YEAR OF THE BLOG (ARTICLE)
So here it is: Chinese New Year. Kung Hei Fat Choi everyone!
Today, people around the world will be celebrating the Chinese Year of the Snake: a time traditionally associated with taking risks and adventures.
Not long ago, I took a risk myself and embarked on an adventure closer to home and started a blog.
It all began when my friend Sally said:
“Why don’t you start a blog?”
“Me, a blog?”
“Yes, you could put up all your poems and stories on there and ….”
But really? A blog. I’d often thought about it but it sounded like a lot of hard work and…
Then, my careers advisor, on hearing that I liked writing, suggested, “Why don’t you start a blog?”
Now, I’m a person who believes in the Power of Three. If three different people you like and respect each suggest to you separately that you see a movie, read a book, do a sponsored parachute jump (OK, maybe not that last one), then, quite usually, I will be up for it.
But in this case, only two people had suggested it and time was marching on. So what should I do?
“I’m thinking of starting a blog,” I said to my friend, Sarah-Jane.
“Oh yes, you should.”
OK, so that’s slightly cheating and I did have to “fish” for it, but hey, to me that made three people, so I got on board, logged onto WordPress and took the challenge.
“I’ll do it for my New Year’s resolution!” I announced, and immediately posted my decision on Facebook so that there would be no going back. Goodness, doing that these days, in front of all those witnesses, practically makes it legally bindng anyway.
And, just to be even more sure, I started it on 29th December 2012 so that when New Year’s Day came around it would already be up and running.
So, 46 posts and over 1000 views later, how has it been my Year, or rather Month-and-a-Half, of the Blog?
Well, I have to say that so far it has been a huge and enjoyable challenge. I set myself the task of writing a blog post a day and have only just found out that Word Press already run a Post-of-the-Day 2013 challenge, so had I known that I could have climbed aboard earlier.
I usually start my blog as soon as I get up, with all the ideas, hopefully, buzzing around my head.
On slow days, I’ve trawled through my own back catalogue, courtesy of a two-year creative writing course with the Open University, which, thankfully , has yielded a huge resource of poems and short stories. A story that I wrote in Spanish eight years ago for another course, has only just resurfaced, to my surprise and delight: I had absolutely no memory of writing it whatsoever!
One of my earliest posts, a humorous account of a visit to a local DIY store, provided me with my first milestone: my very first follower: a fellow blogger who boasts a collection of 7000 ladders for sale.
Ladders! How appropriate for the Year of the Snake. Blogging is certainly like a game of snakes and ladders: the ups when you get lots of views and the downs when you wonder if anyone is even logged on.
My biggest hits have been for my recent topical articles promoting veganism. Every day, Word Press furnishes me with all manner of statistics on where and when the my lovely readers have come from. So, I was thrilled to see statistics that two of my posts against the use of meat: Horse Burgers: It’s No Joke and Thin End of the Veg recently scored their first century with 100 readers each.
So, thanks to links from Facebook and Twitter, my posts were seen around the world from the UK & Ireland to France, Austria, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Spain, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Turkey, UAE, Russia, Malaysia, Brazil, Uruguay, Canada, US and Australia! Such a thrill and a real boost for a novice blogger.
So, what lies ahead? Well, I may be pulling back a bit on the blog front for now, as I have my first novel to finish which is in the final stages of editing. And blogging, as enjoyable and addictive as it is, can be quite time-consuming.
But, I still have lots of ideas for exciting blog posts to come and will try my best to weave them in and out of novel writing.
In any case, I hope to use some of the posts already published on the blog, such as my poems, to produce a poetry book next year. Through the discipline of regular blogging, I am already building up a suitable collection.
So, guys, those of you out there who are thinking of taking up a new adventure in the Year of the Snake, go do it: start your own blog. And if you don’t have three people to tell you to do it, then I’ll just say it three times to you from me. Do it, do it, do it!
Of course, if anyone asks, you can always say you were tempted by a snake! Happy Chinese New Year everyone!