It’s 18 months since I first started blogging. I started this blog as an antidote to a fiction-hating friend. I was unable to convince him of the merits of fiction, and a few weeks later I wrote my first words here. It was my penance for being such a weak defender of something that has been a crutch for me my whole life. It was my homage to words, both fictional and non-fictional, which help me understand the world.
Then something strange happened. This blog began to grow, and slowly, it was not about my friend, it was about me claiming some space for my thoughts, sharing my work and meeting wonderful writers, poets and artists, many of whom have become friends. So for that, Twitter, WordPress, Facebook, Friday Phrases, Monday Blogs and Flash Friday, I thank you.
WordPress sent me a report yesterday of my blog activity this past year. One day I would love to go to Australia. When the kids are a bit older the 24 hour flight will be a breeze: a reading/movie marathon. WordPress tells me that the concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. Apparently this blog was viewed about 9,900 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about four sold-out performances for that many people to see it. That is huge, even if half of those viewings were me and my mum!
The busiest day of the 2014 for this blog was May 5 with 793 views, the day my article ‘The Forgotten Joys of Longhand Writing’ was Freshly Pressed. On average though, I tend to get about 20 views a day and that increases marginally if I post more than once a week. The next most read pieces were my short story ‘The Voyeur’ (which I have now taken down as it seems Akash isn’t finished with me yet and his story has begun to grow into a novel), ‘In Praise of Slowness’, ‘Fear of Change and The Promise of New Beginnings’ and ‘What I Wish I’d Known at the Start of my Writing Journey.’
The WordPress stats report tells me that my top referring sites this year were Freshly Pressed, Twitter, Facebook, Make A Living Writing (where I did a guest post a while back) and the WordPress Reader. So no surprises there. What did surprise me was that readers came from 124 countries. The US was the frontrunner, with the UK and India not far behind. I’m a Londoner of Indian heritage living in Geneva, so that was pretty cool. I currently have just under 1000 blog followers. Jo Blaikie, Graham Milne, Amira K. Makansi and Sarrah J. Woods were my top commenters. Thank you all. If you haven’t checked out their blogs yet, then make a note. You’re in for a treat.
As for me, my favourite posts this year were ‘Losing and Finding Stories’, ‘Loving You’ and ‘The Pact’. ‘Losing and Finding Stories’ was written on a day that the poignancy of life seemed to stare me in the face. Everywhere I looked there were stories that were sad, and beautiful and funny and it struck me that there can never be enough writers. Now that is not something you hear everyday. ‘Loving You’ was a first for me. I don’t often share poetry. It is a form I am not confident about. It takes a particular type of writer to distil the essence of a thought into a line of poetry and the poems I write are usually confined to the pages of my journal. Writers such as B.G. Bowers, Jane Lightbourne, Rachel Thompson, Rachael Charmley and the #FridayPhrases community approach poetry with such ease and skill that they have made me more willing to give it a go. ‘The Pact’ was a project that was unplanned, an idea that bloomed overnight and showed me how generous writers are with their time, how clever, courageous and funny even within strict word and time limits.
The best and the hardest part of blogging is the moment of indecision just before I press publish. I wonder if I’ll come across an idiot, if readers will be irritated and bored, or if my words will resonate. Sometimes silence greets the posts but then later, a friend will mention a line I wrote. That’s a gift. Committing to this blog makes me grow. I’ve also had moments of real synchronicity and peace this year, when I have found clarity and hardly noticed my fingers moving over the keyboard and for that I am grateful.
Next year, I hope to diversify the blog. I’d like to incorporate more of my own photos, post more poems and short excerpts alongside the articles, maybe experiment with audio and video files. This will remain my canvas to empty my thoughts onto. Sometimes I’ll bring yearning, at other times it’ll be questions, fear, love or anger. At the end of 2014, I know that whichever piece of me I bring here, I’m safe. Thank you for that.
Happy New Year my loves.