Being a better blogger in 2010. Happy New Year, readers!

I just love the beginning of a new year, don’t you? It’s so full of hope and promise, just this endless vista of potential spread out before you, every day an opportunity to do things better this time around.

Yes, I realize it’s totally arbitrary. There’s no reason one can’t decide on any random day that tomorrow is going to be a fresh start. But I’m a sap, and I’ve always loved the idea of having one day that marks a time when everybody gets to just let go of all the nonsense that’s been dragging you down or holding you back and make a fresh start all together.

Overall, 2009 was a pretty awesome year for me. I didn’t manage to accomplish either of my resolutions, and I managed to do a fair number of stupid things I regret, and a decent number of really sucky things happened (some my own fault, some totally out of my control) but I also got to know a lot of wonderful people and had many amazing things happen to me as well.

But the one thing I feel probably the worst about from this last year is how much I’ve been neglecting my blog for the last few months. I feel especially terrible about it when I think about all the amazingly generous people who so kindly gave me money, who I feel incredibly guilty for letting down. I don’t know why I’ve had such a hard time posting recently – okay, that’s not true. I know exactly why, but it’s not really worth getting into here.

Anyway, for 2010, I resolve to write a new post on A Better Oakland at least three times a week. In a perfect world, it would be daily, and I’m going to keep five days a week posting in my head as a goal. But there’s no point in making promises I can’t keep, and I would rather commit to something that’s challenging, but doable if I try, than something where I will probably just end up failing and letting my readers down.

I have two other blogging-related resolutions, as well. First, I am going to be better about responding to my e-mails. I am terrible with e-mail, as any reader who has ever written to me probably knows. I love all the messages I get, and I always want to write a really good response, so then I put it aside for when I have more time, and of course, that, like, never happens, and then I never end up responding and I feel like a total jackass. No more! I will realize that short, non-perfect messages are okay, and I will write back to the people who take the time to write to me.

Finally, I resolve to leave more comments on other local blogs. I adore Oakland blogs, and it always makes me so happy whenever I discover a new one. I so want them all to keep going and keep writing, and I remember from my early days of blogging that one of the things that made it hardest to keep doing it was this nagging thought that nobody was reading. I used to get so excited every time I got a comment, even if it was a mean comment that was like “You’re completely wrong about everything and a total idiot, your mother must be so ashamed. V Smoothie suxxx!!1!”

These days, I’m totally spoiled, and get more comments than I could possibly have time to respond to. (Although I hope my commenters know that even though I can’t often write back, I do appreciate every last one – well, almost every one.) But even now, I’m still sensitive about it, and when I write a post that only gets like, four or five comments or something, I get all upset and whine about it to my blogger friends, who, of course, give me absolutely zero sympathy.

Anyway, I’m always intending to leave comments. Just like the e-mails, I always want to write some great, thoughtful, perfect comment, and I leave all the posts I want to respond to open in tabs in my browser, thinking I’ll write something when I have time, and then of course I never get around to it and then eventually the browser crashes and then the process starts all over when new posts appear. No more! I will start leaving more comments, even if the comment is something not very exciting at all, like “I really enjoyed this post,” when someone writes a really good post. The absolute worst feeling as a blogger (well, for me, anyway) is when you spend a ton of time writing a post, or you write something that means a lot to you, and you get no response at all.

So those are my blogging resolutions – more posts, responding to e-mails, and leaving more comments elsewhere. As far as the rest of my life goes, I am going to get a driver’s license so I can join Zipcar. And I am going to see more movies in the theater. It occurred to me on Tuesday, when I went to see Up in the Air (which sucked, BTW), that it was the first time I had been to a movie theater in all of 2009. Then I was all “No, that can’t possibly be true” and I spent like three hours trying to think of a movie I had gone to see, and never managed to come up with any. Weak. I’m going to shoot for once every two months this year. Wish me luck!

Enough about me, what about you guys? What are your New Year’s resolutions?

9 thoughts on “Being a better blogger in 2010. Happy New Year, readers!

  1. Becks

    Great resolutions V, and I second your thoughts on the importance of comments for new bloggers. I remember when you, dto 510, and a few others first started commenting on my blog and how excited I got about that, especially because since when I started my blog I never thought that anybody would read it.

    My blogging related resolution is that I’m going to do a better job keeping up with Oakland blog posts. I follow dozens of blogs and in 2009 I’ve usually had about 500 unread posts in my RSS reader, which often means that I’m nearly a month behind on some blogs. At that point, it seems pointless to comment and of course I miss out on really great events that are mentioned because they’ve already happened. So this year I’m going to give special priority to Oakland blog feeds and will attempt to fall no more than a week behind on them.

    I have another blog related resolution, but I’ll be posting about that later today or tomorrow.

  2. MarleenLee

    And there I was thinking that the City’s forces of evil had been effective in silencing your opinionated rants, which I have really been missing. Looking forward to more to come.

  3. MontclairOak

    Is there an inverse relationship between effort and reward? Not here. Your in-depth pieces and source links really matter. It’s okay to be less frequent because you have succeeded as the trusted source for Oakland’s political and city news.

    Even if you aren’t getting lots of feedback about the estuary plans, for example, they are very important to put online. Any major activities or communication by our officials and city workers should be documented publicly.

    The responses and reactions become the content-plus. Of course, it’s very good discussion rather than quantity that matters here. And you draw engaged folks, who seem to care about Oakland’s future.

    I hope this absolves your guilt about postings, a little!

  4. Patrick

    V, you do such and outstanding, unbelievably thorough job, how could we possibly complain when you may actually have some other important thing in life to attend to?

    RE: Comments – I read every single post and every single comment posted on this blog. I think we can all agree that I am not at all afraid to voice my opinions in the comments section. That being said, there are things I do not know enough about, such using the estuary plan again as an example. I didn’t comment because I wouldn’t have anything to add, not that I did not find it extremely interesting and important. I know you know that, but it’s always nice when someone says it!

  5. Livegreen

    V, Thanks for your blog and your commendable efforts to help create a better Oakland. And to creating a forum for others who share a similar goal, even when we (readers & posters) might disagree on which road to follow in getting there.

  6. Ralph

    indeed thank you for your efforts to creat a better oakland.

    as for movies, they are overrated. since 1998, i think i have seen less than 10 in the theatre – Pecker, Simpsons (oddly enough at Grand Lake), one movie each at Shattuck, AMC Van Ness, and Emeryville, the Sasha Gray flick, that 9/11 flick and a few i can not recall..

  7. Karen Smulevitz

    Rarely do I go to a movie theater. I went to see “Sicko” and “The Garden” and that was a while ago. Mostly I see G-rated films with my grandson, because it’s fun being with him. We recently saw “Alvin and the Chipmunks – the Squeakel”. So exciting. This summer I hope to catch a few outdoor movies.

  8. Daniel Schulman

    Whoa people let’s not turn this into a platform to hate on going to the movies. It is possible to be both a local wonk and a moviegoer.

    Already for the first couple of months of 2010, I’m looking forward to going to see Bitch Slap, Das Weisse Band, The Wolfman, and Alice in Wonderland. I am sure I’ll also see many others.

  9. Chuck

    V — Happy New Year!

    Thanks for the inspiring post and solid resolutions. I so look forward to your hard work, thoughtful posts, and insightful discussions you’ll be hosting round these parts. Mad props to you and the other Oakland-loyal bloggers for the awesome products you put out.

    I especially appreciate the kick in the pants, as the elections of the year ahead make me feel re-energized to pick up where I left off and try something new. We shall see!

    Thanks as always for what you do ’round these parts. We appreciate it!