Wednesday, 18 April 2018

30 Posts in 30 Days - What I Have Discovered a Year On

One year ago, I made a commitment, be it to myself, to write an article a day for 30 consecutive days.

As I wrote at the time, the reason for committing to this was because while I called myself a writer, it was rare that I posted or published anything.

Those early days were difficult. My first hurdle came at day 10 when I simply could not come up with something to write about, so I wrote about the first 10 days of daily writing.

I completed the 30 articles in 30 days however I continued the daily post and in fact, posted daily for some 127 consecutive days.

All up, during the past 12 months, I have managed 286 articles.

Many of these have been ordinary, some have been awful and there are a few I have actually been happy about.

I have discovered many things including:

1.     When I know I am committed to writing something that day, I am considerably more aware of what is happening around me.

2.     If I try and write something specifically to generate page traffic, it does not work. On several occasions I have become “addicted” to high readership numbers and have deliberately tried to write again about the same topic in the hope of replicating the numbers. This has always failed.

3.     Notwithstanding (2) above, I know you have very little interest in local politics and I do avoid this subject. Marriage equality was an exception.

4.     Time and time again, I start an article with the idea for the beginning middle and end clearly in mind only to have it go off in a completely different direction.

5.     The more I read, and the more diverse my reading, the easier it is to come up with an idea to write about.

6.     On the vast majority of days, I enjoy the writing. There have been several where it just feels like hard work.

7.     Sometimes an article will take 20 minutes to construct while on other occasions, it will take several hours.

8.     My Twitter followers increase by about 5 a week on the back of articles being posted.

Over the year, the volume of work I have produced has allowed me to pitch for writing projects with far more credibility. I have written and posted quite a few articles about leadership and workplace culture and have been allocated several assignments associated with these subjects. One is ongoing.

I have also applied for writing roles concerning cycling and have been able to reference this blog as evidence of being able to produce regular content over a period of time. The same applied to a website I have pitched a by weekly column too.

The reality is though, my income from writing has not broken the 5 figure barrier.

When meeting people for the first time or seeing people I have not seen for a while, I answer the obvious question by saying “I am a freelance writer”. This does make for a better follow-up conversation than when my answer was a Financial Services Executive.

Over the year, nearly 45000 visits have occurred to my site. The majority of these are from Australia however on occasions, readers in the United States have been in the majority and over the year, are easily the source of the second highest visitor numbers. Daily visits have grown progressively; a year ago, there were only 20 a day.

There are also regular readers in the United Kingdom, France, Singapore and New Zealand. There is also a single daily reader from Sweden. Thank you whoever you are. (I would love to know).  

I made a decision at the start to not publish comments on the Blog even if they were complimentary. I do appreciate all feedback and thank those who have provided it be it via the site, SMS, e-mail or verbal. I will add, while there has been criticism, the constructive nature of most of it has been amazing and very much appreciated. Of course, some has also been abusive.

What now?

My plan is to launch a new, more expansive and inclusive site by the end of July. The intention is to add book reviews and specific areas for specific topics. I also intend this to be a vehicle for other aspiring writers and photographers to have access to an audience. There are many enthusiastic and talented writers who do not have the time or perhaps even the confidence to write regularly and therefore to build up a readership. Perhaps I can assist in a small way to provide an audience.

In closing, to everyone who has read one or more articles, thank you. To everyone who has liked, shared, retweeted or copied and sent a link to another person, thank you. To everyone who have commented on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, thank you also.

Finally, I have the perfect way of celebrating the past year. By sheer coincidence, I am going to a dinner tonight arranged by someone who has performed regular proof reading and correction for me, and who has been forever encouraging. Thank you Toula.   

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