Blogging—looking back at 2011 and moving forward

Why did you start the Post a Day/Week Challenge?

I actually started the post-a-day challenge on January 21st of last year. For those of you who missed it, my first post was quite short with an ill-kept promise to keep future posts short:

January 21, 2011
I’m not entirely certain I can bear up to the pressure of a first post. What to say? How much?

Here’s something important: I promise to keep my posts short. Those of you who know me well will realize how short-lived this promise will be. Otherwise, I suppose the sky’s the limit. Random thoughts. See above.
I’m going to just pretend I have readers. Mom are you out there?
That’s pretty short.
Oh. And here’s Arthur. The wild white dog eating snow.

I started the post-a-day challenge when I started the blog. I started both for the same reason. I wanted to start writing on a regular basis and I wanted someone, anyone, to read what I wrote.

How did your blog evolve over the course of the challenge?

The biggest thing that changed, was somewhere after about six months, I decided I needed my weekends back and that I really didn’t need to blog every day. I dropped back to blogging only on week days and was pretty consistent about it until surgery, recovery, Christmas, and the kids arriving home for the holidays hit. I’ve been a little hit and miss in December. But I’m still meeting the post-a-week challenge.

My content stayed pretty much as I started out. Originally I titled my blog Random Thoughts from Midlife. Then as I read more about building a platform for my work and promoting myself as an author and my books, I realized I should have blogged under my name. I changed the title on the page accordingly, although the URL remains randomthoughtsfrommidlife.wordpress.com, quite bulky and inconvenient. But I can’t face the thought of disrupting everything to change it. I own the domain name ChristineMGrote.com, but I’m using that for my fledgling website elsewhere.

Although my content is random, I’ve found I write consistently about several themes that include: my dad’s Alzheimer’s and its effect on me, Arthur, gardening, blogging, self-publishing, photography, and travel. I want to try to get more travel posts up because I think they are good for attracting people to the site from search engines.

What type of blogging strategy works best for you?

I like to sit down at my computer the very first thing in the morning and type out a blog while my brain is still fresh. Some days that doesn’t happen. Other days I have risen early with thoughts in my head needing to be expressed. Occasionally I work ahead when I have a good idea later in the day, or if I am trying to give myself a bit of a break. I plan to do this in January to stock up on posts for when my husband Mark is in the hospital getting both of his knees resurfaced. I may feel like writing a lot while I’m sitting in his hospital room, but I don’t want to count on it.

If you could go back to the beginning, what would you do differently?

I would definitely get a shorter URL.

What are you most proud of accomplishing this year?

Regarding my blog, I am proud of the body of work I produced. I think I have a variety of fairly interesting posts with some good photography at times. Outside of the blog, I am proud of writing, editing, and publishing Dancing in Heaven. Other than having and raising our children, I think I will look back on Dancing in Heaven as one of my greatest accomplishments.

What advice would you give to others who want to blog regularly?

My advice to anyone who wants to blog regularly would be the same advice I’ve read in every writing book I’ve ever opened—sit down and start typing. Pick a time of day and stick with it. Just do it. Even if you don’t feel like it, just start typing, and hopefully if you sit there long enough and allow the process to work, the words will come.

What are your blogging goals for 2012?

I’m going to continue with blogging every weekday, but not beat myself up if I get disrupted by life occasionally.

I want to work on writing shorter, yet still meaningful posts. I also want to occasionally write a longer post that I spend more time on refining. In the fervor to produce daily, sometimes I don’t get the satisfaction that revising and rewriting bring. I also want to get back to my photography a little bit more. And I hope to continue to learn about videos and editing.

Do you have any new writing, blogging and or life goals for 2012?  I’d love to hear from you.

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Author: CMSmith

I enjoy reading, writing, gardening, photography, genealogy and travel. I have opinions about many things, but am trying to age gracefully and not continually tick people off with them. Sometimes I can’t help myself.

26 thoughts on “Blogging—looking back at 2011 and moving forward”

  1. A post a day – I did maybe 300 this year. The production was exhausting but prolific. Imagine 300 cartoon ideas? That’s a life time’s work. I have about 200 unused and about 50 semi drawn ideas and new ideas have been coming to 3 a week. I think I will slow down to 3 posts a week depending on the incidence of new ideas popping into my head. I don’t even know from whence they come in the first place.

  2. My goal for the coming year is to continue doing as many memoir posts as possible–hopefully one a week–and blogging about other things in between.

    I would say “Dancing in Heaven” was a HUGE accomplishment. I’m reading it now and loving it–using it to motivate myself–to convince myself I, too, can do a memoir. Thanks for that gift, Christine.

    Kathy

    1. Oh good. I can’t wait to read your memoir. I still have one on my email that I am waiting until I can devote 100% attention to it, hopefully by early next week.

      Thanks for reading Dancing in Heaven. Of course you can do a memoir; you already are. One story at a time.

  3. I think you should be completely proud of your accomplishments this year. I’m glad I have been part of your blogging journey. I’m not sure what my goals are fro 2012 in terms of blogging. I know something needs to shift, but I’m not sure what shift that will be. One day at a time, I guess.

    1. I’m glad you’ve been part of my blogging journey, Lisa. You are the first person I remember supporting me.

      Yes. One day at a time and a little patience. You’ll figure it out.

    1. I’ve enjoyed getting to “know” you too, Nancy.

      Thanks for the good wishes for Mark. I’m looking forward to his recovery and him being able to walk without pain again.

  4. Hi Christine – you’ve done loads .. and having achieved much … you can utilise those experiences to do more.

    I’d like to blog more often – but my posts are usually quite involved .. however I love writing them and everyone seems to enjoy them – so probably one a week, or every five days or so .. is enough.

    I’m getting more involved up at the Nursing Centre, and will use my skills up there to develop out simpler stuff for the residents, which can then be turned into other things … I have a lot of plans.

    I want to buy and read your Dancing in Heaven .. and will do in due time ..

    Happy New Year and good luck with all your plans – Hilary

    1. Just between you and me, I think everyday is probably way too much. I know I got sucked in with the post-a-day thing, and I don’t regret it. It gave me a good start. But it’s not only hard to write, it’s also nearly impossible to keep up with if you are following more than a couple of blogs.

      I’m not sure I understand what you’re talking about with the Nursing Centre and what you’re developing. I’ll have to check things out over on your blog. I’ve been struggling to keep up this month. Hope to get back in something resembling control next week.

      Good luck with your plans too. Thanks for stopping by. Have a great 2012.

  5. Christine,

    You definitely have words of wisdom to share. I’ve been working on my 2012 New Year’s Writing Resolutions. Here is a sneak peak, “Explore more Story.” I’m intrigued with story techniques and frustrated by my lack of them. This goal connects with my determination to push my memoir further.

    As our 2011 pages turn, I want to thank you for your information-filled posts that have helped me along my publishing path; the inspirational posts that make me seize up with emotion; and the delightful everyday posts that elicit a chuckle and a smile.

    Lastly, I now have your book in my hot little hands and can’t wait to begin your journey. Thanks friend!

    1. I like your goal about story. I feel the same way. Thank you for all the support and encouragement you give me.

      I’ll be checking out your completed new book soon.

  6. Great retrospective and good goal setting. I started blogging about a month after you — and I think I’ve been reading your blog ever since! I’m so glad I found it because it’s one I read everyday — and I’m so glad you’re continuing to post every weekday! I’m looking forward to continuing the blogging/tweeting journey together!

  7. This year I proved to myself that I can blog consistently, next year I hope to focus on other artistic areas and blog regularly, too. I also have the NaNoWriMo project to work on.

      1. I signed up for two more online art journal workshops, January and March. And I’d like to get back to sewing and mixed media work.

  8. you’ve accomplished a great deal, i think…personally…and professionally…a model for the rest of us…

    happiest of new year’s…for 2012…and all the years that follow… 🙂

  9. Our goal for the new year is similar. I would like to shorten my blog posts, too. I signed up for a writing thing in January (a river of stones) that I hope will help with that. I know I tend to be wordy. It will be interesting to see if I can refine my writing. I also plan to use fewer photos so I don’t have to spend as much time on getting them resized and internet ready. I hope that will force me to use my words. Succinctly, of course. 😀

    1. I suspect we all could learn how to use fewer words. I hear you about the photos. They actually take me a long time. I want to put up a few more travel posts, but can’t bring myself to spend the time on the photos. Maybe next year. . .

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