Sunday, February 17, 2013

One year of blogging

It is now one year since I started writing this blog. That anniversary seems like an excellent opportunity both to look back at what I've written and to think about my future in blog writing. 

When I started the blog, I had an original set of goals in mind: 
  • Write an entry every week – I did pretty well for a few months, but then fell short with a total of 42 over the year.
  • Get myself into the habit of writing – As I want to write a non-fiction book, this was an important goal which worked out fairly well. I feel like my writing has improved and I definitely am writing faster.
  • Force myself to think Biblically – This is more of a mixed bag. I did that in some of the blogs, though not in many of them. In particular, the gadget ones were mostly an indulgence. All-in-all, however, I think the blog was successful in this area.
  • Write about every book I read – I did this, though it was a bit depressing to see how few books I read in the past year.
  • Cover TEDActive 2012 to help me think about and better remember the weekThis was largely successful. I even had the opportunity to show the entries to one of the organizers of the conference.
Along the way, I learned some interesting things about blogging:
  • I was a bit disappointed at how little what I wrote was read. Admittedly, that was not on my list of goals. I started pointing to some blog entries on Facebook to get more readers. That worked, but it feels a bit weird to promote myself. I'm becoming more comfortable with doing so, but I still don’t post a pointer to every entry on Facebook. I also put some effort into making things a bit easier by having point to the blog. Doing so turned out to be a hassle, but allowed me to have an easy way to direct folks to the blog.
  • I was surprised at what entries people read the most. The most popular entry was the one about my experiences at the George Hincapie CEO Cycling Challenge because they put a link on their Web site to it. The gadget reviews also were fairly heavily read because of Google searching. 
  • I also have had a number of hits from other countries. The gadget and Hincapie entries seem to generate hits from around the world. Some of the international hits I attribute (possibly incorrectly) to people I know in those countries. I can think of folks I know in places like Bolivia and the UK, but others, like the ones from China and Russia, are probably bots.  
  • It is an odd phenomenon to realize that what you write may well be read around the world. That is both exciting and a little scary.
Writing this blog is one more thing in my already busy life. Trying to do one weekly has meant that there was always one more thing to do hanging over my head. After giving it some thought, I plan to keep writing for another year, but with a few changes. I’m going to try writing 30 minutes a day rather than one blog a week. That means I won’t feel like I’m failing if I don’t get one written in a particular week. On the other hand, a daily discipline like that may get more writing done. I also am not going to worry about the mix of topics. If I write lots of gadget reviews and not enough thinking/reflective entries, so be it.

Here are my ten favorite blog entries of the past year. I tried to narrow the list to five, but could not.
  1. Slow  - A recent entry reflecting on dealing with aging parents while living a busy life
  2. I didn’t build that - A look at success in light of President Obama's "You didn't build that" quote
  3. Old - Some thoughts on aging in a society obsessed with youth
  4. Thankfulness - An examination of what it means to be thankful in the midst of bad circumstances
  5. Two to the fifth years of marriage - A celebration of 32 years of marriage to a wonderful woman
  6. Proud Papa - My feelings on what it means to be a grandparent
  7. Death sucks - Some thoughts on death
  8. Bolivia - Highlights from my August 2012 trip to Bolivia
  9. My dad - Some reflections on my dad two years after his death
  10. Tempus fugit - A retrospective look at my daughter's 30th birthday
Generally, I’m pleased with how the year of blogging went—I wrote quite a few words during that time and I feel like they were fairly good. There was, however, one depressing thing as I reread the year’s entries—I found a mistake in almost all of them. I still have much to learn about writing!

1 comment:

  1. Another year of blogging and a good year-end summary of all the things that you worked on! It's very fulfilling for a blogger to finish another year's worth of blogging! Keep it up Bill.