Vacation

I went on one.

I saw mountains and rode with Blackfeet.

And I got photographic evidence to answer the eternal question.

Bears do, in fact, poop in the woods.

More content starting tomorrow.

When Blog Posts Expand

I’ve had this draft about the organizational differences between the Army of the Potomac and Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, and I was working on it yesterday. The detail involved in it is turning into a minor essay, which is making me wonder if I should take it off WordPress and publish it to Kindle on its own. I may or may not.

These things have a way of getting away from you sometimes.

Thoughts on Hitting my Thousandth Post

Yesterday’s post was number 1,000. Which doesn’t mean a whole lot, but there was a moment there when I wasn’t sure that was going to happen.

I started blogging, over on Blogger, in 2003. I stopped my first blog in 2007. I started again, with two blogs, in 2009. I stopped that in 2011 and moved over to WordPress, with one blog, attached to my name. I almost stopped that in 2016, but did a rebranding instead.

If you examine my stats (which I do daily), you see that my best year was 2014, with 22,000 unique hits and 16,000 unique visitors. My worst year was 2017, when I got 562 total views and 362 unique visitors.

Part of that was due to the brand change. I basically gutted my audience. The other part of that was the 46 posts I wrote during that whole year. 46. The lowest of any year. Even in 2011, which represents numbers for December alone, I wrote 68 posts (and got 1,000 views).

Burnout. I got tired of coming up with new ways to repackage more interesting work by other blogs. I got tired of making the same arguments to no discernible effect. I got tired of shouting myself hoarse in a land of megaphones.

The last election helped. Never had I been less interesting in speaking about the political landscape than I had been in 2016. I still follow the same blogs, but I’m way less engaged with the whole thing. 2016 indicated that many of the things I’d believed about politics – chiefly, that I understood it well enough to adequately predict what would happen – were in need of reassessment. So I decided that I needed to put my energy into original work, into my own writing, rather than scrambling about the internet looking for things to snark about.

Result? Blog crash. I had moved away from the old blog, but not committed to the new. I was producing – three novellas in a year is nothing to sneeze at – but not blogging.

I have fixed that.

So far in 2018, I have 355 views and 236 visitors. Which is still way off my peak. But I have 60 posts in. Since last month, I’ve been blogging almost every day. And I’ve felt the momentum start to shift back. And I’m writing about what I care about, so it feels good. I’m on pace to beat last year, possibly by double. And It’ll be all me, not repostings of other people’s work. It will be – finally – my own platform.

So watch this space. It’s not going away.

Blog For the Sake of Blogging

Rules are for suckers. They’re specific to a time and place, and so limited. Rules change.

Principles, on the other hand…

Those of you who follow this blog for some time know that I am not a big fan of “how to” guides, rules, and funny little checklists that should magically do everything for you. There’s no substitute for hard work, dedication, time, energy, and passion, and those of you who want a shortcut will be disappointed by this guide of mine.

Of course, there are some things that you must do in order to be successful as a blogger.[…]

via The Ultimate Guide To Blogging — Cristian Mihai

For my part, I find blogging frustrating, but I hate not-blogging more. Perhaps this is just the dopamine hit that comes of hitting the “Publish” button talking, but there it is.

Minor Page Updates

I spent some time farting around with HTML yesterday to get my Published Books Page to look like something other than a bullet-list with hyperlinks. My knowledge of HTML is completely basic – I know what tags are and how to close them – but it looks pretty good.

I did even less to my Preview Page, as everything I have available on Tablo, except for one thing, is already published. (Naturally, they aren’t available in full. You must pay to read the ending).

I’m also giving thought to migrating  my old dead politics blog over to a separate WordPress blog, that I might update it occasionally. But then I might have to migrate the politics-related posts here, from the pre-2016 era, over to it, and that just seems like a lot of rearranging the chairs at an empty restaurant. Then again, I got a lot more hits when this place was andrewjpatrick.com, so what do I know.