I am writing this, my 99th post, on the day before the first anniversary of my blog. Around 65,000 words have soiled the screen since New Year’s Eve 2010 when I embarked, belatedly and anxiously, on this expedition (a word I prefer to that ubiquitous “journey” that every reality TV contestant and sportsperson seem to be on nowadays).
The birthday and century will be rung up tomorrow, fittingly, whilst I reside in the northern English town of Lancaster where it all started, though the blog has been half way around the world in that time – well, Barcelona, Northern France, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe and the length and breadth of the UK.
I thought I should take the opportunity here to reflect upon the success or otherwise of my efforts over the past 12 months. Although you’re burdened with my voice today, I have arranged for a guest writer to offer their own unique insights in tomorrow’s centenary post – of which more later.
In only my second post – This Writing Lark – I stated my aim was to produce “worthwhile written work that others might enjoy”. I hope that I have succeeded in this, at least some of the time (“you can’t please all of the people…..”), and the comments, such as they have been, have certainly been positive. But I need to engage with my readers more if I am to build a significant platform for my work. I have plans to ensure that this happens, courtesy of the advice from Kristen Lamb, Anne R. Allen and other luminaries on the blogging scene.
As I indicated in my recent posts entitled Blogging versus Writing and Yes!!!! I AM a Writer it is only now that I am beginning to feel like a writer. Ideas for posts present themselves more readily than before, especially than in the summer months when, to be fair, the distractions were greater. I now need rather then just want to write.
So what will the New Year bring? I will blog at least twice a week, essentially on the same subjects that have filled it this year, including the resurrection of the San Francisco themed features, and engage in much more comment and discussion with other bloggers than I have managed before. Twitter and, to a lesser extent, Facebook, will complete my social networking activity.
But 2012 will be different – as I had always planned – in that I now intend to focus on other forms of writing than the blog. In addition to submitting work to relevant publications I will also be dipping my toe in the competition waters. Finally, and by no means least, I will be working on more substantial, long term projects, once I have clarified to my own satisfaction which of those should take precedence (or whether they should be tackled concurrently).
One palpable change that I intend to make is in the design of the blog. The current theme has served me well, and whilst it does fulfill the basic requirements – clear and well organised – it is a little dull. I think a funkier image is necessary, so I will be researching the increasing range of WordPress themes to find the one that fits best. I won’t rush into this, and it is possible my conclusion might still be to retain the current one, but, equally, don’t be surprised if you receive a more colourful greeting when you visit in the New Year.
Before I sign off, I’d like to thank WordPress for making the task of designing and writing on the blog much less onerous than I had feared, as well as my friend Pete who recommended the platform in the first place – that was inspired advice.
I will now leave you in the less predictable hands of my guest writer for the centenary blog, namely “Blog” himself (at least I think it’s a he), who will be offering his own idiosyncratic opinions on the past 12 months.
I’ll see you again in the first post of 2012. Happy New Year!
Now, how do I get rid of that falling snow over the Golden Gate Bridge!