A few times a year, I have a look back over this blog. I examine recent trends and stats, think about posts that have been very popular, and those that have hardly been glanced at. I always find this interesting on a personal level, but it has often been the case that other bloggers are interested too, especially those starting out, or at the other end of the blogging spectrum, thinking of giving up.
Regular readers and long-standing followers may well have noticed two things that have changed a lot about my blog over the past year. The most apparent will be the addition of many more photos. This is not just because photo posts are undoubtedly popular. (On average, a post on here with photos will attract almost twice as many views than one that is solely text. And generally gains one or two new followers too.) It is also because I bought a new camera last year, and I have been enjoying using it a great deal. As an aside to this, one example of just how good it is to be part of a blogging community became apparent when fellow bloggers urged me to reduce the file size of the photos, so as not to use up all my allowance from WordPress. Many offered help and suggestions, some going so far as to be willing to do this task for me, and return the altered pictures. This goes to show how beneficial it can be, to be an ‘engaged’ blogger.
The second thing that was different, was that I also posted a great deal more fictional short stories. These are mostly very well-received, and as well as attracting views of 50-60 per story (very good, in my world) they also generated a lot of positive comments, and stimulated feedback. They were regularly re-blogged and re-tweeted too, which is not only very kind, but also helpful for giving them a wider audience. Writing them is very rewarding for me, particularly as the ideas for them come out of nowhere, involve almost no preparation, and they are generally written and published under in one hour. I do not sit and plan to write fiction, it writes itself in my head, and I just type it up. So whether I write more, or how often, will depend on the arrival of those ideas.
Some of you have suggested that I wrote a novel. A few have gone so far as to send me a personal email urging me to do that, and promising not only to read it, but to buy it. That is very kind, and humbling to read. As things stand, a novel or a personal memoir is not on the cards for me. I have great respect for anyone who can write a book, get it published, and acquire a readership, even if I might never want to read about the subject, or have no interest in the genre. Because I am well-aware just how dedicated and hard-working you have to be to make it work. It has to be treated like a job, in some cases, a life’s work. It involves forward planning, notes, research, time-lines, detailed character development, and most of all, has to readable in depth. This is more or less the opposite of blogging, and certainly a huge step-up from writing short stories. Nonetheless, I thank you all for considering that I might be good enough to write a book you would want to read.
Including this one, I have now published 1,132 posts. This is far more than I ever intended to, making it very difficult to keep track of what I have written previously. It is harder to keep going back to update film and music clips that ‘disappear’, and obviously means that there has been a lot of repetition of ideas and themes, especially concerning dog-walking with Ollie, the weather, and my personal opinions. As I like to always reply to every comment, as well as keeping up with the 30+ blogs that I try to follow as an active ‘member’, it has also begun to take up a fair bit more time than it used to. (I actually follow 93 blogs, but many have dropped off the wordpress radar, and others rarely post anything.)
Despite increasing my film and cinema content in response to requests, this remains something of a blogging niche, perhaps better dealt with by dedicated film bloggers. The readers for these posts have never increased, and they attract fewer comments than posts with photos, or those about Ollie. I will still post as and when I watch something though, as I like to read the response from the film fans out there. I am also trying out some new ideas. Norfolk Tourism started out with a look at a local military museum, and will hopefully be developed further once the weather improves next year. (If it ever does…) And despite the ups and downs, I still enjoy blogging as much as I ever did. Where else could I meet so many interesting people from all over the world, and interact and communicate with them on a regular basis?
I still write posts for my other blog occasionally. (redflagflying.wordpress.com)
Compared to this blog, it has never really attracted much of a following, and the posts get few comments, and just as few readers. Given the nature of the content, that was always to be expected, so is of no concern.
With 2017 approaching, I will hopefully get to my fifth year of blogging. When I started out, I recall writing that I could not manage after 149 posts, it was all getting too much. I was amazed when I reached a total of 50 followers, and excited the first time that I ever got 100 daily views. Although my blog is tiny, in the great world of blogging that is WordPress, I had no idea back then just how big it would become, and what an important part of my life it would prove to be.
So I conclude this post with my usual suggestion. If you have never started blogging, or are undecided about whether to not to start, just do it. It costs nothing, it can be incredibly rewarding, and you never know, it just might change your life.
My very best wishes to everyone out there. Pete.