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Four Year Blogiversary!

20 Aug

(PHOTO: Cai Studio)

Combined, the Kennedy Center’s Concert Hall and Opera House seat about 4,700. Beijing needs 13 gigawatts of power to work.

At the time of this posting, which marks this blog’s four year anniversary, readers viewed this site more than 63,000 times. If this blog was a performance running in both the Concert Hall and Opera House, it would take 13 sold out shows for that many people to see it. If the views were gigawatts of electricity, they could power Beijing 4,850 times.

Those views ain’t breaking 100Ks, but they’re more than I imagined when, at a friend’s suggestion, I started this blog back in 2009. I was recently unemployed, then, as a staff writer at a Black-owned Baltimore newspaper.

The thought of a blog, then, brought on what I would later learn was a common fear among first-time bloggers: “No one will care what I write about”. I like how Michael Martine, at Remarkablogger: Cutting-Edge Business Blogging, gives practical ways of overcoming it.

“When you are trying to start a fire, it always begins as a very small flame….Just some tinder, some heat, and some air creates the tiniest flame,” Martine writes in his post “11 Blogging Fears and How to Overcome them for Good — Part 1”. He continues, “But we nurture that tiny flame until it becomes a roaring, toasty fire.”

I don’t know about “roaring,” but I got a modest flame going — made even nicer by bloggers Zoe Valentine (of Zoe Says) and Robert Hookey (of You’ve Been Hooked and The Book of Terrible), both of whom I recently profiled in previous posts. I’m grateful to them for spreading the word and linking to the features I wrote on them; I’m also thrilled their readers boosted my number of views, followers and likes.

When I was a new blogger, the articles and posts about “best practices” seemed overwhelming, though I appreciated the info, which included successful habits — like interacting with readers through comments, using web tools to publicize posts, reading other bloggers, etc.

Then there’s the ongoing debate over blogging routine — whether to post everyday, twice a week, or monthly. “Some bloggers do best when they’re in a steady routine,” writes Ali Luke (of Aliventures), in his guest post at problogger.net. “If you find that posting once or twice a week quickly ends up as posting once or twice a month, then you might actually find it easier to post every day. That way, you can build a strong writing habit.”

I don’t think it’s wrong to blog once or twice a month if you’re posting longer (800-1,500 words), in-depth, well-researched pieces that give your readers enough to chew over until the next post.

In its early stages, I wanted my blog to showcase magazine-style articles about the artists, educators and advocates I met while drifting through under-the-radar D.C. I wanted to introduce them to my readers. For that, I knew I didn’t have the creative endurance to generate post ideas daily, let alone twice a week.

And that’s not what this blog wanted, anyway; it certainly wasn’t feeling what I envisioned for it. In many ways, this blog is analogous to my soon-to-be-four-year-old niece who pretends to fall asleep at nap time before wiggling herself across the bed, away from “Nana” (my mom), who’s nodded off.

(PHOTO: Alan W. King) My niece, Anicia

(PHOTO: Alan W. King) My niece, Anicia

This is the same girl who corrects strangers when they mispronounce her name: Anicia (ah-NEE-sha) — the one who smiles while imitating Nana and “Poppa” snoring. She once told “Nana” she’ll one day be “Dr. Anicia.”

Her sense of self is as frightening as it is exciting. “By the time your child is three years old, she has made remarkable developmental strides — some willingly, others less so,” Dr. Michael Meyerhoff, a child specialist, writes in his article “Understanding How Children Mature”.

”These strides are not only intellectual but social and emotional as well,” he continues. “Though still dependent upon you, your three year old has begun to establish her sense of self and many of the elements of her adult personality.”

(ARTWORK: Stock Image)

Now, if a child specialist calls a 3-year-old’s actions normal, then why should I expect different from my blog — my baby — that’s a month older than my niece. I knew what I had to do, which resulted in my blog being a far cry from what I initially wanted.

Letting it evolve on its own terms, under my paternal guidance, resulted in a shift away from covering D.C. to including book reviews and — during my grad school days — essays and short stories. My once or three-times a month blogging schedule became whenever I could.

And I’d feel bad if it wasn’t for Zoe Valentine’s advice on avoiding burnout. “I went ten months without a new post between last year and this year as I had started a very demanding new job,” Valentine told me last month. “I’ve had my ups and downs, as any writer/blogger does.” But she didn’t beat herself up for not posting weekly. That, she said, helped keep her going.

I’d feel bad if it wasn’t for the fact that you all love me anyway — enough to keep following me or checking in to see what’s new. And, while it’s easy for any blogger to take their readers for granted, I think you should know how much I appreciate all 2,880 of you.

I’m far from a rock star blogger, but your attention’s enough to make me feel like a headliner jamming before a packed concert hall. It’s enough to make me feel electric, charged off you gigawatts of bright energy.

 
17 Comments

Posted by on August 20, 2013 in Essay

 

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17 responses to “Four Year Blogiversary!

  1. HoaiPhai

    August 20, 2013 at 3:08 am

    Wow, four years… congratulations! I’ve only been “providing an alternative to quality blogging since 2011″ and I figured I would have been stuffed into a rocket and exiled from the blogosphere long ago.

    Zoe Valentine is right on the money — avoid burnout even if it means having to get your bearings anew and building up a following all over because except for those professional bloggers who somehow make money doing it, the vast majority of us are in it for the fun and love of it. Forcing oneself to churn out posts is not conducive to either.

    To the next four years!

     
    • Alan King

      August 20, 2013 at 2:44 pm

      Thanks, HoaiPhai! It’s all about finding the rhythm. I don’t believe there’s a “best practice” for blogging. What works for one blogger won’t work for another. Thanks, again.

       
  2. aquariuspress

    August 20, 2013 at 8:43 am

    Happy Blogiversary!!! Hoping for many more years to come!

     
  3. tammyarlidge

    August 20, 2013 at 11:56 am

    Happy Blogiversary Alan! I’m a brand new blogger and loving it. Not knowing either where this would take me, it’s been a nice ride so far. I am in the infancy stage of working out direction and timing, but it’s all good! I’ve enjoyed following your blog and your writing, stories, and insight are amazing. Congrats again on your continued success!

     
    • Alan King

      August 20, 2013 at 2:39 pm

      Thanks, Tammy. I’m excited to have you as a follower. I’ll check you out. I’m still learning direction for this blog.

       
  4. joannevalentinesimson

    August 20, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    Congrats! And it’s nice to hear it’s O.K. to blog when you can. I’ve had a nearly three month hiatus this summer when I was nearly incommunicado in the Michigan wilderness and busy with family. I’m clearing out e-mail now and will soon get back to blogging! Keep at it whenever you can.

     
    • Alan King

      August 20, 2013 at 6:08 pm

      Thanks, Joanne! Yeah, I needed that confirmation, myself. I’m glad that I didn’t have to be a post-everyday blogger. I’d definitely burn out.

       
  5. Ned's Blog

    August 21, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    Alan, I’m sorry for being a bad blogger friend and missing your anniversary. I’m looking for a belated blog anniversary card but no luck so far. That said, though after the fact, congratulations on the milestone, my friend — and you have definitely started the kind of fire that draws people in for the warmth and conversation. Though I’ve only recently joined the gathering, I’m glad to be in the ever-widening circle of friends and admirers. Truly: kudos and congrats!

     
    • Alan King

      August 21, 2013 at 4:00 pm

      Ned, it’s all good. Thanks for the well wishes. I’ll do my research and get back to you on belated blog anniversary cards (my guy knows a guy, who knows a guy who might have them stored in a warehouse at an undisclosed location). :) Take care.

       
  6. silkpurseproductions

    August 21, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    Congratulations on the milestone! This was a wonderful piece and very encouraging for other bloggers.

     
    • Alan King

      August 21, 2013 at 4:04 pm

      Thanks! I’m glad that something I said is encouraging. I had to learn that on my own (and later from great blogging friends). I write my blog posts with wonderful people like you in mind. So, for you to notice, is a great honor. Thanks, again!

       
  7. Kendall F. Person, thepublicblogger

    September 21, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    I just met you today, Alan King. But why do I feel like I have known you for years. This is one of the most meaningful post that I have read. I appreciate your story. I appreciate your knowledge and I appreciate your inspiration. Thank you. I needed to read this today, right now, at this very moment.

     
    • Alan King

      September 21, 2013 at 7:22 pm

      Hey Kendall,

      My only explanation is that we’re kindred spirits. I’m glad that something I said resonated. I look forward to checking your blog. Thanks for stopping through.

       
  8. The Hook

    October 11, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    Happy Blogoversary, Alan.
    You’re one of the Good Ones; someone who uses his blog to say something about the world around him. Don’t ever change, my friend.
    Well done.

     
    • Alan King

      October 11, 2013 at 1:58 pm

      Thanks for the encouraging words, Robert. If someone told me four years ago that I’d still be here, posting, I… Well, you know the rest. It’s been a great ride and an honor to shed light on things under the radar. Here’s to four more years! Thanks :)

       

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