I don’t think it’s something I could do.
But then I didn’t think I could ever write a blog. I’d been reading blogs for years when I quite accidentally started my own. Here’s my first ever blog post, back in June 2009.
I thought it would be difficult to write a blog, but it hasn’t been, and for one simple reason: I’ve been writing a blog all my life. Well, not quite. What I’ve been doing all my life is to write about things that bother me. Somehow or other I find that writing about it is a good way to think about something. And I think that writing is helpful because you have to think slowly. You have to think at the same rate that you can write. And thinking slowly makes you notice things you don’t notice when you’re thinking fast – just like strolling slowly along a street you notice lots more things than when you’re hurrying along it. Anyway, I can fill sheets and sheets of paper with stuff I’m thinking about. Under my bedside table there is heap about a foot thick, all written in my now-indecipherable handwriting.
And the one thing that I think about a lot these days are smoking bans. In fact, I wake up most mornings thinking about them. Because for me the UK smoking ban has been like someone standing on my foot – or maybe my throat – for the past 8 years. It’s a constant dull pain. I can remember waking up like that thinking about lost girlfriends, but it never lasted long – not as long as 8 years, leastways.
Anyway, what I write now in my blog is a sort of public personal journal, centred on smoking bans, but wandering off into science, medicine, politics, the EU, global warming, asteroids, and my 40-year engagement in Idle Theory. But smoking bans are what I wake up thinking about pretty much every morning.
And it’s become a sort of place – an online pub, as some describe it – in which smokers are welcome, and smoking is permitted.
Which reminds me that regular commenter Harley mentioned today that if you type “smoking” into Google, blogs like mine don’t show up. So I tried it. And he was dead right. It was wall-to-wall antismoking stuff, for page after page. It was only on the 7th page that I found a single mention of Forest: Voice and friend of the smoker. And then no more for the next 20 or so pages. The antis really have Google sewn up. And I wonder how. Because I doubt that many of these antismoking websites get even 10 views a day.
Perhaps I should look into Search Engine Optimization (SEO) .
It also reminded me that I have no idea how any of my readers came across my blog. I’d guess that it’s probably mostly because smoker-friendly blogs and websites tend to link to each other. My early blog quickly got links from Legiron and Dick Puddlecote. My blogroll is full of such links. But if smoker-friendly blogs and websites form a sort of online community, how does anyone ever find any of them when a mention of “smoking” on Google will offer you about 2 million antismoking websites?
Incidentally, in my wanderings today I came across a poll asking whether the UK smoking ban has been a good thing. 75% said it was. The poll, in the Shropshire Star, was only started yesterday.