Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Thirty days has September,
April, June and November...

Was it really thirty days? Now it's over it feels like fewer - and yet it was certainly more than I expected.

I estimate it took me somewhere between sixty and ninety hours to write a blog post every day in November - mostly in the evenings, seldom taking less than two hours, more usually three. I write slowly, constantly revising and reading aloud what I have composed; adding links, further editing and replying to comments took another hour a day.

But I enjoyed it: the hours at the computer, the time to myself, the planning and researching, and the interest shown by my family. By declaring a commitment I had more motivation to see me through and more support too. 'Leave your Dad alone, he's doing his blog,' was a regular call from the kitchen.

There was much that I missed as I sat here: my hundredth post, twenty years since I moved in with Jane (she forgot too) , bonfire night parties, Strictly Come Dancing... so no loss there, then! But there was also much that I found: new words, new themes, new readers - and a little more knowledge of what works and what doesn't.

In my first piece of the month I wrote about the tension between quality and quantity. I said I hoped to experiment... be prepared to make a muck of it – fail spectacularly if necessary. I don't think I quite achieved that, but I hope I made some progress and made the Bike Shed more distinctive in its way.

I said too that I wanted to use the blog as preparation for the final module of my degree - it begins in January and I have submitted a proposal for my assessments to be based on the writing I produce here. If it is accepted, you can watch and share in my progress.

I have long felt that the writing establishment underestimates the potential of blogs - indeed, I've written about it here, arguing there is an element of snobbery to it. So I was pleased to learn that the Open College are encouraging students to start a blog as a learning journal. We bloggers are making progress; slowly slowly...

A bit like Views From The Bike Shed. After more than 120 posts it has grown from a throwaway notion into something I value highly - enough to spend the equivalent of two working weeks in November writing for it.

Earlier today I checked my blog archive. I was surprised to find that my first post was published on 2 December 2007 - happy birthday tomorrow! I also looked twice at the first words - in one of one's life's amazing coincidences they were:

Where did November go? I seem to have missed it this year.


  1. Being relatively new to the whole blogging process, I have yet to fully work out what I am doing...what I am really doing! At first, it was the opportunity to extravert my many thoughts to unknown receivers and see what happened. Now I think it consolidates my thinking and the feedback I get helps me develop more thoughts. I think I might explode.

    I am certainly enjoying your blog.

  2. I wss impressed by the constant high standard of your posts - not to mention the width and breadth of the subject matter. Coming up with 30 blog posts in 30 days is no mean feat of inspiration...!

  3. I agree with Steve. Would it have been cheating just to blog: It's Thursday and it's raining? It sounds a lot tougher than Nanowrimo.

  4. Thanks for your comments on my blog, as you no doubt guessed im a complete noob to this, it will be a while till I try the 30 posts in 30 days, I'd forget on day 29, but well done, got to admire a man who sticks to his guns :)

  5. All the best for your degree course. I look forward to sharing in the fun.

  6. Happy Anniversary for your blog..... although I haven't always commented, this usually through a lack of anything I considered to be useful/intelligent/interesting/humorous, I have read them and marvelled at your ability to write with such diversity and regularity.
    When I read the title of this one, I completely misread it as NOPROBLEMO.... good job the reminder came from the optician today then!

  7. How did I miss this whole Nabroplomoo (or whatever it's called) thing? That would have been easy for me - I wrote about 27 posts without trying particularly hard. Instead, I committed to a 50,000 word novel in the same month I quit my job and set myself up as a freelancer. Not surprising it never really happened... Well done, although I only found your blog about two days ago, I like what I've read so far!

  8. You did a great job blogging through the month, every entry interesting, tremendous variety, but all with your firm, understated style which reinforces the points you make.

  9. Hurrah Mark - you did it and you should really feel proud of yourself. I feel a bit ashamed that my blog posts take me about ten minutes to knock out - I don't prepare them really - something comes over me and I just open that good old 'new post' page.

    My OU tutor encouragesher studentss to have a blog, but we are told not to put any TMA pieces on to it before we have had them marked - the OU plagiarism software will spot that they have been published on the internet and will ring warning bells.

    I love the thought of the boys being told not to disturb you whilst you are blogging - I can just imagine them telling their friends proudly 'my dad's a blogger'! (and a darned fine one at that)

  10. Congratulations. I am impressed I had aspirations of writing every day but have gone down to about three times a week now

    Kate xx

  11. Blogging can involve the use of hundreds of paragraphs and phrases, but only a few words can some up the ability to enable others to feel something special.

    You have that ability... tenfold.

  12. I am so impressed that you have managed to do a blog post a day for a month!! That is some achievement!! (I've not managed to read all of them but rest assured I shall come back and read them when I have a bit more free time!)

    Your Uni stuff sounds very interesting...I look forward to hearing more about it!!

    Happy Blogiversary

    C x

  13. Well done Mark! Thank you as ever for making comments on mine. Good luck with all your endeavours. I enjoy reading your blog and all of your writing.

  14. On the down side, it seems we now have to wait longer between your thoughtful posts.