It is the first ever Donovan Reads blog-a-versary!
I am back to writing during a bright spring morning with the melted part of the lake yawning wider every day and the birds heralding the dawn.
In honor of making it to a year of blogging, a milestone to which some blogs merely aspire, today’s post will be dedicated to reflecting upon where I was when I started, where I am now, and where I might want to go with Donovan Reads for the next year.
Where I was…
I had considered a blog for, like, ever. I love to write, and I am really trying to get back into the writing that I used to do as a kid, the productive and effusive and constant. I see blogging as a way for me to commit to consistently outputting something other than personal journaling about forays into crafting and reading (which is just as thrilling to an outsider as it sounds. Maybe even less).
When I was first looking at information on starting a blog, and how to get readers, and how to make money, how to create graphics and images I was overwhelmed at everything that blogging can be about. I did not know how I would handle the commitment of regular blog output in the middle of everything else that I manage in my life. But, with all writing advice, the pundits all seemed to agree on focusing on creating good content, before worrying about ways to monetize or get the blog out there. I thought if I just started with the focus of shaping my binge reading into content that could draw in readers above all else, I could avoid feeling overwhelmed.
I chose books as my niche because I love to read and I am trying to read in order to be better at writing, to pay attention to the language and what I like and what I don’t like in my reading. Also, books are always coming. There will always be a new book out there, or an old book, or a neglected book, or a book that has things in common with another book, for me to discover and share and think about.
Where I am now…
Content creation has ended up being my favorite piece. Having to plan my reading for blog purposes and then actively consider what I am going to say about it has helped me to stick with writing outside myself, without feeling like I am relying on being completely creative. Even if I don’t get to stories, or I freak out about my creative writing not being any good, I can throw a blog post out there and feel like I did something. I at least wrote something. Whether I think its awesome or not I still did it, and doing it is the only way I am going to move closer to reviving my sometimes sleeping inner writer.
What has been difficult about content creation, though, is that some of the books I want to read or do series on are really long and I don’t have the time in my life to get through them in order to talk about them. Think Victorian sensation novels at 700 pages a pop. Sometimes I pile up posts scheduled for the next few weeks and then use that time to try to get through the bigger tomes (right now, Don Quixote, which I might find a way to make two posts out of, because seriously, it is almost 1,000 pages long). I think I do well with reading with the time I have, and I am going to post soon about managing an extensive, unwieldy classic in the context of a larger, not so book centered existence.
More people are reading what I put out, and I have seen some new followers on board (thank you to all my followers!), and sometimes when I think about making my blog more popular, I am like, yeah, I should probably do that, and then I put my face back in my book that I want to blog about. I think about offering to guest blog and telling Facebook to show more people my site, and I will, eventually, but if I am going to spend limited time on the blog, it is going to be in writing things that people want to share, or comment about, or look into for themselves. My favorite promo method, though, is reviewing solid examples of self published work and being part of promoting something good for someone who have to do most of it themselves. I like how the blog makes me grow, and I love people to read it, so…
Where I am going….
I probably need to do more promo as I go strong into year two. Now that I have a solid year of archives that people can poke into if they come for one intriguing title and then want to see what else this blog is about, I feel more confident that people who are drawn in will have enough material to look at.
I wanted to blog about writing, too, but that has not happened. I do have a writing project, and maybe mentioning that sometimes to my readers would be good to keep me accountable and working, but I do know that people like what I already have been talking about, and deviating might be limited to an occasional short indulgence. I have a thousand neuroticisms about my writing so if I do go there I have to be careful about not making the blog about those instead of my absolute love of reading. And if I create something I am ready to put out there and promote, I want the readers to know that it’s worth looking at, not just that it made me nutty.
So, thanks. Thank you to the readers, the tweeters, the followers, the peekers, the commenters. I am glad that I finally decided to embark upon this project and I hope people will stay with me and even more will join me in the next year’s adventures in reading and writing.