Blog No. 320
There is only one blemish on my record (in six years) but I will never let myself live it down. I have posted on this blog every Thursday since 2013, except for April 13th 2013 when I posted on a Saturday. I had a good(ish) reason. I was substitute teaching at the time and I had to go in on the Thursday. Realistically, If I have planned better or used my time more effectively, I still would have been able to get the post out on time, but I didn’t. It stand as the one flub in an otherwise pretty good record. It makes me feel like this achievement (such as it is) has an asterisk next to it. But enough dwelling on the bad. I’ve been doing this for six years. I’m sure I can come up with some good stuff to talk about. Like books and statistics and other oh-so-exciting things! Buckle up, it’s a long one.
At the end of 2017, I mentioned that I fell short of my big 2016 numbers bump. That year I had more views and visitors than ever before on my site. In 2017, I fell just short of that high water mark, but I felt things were still respectable with over 2000 views and over 1100 visitors. That’s not a lot of views per visitor, but considering I’m (possibly) building a readership that keeps up to date with my weekly posts with a few folks popping by to see what this is all about and running away into the darkness of the internet, I think that makes sense. For 2018, I fell short of even the 2017 numbers (but just). I expected to have a boost since I had two new books out this year (All These Crooked Streets was a 2017 release, but in late November). I did not. I figured that reaching at least 2000 views would be a reasonable goal, and I didn’t make it. Things aren’t all bad, though. In 2016, I had 56 posts (including the pages I made like my events page and books pages) where as in 2017 I had 55, and last year I only had 53. So, that’s got to be why I fell short, right?
I did have a boost in likes and a bit of a burble of new followers (if you are one of those and you’re actually reading this, hello). I don’t have any idea how or why that happened outside of trying to be more active on other people’s blogs (something I have to still improve) and the new books and all the events I do in a year. I think the constant events (of which there were fewer last year than the year before, but more events that I hosted to make up the difference) also helped me keep my usual lulls to a minimum. I find I have fewer distinct memories of struggling to come up with things to write about. I relied more on updates than normal (I think) too.
But, enough about statistics. They’re only interesting to my anyway. Last year I finally got The Thinking Machine out. I had wanted to do a novella series for some time, but was constantly struggling to use my time effectively. I managed to get it out in April in time for Shock Stock and I’ve sold about a hundred and fifty of them so far. They haven’t been as hot a ticket as I hoped, but I really marketed it (and constrained the production) for a specific audience that didn’t show up. So, with The Neon Heart, I’m opening it up to the people who actually bought Thinking Machine. Speaking on Neon Heart. While it took longer to write than I wanted, I feel like it was the first book I’ve completed in a reasonable amount of time that was not too far off from my initial plans. It’s a lot longer than I had expected, but I’m rolling with that. I expect to have little to no trouble getting it out on time this year (even if I ended up being behind on the invasion novel in order to get the second draft out before the end of the year).
Once again, my November and December turned into ‘Only Ben can do this at the Day Job’ mania. I’m just going to have to expect to have a rough time for anything other than the Day Job at the end of the year from now on. Also. the mid year stumble is a thing I have to continue to work on. (I will never accept it!). This time there was emergency Day Job stuff (covering for coworkers with emergencies) and pneumonia on my birthday to contend with. While that helped define the slump, I was active with events and I was invited to do a blog tour, so I had lots to write about in that time (I just didn’t do much actual writing). The biggest culprit (other than the real one, which is me and my indolent ways) was the work on my brother’s basement. Not that I’m complaining. That’s where I live, and because of the work he and my father did (with a minute amount of assistance from me) I am in a nice, finished room and a lot of progress was made! Mostly, I used it as an excuse, but any disruption to my routine is enough to throw me into a tizzy (something I’m working on along with everything else).
All in all, most things were better than 2017. I ended that year feeling a little disheartened at my lack of progress. I think I expected too much, so failing to have any significant progress was a huge letdown. While things could definitely have been better in 2018, I feel like it was a step back on track. I finished Thinking Machine (my first solo book) I went to a bunch of events and got to work with some awesome writers both locally and elsewhere, I managed to get Neon Heart in a pretty good place (though in a lot more time than I would have liked), and I started (just) a new novel. Flags and High Fives took a deep dive (unfortunately) but I’m not quite in a place to keep all the plates spinning at once, yet. I have to pick up those pieces rather soon to get the show back into any kind of reasonable place.
Once again, my biggest leaps forward have been with scheduled writing sessions (partially since I didn’t manage to get out to Anchor for as many solo sessions). Not only do/did I try to get out with Christian (and some times Justin when his is willing and able) but I started going writing with Elly Blake too (another introduction through events (and other authors) turned writing friend). She, Christian and I have been meeting in Amherstburg to force each other to work, and those sessions directly resulted in the second draft of Neon Heart getting done in under two weeks (that and its length). All in all, I had an okay year for writing, a pretty good year for events, and a great year for living. I ended on a high note, and I’m trying to keep that momentum going while carefully (and deliberately) adding to all the things I have to do. More on that stuff in next week’s post. One last thing, there is still time to sign up to my workshop over at Gertrude’s Writing Room! Hope to see you there!
Also, this is going to likely be the longest post of the year, so don’t worry about a tidal-wave of nonsense. Thanks for sticking with me, or joining me, for another year!