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.
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
I’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 girl. I 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:
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!)
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.
- Origami for Busy People
- Unit Polyhedron Origami
- Complete Origami: An A-Z of Facts and Folds
- The Origami Workshop or Paper Creations: Easy-to-make paperfolding projects, both by Gay Merrill Gross
- Trash Origami: 25 Paper Folding Projects Reusing Everyday Materials
- Origami Toys: That Tumble, Fly and Spin
- Spiral Origami Art Design by Tomoko Fuse (p/s: This book is a luxury.)
- Origami papers from Folded Square and The Japanese Shop
This post was inspired by Blog Exercises: Site Goals
by Lorelle VanFossen. You can find more Blog Exercises on Lorelle on WordPress. This is a year-long challenge to help you flex your blogging muscles.
My Related Posts:
- I swim and I blog: where are my nutrients from?
- Precious Chinese surnames with traditional values
- Seeing the world through my names
- My blog as a cafe with a like-minded audience
- Hearing my voice from my quotes
- Not a narcissistic outsider
- Making mistakes
- Born as an outsider
- Oriental and western views on postnatal confinement
- The process of creating Site Table of Contents
- My Site Table of Contents – I did it!
- Magnificent display at Buckingham Palace
- Blogging in English: Who am I?
- Do sex, age and race matter?
- Sharing my favourite things
- How is swimming like blogging?
- Share your fear