I first saw this idea on Ericotrips. I don’t know if it is a trend and goes way back but I liked his review, very coherent and informative so I decided to put my own spin on it.
I decided, around June, that the only way I was going to make sense of this year, was to count it in writing. How much I had written, whether I liked what I what written, how consistent I was and so on. Because this was one thing I could do that didn’t have to go on a break and I am going to write about that in another post.
So it definitely makes sense that the blog features somewhere on my achievements. I have allowed some of my thoughts to breathe here and it has been interesting to get some of the feedback I’ve gotten. But here is the breakdown (fair warning – this is a much longer post than usual) .
I joined my first Facebook blogging group around this time last year and a few others at the start of January. They were a salvation in a way to the poor readership at the start. The blog had gone up in September and I was a little stumped on how to drive traffic my way. The groups helped me feel a little less alone. They tackled issues I hadn’t faced yet and gave sound advice. And I also found myself reading a number of blogs I wouldn’t have come across otherwise, which informed a number of things I would like to incorporate going forward.
I also promoted my blog on other people’s sites. Don’t worry, all of it has been welcome. Some bloggers like Phoebe MD do ask for bloggers to promote their blogs and that is usually up every month. It was also a good way to find other bloggers and to shamelessly promote my own blog on someone else’s site. I found a couple of bloggers that way, read up on their work, enjoyed it, followed them and somehow that was reciprocated. Maybe, just maybe, I could do this too come next year. Maybe.
I didn’t engage in any Blogging Challenges this year and they were quite a number. Especially at the start of the quarantine. They are also a good way of finding your blogging community and a good way to generate content. Hopefully next year, I can get in with a few.
Bottom point here : If you want the blog to grow, you may have to find ways to put yourself out there. Join a Facebook blogging group if you can. Read and engage with other bloggers on their site, not only with the hope that they’ll run back to your site, but just for the exposure you never knew you needed.
The idea of this blog, if you’ve gone to the ‘About’ page or read anything that should highlight my writing journey, is to ensure consistency. I should have at least one blog post out every week. With all the writing I was doing in the middle of May – July, on and off the blog, I decided to come up with a schedule of sorts; Sunday for the new post and Tuesday and Saturday for follow up. Ask me how well I did with that 😅. Go on, ask.
That said, I can’t believe how often I have reposted old posts. The problem here is the illusion of time. It seems easy, a full six days in between my posts, surely I’ll come up with something then. But then you blink and its Sunday all over again and all you have are eight to ten drafts that you didn’t bother to brush up on over the course of the week.
And in September this year, I had hoped to up my game to two posts a week. Pretty ballsy considering I haven’t quite conquered the one post a week.
I also took long breaks from it, for example – the month of November. This is not dire and I encourage anyone who needs to take a break to take it sometimes. Only you truly know what you are going through and if a break from your craft is the way to go, it is the way to go! I know about the guilt that may eat away at you but take your time to find your way back.
Bottom point here : Choose your frequency on the blog and go with that. Make a timetable/schedule if you must to keep you organised (trust me, I see the wisdom in that)
Learning never stops. I’m sure we know that and the same has been true for me this year. I read up on a number of blogging advice columns, not enough though. I also ventured off to Pinterest and making pins. I liked that, getting to play around with designs even though I didn’t stick it out. For one, I hadn’t imagined the amount of time Pinterest would require on its own. And I’ll be honest, I was just in a lazy phase then.
I didn’t apply most of the things I was ‘learning’. Most of the advice columns have the disclaimer that some of the tips don’t always work for everyone – Everyone’s blogging journey is different and it is. But I took that as my out for things that seemed to be so much work. In my head, I didn’t ever expect blogging to involve the so many facets that it does. Hopefully, I get better at this.
Bottom point here : Blogging takes just as much work as almost anything else in life. You’ve got to put in effort to get something tangible out of it. Don’t stop learning!
On the numbers
I know, I know! Trust me, I know😏 you don’t want to be that blogger hang up on the numbers and yet somehow they propel you forward. There’s an intangible joy to writing for someone else. Sure you enjoy your writing and would do it even though there is no one else (would you?). But the fact that someone sees it… and likes it, well that’s the stuff dreams are made of.
When the year started I was at around 20 followers (And even that could be a stretch). I can’t tell you when exactly the numbers went really up. But one day they were low and another day they weren’t. Gave me hope that maybe this time I was doing this blogging thing
Some blog posts have done well, most of the time they are the ones I didn’t think much of. It was definitely interesting to see the things people took too that I thought would be more of conversations with myself. And the ones I thought would strike chords with everyone seemed to do fairly. Don’t assume for your readers – lesson learnt. And then there has been good engagement, comments and follow up. Not bad at all.
I can’t believe how much I’ve been drawn to the numbers, stressing over why my blog is not doing as well as others. You know, like bloggers who had been in the game a little less than I had but were, in comparison, skyrocketing. I’ve been a slave to the emotion drawn from the numbers.
Bottom point here : Write for one as though for the audience of a thousand. Find contentment in that.
There’s more to write about. Having the year paid out like that, it’s hard to capture every high and low and in between of roughly 360 days so it can’t be everything. But looking back puts things in perspective and is a testament for how far I’ve come.
It has clearly been a longer post. But I hope you enjoyed reading. And if you don’t mind sharing, I would like to know about your own ups and downs in your craft (doesn’t have to be writing) this year.