My drug of choice is writing––writing, art, reading, inspiration, books, creativity, process, craft, blogging, grammar, linguistics, and did I mention writing?

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

State of the Blogyion Address (Personal)

Readers, Patrons, Muses, my fellow Americans, readers around the world, and everyone who accidentally clicked a link on social media and wound up here by mistake:

We are fifteen years into this new century. Fifteen years that dawned with the Budweiser "Wasssup" commercial; where I saw two long and stressful attempts to manage restaurants; that saw vicious feedback send me back to the drawing board to confront whether or not I really wanted to be a writer, and an eight year struggle to get a four year degree. It has been, and still is, a hard time for my creative endeavors.

But tonight, we turn the page. Or at least click on the link to a new URL.

Writing About Writing began three years ago: the culmination of two ideas germinating like seeds. One, that I wanted to write and even perhaps pay some bills with it, and that no fetishization of having a published novel or being a "real" writer would make me as happy as being paid to do that thing I love. And two, that there was massive tectonic upheaval within the writing world that was causing non-traditional publishing to eclipse the more traditional routes. Since then, that view has evolved even further to include opting out of ever really pursuing a traditional publishing route.

In the last year I have discovered the joy of raising a tiny human, even though it has been a sharknado on my writing productivity. From the maddening inability to set up a simple writing regimen that accounts for sleep and reading to the loss of anything resembling control over the mess in the house, every moment has been one of triage and improvisation. I've learned to type furiously during the ten minutes that Legos distract him, and whole chapters and articles have come blasting out of me during an hour's nap. This is a useful skill, but it was not easily won.

I'm the blessing; in case you were wondering.
It was a year with a spectacular blessing, but also one with many trials and tribulations. A dear friend got cancer, and I went to be by her side, trying not to let it show that behind my skull I was screaming. There were a lot of rough adjustments around The Contrarian with his parents and a schedule that can't always be about fighting crime anymore. They tried to keep up the good fight but some of the area in west Oakland just had to be farmed out to the Emeryville comitatus. Also, I turned forty had my 10th anniversary of being thirty and now I'm officially creepy.

It's been rough.

But as I find my feet with this kid thing, forage compromises with mom, dad, and even friends, and learn to eke more and more productivity out of less and less time, the future begins to shape up in a way that will fulfill the promise of this blog and be totally inspirational and shit.

Since I'm a huge fan of goals (especially well designed, well considered goals) I want to process my goals before I get too much into year four, and I thought for people who wonder how that happens might like to see my process. While goals like subscribers and page views are technically not fulfilling the second S of "SMARTS" goals, I find that I can influence them with some predictability when I'm doing all the right things that I can control.

My goals from year three were a chorus of "technical" successes. I hit every goal (save one), but I didn't really nail any.

  • My readership is up from the year before (not including the viral phenomenon of Creepy Guy) I hit my low end goal of averaging 1000 hits a day; however, I never quite made it to a 50k month.
  • My follower/subscriber growth on everything but Facebook were lethargic. I have about 500 followers across various platforms (or social media where I share nothing but writing updates). That's basically up from 400 and was the bare minimum I was hoping for.  My stretch goal was 750, and I didn't come anywhere close to that amount. 
  • I managed to keep blogging, every day, despite a tiny human coming on the scene, but he did disrupt my flow pretty spectacularly. There were not enough hard hitting articles and an awful lot of jazz hands.
  • I wrote more fiction, but averaged only a post a month–the bare minimum I was going for. And the last couple of months have been dragging that "average" down.
  • I successfully wrote for the two other blogs, but my writing was sporadic and unreliable. 
  • I found a balance to insulate my private Facebook life from my public persona, but I'm still having some trouble not spending too much time on social media.
  • I failed at one thing. I meant to write more reviews of products and awesome lesser-known books, but the time/energy commitment for even a single such post turned out to be 

These are my "Fresh to Death" goals for the coming year.
  • I've bumped up to about 1300-1500 page views a day in the past month or so with the occasional dip down to the just-over-1000 level. I don't know if that's artificial or the new baseline, but I'm going to cross my fingers. I would like to reach 50,000 a month by the end of the year. Not once as a fluke but consistently. 2000 views a day (about 60k a month) will be my stretch goal.
  • Cleaning up an old post, menu, or tab at least every week.
  • Resuming Season 2 with some sort of plot post at least once a week.
  • 750-1000 followers. (Or 250-500 more across all social media)
  • Predictable "meaty" entries twice a week. (Mon and Fri) and the stretch goal of another one on Tuesday.
  • Writing for Ace of Geeks and Grounded Parents at least once a month each. Stretch goal of a bi-weekly switch off.
  • Fiction twice a month. (This one's going to be really tough, so there is no flex goal. I may have an anti-flex goal of successfully getting one fiction post a month up, but I really hope to make this one.)
  • Facebook time is REALLY hard to measure and put hardcap limits on, but I am absolutely HEMORRHAGING time on that social media, and I really need to stop.
  • One review each month. Flex goal of one Twizzlefizzlepop book review and one product review each month.

1 comment:

  1. I'm with you on the second to the last post, brother. Hemorrhaging. Wishing you success in 2016!