Confessions of a Veteran Blogger

WordPress informed me that I recently marked my 4th anniversary as a blogger. To celebrate this momentous occasion, let me share with you some stats and insights.

First the stats:

  • 247 posts and 42,001 views.
  • 25,689 visitors from 11 countries, including the United States (4,128), the United Kingdom (664), Canada (372), Australia (260), India (196), and the Philippines (133).
  • 137 views on my best day, which was Nov. 9, 2014, when I was blogging and tweeting about the Writer Unboxed Un-Conference. 
  • Top three posts: Linear vs. Non-linear Narrative (1,262 views), Why Introverts Make Good Writers (868), and The Story Behind the Story: Memoirs of a Geisha (514).
  • Referring sites: Google (4,639), Bing (128).

So, what have I learned from four years of blogging? Here are some insights:

  • Be prepared to make a long-term commitment. I’ve followed countless blogs that showed great promise, but the blogger either lost interest or ran out of steam. When I started my blog, I vowed it would not become one of those ‘take off like a rocket and burn out quickly’ sites. Blogging is hard work. It requires, at a minimium, 3-5 hours of research and writing per post. It requires perseverance and dedication. Though my output has fallen off during the past year due to family and health issues, I still strive to blog several times per month.
  • Select timeless topics. This is the gift that keeps on giving. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received was in a post (forgive me, I cant recall the author) on blogging tips. The advice was this: choose evergreen topics. In other words, write about topics that don’t go stale in a year or two. Any fiction writing topic that begins with “how to” will draw a lot of readers: how to write winning scenes, how to craft compelling characters, etc. I still get hits on posts I wrote three years ago on craft of fiction topics.
  • Take advantage of the opportunity to go deeper. I started out with a long list of topics. After I exhausted this list, I thought, Now what? I’d covered everything. I had nothing more to say. So I looked for opportuntiters to take a deeper perspective on fiction wrting. I started to read more about the creative process and to write about it and reflect on it.  I wrote about authors and books I loved. This got me into the mindset of writing from the perspective of a reader. 
  • Fight burnout through inspiration and engagement.  Some early adopters in the blogosphere have checked out. That’s too bad, but it is perfectly understandable. Burnout is my biggest challenge. I fight it through engagement and immersion. Engaging with other writers and online communities provides a continual source of ideas and inspiration. Immersing myself in the craft by writing, as well as by reading others’ work, keeps me wanting to learn, grow, and share.
  • Take a break. Step away from the blog, but not for too long. Give yourself a one-month vacation. You may come back refereshed and renewed.

Your turn. Veteran bloggers, how do you deal with blog burnout? What strategies have worked for you?



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4 responses to “Confessions of a Veteran Blogger

  1. Very good points. I read all of your posts, despite my low commenting of late! I hope your health improves and that this coming year finds you deeper than ever– in your reflections.

    Let me add one thing to your list– do a bit of research before you start your blog, to see how it will fit in with others in that area of interest. I tried very hard and for several years, on two good blogs, to create a deeper dialogue such as I felt was lacking– turns out, I’m the only one that does feel the lack. Although I picked up followers, I could never get the conversation going as I’d hoped, because on those topics, people apparently prefer a beginner’s enthusiasm, reviews and pictures over thoughtful writing and creative expertise. I’m just now trying to decide if and how to continue, but it was all a bit of a downer..

    • Thanks for your comments. You raise an important point that I did not cover in this post–the need to do a lot of research before starting a blog. I did a tremendous amount of research. Jane Friedman’s blog posts on starting a blog were particularly helpful. I also banked five or six posts and compiled a list of topics before going live with my blog. I strongly recommend doing research before launching a blog. There are a lot of good resources out there to help new bloggers.

      My health is improving. Thanks for asking. I had surgery to repair a detached retina over the summer and my eye is healing.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  2. Hello and congratulations on your anniversary.
    I am not a veteran blogger but I wanted to comment anyway.
    I had two blogs about 5 years ago, which were mostly for myself. I quit posting when I decided I no longer needed them.

    • Thanks for your comment. I think if a blogger has fulfilled the purpose of the blog, it’s fine to stop. I have friends who started blogs because it helped them through a personal crisis and, over time, they stopped blogging. It really comes down to why you want to blog and whether you feel you need to continue or stop,. Thanks for stopping by.

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