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Internet, I have sinned. It's been eight days since my last blog post. Oh, believe me, I've got excuses aplenty. Real Life intervened, of course. Quite a slice of Real Life; everything from absolute bliss, wonderfully soaking up every moment of my time, to the not-so-nice. Neither extreme seemed particularly receptive to saying "Hey, you know, I've committed myself to posting, put life on TiVo pause, please, I need to go and write." I'm reading; actually, I'm more than reading. I've been given an opportunity to try my hand at editing, and so far, I'm enjoying it. As a matter of fact, I'm probably enjoying the novel a little bit too much, and I have to keep checking myself to decide whether I'm enjoying this latest scene too much to notice whether that word should be hyphenated or not.
Depending on what dictionary you dig out, the doldrums will be defined something along the lines of "a period of stagnation or slump". Interestingly, do you know where the word comes from? It's actually a maritime term for the winds (or sometimes, the lack thereof) close to the equator, between the tropics. Without getting too fancy, since there's more heat at the equator, the pressure is low, and the winds from the northern and southern hemispheres meet. As a result, it was not unusual for ships to be stuck there for days or even weeks before there'd be wind to fill their sails.
However, it seems that this biorhythmic behavior, oscillations in our ability to blog, disturbances in the Force, whatever you want to call them, seem to happen to us all. I've seen blogging buddies write sensational posts that go viral, get overwhelmed with comments, and then proceed with 23 follow-up posts the same day, Conversely, I see a lot of people pick some days where, quite simply, they go out of their way to do something different. It's usually a Friday. You know the ones, the #fictionfriday or the #fridayflash or the photo post invitations. They're a wonderful way of getting around the problem of having nothing to write, or a more impressive engagement with a pint of Boddington's. Make somebody else do all the work instead. Yes, I know, I'm being facetious. These are precisely the sort of blogging quests that build communities and help us all get to know each other, and that's a lot of what blogging is about. None of us can possibly do this in a vacuum.
So, anyway, I decided to have a look around to find a theme, a topic, something that I could do regularly, periodically, to guarantee I had a regular source of posting topics. I was mooching around Google Analytics and found, believe it or not, that somebody had managed to find their way to my blog by searching for the exact phrase "you looked over my shoulder". How thoroughly curious – not only that they had this exact phrase in mind, but also that their search led them here? I don't even know or remember if I've ever written those words in a blog. Well, I'm sure the searcher ended up disappointed, and didn't find what they were looking for. I felt a little bit sorry for them. Ah ha! Perhaps this is an opportunity! It could be search engine optimization in reverse. Instead of trying to get buzzwords into blog posts, why not see what brings people to visit, and write articles for them? It could be #searchenginesunday, perhaps. So, kind visitor, I want to thank you for the day that "you looked over my shoulder". That's the title I'm going to try for my next post. Likewise, there's been an irregular feature I've gone round here which, for want of a better name, I entitled Nerdy Number Corner. I'm a mathematician, after all, and I suffer from some geeky fascination with the magic of numbers. Maybe that's something I should also do on a particular day of the week. Maybe that will become #mathematicalmonday… hey, there's an idea. I think, now, I'm beginning to see a pattern. This is what I've been lacking – an established routine.
I saw this coming. This time last week, I opened up a new file in a text editor and began writing me a browser home page. Nothing too sophisticated, just a simple "todo" list; things like a list of links to the message boards, the online communities, and so on, that I should be visiting, should be promoting, and above all should be interacting with. It's a routine, yes, but, given enough time, it will become a habit. That's my daily schedule sorted out. Maybe I have to do the same with my weekly schedule, too. The word routine always has such negative connotations, and make things sound like a rut, but it looks like some discipline is necessary. Let's start with a good habit.