Not writing, but reading.Thursday, January 24, 2013
Nothing makes me happier than being included on somebody's blog love list. Well, dogs wearing hats and making silly faces probably make me happier. But it's a close-run thing.
This week, I was delighted to see that a friend had included me on the list of blogs she reads most religiously (I'm assuming this means she puts on a special robe and lights a candle whenever it's time for some dogs-wearing-hats blog action. I'm not sure though).
I can't deny it stung a little to see that the first thing she had to say about A Safe Mooring is that I'm "not updating it quite so often any more." This is unquestionably true - the dwindling numbers of posts per month speak for themselves - but nobody likes to be reminded of their failings. Especially when the rest of the description was ridiculously flattering. "Hilarious, a bit angry and very eloquent"? I'll take that, thank you very much, but I can't say I've particularly earned it in the last few months.
It struck me last night, at about half past bedtime, that today is our second anniversary. Not Fin's and mine - that was last year - but yours and mine. You, the readers; me, the blogger. I've spent the last two years of my life in varying degrees of devotion to filling this blank page. You've left me 2,580 comments and I've squirrelled away every single one of them, to keep me going when words are sparse.
This year, there's no bunting, no celebratory blogiversary background (I was weirdly organised last year). Instead, some small gifts. First, a dog wearing a snood. You're welcome.
Second, a couple of recommendations for any of you who, like me, have been spending more time reading than writing of late.
Along the same lines as the ever-popular Google Reader 'Next' button (if you missed it, scroll to the end of this post for all the ways in which the Next button is ace), the following tip could change your life. Or make your blog-reading experience slightly more pleasant. Which is practically the same thing.
Have you ever added a blog to your reader, only to discover that the blogger in question has utilised the single most irritating tool in the blogger's box of tricks? I'm not talking about referring to themselves as a "mommy" when their only child has four legs and licks its own balls. I'm not even talking about signing off every post with some pixel-wasting nonsense like "Love and light! xo," or "Kisses and fairydust! xoxo," or "Dandruff and wheelie bins! xoxoxoxox". I'm talking about... THE TRUNCATED FEED (dun dun dunnn).
You know, that thing where the blogger gives you the first seven words of their latest post, and then just expects you to click through to their actual blog to read the rest? Well hey, guess what, annoying blogger? If I wanted to click through to your actual blog then I wouldn't have SUBSCRIBED TO READ IT IN MY READER, WOULD I? HMMMM??? I will not click through! I will control my own clicks! And my next click will be on the unsubscribe button! How do you like THAT?
If you, like me, find truncated feeds intensely irritating, then I am about to give you the best present ever. It's called fulltextrssfeed.com, and it does exactly what it says on the tin. You copy the link of the feed you want, paste it into the url generator, and out pops a lovely full text feed that will deliver the entire post straight to your reader. Boom.
To accompany this top tip, I would also like to humbly propose that you use it immediately to subscribe to the Writer's Almanac. I stumbled upon this a week or two ago and, once you get round the truncated feed thing, it is an absolute delight every single day. Literary snippets + heart-stopping poetry = a daily reminder of what good writing really is. I've even done the hard work for you: here's the full text feed.
And with that, I'm going to shamelessly steal the line that ends every epistle from the Writer's Almanac, because it sums up everything perfectly (and doesn't end with xoxo):
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.
(Oh, and happy anniversary.)