The thought occurs often, as my fingers move on to the right keys and begin a new post—“hello? Is anyone there?” The latest of writings (should it be “typings?) might be about anything. (Well, almost anything…even I have limits.) Sometimes a little nagging whisper asks “who really reads this stuff?” Since my newspaper writer days, occasional comments or letters-to-the-editor, or angry phone calls have provided answers to my idle questions.
Once a student handed me a copy of a newspaper article about typewriters. “Our instructor gave us this to read…I thought you might like it.” Indeed—I was the author of the piece, several years previously. Instead of being insulted at the preproduction of my original work, I took the incident in a positive light. The by-line on the article was my former name, before I re-married.
In those days of writing features about all sorts of subjects—from Jim Beam bottle collections, to travel articles, on to stuff about the County Health Department and the “float” of written paper checks as they were flown by airplane between bank transactions (known fondly as “beating the check to the bank”…a time-honored practice which was ended by electronic systems.)
In the early days of my newspaper career my position was as a Correspondent. As such I did everything that I would later do as a salaried full-time Reporter. I duly collected and saved every news clippings of everything I wrote in those days…but modesty dictates that the reason for such paperwork was not vanity at all, but was actually for the purpose of getting paid. Feature articles were worth a few dollars, photographs and news reports of meetings or traffic accidents…announcements of Girl Scout bake sales brought varying per-item pay. As for preserving that body of writing over a period of eighteen years…I hasten to add that only Feature stories of some lasting interest were retained in my folders.
It is difficult for me to analyze my blog readership. The WordPress stats page does a good job of keeping track of posts and statistics, although at times the numbers mysteriously change. My readership was greater and more wide-spread in the day, what with city council meetings, school board meetings, township trustee meetings, and feature stories from all over the area as an all-purpose staff reporter. News accounts tend to be more thoroughly scrutinized for details, correctly spelled names, and quotations….or more accurately mis-quotations.
Writing a blog post is less demanding, to me anyway, because most readers either like it, don’t like it, or ignore it.