Wednesday, April 3, 2013

2013 State of the Blog Address

One year ago today, my husband badgered me into promising him that I’d use my talent for writing more often. “There are a lot of people a lot less talented than you making money with their writing,” he told me. So I decided to start a blog. It took me a couple of days to think about where I would put it, what I would call it, and on April third, 2012, I wrote about how I’d decided to start a blog.
And I’ve been enjoying myself ever since.
Because Using My Talent has been around for a whole year (yeah, I’m as surprised as you are; I thought I’d give up around August, too!), this is my State of the Blog Address to share some things I accomplished this year (along with what I didn’t accomplish), some things I’m proud of (and some that I’m not), and my plans for the future.

Stuff I did:
Posted every weekday, and didn’t even miss once! This does not include the totally reasonable one sick day (which I did post something, just not any writing),  Christmas Eve & Day off, a week to visit family for Thanksgiving, and the first two weeks in July, in which I not only managed to move from one state to another, but also to fly to a wedding with my entire family from Omaha to Denver, Denver to Spokane, and back. All in all, this is seventeen out of two hundred sixty two days that I took as perfectly normal vacation days. That still makes two hundred forty five: 178 in 2012, and 65 in 2013 so far. Not bad.

Stuff I wrote about:
Life. How awesome my mom (also my dad, my brothers, my husband, my sister-in-law, my grandparents, my friends, my mother-in-law, and my father-in-law) is. (In case you hadn’t noticed, the people in my life are the best!) The weather. The weekend. The internet. The stories I love (books, television, historical stuff, movies, and video games). My hilarious kids and the honor (and sometimes annoyance) that I have in being their mother. CRAFTING. Food. Being a nerd. My childhood remembrances. Things that make me laugh. Things that drive me nuts. History!

Stuff I was pleased with:
That one time that I told my life story using dirty dishes. When I remembered graduating from high school. My open letter to a certain cereal company to persuade them to give me cereal. That time I shared my hatred for certain window coverings. Anytime that I got incredibly silly.

Stuff I was displeased with:
Anytime I sat around and complained about blogging or having to write, or when my “I don’t feel like it”ness came through. (I’m not linking to those, because I don’t want to look at them, and I don’t want anyone else to, either. If you happen to stumble upon one, feel free to shake your finger at me.)

Stuff I didn’t do:
Promote myself. I’ve got maybe three daily readers (hi, Grandma!) and around a dozen others who catch themselves up on my crazy stuff every once in a while. To those people I would like to say: Thank you. I really appreciate your support and I enjoy every piece of feedback you’ve given me. I can’t tell you how great it makes me feel when I hear that you thought something that I wrote was funny, or well-written, or it touched your heart.

Stuff I plan to do:
Promote myself. Several weeks ago I found a cool website called Writer’s Relief, which helps out amateur writers who are hoping to get published: novel writers, poets, those who write short stories, and occasionally they even have something for people like me, who like to write creative nonfiction. They’ve got leads for places to submit your writing, writing contests, and even a service to help you prepare your writing resume and cover letter stuff. I haven’t really scratched the surface with what I could do with that website, but I have submitted a piece to a writing contest or two and an anthology.
Gain more readers (this falls under the “promote myself” category, I guess). The way I plan to do this is by sharing my stuff with more people. I’ve already started sharing on Google+, but I guess I’ll have to take it up a notch post new stuff on facebook, or even give in and sign up for twitter.
Get paid for it. Google has a great program for Blogger users called AdSense, but first you have to have enough content and enough traffic. I’ve taken care of the former, now I have to work on the latter. I’ll have to wait until Google deems me worthy, and then I’ll be able to get a little bit from advertising. I’ve also looked into Project Wonderful, but I’d need more traffic for that to make a difference as well.
Get published. Whether it’s an online indie mag or an actual hold-it-in-my-hands book, I’d like to see my work featured somewhere other than on my own blog. (That will also bring in readers!)

I’ve loved working on my blog this year. I’m not planning on stopping anytime soon. There are some days when it feels like work, and other days that silliness and creativity flows out of me like some kind of metaphor.
Thank you for enjoying my blog; I hope you continue to enjoy my writing. And I encourage you to follow my example and do what you love.
I am.

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