The day I’m posting this marks exactly a year since I first created Echo Edition, and tomorrow is the one year anniversary of my first post. As I discussed in that post, this blog is kind of my first foray into being an active member in the social internet as opposed to a passive consumer, as well as an experiment for myself to confront some of my numerous fears and confidence issues. I can’t believe it’s been a year. But, theoretically, I’ve learned something in the last 365 days from this endeavor, so here are a few of the highlights.
You can change so much and still be the same
The first conclusion that comes to mind when I’m looking at how far I have or haven’t come since this point last year is that nothing has much changed. I’m sitting in the exact same room in the same quiet house, still shouting into a void when I’ve got the will to open my mouth at all. Which sounds kind of depressing, sorry about that. But the point is, despite that persistent feeling of stasis, I have changed. I know I’m a different person than I was a year ago, and that’s in part attributed to going through the process of writing a public blog on my thoughts and experiences. A year feels so long and so brief at the same time, but neither part of that paradox needs to be a bad thing.
If you don’t push yourself, you won’t make anything
I can’t tell you how many times this year I wanted to throw in the towel and forget about the post for that week. I’d be sitting at my computer when it was far too late, wondering why I was doing this to myself for a few hundred words that would be lucky to get ten people to click on it. Honestly, it’s a bit sad how many of my posts start off with me complaining about how late it is when I’m writing it. I’ll try to stop doing that. And a couple weeks, I will admit I threw out an old poem or story because I just didn’t have the motivation or time to write anything new. However, there were even more weeks where I sat down to a blank page and a few hours later had something I was genuinely proud of. I knew at the beginning of the year that if I didn’t have a schedule, I wouldn’t be able to convince myself to post something when I didn’t feel up to it, but by giving myself a hard weekly deadline – down to a few hour window I like to post in – I had the small push needed to put something, anything down. And after that the blank page wasn’t quite so intimidating.
You have no idea what is your best work
Along the previous lines, it’s so easy for me to get in my head and have no idea how good something is when I’m working on it. I’ve had posts that I put up knowing I wasn’t happy with them only to have people tell me they enjoyed it, and also posts I was proud of that looking back a couple months later I hated. Also, does anyone know how to predict what will get views and likes, because I certainly don’t. This can be a little frustrating when I spend time on a project and it doesn’t get any notice, while a half-asleep ramble builds up twice as many hits, but that’s part of the process. It’s an advocate not necessarily for quantity over quality, but for beating your head against the wall until something sticks, which is just how it has to work sometimes.
People are curious, but friends are dedicated
This is just a little thing, but it’s fascinating to watch the back-end analytics of a blog, and the process of gaining a couple followers. About a month in, I made an Instagram post (my only other form of social media) encouraging people to check out my blog, and my views skyrocketed before immediately falling off within a day because they were mostly people who were vaguely curious, but not enough to stick around. (The annoying thing is, I’ve been trying all year to topple that maximum. This December has finally surpassed the monthly view count from that, but the best day is still elusive. I’ll get there.)
Take ownership; you are interesting
Who has self-esteem these days? Well, you should. And I should too. Yes, I’m talking to you, person reading this. We are both interesting people. We are both worthy of consideration. We should both ignore imposter syndrome. And we should be proud of ourselves and the things we make.
Shoutout to Novus Lectio, who runs the Swimmers forum where I’ve found a lot of great blogs and interesting people after the Community Pool closed. Also shoutout to Tom Burton, who has been so kind as to nominate me for a series of tags and blogger awards. I’ll get to filling them out, I promise! Thank you to all of you who have ever liked or left a comment or just read any of my posts and stories. I know I’m a small fish even in the WordPress pond, but I truly appreciate it and writing this blog has been an amazing experience for this past year that I’m so incredibly glad I decided to do.
I think that’s enough gushing for now. Happy New Year. I hope this one is even better than the last. I’ll see you next week.