We’re now so far into January that we’re almost out of it again. I thought it was about time for some brief reflections on 2016 and what I learned about blogging in that time.
1. Challenge yourself
From when I started to write regularly in March last year, I started with a meta-post – that is, a post about the blog itself and my changes to it. Many of my posts in the past had been of this nature. I would spend time tweaking my blog and then write about it. That’s okay now and again but I wasn’t challenging myself to write content about other topics.
I knew I wanted to blog regularly and build up a wealth of writing. I also know that if I was going to write regularly, I was going to need to write habitually. I challenged myself to publish every Monday.
I didn’t manage it every Monday without fail. Sometimes, I very much failed. But the milestone was there each week waiting for me to rise to it.
To keep the habit up, I’d challenge myself to write about different subjects. I wanted the writing to be interesting for me and eventually I started to want it to be interesting for other people.
I started to challenge myself not just to publish once a week (which is a start) but to publishing something interesting once a week. I’m not saying I’ve always managed that – different people have different interests – but I’ve felt more comfortable sharing posts, knowing that I haven’t just written them for myself.
2. Evidence helps
I know from polite feedback offered by colleagues that some of my posts have been interesting, perhaps even useful.
But I’ve really missed the lack of evidence that there is a wider audience for what I’m writing. I started to look at analytics but not in any systematic way. In 2017, I’d like to do that and come up with a social media plan of sorts to get my posts out there.
Evidence about who’s visiting a site, obviously, can help inform the direction it takes and provide feedback on whether what you’re doing is worthwhile. I didn’t care about this when I started in 2016 because I was just writing for myself. But as I posted more and more I wanted what I was feeling to feel more worthwhile and more useful for others.
3. Habits are fragile
Ultimately, this blog is for myself though.
One hard lesson I learned in 2016 and also this month in 2017 is that it is too easy to stop writing.
I said in my last post that I would take a break over the Christmas holidays. I’d originally intended to just take a week off. But that week became several weeks until here we are on 23rd January, with my first post of 2016.
If you lose momentum or miss a step it can be hard to keep up your stride. It can take a while to build up a rhythm and speed again.
Posts to come
There’s actually a lot I want to write about soon.
I want to continue my exploration of games and puzzles. I want to explore managing information in more effective ways. I want to write posts backed up by reading and research. I want to write reviews.
But, in my defense for the past few weeks, life got very busy recently. I started a new role, while still basically in my old one, and I moved house. But I hope to start posting regularly now, even if only with little posts at first.