OK, I need to confess. We went away on holiday and I took a break from the blog, when I got back I got my head all mixed up and didn’t post the things I meant to when I intended. With our getaway at the forefront of my mind, I published our little diary first and forgot all about the blogiversary that had just passed. Oh well.
I started writing with the purpose of emptying my head of all the things that I find difficult to say to “real” people.
Last year, on my first blogiversary, I reflected on the posts I had written so far and the sense of community that I had found during that first year. This year, I feel much the same.
The Round Up
Last summer, I experienced that first morsel of normality – a return to the hairdressers – and at once felt vain and very lucky. I also took some time to reflect on what I’d learned myself from the experience of the boys home learning. We managed to have a semblance of a holiday, which was a real treat after waiting so long to see our parents.
As the kids returned to school, I started to find juggling work, house stuff, school and all the other parts of life overwhelming at times – especially when it was one of those days. Nevertheless, I carried on with my annual gin and jam production. I pondered the guilt of refusing an invitation for a friend’s birthday, because COVID.
In October, I started a series on Lessons in Loss. This is something I’m really very proud of, some wonderful people have contributed and shared their sometimes raw, sometimes humorous, and always relatable experiences of all sorts of loss and grief and survival. Thank you everyone who’s shared something, I’d always welcome any further posts if you’d like to share anything.
Another big thing happened in October, I was approached by Photowall to write a review in exchange for a free product. I totally love my canvas and even himself was impressed that blogging was reaping a reward.
I shared a whole bunch of Christmas posts (while avoiding the commitment of blogmas), including a collaboration of recipes. But, come January, I didn’t feel I had much to say about baby boy2’s second birthday. We were in the throes of home learning again, and there were just so many things I didn’t have time for. I did have time to run every day in January though, and gradually increased my distance, confirming that I really do have the running bug. By late spring the boys were back at school and I managed to find time for a bath. As things opened up and I managed to get my first dose of the vaccine (Pfizer for me), I realised that it’s time to get back out there and socialise again.
The greatest, proudest achievement (if you can call it that) over the last year has been other bloggers asking me to write for their sites. I’ve been totally honoured to contribute some bits and pieces to a group of wonderful collaborators.
The Stats and Stuff
At the end of June 2020, despite previous protestations, I created a Facebook page for this blog. I suspect I’m far from exploiting it to its full potential, but the follower count is at just over 400.
Then in September I was tempted into Pinterest – I have no idea what I’m doing there, it doesn’t drive much traffic but people seem to be at least seeing my pins.
Since last June, I’ve tried to get into a bit more of a routine with posting. I was previously just writing and posting the same day whenever something occurred to me. In September I switched to posting every third day, this has required a bit more organisation and planning which is both easier and harder at the same time. I’m just in the process of another change, to post on Tuesdays and Fridays only. Having taken a break a couple of times, I realised just how my time, effort, and focus I’ve been spending on posting, planning, and promoting and I’d like to get some of that time back for me and for my family. That said, I do miss the stream of consciousness posts that I started off with, I’d like to get back to those so I’m going to be more flexible with my planning too – who cares if that means my notebook is full of scorings out and arrows as I move posts between dates.
Over the Christmas holiday I switched to a paid WordPress domain. There was an immediate spike in views and then it settled back down to “normal” (whatever that is). However, my DA was about 17 on the free domain but has dropped back down to nothing for the personal one. It’ll get there again I assume, but don’t particularly care. I’m never going to have a huge DA because my blog isn’t in any sort of niche, I don’t use keyword optimisation in my writing and don’t put any effort into search engine optimization. You lovely readers have dropped by from over 100 countries, just wow!
On the Twitter front, I’ve just peeped over the 2000 mark – it might dip back down again as it fluctuates a fair bit.
Much more important than all my ramblings, is the lovely, kind, supportive mass of folks I’ve come into contact with. So far, no one’s said an unkind word in response to anything I’ve written. More than that I feel like I’ve found a community where honesty is supported and unjudged.
I want to thank everyone who’s read and commented on anything I’ve written. I never really thought anyone would be interested, but if I’m writing anything that resonates in the least I’m really flattered. In particular, I want to shout out to Rachel, Susan, Amber, Tom, Bill, Eddie, Tiffany, Damion, Ingrid, Emma, Sarah, Lindsay, Lisa, Eric, Brenda, Justine, the TBC folks, Michelle, Monty, Steve, Mrs S, Naomi, Graham, Caz, Maddie, Richie, Nic, Lynn, Della, Cristina, Simona and Fred, Claire (even if you’re taking a break), Jaya, Shelly, and anyone that I forgot amidst trying to write this while refereeing a literal (wooden) sword fight between the boys.
So thank you.
Ha who knows! My purpose in blogging hasn’t changed. It’s nice when people read, interact and seem to relate to what I write, and I do love the community that I feel part of, but views aren’t the end goal. I’m not interested in monetising my blog, there are no fancy advert widgets and I’m not an affiliate of anything (although, if approached I’ll happily exchange a freebie that is genuinely interesting to me for a review – chocolate and gin always welcome haha!).
So really, I intend to just keep doing what I’ve been doing until now – maybe a bit less promotion and fewer posts, but essentially the same. I hope that’s OK with you guys.