Monday, December 22, 2008
Each year, around Christmas, I take a look back at my progress as a blogger and give myself about a week's rest. Typically, I am extremely busy, in a hurry to get wherever I'm going for the holidays, and dying for a break. This year, I was extremely busy only up until late yesterday, and have given myself a comfortable margin for the trip to the airport today. And, oddly, I am not really in the mood for a break from blogging.
Perhaps it was that I saw Bubblehead take apart a New York Times article on submarines -- or that I noticed my general busy-ness has kept me from updating my list of favorite posts for six months. Or perhaps I want to be around to welcome any new readers my appearances in The Objective Standard might send my way. I must confess that I am tempted to keep right on blogging through the holidays this year.
But I won't.
In the past, I have always found myself refreshed and writing with new vigor upon my return from hiatus, and readership always drops like a rock during the holidays anyway. We all need rest, and the time is right, so, just as I sometimes force myself to write on some mornings, I will force myself not to blog for a week, if the current mood persists and I find that I have to. I owe it to myself and my readers to take a rest.
Blogging Writing Report
Perhaps my reluctance to break also comes in part from the fact that I find myself in the midst of several major transitions, and the routine of blogging feels like a life line, something "normal" and familiar. Even good transitions, like finally breaking through to print publication, come with their own demands for personal adjustments. Those I am eager to get on with. Why drop everything at a time like this? But I have already answered that question....
The fact that this has been a transitional year really hit me when I contemplated putting together my annual blog report. Creating a blog report seemed superfluous this year. I want to keep blogging, but it is becoming less central to my life as a writer.
That said, I collected the statistics, so I'll post them. The numbers are slightly down, but do not portray an accurate picture taken by themselves. For what they're worth, here they are: Sitemeter visits/month: 5,633; Technorati rank: 118,839; TTLB rank: 9,341; TTLB animal: Flappy Bird; and Blogshares valuation: 1,331,785.92. Last year's numbers are here. Well, okay. My Technorati rank is actually higher, but there has got to be something screwy going on over at Blogshares!
(And no. There is no table this year. My "Comcastic" Internet connection keeps going out and I have packing to do. Maybe this is an accidental favor....)
Traffic and inbound links are a little lower, but both are a direct result of my decision in the spring to drop down to one post a day most weekdays, and forgo weekend blogging almost entirely. In fact, both metrics dropped less than I'd expected them to, which is a pleasant surprise.
I decided to post less in part because personal circumstances have me spread thin, commuting between two cities as I finish up my scientific work in Houston and searching for employment in Boston, where I am preparing to move. Also, I figured that once the dust settles, I could use that time for other writing.
There's a saying to the effect that life is what happens when you're trying to make plans, and this year definitely has fit that description. The transition to Boston is taking longer than I'd anticipated, and yet my writing career, as if having a mind of its own, went ahead and advanced anyway!
Back in the spring, I figured I'd be in Boston by now, and starting a regular routine of other writing for submission to print outlets. Those things didn't happen, but yet I have ended the year with my first two appearances in a major print outlet (and in newsstands no less!). Those and a consultancy I landed earlier in the year mark my first jobs as a professional social commentator. Maybe the folks at Blogshares are right, after all....
All things considered, I am happy with my progress as a writer this year. But what about next year? Major questions loom. I still do not have a job lined up in Boston, and its schedule will have a major impact on when (and for how long) I can write. Can I keep blogging, as I hope to, even as I work towards more exposure in traditional outlets? If so, what changes to my routines will I have to make? What new opportunities will I find?
As I noted earlier, blogging has been a break from the huge, looming question mark that 2009 is for me at the moment. Fortunately, I have recently gotten some very good new ideas (Thanks, again, R-E!) on how to find some of the answers I need, but implementing them may take some time, and will require me to get myself up to Bean Town as soon as I possibly can.
The holidays are a chance for me to finish writing up my research results, and flesh out a new, better strategy for the job hunt.
Having said all that, I'll be away for a week starting in a couple of hours, and, still being on the road, possibly scarce or absent the week after that. Expect me back here as early as early as December 29, but no later than January 5.
Have a merry Christmas and a happy New Year!