Blogging - A Year In Review

yearly review checklist

I can not believe it, one year into this personal blogging adventure. It has been quite an amazing and uncomfortable journey taking this project on. When I was thinking about this over a year ago, one of the main drivers was to learn something new. I can say with confidence that I have learned quite a bit during this last year. In this post, I want to identify some of those learnings and how to carry those learnings forward. But, before doing that. How about we take a look at some of the raw numbers.

The Numbers

Number Of Posts30Post
Min. Number of Posts / Month1Post
Max. Number of Posts / Month7Post
Total Word Count18827Word
Min. Word Count160Word
Max. Word Count1607Word
Median Word Count606Word
Months w/ No Posts0Month

I must say, taking a look at this breakdown is quite encouraging. There were days, even weeks, where I did not want to write anything. Or that I was discouraged by the last post(s) not getting much engagement. There are certainly gaps of time where the posting was thin, looking in August and September time-frame. Where there was a month gap between posts. While this is not ideal, it's fine. The only expectations for this are set by me. While I would prefer to have consistency in posting frequency it is not perfect, which is expected. All in all, it was not a bad year when looking to hone this craft.

The Learnings

So much was learned in this past year of posting. First, was the available technologies to implement a static site. I did not realize how much power there is in the 2 technologies (Hexo and Gatsby). I had learned how little I knew about front-end technologies during this past year. Then, how little I knew about GraphQL. I will say I am no expert at either of these, but I now have a foundation to build on.

Posting on LinkedIn was a problem for me at first. I was in my head about what others would think about the work. The topic, the content, the imagery, all of it. After the fifth post, or so, it all did not matter anymore. I was seeing that people were responding positively to the posts. I was gaining confidence in the content, as it was sparking some discussion on the platform. The hard part was getting over that hurdle of clicking the button.

Changing technologies halfway through the year was an interesting experience. I had been learning more and more about Hexo, but it felt like it was too coupled to a blog template. I wanted the flexibility to do more than just a blog. Gatsby had all that I was looking for and more. Swapping from one technology to another was not a quick, nor an easy task. But, I knew I wanted to take on the work knowing it would decrease the output of blog posts. I am glad that decision was made. Gatsby has been so flexible for anything I have wanted to do with the blog. There is only room to grow from here.

Writing tools are out there to help us! I always knew there were tools to assist in writing. Much like we have IDEs to assist in writing code. But, I never used them. I was in the mindset of my writing is good enough. I had decided to check out Grammerly. I am never looking back, the about I have learned from the short time of using this tool has been astounding. Going it alone is ... fine, but, use the tools that are available to you. They are only there to help.

The Conclusion

In closing, this has been a great experience. I plan to continue the learning and becoming a better version of myself through the next year. To combat the ebb and flow of desire to write, I have implemented a preview mode. This allows me to write when I want, but not every blog post has to go live. Now, I have a small pool of posts that are ready to go live at anytime. It is worth my time to decrease the writing friction. This is discovering more tools that are available to make this even more enjoyable. Maybe it's adding a CMS or something to schedule LinkedIn posts. I'm not certain, but they are out there. I need to try them out for the experiment.