I started blogging five years ago, it had been an awful school year and I had been out of my comfort zone the entire year. The previous summer I had lost my dad, in fact today is the sixth anniversary of his passing. That summer, the summer of ’10, lay ahead as an open wound with questions about my past, present, and future. Towards the end of the school year, I had experienced a few successes and school ended on a high point for me as an educator and human being.
— Clay Watkins (@makingdayscount) July 20, 2015
That school year ended on a Friday – May 28, 2010 – and I came home from school to an empty house. B and the kids had left for the weekend to visit her mom and dad in Ohio. I had stayed home because I had a cough and we didn’t want to get my in-laws sick. I had a lot of time on my hands and thoughts running through my head. The combination is never good and the blog happened somewhere between Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. I bought the url – MakingtheDaysCount.com, and dot org, dot net, and dot info. I had wanted MaketheDaysCount.com, but it was taken, already in use. I bought a hosting package and jumped in the blogging water.
I didn’t tell anyone, I just wrote.
When I started in ’10, my focus was to write and practice writing. I look back on that period and call it my summer writing – some’re good, some aren’t. That about summarizes the blog that summer. I posted from Paris in mid-June, and again from scout camp at the end of June. Several parents read and commented and it lead me to change the scout troop’s website and I blogged from camp every year I went. I haven’t been for the past three years, and I have passed the scout camp blogging duties on, but I miss going. It’s a good time.
Along my blogging journey, I’ve met some amazing bloggers – Rene, Susie, Eli, Mary, Ingrid, Don, Margret, and so many more have all had their influence on me and my writing. I have linked many of my fellow bloggers to a sidebar widget. Five years later, I write, with a bit more focus and clarity, but it’s still summer writing – some’re good, some aren’t. I still reflect on what happened and how I made the day (or days) count.
I signed up for Blogging 201, because I wanted to step up the blog and move forward with MakingtheDaysCount.org. I have many loyal followers and folks who comment and engage regularly, but I’d like to grow the blog.
Today’s challenge asks me……
Here are some questions to mull over to help you uncover/refine what’s most important to you about your blog:
- Why do you blog? For notoriety? To get a book contract? To self-publish? To establish yourself as a leader in your field? To gain followers? To connect with others? To clarify your own thoughts?
- If your blog exceeded your wildest dreams, what would that look like? Would you have a different design? How many followers would you have? How much traffic? What sort of community would participate? How often would you post?
In my rambling writing style, I answered the questions, almost. Since that first e-mail landed in my In Box last evening, I’ve been thinking. I mean I think all the time, but I’ve been thinking why? Why do I blog and is there a purpose?
My first assignment also challenged me to write a few goals. I currently have 60 followers and the blog averages about 20 hits daily, though July’s hits are significantly higher. By the end of August,
- I want to increase my followers by 25%.
- I’d like to see the average daily traffic double – from 20 hits to average 40 hits per day.
- I want to add a weekly feature – which I can commit to writing weekly.
- And, I want to encourage my readers to engage in my blog and leave meaningful comments. (added)
That’s three, err I mean four goals, they are concrete and measurable and I want to continue to grow the blog after August 31st.
Time is finite – I only get so much and I have to allocate to all of my life’s roles – parenting, being a husband, and teaching all need my attention and active engagement. During summer break, the time between one school year and the next, I have plenty of time to write and blog. However, when school starts, the demands on my time quadruple and I can’t blog as often as I can during June, July, and early August. And so, I had a fifth goal
- When school begins, I am going to commit to posting the weekly feature and bi-weekly for a total of 6 posts each month – currently my three year average is 4.22 posts per month. That is a 50% increase in activity.
Now, I have five blog goals for the coming year. But, there is more to life than blogging – like dreaming about winning the lottery and never having to work again, or the reality of organizing my desk and all of my papers, folding laundry, pulling weeds, or engaging in family life. Or maybe even dreaming about purchasing lottery tickets. So, I had better jump up, jump in, and seize the day because today is gonna be a great day. I know it and I can feel it. Making the Days Count, one day a time, one step at a time, one post at time, because that’s way it works.
What’s working for you?