Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Historical Illustration, and Site-Related: Post Frequency

Okay, so on Sunday I posted a new thing, which I'd hoped might be a way to save me time on the short posts so I could work more on the long posts (the plant profiles and etc. which were the original point of the blog), which I like doing more than I like trying to come up with the filler pieces between them.

And then a number of you left comments saying that you wouldn't mind less-frequent posts if that meant more-frequent longer posts. I had already been having thoughts about doing something different with the posting frequency: I've been thinking for at least a year that maybe I should cut back. I mean, back when I only had 250 plants and I could get all of them watered in like three days and then have 9 to 11 days off to write, that was one thing, but now I have four times that many plants, and it takes about four times as much time to water, and I have to water pretty much every day. It's not that I can't water and write in the same day, but that doesn't leave time for anything else, and there are times when I'd like to do something else.

For reasons I'm not entirely sure I understand, whenever I've thought about posting less often, I've consistently rejected the idea, but we're coming up on a time of year when it was going to be necessary to do, one way or another.

The reason is that I'm hoping to do some selling and trading of my plants, once the weather warms enough that I can start shipping them. We've also been talking about trying to do the Farmers' Market thing this summer, which I'm not 100% convinced that that's a good idea, what with the heat and all, but it seems likely that we'll try it at least once. These things could wind up being great, but they're also all time-consuming.

I haven't done one of these in a long time, mostly because it's hard to find usable images on-line, but I enjoyed them. I think my favorite is the one with the Young Realtors' Club.

For now, I think the plan is to take a couple days off (I kinda do need it, honestly), then come back on Saturday still trying to come up with daily posts, but not to the extent that I'm posting something I don't care about just to have a post. Which I have been doing. Which may or may not have been obvious.

There are some dangers to this plan. Sometimes the posts I forced myself to do just so I'd have something to post were popular. Sometimes pushing myself to find something interesting about a topic I found boring worked, and I liked what I came up with. I tend to rework posts longer than is helpful, and having to have something to post the next day, I feel, helped me curb that tendency, so I'm a little worried that not having to have a deadline will lead both to fewer short posts and to fewer long ones. But these are problems which I hope can be dealt with, and if I really hate how things turn out with the irregular schedule, we can always go back to daily posts.

Comments? Questions? Solutions? We've got a couple days for a conversation here, if people want to have one.


Bad Kitty said...

I certainly understand your need for more time for your life but I will miss the daily posts. Perhaps you could move the Saturday Sheba/Nina picture to Mondays so all your loyal readers can have a fix to start the week. I don't know that I can face Mondays without PATSP!

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't mind less frequent posts, but would prefer that they be on some regular schedule - every other day or something. Living by the sun as I do I like to not spend any time hithering and thithering unnecessarily. Content is more important than a daily schedule I believe.

Kenneth Moore said...

I'm one without a distinguishable daily routine. But when I have a string of days that time exists to check blogs, I do enjoy my regular Mr S fix. When I don't have time, I eventually come back and read most of your posts I missed. It's like a variety show. Robot Chickenish, even, but usually less adult and less campy. I enjoy whatever/whenever you post!

Liza said...

mr_s, I understand your position. You spend so much time building your readership that you feel obligated to have something for them to read. You worry that if you don't post often, readers will stop coming.

But real life is more important. I doubt most of your readers understand how long each post - even supposedly quick ones - takes of your time. My Friday Experts panel takes 5-6 hours to complete, so I'm guessing your plant profiles take twice or three times that, or even more. An insane amount of time.

I think you should live your life, be true to yourself, and hope your readers understand. I know I'll check back even if you only post once in a blue moon, because when you do post, the content is that good. Good luck!
p.s. If you do the farmers' market, invest in a tent.

Paul said...

Sounds like a mild blog dependency. Since it's a good blog, I don't see it as a bad thing from a reader's perspective. But if it's interfering with your productivity elsewhere, you probably should slow your roll to a pace you like.

I'm not sure what warmer weather may mean to you, but to me, that usually means I'm tired of sitting inside...thus, less time to do computer interwebby things.

ALso, your mashup and Nina/Sheba padding is entertaining...don't get mad, but sometimes moreso than *some* actual plant posts because they're plants I don't like or care about. So, if it would satisfy your posting itch, more pets and music will not turn me off as a reader.

Anonymous said...

Are people actually donating? What you do is worthwhile I would totally pay a few bucks a month for it.

danger garden said...

I'm enjoying the conversation. Kudos to you for telling it like your feeling it (one of the many great things about your blog). I've been keeping up a schedule of posting at least 5 days a week M-F (with occasional weekend posting if the mood hits) for 2 years now. Only once did I post something just because "I had to"...but when (if) that day comes around more often I'll know it's time to cut back. Knowing me I'd probably do it in a scheduled fashion like a MWF update. I am continually surprised how many people don't use a subscription or reader to stay on top of new posts from their favorite blogs. If they were then they would of course know when you posted something new and could click right on over and get the full PATSP experience.

Geoffrey said...

(Not sure if this posted correctly the first time ... if it did, sorry for the duplicate comment!)

I have to agree wholeheartedly with Liza above. You have obviously cultivated (har har) a following over the past years, and the opinions of your readers are important to you. But the bottom line is that this is your blog, and you should post no more than you want to. If your readers do not understand that you have a real life that you do not want to have revolve around your blogging schedule, then that is their problem and not yours.

Derek said...

Write what you want, when you want. We'll be here.

janes_kid said...

In my bookmarks I have files of stuff to read that is only posted on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. I've never done any posting so I don't understand why the blogs are not written and posted in parts daily. There must be some technical reason I am missing?

mr_subjunctive said...

Anonymous @ 5:05 AM:

"Living by the sun?"

Bad Kitty:

Well, the Sheba/Nina pictures would likely either continue on Saturdays or start showing up on random days of the week like everything else. Though there might not be so many Nina pictures, because I feel like I've pretty well documented everything that Nina does. Even if she's not repetitive to y'all yet, she's gotten kind of repetitive to me. (On the other hand, it's probably time for a terrarium-cleaning, so maybe there will be interesting photos coming out of that. . . ?)


The Farmers' Market here in town is held in a city park, under a . . . um . . . well, I don't know the word for it, but a structure-type thing. So I think there's functionally already a tent there.


No, I sometimes like the non-plant padding better too, but since the only thing I know about my readers as a group is that they're interested in plants, I do try to do a plant-related post every day. (Sometimes for broad values of "plant-related," though, e.g. Goldfrapp videos.) Except for Saturdays, but even Saturdays sometimes wind up plant-related.

Anonymous @ 8:37 AM:

Yes and no.

Since I put up the tip jar, I have gotten seven donations, from seven individuals, which totaled $99.79 after PayPal took its cut.

However, the last donation was over a month ago, so it's less that people are donating as that people have donated.

I wouldn't post more often if I were getting more donations, though, because lack of time is a bigger problem than lack of money.

mr_subjunctive said...

danger garden:

I toyed with a lot of different ideas for scheduling posts (every other day, every third day, five posts per week on whatever days they happened to post on, on specific days of the week), but decided that I couldn't know in advance what was going to work for me. No doubt something regular will eventually emerge as time goes on.

It had occurred to me that people without feed readers probably liked the daily posting, though I haven't seen any numbers on how many people are using feed readers. I've been using the one with the Blogger dashboard, but it's been annoying me lately. It used to be that you'd get down close to the bottom of the list and it would load another batch of posts for you, but for the last couple weeks, that hasn't been happening. I follow a lot of blogs, so this means that if I don't check every few hours, then people post stuff that I won't see. I've been hoping that maybe Google would get it together to fix this, but it looks like they're not planning to, so I should probably unfollow some of the chattier blogs so I have a chance to read the non-chatty blogs.


Well, and I think my readers do understand that, judging by the comments today and the comments Sunday. Really I'm more the one with the problem, because I'm going to have to adjust my expectations of myself, which have gotten pretty ingrained over the last 3 1/2 years.

Helodia said...

If you're planning on selling and shipping more plants; do you have a website that I could buy from you? Thanks so much!


mr_subjunctive said...


Not yet, but when it happens, I'll announce it. I'm sort of planning to create a new page that's linked directly under the header (like the Plant List page) with PayPal buttons, though I'm not positive that's how it's going to work.

Bom said...

I'm not familiar with google analytics but if it is similar to my host then you should be able to get information that you need. I don't post daily nor regularly (work over blog although I'd prefer it to be the other way around) so I get to see which days (and time) most of my readers check my blog. Maybe you can base your posting schedule on that if it works with your real life schedule. We will always be eagerly awaiting your next post and others can always get feeders or subscriptions.

NYcram said...

Can I be selfish first and say that my daily PATSP fix has become an addiction since I discovered you 2 months ago, and you are taking my drug of choice away?

Obviously it's your blog and it's a public service you perform unasked and uncompensated. So I'll enjoy your work when it appears and feel wistful when you are away from your blog.

I've been going through your rich archives back to when you started. That gave me a thought. Have you considered posting re-runs when you don't have time to do a post?

There's a lot of wonderful stuff buried in your past posts and even people with the intestinal fortitude to plow through your archives would appreciate reminders of your greatest hits from bygone posts.

mr_subjunctive said...


I've thought about it. The main reason I haven't is because I'm more or less unable to look at one of my old posts without wanting to edit it, and if I'm going to edit, then I may as well just do a new post.

There's also some concern about whether people would re-read a post they've already seen, though that's less of a big deal, since as you say, people might like being reminded, even if it's familiar, and I have enough new followers who probably haven't read the archives. Mostly it's the editing thing.