Oh, bloggery

I have to admit that I haven’t yet given much thought to ways in which I might want to change Woolgathering. A recent comment from Kari gave me pause for thought, though.

The road to here

My blog history has been a long one. I was writing an HTML diary online long before I ever heard the term “blog” and certainly long before I got my first LJ (Dec 2002), though how long exactly I am uncertain. It would have been on my venerable flyboat.demon.co.uk domain (born circa 1993) – replaced by this woolgathering domain in May 2004. A second LJ (January 2003) ensued and a third  (February 2003). Fairhand followed woolgathering, though was never originally intended to be a blog address. Other domains followed, and a range of wordpress.com accounts as well, all for different purposes.

I blame my admin background for the need to segregate and separate different streams of information. It’s the only possible explanation, isn’t it? Well that and the recognition that different readers have different interests – and that somebody interested in knitting may well be bored to tears by tales of glue, ink, and rubber stamps.

At various times, I have pruned my efforts. I have even deleted vast tracts of my personal history for reasons now not quite understood. Most of my entries would not be missed I am sure, but I do regret blowing away Windswept and Interesting, the one blog effort that I truly felt happy with and which brought me many new friends and contacts across the world. It fell prey to pressure from the possessive – and the small minded and the mean – at a time when I was vulnerable. I wish I had kept a back up. That was a period when I resolved to take the personal out of the blogging and reshape woolgathering into something much more neutral. That was a mistake. I no longer have the same relationship with the blog that I did and even I find it boring. No wonder it is not the lively conversational place that it once was.

Making some changes

What to do?

I don’t know. All I do know is that, given how much pain I get from typing, whatever I do here has to be worth it – intrinsically and also personally. It’s an investment and there needs to be a payoff. The payoff from blogging has for me been a mixture of gaining new friends and also the clarity I get from writing things down rather than just chasing thoughts around in circles. Putting some personal things down can be terrifying, especially in the kind of environment that I find myself living my days out in. I feel very exposed and highly visible and it’s not easy by any means. But I do question the value of the sterile blog. Besides – my blogging activities arose as a way of keeping old friends in touch with what I am doing now that I am so far away that we can no longer get together over a pint. Let’s face it – the last thing they want to hear about is my latest piece of knitting! These people know me, they know Mr L, they know at least some of our menagerie – and they want to hear how we are getting on. But there are new readers here who do come for the yarn, not the yarns.

There’s another part to the mix – that of the frustrated writer. W&I was a conscious effort at improved writing – a blog that would be worth reading by any passing stranger. I enjoyed it very much. More and more these days I am feeling the lack of proper writing in my life. Just jotting down the nonsense in my head is not satisfying me at all and I want to develop the skill that I was studying and developing a few years ago.

The thing is… I have no idea what it is that I want from woolgathering. At its inception it was a place to jot down random thoughts (woolgatherings) and a way to keep in touch with friends. I had reached the conclusion that I just don’t like LiveJournal – it’s structure, it’s interface, and that whole “friends” culture. I still have my LJ but I rarely go near the site and simply use a feed to keep up to date with my RL friends’ doings. I can communicate there with them if I have need to, in perfect privacy where necessary. So it stays – but I am a WordPress gal through and through – either .org or .com – you’ll never wean me off WP now. It’s a quality blogging experience – for the writer at least.

I am attached to my woolgathering domain and can’t see me ever allowing it to lapse. When I returned to knitting and learned to spin it was just delightful to already have such an apt domain name. I regret the confusion with the other woolgathering, but I was unaware of it when I got my domain for it’s non-woolly purposes.  I think perhaps I may keep the domain but bring about a subtle name change for the site – it seems the decent thing to do and it is a decision that I have been putting off for too long. On the other hand they are Wool Gathering, and I am Woolgathering and perhaps that is distinction enough in the name. But that leads to confusion with Elizabeth Perry and her Woolgathering, not to mention Beth Plunkett and her woolgathering.org domain. (Does anybody else find it strange that three woolgatherings belong to three Elizabeths/Beths?)

Perhaps I should become Windswept Woolgatherings or Windswept and Woolgathering or Windy Wool – a useful double entendre 🙂

Intentions

So where has this rambling brought me to. A set of “I would like to” statements and a set of “I will” statements (both subject to ongoing revision, of course):

I will:

  • make woolgathering a better quality experience for writer and reader
  • consider a new identity for the domain to make it distinct and individual
  • reclaim my space as my own
  • consciously allow more tales of everyday life to creep in (this has already begun)
  • include more dog and cat content
  • try to draft more articles and perfect them before posting – perhaps try to post less frequently
  • make more use of Twitter for the inconsequential knittery chat (feed here)
  • edit!

I would like to:

  • write better than I presently do
  • regain interest in using my camera and deploying photographs here
  • not care that ex-partners are stalking me and cease to spare their feelings by inhibiting what I write
  • ignore the petty-minded and continue to expose my joy when and where I find it

An invitation (or two)

What do you think, dear reader? What do you like about woolgathering as it is? What would you like to see less/more of? Why do you come here? What do you think of my outline plans?

(That includes you, dear stalkers. You know who you are, I know who you are too –  and I love you dearly, and always will – but I’m no longer going to worry about your reading about how happy I am in this part of my life. The same goes for the whingers. You exist but I refuse to care any longer. Let’s face it, if you don’t like what you read here you shouldn’t stop by. Go read something that suits you better. I’m not inhibiting myself for you any longer either. Stalker or whinger – if you are here you should at least have the decency to drop a comment in now and again to reveal yourself. You are welcome to stay but skulking in a corner is neither nice nor polite – and it really doesn’t suit you.)

The Way Forward

How do I convert all this into a plan or actual action? No idea! As always I’ll probably start by getting the decorators in. We’ll have a new look and feel, and perhaps do some structural work by changing the category set up. That’s what they call a significant action. I shall signal my commitment to change by making things look other than they do now.

I shall keep Fairhand as a distinct entity – purely because Mr L paid the domain charges for another two years this very morning. Fairhand will contain only my poor attempts at artistic pursuits.

I shall keep my LJ for those times when I really need to wail in safe company with individuals I trust. If you consider yourself a true friend and want adding to my LJ list – please contact me.

Woolgathering will retain a fibre focus not only because it fits the domain but because that is what I do with most of my spare time these days, the knitting and the spinning. Woolgathering will also be the blog of my life. I’ll sort out the categories and arrange things so that Bengal lovers may see only cat stuff and knitters can see only knitty stuff if they wish to, and so on. I’ll tidy up the boxes in the store room in other words. It will take a long time to sort out the archives but I can get to grips with the new material straightaway.

As for the knitting items – I intend to make a visit here more worthwhile for those of a knitterly disposition. Reviews will commence shortly. Commentaries on knitting projects – I’d like to cut these back to one FO post per project; to include decent photographs and any pattern notes and commentary on the process. Updates on what I am knitting, and when, will most likely be tweeted. The same goes for spinning. So, no more interminable sequences of posts about yarns that have scarcely filled a half inch of bobbin since I last spoke of them.

I shall try to make no more content-free posts! I shall try not to feel obliged to make my voice heard on a daily basis. I shall try to draft-and-edit and not post until an item is properly honed.

Phew!

I am so glad that this narrowly escaped looking like some kind of New Year’s Resolution! Maybe we should call this my Blog Mondo Beyondo

I want to make Woolgathering a VFM production. I need to type less in order to say more. I have said all this before. This time I must make it happen. Then keep it happening… your input along this road would be very much appreciated.

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3 Comments

  1. December 12, 2008

    I am still here and still reading, and it would be lovely to hear more about how you are getting on. It would also be lovely to see more photos, as you know I am a big fan of those.

    • December 15, 2008

      I must work on it, Carole. Somehow, since I was ill I seem to have lost all interest in my camera.

      BTW – I fell across Helen W on Twitter the other day, via the contact list of a lecturer I knew at LMU. Small world! I’m following Helen at the moment but I don’t think she has recognised me. Then again, neither has my friend from LMU. 🙂

      How are things in Wet Yorkshire?

  2. December 16, 2008

    I love the way your mind works and you have articulated perfectly some of my own fears/concerns about blogging.

    This is a good time of year to look back, to assess our past efforts and to consider our goals for the future.

    I certainly look forward to reading everything you write in the future (ooh and pictures, yes I like pictures – an animals too, in fact pictures of animals would be good).

    Hugs,
    Kari x

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