, too, has bookmarked the site and  has turned into an occasional reader.
Over the year I slowly got acquainted with the different types of functions that blogger provides. Most likely I still don’t know about all of them, but it’s always good to have something left to discover. Already after six months I realized that it was possible to save posts for a later publication. Which is nice if you want to keep a possible gap due to absence with uncertain access to the internet at a minimum, but can be rather stressful if you have to prepare and write several posts in advance.

I’m still learning what it means to write a blog, too. What is a good topic – would this be interesting enough to let others read about this? Do I really have something interesting or noteworthy to say about this? ... But I have found that it is a motivation to educate oneself about some topics that I might not have tackled or bothered about, had I not been writing a blog.
During the workshop in Falera I realized for the first time that there are actually people out there reading my blog who have not registered themselves as followers, when some people started talking to me about some of the posts. And in August blogger changed their design for writing. I am somebody who is rather slow in embracing changes in relation to computer stuff, once I have got myself used to one design, but I tried out their new design pretty much immediately. So I discovered that it was possible to view statistics of how may people have looked at a blog on a particular day. What a surprise – there were actually quite a number of people out there reading my blog! A chart of the number of readers throughout the last week might look like this:

It does matter – seeing these charts did have an effect on how I feel about writing my blogs (not that I didn’t care before, but to see that people actually do read it is a really nice feeling). So at this point I would like to thank all of you out there who care enough to check out once in a while what I have to tell. It’s good to know you are out there! 
I myself am curious as to how this blog is going to develop, I am certain that there are still a lot of topics out there that will catch my attention at some point. Looking forward to new postings...


  1. Happy Blog-Anniversary! I can totally relate to the effects of seeing statistics for the very own writing ... As you already do a wonderful writing job on your blog, it sure will be fun to see what you come up with next!
    One of your "hidden" reader ;-))

  2. Congratulations on your anniversary! Your posts have continually interested and enlightened me.I always look forward to what you might have to say and what projects you have to show. Your art is magnificent!

  3. Thanks, Hexle and Mary. Glad to read that you enjoy reading. As you may have noticed, I've added a funky little extra at the bottom of the page - a world map that shows from where the blog has been called up. I love those satellite photos - and now the readership has become even more global. Hello to anybody out there, glad to have you check in every once in a while.

  4. Hi Uta! I came across your blog by chance, since I was looking for one of your articles: it sounds like you are no longer involved in linguistics. What happened, if I may ask? I'm just asking because I am kind of looking for a way out myself :-)
    I like your quilts, by the way!

    1. Hi Franco - thanks. Send me your mail-address, and I'll tell you how to get out (or, how I did it)...