A Bit of Self-Indulgent Navel-Gazing

First of all, I realize I haven’t posted in a while.  The rumors of my death have been exaggerated.  Fortunately, I have been away from the Serial Distractions Muffler Repair/Taqueria/Toy Workshop™, visiting family in Anchorage, Alaska and not in plague-ridden Arkansas.  So you can rest easy–there will be many more inane posts in the coming year. 

Speaking of which, this is the time in which we look back at the past year with somber reflection and hope to learn from our mistakes, appreciate our successes, and eat over forty pounds of sugar and meat from various sources. 

The Blog

Blog-wise, WordPress provides some handy-dandy stats at which we can take a gander and make grand assumptions about this little online experiment:

  • My blog was viewed 2165 times over the course of 2010.  Not too shabby.  However, it got 3383 total views in 2009.  The difference?  The infamous “Wheaton Bump” of May 2009.  However, even removing the 1600 or so views based on that anomaly, it didn’t get as many in 2010 as 2009.  Why? No idea.
    • Editorial Note: It has been been brought to my attention that my subtraction was in error.  Discounting the “Wheaton Bump”, 2009 had 1783 views, making 2010 the winner by 402.  I will be retraining myself in first grade mathematics as a New Year resolution.  And…yay! More views!
  • The blog averaged some 6 views per day.  Not exactly gang-busting traffic.  It averaged 12 per day in 2009.  Why?  Again, no idea.
  • I posted 92 new posts in 2010, as opposed to 74 in 2009.  Yay new content!  And I fulfilled a goal of wanting to post more often.
  • Some visitors found my blog through general internet searching.  Most surfers found it by looking for some variation of Jim Butcher, Shannon Butcher, Jim and Shannon Butcher, or Shannon K. Butcher.  Also, Jayne Cobb Hat.  This is interesting because I have exactly one blog post referring to the hat and one blog post with pics of the Butchers.  Everything else on the site–not really found or sought.
  • And now: The Top 10 Posts of 2010!*
  1. Moon Over Wisconsin: Science Fiction and Big Ideas
  2. I’m a Conscientious Objector in the War on Science Fiction
  3. The Author
  4. DragonCon: Day 3
  5. DragonCon: Day 1.5
  6. Just Reeled In From The Internets…
  7. DragonCon: Day 2
  8. Chapter 2: A Torch in the Darkness
  9. Elizabeth Moon on WisCon
  10. Tears of Vriannon

So, what can I learn from this?  Well, while I’ve generated more content I’ve actually lost readers (per day…see editorial note above).  Not really knowing who my readership is, it’s hard to make any changes to the content to see if this will help.  However, based on my most popular posts, it seems that if I comment on controversial topics in the sci-fi blogosphere, it’s a sure-fire way to get referrals and readers…but not folks who’ll stick around because they enjoy the blog.  So don’t look for me to start the cyber equivalent of ambulance chasing just yet.  Also, apparently a lot of people are looking for Shannon and Jim Butcher.  Which is good because they really are nice folks.

The Writing

So, reflections from a more writer-ly, non-blog-centered, perspective…

  •  During 2010 I sent out four stories to a variety of professional markets in hopes of publication.  I termed it my “Hope and Rejection Tour 2010”.  Turns out that truer words were never spoken.  I’m officially a writer and have the rejection slips to prove it.  However, the fact is that I have produced more stories and I have actually released them into the wild.  This means that I’m one step closer to being a “real” writer than I was the year before.
  • As I alluded above, I’ve been facing a lot of rejection this year.  On the other hand, I have also gotten a little bit of encouragement in that an editor actually asked me to send more of my stuff.  Granted, when I did so, it was rejected as well, but still–it’s encouraging.  Also, winning a short story contest along the way has certainly helped salve my bruised ego. 
  • One of my goals was to have a piece picked up for publication by the time I return to ConDFW in February 2011.  It doesn’t look good for the home team on this goal.  We are now into January 2011 and no dice.    Still, I’ve picked up the pace writing-wise and have been submitting madly throughout the year.  I feel like I’ve learned a lot, which, to be 100% honest, is only partly satisfying.  I would be far more satisfied with a sale.  But, without this goal in mind, I would not have been as motivated to try as hard as I have.  So it’s a partial victory, right?
  • I participated and “won” NaNoWriMo again this year.  Once again, I feel really good about the experience and learned quite a bit about writing a novel.  I’ll probably participate again next year as well. 
  • I joined the DFW Writers’ Workshop this year.  It’s a great group, though I’ve been slacking in my participation of late (the holidays have been quite busy).  I hope to participate more both as a writer and a critic in the coming weeks. 
  • I’ve also been submitting reviews to Shroud Magazine Book Reviews, which has been a lot of fun and something I plan to continue.  Kevin Lucia has been editing for the site and has been great to work with.  Though there has been a change of editor for the site, I’m still looking forward to reading some great books and getting to comment on them. 
For 2011… 
  • More writing, more submitting.  Enough said. 
  • More participation in the critique group, the glass-jaw of my ego be damned…
  • More cons…FenCon, ConDFW, etc. 
  • More reviews…both on Shroud and on my Reviews page.
  • More NaNoWriMo!

In a nutshell, I’ll keep plugging along and hopefully you’ll keep reading.  And bring a friend or two. 

As usual, please feel free to comment below or contact me through the Contact button at the top of the page. 

Thanks!

*: Not counting the “home page”…
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About Shedrick

I am a professional librarian and a part-time writer that's working to do that the other way around. I currently live in North Texas in the lovely city of Denton (“The Home of Happiness“) with my lovely wife and the obligatory demon-spawn cats. When not writing, gaming, or watching cheezy kung-fu flicks, I can sometimes be found in a pub (or the American equivalent) enjoying a fine brew.
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One Response to A Bit of Self-Indulgent Navel-Gazing

  1. Michael says:

    I’d like to point out that the introduction of Lars came in as #8 on the most popular posts of 2010. I think we can safely assume that more Lars = more readers.

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