It’s been six months again, and here we are at another “State of the Blog” post.
I write these partly for myself, and partly for other bloggers who are interested in what someone else is experiencing. Part of creating things for other people is about presenting an experience. Assuming you’re not completely cynical and opportunistic, a blog is going to be at least a little personal, but there’s a temptation to put the best version of yourself forward. Unfortunately, that often means that nobody wants to talk about their statistics or their experiences, unless those statistics and experiences paint them in a very positive light.
This blog is largely built around the idea of openly talking about the process of writing, the ups and downs and the unaltered details. The goal of these “State of the Blog” posts is to openly talk about the blog itself, and how I feel it’s going.
Six months ago, I gave these overarching goals. These all still apply today.
- To hold myself accountable to a writing schedule
- To develop an audience of readers
- To provide something useful to other writers
- To make connections with other writers
Blogging is the best tool I’ve found so far to keep myself writing on a regular basis. If I don’t write anything else, I am still writing 2-3 blog posts per week. In years past, I have often gone weeks or even months without writing, so this is very positive for me. That said, I still want to be writing more fiction than I am, and I need to figure out more strategies to motivate myself to do that.
Developing an audience is slow going. I think that’s partly because I’m not putting out fiction quickly or consistently, and partly just because it takes time and effort to catch eyeballs, and only a certain percentage of people are going to be interested. I’m continuing to see steady growth, so I’m not too worried about that, but certainly getting more good work out there wouldn’t hurt.
Providing something useful for other writers and making connections with them go hand in hand. Again, based on the statistics, it seems like more and more people are appreciating what I’m posting. I’ve also been working on making connections with other writers who blog regularly and have work that interests me. That’s a slow and tedious process of internet search-an-find, but it is rewarding to discover someone who posts great content, and even better if they like what I’m doing as well.
I have a couple short-term goals for the next six months:
- Post Razor Mountain chapters more consistently and more frequently
- Find more great writing blogs to follow
- Years blogging: 1.5
- Total Posts: ~165
- Total Followers: 62 (and 9 on Twitter)
- Monthly Views: ~175 (average over last 3 months)
I try not to put too much stock in statistics, but if I’m honest, it’s hard to not pay a little bit of attention. So I take my data points during these six month intervals. Since this is the third of those intervals, I can start to make some comparisons between those three samples.
The short takeaway is that everything is just about double what it was six months ago. In terms of raw growth, that’s still closer to exponential than linear. It’s slower than it was between the six month mark and the one year mark, but I don’t think that’s terribly relevant when dealing with small numbers. In general, if the lines continue to go up, that translates to more people finding and liking the site.
I crossed the 1,000 view mark in December ’21, after about 15 months of blogging. At the current rate, I’d expect to hit the next thousand by May ’22, five months later. Not huge numbers, but steady improvement.
“Engagement” feels like a gross web business buzzword, but what’s probably more important is that I’ve seen more engagement in likes and comments. Comments are still hard to come by, but that’s to be expected. From what I’ve seen, it’s not uncommon to see anywhere from 25:1 – 100:1 ratios of views to comments. It’s just a lot easier to get people to read what you’ve written than it is to get them to comment on it.
In the next six months, I’d obviously like to see numbers continue to grow, but my biggest indicator of success will be more comments and likes. Feedback is great. Dialogue is even better.
In the past six months, I’ve started doing Wednesday reblogs more frequently. Basically, any week where I don’t post Razor Mountain chapters, I’ll post a Wednesday reblog. I’ll be honest, part of this is that it’s low-effort. I love the blog, but I also limit the time I spend each week on the blog. Hopefully this is a good way to highlight something that I found interesting or useful for other writers, without taking too much time away from other projects.
So…yeah, let me know if you like the reblogs, or if they just clog your feed. I can adjust accordingly.
Six months ago, I was still outlining and doing pre-production work on Razor Mountain. Since then, I’ve finished outlining and done all of the book-adjacent tasks like writing the back cover and designing the front cover. I’ve posted five chapters. That’s progress.
I made quick progress initially, then slowed down around the holiday season. Thanks to some real-life factors, I ended up feeling overwhelmed by the schedule I was trying to maintain. I’m now in a more relaxed place, and thinking about trying to push chapters out with a little more frequency.
I do enjoy the cadence of putting out a chapter in 2-3 parts throughout a week, and following it up with a Friday Razor Mountain Development post to talk about the process of writing the chapter. I think it will be interesting to look back on those development journals when the book is done, to see how it has evolved since I first started outlining.
I’m continuing to post chapters to Wattpad and Tapas alongside the blog, but my audience on those platforms is just about nonexistent. It’s understandable since I haven’t put much effort into networking with other writers on those platforms, and I’m not in the more popular genres and styles that I see on their front pages. For now, I’ll keep posting. There’s no point worrying too much about promotion until you have something you really want to promote. At some point when I have more chapters posted (or maybe even the entire book) I’ll dig into those platforms and make a little more effort to draw some attention.
Next Stop: Two Years
I continue to have lots of ideas for stand-alone blog posts and series. I used to worry that I might run out of ideas for a blog, but having written for this long, I’m now confident that I won’t run out any time soon. I have one specific series in the works that I’m excited about—more on that in a week or two.
That’s all I have for now. See you again in six months, for the two-year anniversary of Words Deferred.
4 thoughts on “State of the Blog – Feb 2022”
Good update. Is your final goal to publish Razor Mountain as an entire book?
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Probably. The current plan is to finish then do another round of edits. I’m going to leave everything up on the blog, so I’m not sure how much value there is to self-publishing the whole thing in a single volume.
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I have a hard time generating comments. I try to avoid anything that “hijacks” the post and anything that is basically just “noice” which often leaves me with nothing to say.
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Commenting and reading others post helps with engagement. And yes it is time-consuming.
I enjoyed you share of your goals and 6 monthly checkin. Have a great 6 months