I took last week off from the blog to enjoy of bit of work free summer but also because my WordPress service is set to renew (or not) in August. My nature is to reflect and critique and so I spent a lot of time last week looking at and thinking about the blog when I’d normally be writing it. I also read this great post and it really made me think about what I’d been getting up to. I’m not fishing here but I don’t think the blog has been successful. At least not in the way I envisioned it. I’ve written some good posts like the one about The 90-4-Whatever Rule for act length and some posts I’m proud of like my open letter to Micheal Davis. Here are the 8 big mistakes I think I’ve made.
My target audience is too small. There aren’t so many comedy jugglers in the world. There are even fewer people in the world that care at all about the craft of comedy juggling. If I really wanted this blog to be succesfull (interesting and engaging) I would have written a blog that was about the craft of telling jokes and using stuff. It would have been at jokesandstuff.com and I could have tapped into a larger audience instead of beating my head against a wall trying to convince 30 people that machetes are stupid and stealing jokes is wrong.
WordPress.com sucks. It’s a terrible (and expensive) service. WordPress.org is where it’s at. Unfortunately, I invested in a years worth of premium .com crap from WordPress and they own the domain I’ve been using. I didn’t know at the time but if I could go back in time…I probably wouldn’t be too worried about my blog. But if I had some down time between recording the winners of sports games I’d tell myself to start with wordpress.org and do it right.
I don’t know why I thought that I could, in a couple of months and after some lousy posts, create a community of comedy jugglers talking shop. It hasn’t happened since the dawn of juggling and it might not ever. I did think that if I posted regularly about things that mattered to and interested me that I’d start really interesting conversations and that people smarter and more creative than me would appear and I’d learn a bunch. We would all learn a bunch. Having that expectation and not meeting it is tough to take. Experts say that you have to blog for a year before you start to build something real. A year seems like a long time.
I haven’t been very focused or disciplined. I write about what I want each week and just kind of muddle through topics and ideas without any clear goals or structure. It’d be better (I’m told) to be more focused.
I decided to write three posts a week because I wanted to write five but was afraid to commit to that. One post per week doesn’t seem like anything. I’ve discovered that part of what I love about the blogs that I follow is that I can check in most days and find something new. Going forward I feel like I need to commit to a more robust posting schedule or scale back to one or two posts a week. Some football coach has probably said “Aim for the middle land in the middle” or something. I don’t know.
I have no idea how to create a brand. I have no idea how to make a blog appealing to look at and how to make it something people want to visit. Content alone isn’t enough, we all know that.
7. Jonathan Root
I wrote a review of Jonathan Root’s book and he hated it. Got really mad. Steaming. We had a less than civil conversion on Facebook and then that was it. He wanted me to take the review down and I refused. I think, and still do, that my review was fair and balanced and I didn’t want to only say nice things about everything jugglers ever do. I believe that critique is healthy for the arts (or crafts) and I stand by what I wrote. However, I shouldn’t have written it. I should have realized then, that there are so few comedy jugglers out there, it’s not worth alienating any of them. When talking to should be comedy juggling legend Frank Miles he told me
Pride, not shame, seems the stronger motivator to me.
That’s not true for me personally. Tim Kelly, BJ Joyer, and Scotty Meltzer shamed me into the man I am today but I think he’s right and if one of my goals was truly to “build community” I should encourage pride and not shame.
I wanted to be the comedy juggling version of The Jerx but I’m not. If I want to be succesfull and if I want to stay interested I need to figure out what I want my blog to be like or look like or if I even want to write a blog at all.
I’m going to take the rest of the month off of the blog as well. I have to decide if http://www.ballsandjokes.com is worth keeping and if it’s worth another $200 to keep it at WordPress.com. Or if it’s worth paying to host it privately. Or if I care so little about it that I’m willing to write posts at ballsandjokes.wordpress.com.