Dropping out of #ThinkKit

I’m a committed person. I believe in sticking things out to the end – but I also believe that if we’re not enjoying something, not learning from it, or making a positive contribution to the world then it’s time to stop.

The main reason I signed up for ThinkKit was to give my blogging a bit of oomph, and help me decide what direction I wanted to take my blog next year. Do I want to focus on my fiction more? Do I want to start writing more non-fiction? Do I want to get more – or less – personal?

Well, I noticed that there are posts I’m craving to write, but I can’t because a prompt is in my way. I wanted to write about my One Word for next year, and about how I’m feeling after releasing my first book. I wanted to write about the awesome talk with Joanna Penn this week, and how cool it is to have met up with more writerly folk.

My blog’s about my reflections, my ideas, and my journey as a writer & artist. I decided that a while ago, but fell into a stagnant pool of posting because there wasn’t much learning going on for myself – not because there was something wrong with my blogging. The source info just wasn’t there.

So, I’ve decided to drop out of ThinkKit. I reckon it’s an awesome initiative, and for those of you that can handle daily blogging (my new rule is ‘thou shalt not blog every day’) and aren’t as much of a control freak as I am, keep it up!

Whovian Giggles #ThinkKit

Let’s loosen up: share a side-splitting story from the last year. What made you laugh out loud until tears formed? What made you giggle every time it was referenced?

Okay, I’m really not that funny. Today’s prompt made me feel like taking a pass card. But I shall not pass!

(told you I wasn’t funny)

But something that’s made me giggle – that I can do. This year, I was officially introduced to Doctor Who. What’s interesting about this is that I’ve always been put in the ‘Whovian’ box (should that be Tardis?) even though I’d barely heard of the show before, let alone watched it.

But now I have, and I LOVE it.

We started with the ninth doctor – series one in 2005. The downside being I got attached to Ecclestone, and still haven’t quite accepted Tennant as good enough.

But there are so many LOLs. Which is good, cause while this year has been interestingly good, it’s also been sadly lacking in the laughter department, so anything that brings my kind of humour into my life (dad jokes, if I’m honest) is welcome.

ThinkKit is a blog project, with daily prompts in December. Friends who are also doing this are Amanda Staley and Emma Lindhagen.

Blogging 201: Days 5 to 6

If you’re interested in the previous post, click this link for Days 1 to 4.

These are ideas from the Daily Post’s blogging 201 guide, on branding and growth.

Day Five: Give ‘Em What They Want

First, we’re told to look at our analytics, and we’re using the top posts and pages summary for the past 90 days (the last quarter) to see what’s been popular. Here’s mine:

stats top 90

 

This shows pretty clearly that the most popular topics, other than my About page (which I have set to be a static home page, rather than my blog posts), are:

  • Personal Well-Being / Mental Health
  • Social Media / Branding / Blogging
  • Yoga / Meditation

This is awesome cause I really do love writing about all these topics!! The next task is to see which days of the week are most popular. I had a look, but there isn’t much consistency, so I’m skipping this step.

From here, we are asked to build an editorial calendar (which I fully believe in, but I’ve also found that I need flexibility).  Basically, my ‘editorial calendar’ are a set of guidelines:

  • Week that Was post on Monday (or Tuesday if it’s one of those weeks).

… and at least TWO of the following:

  • Blogging / branding / social media.
  • Mental health, including yoga / meditation.
  • Education, creativity, or the arts (this is me pushing the blog forward, not based on current statistics).

Day Six: Drive Traffic To Your Archives

Day six’s task tells us to use the ‘Related Posts’ feature, a best of page, and the categories / archives widget to let our readers know about older posts.

I had a think about a best of page, and I know it works for some people / brands. Your Writer Platform utilises their popular posts very well, with images that link to them. However, I do not think it will suit my site. I’m trying to keep things simple, and I believe it will just create unnecessary clutter.

I already use the Related Posts feature, so Brownie points for me! I have noticed it working, by looking at my stats. In addition, I’ve changed the categories widget so it’s not a drop-down menu any more, and I’ll see how that goes.

 

Week that Was: Shiny New Goals

So despite last week’s enthusiasm, I did have another low week. It came down to having my time dictated by others, and not being able to work on my own projects.

But I kept last week’s goal ineeded to get excited again; I needed shiny new goals!

image

I eventually gave up and did a weekend away, with a beach view and a fairly private unit.

image

I set goals all evening (well, and had like eight cups of tea), and while my goals weren’t completely new, they had at least been given a new coat of paint.

This week, I’m putting them into a month by month planner, so my bigger goals don’t get lost in the day-to-day tasks.

I’m also trying to not let other people’s time-sucks intrude on my own projects. I have to put ME first.

Writing update? Nothing to report!

Blogging 201: Days 1 to 4

So I stumbled across an article in my Twitter feed about blogging. WordPress shared it, I think. I can’t remember. Anyway, the point is that the article looked interesting, and useful even. Here’s a link to all the posts in Blogging 201.

So, I’ve taken a leaf out of Catherine Mede‘s book (which I seem to be doing a lot. That lady has fantastic ideas!) and I’m going to blog about some of the changes they suggest, and how I apply them (or why I choose not to apply them). They’re up to Day Fourteen already, so each blog post will cover a few days’ worth of tasks.

Day One: Set three goals

The first day asks us to set a vision for our blog, by asking ‘Why do you blog?‘ and ‘If your blog exceeded your wildest dreams, what would that look like?’ 

One reason I blog is for the same reason I write: to process information, ideas, and thoughts. It’s great to get your support and input on things I am dealing with, and to share my successes with you. Another reason is to gain an audience (or build a platform) for selling in the online environment, and, of course, to publish my ideas and share my thoughts with the world. I am, after all, a writer.

In terms of my ‘ideal blog’, I’m actually happy with what I have now. Some things would be nice to improve on – like perhaps a bit more traffic and engagement – but which blogger wouldn’t say that? I’d also like to have more ideas and discussion around creativity and learning, but overall, I’m happy with where my blog is, and the direction it is going.

We’re then to take our ideas and build 3 specific goals, like traffic, engagement, number of articles posted, a weekly feature, guest posts, or social followers. Here are my three goals:

  1. Write at least 5 posts next month about visual art and / or learning.
  2. Encourage comments on every post.
  3. Engage with others’ blogs every week, including non-writers.

Day Two: Audit your brand

I’m not doing a lot for this one, as I did it recently when I developed a logo and changed the visual design of my blog. I wrote about it after the change, in a post titled ‘A New Phase‘.

Essentially, it’s about making sure that our online presence, so our blog, social media accounts etc., are all aligned with each other, and with the image we want to put forth to the world.

My aim has become clearer in this sense – I’m just being me. I’m putting myself and my ideas out there, and so my blog needs to reflect a growing, learning human being, who’s just a little bit arty. I think it does that.

Day Three: You’ve got the look

Obviously, this is about the aesthetics of our blogs. It suggests we try new themes, play with font and colour, and see what fits our blog best. Again, this is something I do a lot, and I’m now happy with my visual design.

Day Four: Get read all over

Today is about making sure our blog is responsive to different devices. WordPress is great like this – there are so many responsive layout themes available (both free and paid). Having said that, I do personally check how well a theme’s responsiveness is by looking at my site on the computer, on my tablet and on my phone. Just to make sure!

This is especially important as more people are using their phones and tablets to read blogs. I personally tend to read blogs on my phone more than anything at the moment. It’s some light reading and reflection material when I have a small amount of time free, and my phone is usually with me.

If you’re a blogger, I do recommend having a look at Blogging 201 – even if you aren’t going to do all of them, there are some fantastic ideas.

And, just so I’m not on my lonesome – what’s 1 (or 3!) goals that you have for your blog? Have a think about it and leave a comment below x