Sixty posts after my first, I’d like to reflect on the unexpected—and sometimes bizarre—lessons I’ve learned in my first year blogging:
1. Quality/Effort/Originality Does Not Equal a Popular Post; the Word ‘Sex’ in the Title Does
Of course, in theory I knew that words such as “sex” would get a lot of hits, but it’s different to think that and see it in my stats. Interestingly, the other big hit in terms of search terms for my blog is “sadistic spouse,” a post about a movie villain that apparently hit a nerve with unhappy couples.
2. You Can Write When You’re Near-Hallucination Tired
I have used many excuses for not writing over the years, the need for energy and full concentration being at the top of my list. It’s not true. Yes, it takes longer to write when I’m a second away from spotting unicorns in my living room, but something does appear under my fingers. Even stranger, the posts I have written when in this state have been more popular than some of (what I considered) my best. Go figure.
3. Ready to Quit? Strangers Will Revive You
My non-blogging family and friends have supported my efforts, especially at the beginning. But when the novelty faded, most were too busy to read a blog that didn’t correspond with their interests very often. Who could blame them? I’d do the same. But when I kept posting entries and seeing so few views for my efforts, it was easy to wonder why I should bother continuing.
That’s when complete strangers started appearing in the comments section of my blog, and even more shockingly, followed it or posted a link to it on theirs or elsewhere. I can’t possibly express the gratitude I feel for the jolt of energy I always experience in return. Thank you, all of you who have kept reading who don’t know me from Bugs Bunny! I wouldn’t still be online without you.
4. Three-Day Sprints Can Be Fun—As Long as They’re in the Form of a Blogathon
I quit running in my mid-teens once I realized I was using stop signs as an excuse for breaks. Clearly, I lacked the requisite discipline. But even then, I wasn’t a sprinter. I preferred to see where I was going, and had neither the speed nor the energy for the 100-, 200-, or 400-meter races.
Blogathons are fast and dizzying; the number of ideas and amount of subject matter flying at me from fellow bloggers should exhaust me.
And in moments, it does, particularly after the first day. Then the adrenaline hits and I sign up for another blogathon before I know what I’m doing. Probably because after all of these years of having so few people to talk to about the movies I love, it never stops thrilling me to discover so many gifted writers who know so much more about them than I do.
5. People Search for Weird Stuff on the Web; It’s Good Not to Know Who They Are
I imagined it would be useful to know as much as possible about my audience, and thought those who happened upon my blog due to random, unrelated searches might want to stay. I even tried to anticipate their interests with my tags and headers: what words might reach those who wouldn’t automatically come?
But the search terms I see in my WordPress stats mainly confirm for me that people are very strange, and while I value strangeness, I don’t think courting it does much for my blog. I have read The Bloggess for years, who regularly posts the disturbing search terms that lead to her site. I thought for a topic like classic film, I wouldn’t get any such oddness. Not true. People have peculiar questions about Cary Grant, and not the kinds of questions that will keep them on my site. I’m glad for their sake—and mine—that these searches are anonymous.
Of course, I’ve learned much more than these five things, particularly about classic film, but I’m working on a new post for Saturday’s Dueling Divas blogathon, and have to go do some stretches….