Sometimes in the rush to balance everything on my plate, I forget just how far I have come with this blog. I realized last night that today, December 6, 2013, is my official TWO YEAR BLOG ANNIVERSARY. Time to do the happy dance!
Then I had to stop and catch my breath for a second. Two years. Two wonderfully, turbulent, mesmerizing, overwhelming years where i worked hard to take this blog from an audience of one...thank you, Janet...to something much, much bigger. I looked over this blog's current stats and thought I would share just how far I have come in twenty-four little months:
Number of posts written or hosted...500
Number of pageviews...253,721 (That's a QUARTER OF A MILLION VIEWS PEOPLE!)
Number of followers...2525 (People who follow me or this blog through Blogger, Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Tumbler, and Quora.)
Number of countries visiting...19 (This little blog is read in the United States as well as Ireland, England, Scotland, Canada, Russia, Germany, Australia, India, Malaysia, Philippines, China, France, New Zealand, Spain, South Korea, Bahamas, Bangladesh, and the Ukraine.)
Excuse me while I take a moment to put my head between my knees. My world is spinning with the possibility there are actually that many people who freely choose to stop by this blog. I am honored and humbled by such kindness and will strive to keep my posts worthy of such expectations.
These past two years have been a series of ups and downs. Some of the downsides included my Yahoo account being hacked and some people were worried I was stuck in some third world country without enough money to get home. Fortunately my friends were intelligent enough to know I never left Tennessee, so a simple change of passwords and creation of a different email account resolved that problem. Another downside was more insidious and ongoing. An ex-student of mine chose to stalk this blog and attempt to post comments which just meant I had to block the multiple accounts as they were set up, tag them as spam, and delete the comments. Small price to pay to keep my readers safe. The stalking continues but as long as that student chooses to refrain from posting comments, who am I to prevent them from enjoying my posts? Maybe they will learn something along the way...
The ups have been far greater in number. I have participated in three of Tara Lazar's PiBoIdMo challenges and came out a winner with 98 PB ideas to show for it. I have participated in Julie Hedlund's 12 X 12 forum where I now have 10 completed manuscripts and 19 works in progress under my belt. My FREE AUTHOR PROMOTION grew from 31 authors participating the first year with 350 autographed items to 43 authors this past year and 1000 autographed items! I've submitted some of my stories to 53 agents, received 2 requests for additional submissions, and managed to get one of my stories published in January of this year through Chicken Soup For The Soul: Angels Among Us edition. My WRITERLY WISDOM series (which is sadly coming to a close at the end of December) has been a joy to host where all kinds of lovely authors, agents, and illustrators have taken the time to share their own wisdom with my readers. And then there was my RAYS OF SUNSHINE blog post which has received over 15,000 page views to date! You can check it out if you'd like by clicking on the link...http://donasdays.blogspot.com/2012/05/rays-of-sunshine.html. I'm not sure why that particular post connected with so many people but it sure makes me giddy inside to realize it has!
So what's in store for the new year?
You know me. Forever changing, forever evolving. I gave it a lot of thought and have decided to make a few changes with my readers in mind and to continue my mission to support this wonderful writing community as much as I can. With that in mind, here is my new blogging schedule beginning in January:
Monday...my readers will still receive inspirational posts but I might expand it a bit more instead of just focussing on writing analogies.
Wednesday...as an extension of my FREE AUTHOR PROMOTION, I will create my BOOK NOOK REVIEWS in which I will shine the spotlight on various authors who have kindly provided autographed books as part of my giveaways during my city's Children's Festival of Reading every May. This way, not only do I get the chance to show off their books to the over 15,000 people who walk by my booth each year, but I will now expand that FREE AUTHOR PROMOTION to my over 2500 followers...and maybe THEIR followers as well as I help spread the word about great books!
Fridays...I'm trying something new. I'm calling it my TALES FROM THE BAYOU. Whenever I tell stories about some of the things that have happened to me both as a child growing up in the swamps of Louisiana and as a young woman trying to find her way in the world, people have said, "you aught to write a book!" So I figure, why not just tell you about the wild and crazy things that helped me become the person I am today? Some of my tales will be good for a chuckle, some might bring tears to your eyes, and some might even touch your heart. At least that is what I will set out to attempt and you, my dear readers, will let me know if I succeed or not.
Well, there you have it! A look back at the past two years of this blog and my life as a writer. What will the next two years hold? Maybe an agent offering representation? Maybe a book deal? Maybe another Chicken Soup story to add to my collection?
I can only hope...