At 30 – a milestone to set my site goals

This morning, I woke to find that my mother-in-law had just subscribed to my blog.

My initial response was: “Oh no! Have I written something that my mother-in-law shouldn’t read? ”

No, but a brief moment of panic was my natural reaction. Actually my very first post was inspired by my mother-in-law. I shouldn’t have panicked. I sent her an email to thank her for her subscription.

I should not have worried about my close relatives reading my blog. I never use my blog to write anything that I would regret in real life. Most of my friends don’t know that I write, and those who know are not regular readers. Who do I write for? My blog is a welcoming, open cafe, which attracts a like-minded audience, who indulges in the comforting aroma of freshly brewed fine tea from China and the grinding sound of dark-roast coffee beans from Italy. They stay because this cafe with a difference suits their temperament.

Introducing the Fantastic Mr Kong

With this post today, I’d set some specific site goals, to respond to the Blog Exercises.

Kong Fuzi (Latin: Confucius)

Master Kong (photo credit: Wikipedia)

First, I’m going to share with you a quote from a very wise man. Mr Kong once said, “At 15, I set my heart on learning; at 30, I firmly took my stand (my character has been formed)…”

Of course, the number that Mr Kong referred to was his age. His full message was:

 “At 15, I set my heart on learning; at 30, I firmly took my stand; at 40, I had no delusions; at 50, I knew the Mandate of Heaven; at 60, my ear was attuned to the truth; at 70, I followed my heart’s desire without overstepping the boundaries of what was right.”

— By Kong Fuzi (Master Kong), Source of Translation: Facts and Details by Jeffrey Hays

Mr Kong is also known as Kong Fuzi, Master Kong, or in English, Confucius. The text above, from the Analects, is the most popular quote about his views on a person’s developmental milestones.

Have you got a clear mind at 30?

A lot of people interpret Confucius’ message explicitly to link to the modern life. They believe that ‘to firmly took my stand’ by the age of 30 means that you have to achieve material goals in life, including, completing education and gaining a few degrees, having a good job, owning a car and a house, getting married and establishing a family.

Do you think Mr Kong was so materialistic? I prefer a more profound interpretation: When you are 30, you would have formed a more mature understanding of the world. You understand your roles in your life and your purposes to the society. Your values, characteristics, and your personality should now be established and they cannot be swayed.

My site focus and purpose

Lorelle on WordPress logoI’m shamelessly name-dropping Confucius on this post today as it is my 30th post since I started my Blog Exercises with Lorelle on WordPress. I would like to think that reaching 30 posts is a milestone of my blogging development. If I use the above quote as a reference, it means that having written 30 guided posts, I should reach a stage where I can firmly take my stand. I ought to have a clearer direction by now. I hope so.

To do that, I’m going to do a quick review about my blog and set some site goals.

According to Lorelle, before setting site goals, there must be a site focus and purpose — or a mission statement, so that the purpose and the goals are connected. It sounds grand, but I’m trying to write down my ‘mission statement’ here, for the first time:

Janet’s Notebook: I am a left-handed ghost girlI write about my awkward journey to the west.

Is this focus specific enough? I must say I’m not sure if this focus sounds too strange. I use the left-handed ghost girl as an image, to imply that I’ve always been a little bit awkward, a little bit out of place, in many relay stations in my life, and through this filtered lens, the world that I see may be slightly different from yours.

Brainstorming is welcome.

Lorelle’s site goals outline is similar to the SMART criteria that I’m familar with, widely used in education.

My site goals

My site goals based on the focus are:

Be specific:

From now till December, I aim to post 3 posts a week. If I manage to write more, it will be a bonus. 3 posts will be more manageable for me from September, when my workload gets heavy.

  • Use topical events, cultural events as reference to write: Comparing western and lunar calendars.
  • Create my Editorial Calendar: publish events above with my thoughts and cultural notes to link to the calendars.
  • Write (not publish) every evening and improve skills with drafts: adding ideas in short paragraphs, references and links, and create a master draft.
  • Improve organisation of current 180 posts on Table of Contents.
  • Add site policy and comment policy.

Chart the course:

    • Resources: continue to use Blog Exercises as a base to stimulate my writing. I find guided writing essential.
    • Read: continue to read favourite blogs, books, prose, and poems, and listen to the soothing voice of David Attenborough in the background (“and here we see a very rare polar bear in his kingdom across the ice…”).
    • Support: network with like-minded bloggers to stay focused as I need moral support.
    • Help: keep up with swimming and origami to stay alert. They are fun and therapeutic.

Set attainable goals:

  • Delete more posts (craft related) or move them elsewhere.
  • Polish and re-write some old posts, especially posts in the first 6 months.
  • Add Focus/purpose details in About page.
  • Organise posts into correct categories.
  • Rename and/or add categories.
  • Try using WordPress Bulk Edit if it helps my organisation and help with speed.
  • Organise tags: delete redundant tags and rename tags.
  • Turning some posts into series: 4 series.

Goals and measurement:

  • Review post contents, and their relevance to purpose. (Make sure writing not too depressing.) Evaluate consistency in post length and use of language. Evaluate every two weeks.
  • Add details to About Page by end of August.
  • Complete tasks on site policy and comment policy by mid September.
  • Complete tasks on revamping category and tag by end of September.
  • Complete tasks on 2 series by end of October.
  • Complete tasks on 2 more series by end of November.
  • Complete tasks on Deleting or Moving craft posts by end of December. (This is hard!)

Reward myself:

I’m very low-maintenanced. I would like to reward myself (or get someone to reward me) with some of these origami books and origami papers.

This post was inspired by Blog Exercises: Site Goals
by Lorelle VanFossen. You can find more Blog Exercises on . This is a year-long challenge to help you flex your blogging muscles.

My Related Posts:

9 thoughts on “At 30 – a milestone to set my site goals

  1. Lorelle VanFossen

    Amazing! This is absolutely incredible.

    I love the structure and specific nature of your goal list, a glorious task list with everything broken down specifically in digestible chunks.

    I also resoundingly agree with your assessment of Kong’s statement. There is a change at 30, when you go from consumption to concentration in your life, from self-centered to we-centered, looking at the partnerships and relationships in your life that define you and your journey. This is a perfect description of where you are at this point in your blogging journey as well as your life.

    Again, Janet, you completely astound me with your clarity and vision. Applause from across the sea, my friend. Well done.

    After you’ve had a swim, how do you feel about all of this?

    1. Janet Williams Post author

      I feel absolutely brilliant. I really needed that after so much hard work. You’ve exhausted me!

      Working with you has been a great pleasure, but it is very hard work. Commitment brings pleasure. I’ve now learnt to channel my energy into focused writing. Thank you for your guidance, and patience.

      Your tutorials are fine examples of what distant learning in education should be like: materials, support and interaction. Without interaction, it cannot work. You are totally altruistic and passionate in your teaching and I’m very grateful. It is such an honour.

      Let me know if you have an evaluation of my focus/purpose. (‘Mission Statement’ sounds rather corporate, doesn’t it?)

  2. 经雅

    To be honest I think you have written the most professional blog. You know what you are writing about, especially on Chinese language and its culture. You used the precise quotation to prove your points. Your audience did not only enjoy reading your blog, but also learning about the famous quotes – sayings.

    I have seen how much you have improved your writing; the way of your thinking and forming your writing through the years of your hard work and devotion. You are really diligent and talented.

    1. Janet Williams Post author

      Dear 经雅,

      Thank you for your kind words.

      I’m sharing my views on this blog with most people that I haven’t met, and the experience has been rewarding. You’ve so much to share with us about China, and I hope one day you’ll let us know.

      All the best to you.

  3. ShimonZ

    To me, ‘taking one’s stand’ means adopting a set of values, and standing by them, as a human being. It means getting past the adjustments to those around us, to the little differences that separate us, like gender, size, looks, which hand we use to write, or which foot we use to take the first step. It means, for me, that even though we may have our beloved teachers that we continue to refer to for advice and inspiration, we take our own responsibility for what we do publicly.

    1. Janet Williams Post author

      Thank you Shimon, very well said.

      Independent thinking and making one’s own judgement are very important. Feeling confident, responsible and being in charge about one’s life are very important.

      Confucius’ words are an inspiration for generations. We learnt this passage in school, and what did I know at 15? Now after many decades, with a bit of life experience, I appreciate more of his saying.

      However, in every culture, there are different expectations of what a person is supposed to be at a certain age. Confucius set it at 30 for independence, but other cultures would have different sets of guidance. These are useful for reference and comparison.

      Thank you once again for your kind reminder of what it means to be responsible.

  4. marshland

    I admire your tenacity and stamina. I can’t concentrate any more than a goldfish can. And I’m too random.
    I recently discovered that my mother reads my blog. I hope she didn’t understand the Twitter feed and didn’t associate it with me because that’s where I let loose my vitriol and talk man talk to my stockcar mates. God forbid she doesn’t read my alter ego either, masquerading as my cat, titled Fuggit, the swearing cat. It started as a joke and the cat even has a Twitter account with more followers than me!! She’s notorious for being opinionated and uses terrible language especially when a vet is concerned.
    Lorelle VanFossen did reply after your comments on my blog and I did learn a few things. Thanks

  5. Pingback: 12 Reasons Why You Need Lorelle’s Blog Exercises for Your Blog | Janet's Notebook

Post a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s