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Numbers, Numbers, Numbers mourns Private Tutor

April 10, 2013
"private tuition"

Thoughts From The Corner

Once again, this private tutor finds himself mulling over numbers.

Lifting my head from its customary naval gazing, I realised that I had recently posted about blogs and numbers – you know: followers, views, comments, etc. Would I be covering old ground?

This week ‘experiencedtutors’ received its 100th follower, thank you bradfonseca That was until the next day when someone ‘unfollowed’ (what did I do wrong?) and it was back down to 99. First it was a ‘high’ and then a ‘low’. Ultimately, though, did it really matter? Somehow it did. 100 seemed more important than 99 and even stranger than that, 100 seems more important than 101. So what is it about numbers?

In my first school, when our regular teacher was absent the class would be taken by the deputy headmaster. I loved these days. Not only would I not be sent to the corner but towards the end of the day the deputy head would test us on mental arithmetic. He would quickly say something like, ‘6 plus 2 plus 6 divided by 2 multiplied by 3’. Our hands would shoot up into the air faster than a ferret down a rabbit hole. The first one with the correct answer (and the fastest hand in the air) would be allowed to leave the class early. I was always good at this. Not always the first to leave but certainly in the first three or four out of a class of 40+. Leaving school at 16 I achieved top grade in the maths exam and even today I retain telephone numbers in my head with ease. Me and numbers go way back.

Today I am writing my first novel – 44,000 words so far. There are some of you out there looking to write 50,000 words this month as part of NaNoWriMo. That’s not for me; my target is 1,500 per week. Not a lot really but I do love Aesop’s ‘The Hare and the Tortoise’. I always hit my weekly target and that feel-good factor carries me into next week’s writing. Usually I achieve 2,000-2,500 but it’s the numbers that are the thing, not how many or how few. It is the numbers that govern our writing.

The Tortoise and the Hare - Project Gutenberg ...

The Tortoise and the Hare – Project Gutenberg etext 19993 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What is more number-orientated than a clock? We live our lives by the clock. That whole man-made (okay, okay – ‘woman-made as well 🙂 time-slave is with us from the cradle to the grave – both your time of birth and time of death are recorded. No shackle ever produced, constricts, constrains and imprisons you like a clock. I used to carry the time on wrist but now I carry it in my pocket on my cell/mobile – no escape!

The clock paragraph above is fairly sobering so just to clear the depressing air a little I would like to thank Ryan Brooks for pushing this blog back up to 100 and those of you that followed me on Twitter from last week’s post – it’s now 14 followers. There I go again with those numbers. Perhaps a return to naval contemplation for this private English tutor is in order.

From → Blogging

  1. I did not realize I had the auspicious role of being the 100th Follower albeit for a short period of time. Love the post; it entertained me on a grey day.:)

    • Many thanks for your reply. 100 is a landmark, although I’m not sure why. Surely 99 should also be a goodie. . . So yes, you were famous for a brief 15 minutes – thank you.

  2. I agree that we can easily get caught up in the numbers. I follow a good number of blogs and I admit I’ve unfollowed a couple (not yours!)… The reason was because of the poor quality of the posts. There are those bloggers who will post 5-6 times per day but don’t write anything. I’m not talking about photo blogs (love those)! I’m talking about bloggers who copy and paste a quote, for example, but don’t write about what that particular quote means to them. I have a “quotes” page on my blog and occasionally will pick one and write a post about what it means to me. I think we want to get a sense of who the blogger is behind the blog. What are their opinions, fears, dreams, ideas, etc. etc.

    I wouldn’t worry about the time it is taking to finish your book. Setting realistic goals for yourself is so important and you certainly have done that. I have always loved The Tortoise and the Hare story. I’m definitely the tortoise.

    Congrats on the 100 followers milestone! A very good and thought provoking post!

    • What a great comment, thank you. Too often comments are of the Tweet kind – I am as guilty of that as anyone else.

      I have unfollowed because certain blogs don’t quite ‘float my boat’. I am sure there are blogs out there for all but we have home-in on those that seem to offer us something.

      I am not too worried about the time taken for my novel but I don’t want to drag it on too long because of losing momentum. I once took 13 years to write a play!

      As the tortoise said to the other tortoise ‘Must rush, lettuce awaits’ 🙂

      • Was it a good play?
        (Sorry, couldn’t resist asking)

      • 13 years in the making, you would think so. Pity the theatre world doesn’t see it as I do! However, I do aim to try and push it out soon.

      • The theatre world here is all about the War Horse theatrical extravaganza, or Adams Family. They seem to see scripts and plays differently.

  3. I shall happily follow you to the ends of WordPress! 😀

    It sounds like you’re making great progress on your novel. That’s always a good feeling. And I have to admit I’m jealous of your math ability. Words and I have (almost) always been friends … but numbers, not so much.

  4. Congrats on your century. I’m just catching up with stuff and found this on Twitter – yay!
    I haven’t had the pleasure of being unfollowed yet but I’m sure it’ll happen.
    But those stats are quite addictive – I have to get out the handcuffs with the pink furry bits to stop the mouse sliding its way to the stats button.

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