One Way or Another

E4742E9B-FA58-4A1A-AC74-0681AD93F39BToday’s one-word prompt, “one-way,” is interesting. It’s a hyphenated word, which makes me wonder if taking two, independent words and sticking a hyphen between them creates a single word or is it still two words connected by a hyphen?

I did a little research to find the answer. First I Googled “is a hyphenated word one word or two?” I found out that there is no definitive answer. I also found out that the question is only really relevant to those who need to manage their word counts, like for manuscripts, articles, or blog posts in response to writing prompts with word-count limits.

Then I tried an experiment. I wrote the sentence, “Don’t drive the wrong way down a one-way street,” in Microsoft Word, in the WordPress editor, and in Pages, a word processing/text editing app on my iPhone.

Microsoft Word counted nine words in that sentence. So did WordPress. But Pages counted ten words. So both Word and WordPress count hyphenated words as a single word, But Pages does not. Good to know, since I often use Pages for the first draft of my WordPress posts.

It seems, according to many of the sites I visited during my research, that the generally accepted rule is that a compound word separated by a hyphen should be treated as a single word.

So okay, WordPress, “one-way” can be used as a one-word prompt. I’ll give that to you.

You’re welcome.

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A Break With Tradition

Okay, I’ll bite. What is going on over at WordPress today? Earlier today WordPress posted its daily one-word prompt with the word “knit.”

98EB6EC3-18F0-435C-8A49-35DB564ADE6DAnd, as I do just about every day, I dutifully wrote my response to that one word prompt.

Then around five hours later, WordPress posted its second one-word prompt of the day, “bite.”

BA10B837-7F1B-4FC6-A60F-7E693814FCC1What’s up with two one-word prompts in the same day? Did Michelle Weber, who hosts these daily one-word prompts, suffer temporary amnesia and forget, when she posted “bite,” that she’d earlier posted “knit”?

Or is WordPress breaking with tradition and posting one-word prompts twice a day? Maybe they’ll start posting them three or four times a day. Or maybe even hourly.

Perhaps their aim is to keep us all so busy responding to one-word prompts that we’ll be distracted from all the crap that’s going on in the world around us.

That works for me.

I Hate When That Happens

4A889342-0B4B-4113-AD65-A816F4FD0BE8I wrote a post earlier in response to today’s one-word prompt, “underdog.” When I first started the post, I was going to use the idiom, “no dog in the race,” but when I looked at it on my draft after typing the words, it didn’t look right. So I Googled it.

Sure enough, the actual expression is “no dog in the fight.” I’m not a fan of dog fighting, so I didn’t want to use that. I suppose I could have used “no dog in the hunt,” which is related to fox hunting, but I’m not a fan of that “sport” either.

So I finally settled on “no horse in the race.” But when I changed the text from “no dog in the race” to “no horse in the race,” I actually typed “no race in the race.”

One would think that, after proofreading the draft multiple times before hitting “Publish,” I would have caught that error and corrected it. But while my eyes read “no race in the race,” my brain saw what it thought I typed, which was “no horse in the race.”

So there was my error for the whole world to see. Well, that infinitesimally small fraction of the whole world that reads my blog, anyway. And I didn’t yet realize it until my blogging buddy, Jim Adams over at A Unique Title For Me, read my post and commented, “Change the first race to horse.” Thanks Jim. I made that change and I do appreciate you pointing it out.

But I still don’t feel better about having made that error in the first place and then not catching it myself while proofreading. I really need to do a better job of proofreading my posts before pushing them out.

And yes, I’m a bit OCD about this. What can I say, except that I will try to do better.

Tending Down (Take Two*)

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You’re no doubt familiar with the philosophical riddle, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

I have a slight variation on that philosophical riddle. “If you publish a post and hardly anyone reads it, does it matter?”

Why should I spend my time thinking about and writing posts that few people read when I could invest that same time and effort doing something that does matter?

I’m proud of what I write. In fact, just the act of writing what I believe to be high quality posts is all that really ought to matter. Having said that, though, I do admit that it’s reinforcing to know that others read what I’ve written, like what I’ve written, and comment on it.

So the question is, should blog stats be the proxy for blogging success?

I try not obsess over my blog’s stats. In fact, I rarely even check my stats. Not more than 15 to 20 times a day, anyway. I check them to see whether or not what I’m writing and posting is being seen by, and resonates with, others.

The good news is that some people do read my blog. The bad news is that fewer people are reading my blog now than they were a few months back.

I started this blog in late May and slowly gained an audience. But, as you can see from the chart below, my views peaked in August, dropped in September, and dropped yet again in October. And what’s even more disconcerting, comments dropped considerably from September to October.

 

Blog Stats

Should I be concerned about this downward trend? Good question.

Each of us, as bloggers, has our own definition of success. We use certain metrics — blog stats, perhaps — to measure success. It may be the number of posts you’ve published. Perhaps it’s the number of views or likes your posts get.

Maybe your primary measure of your blog’s success is your number of followers. Or the number of comments your posts generate.

I admit that views, likes, and comments do matter to me. And the more I get, the better I feel. At least it let’s me know that someone besides me appreciates my efforts.

But, again, are my blog’s stats the best proxy for me to be using? What do you think?


Written for today’s one-word prompt, “proxy.”

*This is “take two” because the first effort somehow got lost in the ether. How does that happen?