Wow, I cannot believe New Year’s Eve is here already. So, how did I do with my blog? Here’s an interview with myself:
Why did you start the random word challenge? One of my personal goals this year was to write, write, write, Seriously, that’s how I set the goal. I’d tried on-line journaling before in a different forum, but never got any traction. I was impressed with the quality of the blogs I’d been following and wanted to try it again. When I found the random word challenge, it appealed to me as a way to start blogging and have to show up every day.
Describe the state of your blog at the time you started the challenge. I’d set up “Living The Seasons” in 2008 but never did anything with it. Prior to starting the challenge, I’d done a few posts in early 2011 but nothing consistent.
How did your blog evolve over the course of the random word challenge? My first posts were mostly a definition of the word and a picture, with maybe a paragraph as to why I picked that picture. Slowly I began writing better content to where the posts meant something to me and were something I wanted to share to encourage others, amuse them, or point out beauty. I got really discouraged in early July because I had so much I wanted to share but the random words restricted my choices so badly. I realized that I had to be more creative in using the words while posting the topics I wanted.
Did you post as often as you had hoped? I never expected to post every day and was thrilled that I did so.
What type of blogging strategy works best for you? I like to do some research on my topics. It gives me ideas to expand my own thoughts and helps me ensure better accuracy. I didn’t research extensively, but I often did research several times as I wrote each post.
If you could go back to the beginning, what would you do differently? Oh man, there are so many things I’d have done different. I’d have started right away at Living The Seasons, instead of thinking that My Life In Photos at dogear6 would be a throwaway. I’d have purchased the domain name at the start, instead of later. Also, I’d have been more careful on the categories and tags, especially when labeling the family stories. It’s hard now to go back and find things. I need to redo them one of these days.
What are you most proud of accomplishing this year? That I wrote as much as I did. I’m also proud that my family subscribes to and reads my blog, and that my blog has been a way to stay in touch with old friends and make new ones as well. I never dreamt that my Jaimie, my friend’s daughter, would be so enthralled with my blog and its photos.
What surprised you about the challenge? That as I improved my content, it took me so long to write each night. My longer posts needed about two hours each to develop, write and edit. It was a great way to end the day, but my reading and other hobbies have fallen way off. The housework is behind too :) I was also surprised at how some field trips helped not only my photography, but also gave me content to write about. I didn’t expect that.
What advice would you give to others who want to blog regularly? A challenge is a great way to get consistency and there are many of them out there. The daily prompts from WordPress are another great way to get ideas until your own muse becomes more reliable. I did not use them, but many of my fellow bloggers did and I think they helped a lot.
Any favorite posts from 2011? I am really proud of my body of work, so it’s hard to pick just several. I’d say three favorites would include Culture Norms Are A Pile of Moose Muffins (about my cousin who had Down’s syndrome), Phase of the Summer (about fleeting days), and Come To Me & Leave Happier (making other’s days a little brighter).
What are your blogging goals for 2012? I’m reducing my frequency and do not plan to post on the weekends unless I’m doing a challenge. I have several challenges lined up for next year, including the 2012 River of Stones which starts tomorrow.
Thank you everyone for reading my blog, leaving comments, liking my posts, and giving me encouragement!
Happy New Year Everyone!
This picture was taken at dusk tonight. The sunset was non-existent; I found these clouds when I looked behind myself to the northeast.