An Ocean of Writing: Brave Blue Words in 2010, 2011 and Beyond

Wanna know what you can expect from Brave Blue Words in 2011?  Read on – and feel free to make comments or suggestions below.

Surf Zone

As in the past, many of my posts will come from the science headlines. I love keeping up on the latest research, and starting this year I’ll even have Science delivered to my door! (A special offer for non-members who register for the AAAS annual meeting before January 27, 2011).

I’ve also come up with a long list of topics that I am itching to learn and write about. Here’s a partial list of what I have on deck for Brave Blue Words in 2011:

  • Articles on many of the interesting and bizarre critters discovered during the Census of Marine Life, as well as the conclusions that scientists reached about the health of our oceans.
  • An exploration of the many different habitats found in the oceans, from coral reefs to Arctic glaciers, tide pools to the open sea.
  • A series on evolution and geologic time. What lived when, where, and how that changed over time.
  • A look at the evolution of marine creatures, including marine mammals, and marine reptiles, the real monsters of the deep!
  • How the Earth itself has changed over time. Where and how continents moved, and what impacts those movements had on  evolution and climate.
  • Critical environmental threats to the health of the oceans, including the many different aspects and impacts of climate change.
  • Updates on important ocean-related legislation, and what you can do to help make them in law.
  • Guest posts from other fabulous ocean blogs.
  • Profiles on ocean scientists and activists, including interviews.
  • In-depth looks at how ocean science is done, including field trips with scientists, and visits to local labs, ships, and other research platforms.
  • Posts about the latest research as it’s presented at important science conferences. I’ll start with the AAAS conference in February right here in Washington, D.C.

2010 Redux

So, that’s what I’m planning for the future. But what about the past? Surely, there’s a lot I can learn from my own record of successes and mistakes. So here it is, the year-end summary for Brave Blue Words compliments of WordPress:

  • A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 7,400 times in 2010. That’s about 18 full 747s!
  • In 2010, you wrote 17 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 44 posts. You uploaded 34 pictures, taking up a total of 9mb. That’s about 3 pictures per month.
  • Your busiest day of the year was January 5th with 127 views. The most popular post that day was Relations between India and China: Thawing over melting Himalayas?.

New Year’s is the time for resolutions, right? Well, right off the bat, there is a number in there that I want to increase. And no, it’s not the number of visitors.

Wait. Why not? Surely any blogger worth her storage space would aim for more readers, right? Sure, I’d like hoards of folks to read this blog, but what can I do about it? It’s not something I have direct control over. And resolutions are all about what I can do to make things better here at Brave Blue Words.

Sure, I can work to ensure that I have great content. I can also do all kinds of things to drive more traffic to my site, networking my tuchas off, and connecting to potential readers via Facebook, and Twitter. (I’ve given up on MySpace – it’s just too damned slow!) But I can only build the site, and hope they will come. So, what’s the magic number? What number do I have direct control over?

The number of posts I write. Look back at the numbers. Over the 52 weeks of 2010, I wrote only 17 posts. Contrast that with 2009, when I wrote 27. Since I started in July 2009, that means that in my first year, I posted at least once a week.

What happened in 2010? Sure, I could quote time constraints, family or job-related events that distracted me. We all have those – but they weren’t responsible for a single missed post. No, it was bigger than that. In 2010, I was faced with the greatest challenge a writer can imagine, the thing we all fear. Yes, it’s true. The #1 threat, the bogeyman beneath all writer’s beds, the ghoul in each and everyone of our closets. I faced it, and succumbed to it’s evil allure.

What was it? Simply the fear that what I was writing didn’t matter. That nobody cared about what I had to say, that my lonely voice, shouted into the incredible chaos that is the global Internet, was not loud enough, not important enough, not worthy enough to be heard. No, I didn’t actually think those words (well,not often). But the fear was there and I let it still my hands and silence my voice.

What’s a Writer to Do?
No, that’s not a cue for all you out there to post encouraging comments, or pat me on the back (although good books or chocolate won’t be turned down). If I’m going to make it as a writer, I have to learn to do that for myself. Or as a very dear friend said to me, when I was working for the NYC Parks Dept in my very first job out of college: I’m going to have to learn to post my own A’s on my own refrigerator.

Writing is a solitary activity. Feedback, when it comes (if it comes) is often far removed from the act itself. By years, in the case of a novel. The motivation to write, whether it’s a blog post or a novel, has to come from within. I have to generate the drive day in and day out. Not only is that the secret to consistency, it’s also the magic ingredient in good writing. When I find the things that excite me, the subject that I think are so cool that I can’t keep quiet about them, I’ll write about them.

But what if I don’t? OK, that was a trick question: anyone who knows me would laugh at that suggestion. The world is just so awesome, the oceans so amazing, the whole scientific endeavor so incredible, that I often find it hard to limit myself to just the 500-1,000 words I aim for in my posts. So I’ll write.

And if you like what you see?  Come on back – there will be lots more where that came from in 2011. Have a suggestion for a blog post? Leave ti in the comments below!

Want more? You can connect to me and Brave Blue Words on Facebook and Twitter.


4 thoughts on “An Ocean of Writing: Brave Blue Words in 2010, 2011 and Beyond

  1. Ooh, ooh, ooh, please post about all the crazy creatures they discovered during the Census of Marine Life! As someone fascinated with science but lacking robust education in the field, it’s great to read posts by someone with both knowledge and writing ability. Have a great 2011 with the blog!

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