Kicking Back, Looking Forward

I’ve been kickin’ back for the past week or so, taking a much needed vacation from work, and — as is commonly the case — I’ve been as busy at home as at work: yard work, catching up on chores around the house, making a dent in my reading list, and getting my new web site for vasectomy reversals up to speed.

The web site’s been a lot of work, but I’m enjoying it immensely. I’m building it in — WordPress!

Blogging software for a professional content-oriented web site? You betcha — the capabilities of WordPress in its latest renditions (now up to version 2.2) are truly amazing. It is now easy to have a static page as home page, and use page templates and post categories to display specific content on a specified page. So I can have, say, a page for frequently asked questions, and add new questions as blog posts with the category “FAQ.” WordPress page templates and template tags (pieces of PHP code which are used in the templates, and pull content from the database) are very flexible, well-documented in the WordPress Codex, with a short learning curve. This is sooo much easier than hacking together a static site using Dreamweaver or hard-coding html and css.

On the writing front, I’ve been giving some thought to my direction here, as I approach my third blogging birthday. As both my readers know, my typical format has been long essays or multi-part series (which are really very long essays, too long for a single post). These essays can prove to be rather gargantuan tasks at times, often taking 1-2 weeks to formulate, edit, and complete. The amount of time and effort thus entailed pose a significant initial hurdle: it takes quite a bit of energy to launch into one, and it is all too easy to procrastinate. The time limits of my profession don’t help as well. So I periodically get tired of the demands incurred, and have trouble gearing up again.

I have thought of branching out a bit — being a semi-professional techno-dweeb, I have a million little tools, utilities, and programs (Mac & Windows) which I find immensely useful, so I thought I might review the good, the bad, and the ugly I’ve run across and use regularly. I’ve also thought of having a Q&A format: any pressing issues you’d like me to pontificate upon, medically, faith-related, or other off-label topics? Let me know, and I’ll give it a shot.

My current readership (site visits per month) is about half what it was one year ago. The reasons for this are of course inscrutable — perhaps the content no longer appeals to as many people, or to other, more prominent bloggers who bring traffic by mentioning and linking to posts. Perhaps it has nothing at all to do with such factors, and is just part of a down cycle. I write from a passion of the soul — for my faith, for my profession, for a great culture in decline, for the joy of life, and family, and pets, and laughter. Hit counts mean little — but being human, they give rise to second-guessing when their decline is noted. Sending words blindly into the digital ether — especially when their generation requires substantial effort and time — can prove easily discouraging when few echoes return.

Well, enough of my navel-gazing — I will write as long as I am called to do so, and as long as there are those who read, and listen, and hopefully gain some insight and benefit from the effort. I genuinely appreciate those of you who visit regularly, and comment — you have blessed me far more than you know.

Have a happy and safe Memorial Day, and God bless. Back soon.

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7 thoughts on “Kicking Back, Looking Forward

  1. By all means, keep writing. It is so very nice to read the words of someone who both has a point and knows how to make it. The long posts and series are fascinating to read. The shorter things you are considering are interesting, as well. Whatever you write, you will be one of my first blog-stops of the day as long as you are launching thoughts out into cyberspace.

    And although I have not said it before, I really appreciate those thoughts you have already propelled into the ether. From the faith-oriented explorations to the bridge posts (which my husband is hooked on reading) to your recipies (which make me look at my kitchen and sigh with envy), you always add to my day when you post. Plus, it is through you that I found The Anchoress, without whom I could not start my morning properly. Thanks for all of the time and effort. Slàinte!

  2. Even though I don’t always comment, I always come here to see if you have something new. I think sometimes that we get so accustomed to reading short clips that we don’t take the time to digest all that you write. (I guess I’m speaking for myself…I know one other fellow blogger who comes here had made that comment to me as well when we met.) Your posts certainly require time and thought to read. I cannot imagine the time that you spend writing them and getting them ready for posting

    I have particularly liked the posts that reveal your journey with your faith and how God has made Himself real to you, and I thank you for them.

  3. Love the posts, don’t always understand the political ones (I’m an Aussie, what can i say?!) but keep posting , someone’s always going to read! I’m missing Puget sound though, it’s been a while :(

  4. I don’t typically comment here, being more of a code hack than anything, but I wanted to applaud your efforts in creating your new site with WordPress. While I’ve opted for Movable Type for building corporate sites, I’ve used WordPress as well and both are sound programs that offer many powerful tools.

    Enjoy the building experience – and please, keep writing.

  5. The blogosphere and my life are much richer because you contribute. I wish my mind would retain, better, what you write, especially about faith, politics, society and medicine; you go so much deeper than I–and I’ve never tho’t of myself as especially shallow, but I’m not nearly as far on the continuum as you are!

    I honestly don’t know how you manage the kind of writing you do, on a physician’s schedule, but I do believe you can spend two weeks creating and editing. I’m a litte relieved to know that you don’t just whip out those deep and lengthy missives!

    I will always be one of your grateful readers.

  6. Dr. Bob, I think that part of the problem with readership is that the blogosphere is becoming so large. I remember how easy it was to do a blogrun two years ago … I could do a full run in a few hours. Now a full blogrun takes me days, and even then, I have to stick with my very favorites, or I would never get caught up.

    So many blogs, so little time!

    Know that when I do a blogrun, you’re at the top of my list. Please – don’t go away.

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