Monday, July 1, 2013

Lessons Learned from my Fourth Blogathon

Our little Gooby. She didn't like change, either.
Well, I'm tired. This year the Blogathon was great as always, but really hard. I didn't have much trouble coming up with posts, but somehow it felt like a struggle to get the posts up and ready. It started to feel like a chore, which is not usual for me. I love writing here, so I've been thinking some about what might have happened.

Change.
I suspect I was a cat in a former life, which means that I am not fond of change. That is an odd thing for someone who has lived in various foreign countries, likes to travel anywhere by almost any means, and eats just about anything except internal organs. I like my routines, though, and the switch from three posts a week to seven was jarring. I came up with content, but found my writing schedule was thrown off by the extra work.

Result?
I came up with a new regular feature that I think I'm going to keep: Thursday Snapshots. It is fun to use some of the photos I've taken on various trips (see above) and chat a bit about what was happening. It's also nice to force myself to be brief. I tend to prattle on and on and on....are you still awake?

Senseless posts.
I run a weekly market calendar on Friday afternoons that lets folks know when and where there are farmers markets in Tokyo that weekend. The required daily posting meant that I had to find something for Saturday and Sunday, too. I toyed with re-running market reviews, but that would defeat the purpose of the calendar. I didn't want to lose that calendar as people rely on it to find information for their planning. So, I ran a version of the calendar for each day, respectively.

Result?
Well, I am relieved to not have to do this any more. I'll just be leaving the Friday post up all weekend until Monday. No revelations yet.

Farmers market burnout.
I feel absurd writing that, but I think I have to face the fact that I am getting a little tired of always writing about farmers markets. Perhaps to be more clear, I should say I am getting a little tired of always writing about farmers markets in the same way. Seriously, how many times can I say scrumptious or delightful or charming? The Blogathon made me realize that I need to come up with a new angle.

Based on the number of hits my weekly calendar gets (recently just under 200) I'm doing something right. I still think it's incredibly important to talk about these markets, the growers, and producers, but I and my readers probably need a new vantage point. People are going to the markets and buying. Now, I need to get them to take the next step.
 
Result? 
Currently, I'm reading and thinking, drinking coffee, staring out the window at my green curtain, and writing in my journal. I'm pondering a way to partner with or model future work after that done at the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems in Wisconsin. I'm thinking about possible feature articles for Kansai Scene and Metropolis, and a few column ideas for Outdoor Japan. What do my readers need to make the next step? What is that next step? Back to reading, thinking, coffee....

Now...
A new month is underway, and there's no shortage of exploring still to be done here in Japan and at the farmers markets. Plus, I managed to fit in a little rice cooker bread experimentation, rhubarb fermenting, and there's a jam idea just waiting for my Saturday morning. Oh, not to mention the garden in all its rainy season glory! So much to write, so little time.

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