I spent an unbelievable amount of money getting our driveway repaired and last week stopped the possibility of burning our home down by finding a way to clean the dryer exhaust of an embarrassing amount of lint – which burns as if it’s gasoline, but I’m about burned out on home maintenance for the time being. I also transitioned from one squamata (blue belly lizards) crew to a new tribe. Getting to know these new neighbors has been fun.
So – let’s kick back, relax with a mug of some luscious dark brown brew and savor this last day of September, and yea, I know this has to be a virtual thing because we’re a global group and our visit stretches across 24 time zones and 3 days. Thanks again to Natalie for making this magic happen each weekend.
I’d commented to a peer blogger that I was close to meeting my goals for this year and am thinking about 2023. I’m still thinking through both. For 2022 I wanted to accomplish these things:
I wanted to improve my fiction writing by creating a body of new stories that were better reader experiences than I’ve ever written before. I’m both surprised and pleased with my results so far.
I wanted to succeed at 2 writing projects over the year: the weekly 99-Word Story challenge from the Carrot Ranch and the WritePhoto challenge by KL Caley. I honestly feared failing badly at the 99-Word Story challenge but I’m actually happy with the results of both and have a nice collection of short fiction of different lengths to share and enjoy.
I wanted to transition my readership base from Facebook, where I started this story-telling journey back in 2014 to a brand-new blog. I started this before 2022 but this year I finally saw the bulk of my readership come from WordPress. I was frustrated by the lack of control I had over my essays on Facebook. Once you post something there, it falls into the news feed and quickly drifts out of reach. I had my own originals of course but part of the fun and learning happens with reader feedback and that’s what gets lost.
I wanted to add readers to my blog. In one sense, this possibility is better than publishing because with a story blog, an author can get and retain feedback on each shared story both for conversing with readers and for study. This year, I’ve gotten the kind of feedback that improved both my old and newer stories. Reader’s kind words are always welcome of course, but how great is it when other authors tell you how your work could be improved? This happened this year.
I wanted to become a better self-editor and toyed with the idea of buying a grammar tool but this year I discovered features in Microsoft Word that did better grammar checking and would robotically (okay, objectively…) read aloud my writing which all but screams out mistakes made by my fingers not typing what was in my head. I love this feature and believe it really stepped up the quality of each story I’ve used it for.
I wanted to increase the number of story-reads this year, which is tricky in several ways. First, this shouldn’t be that important in the first place. I’m not charging anyone anything for reading my work. Writing remains my hobby, but I’ve found my writing improves when I know people will see and judge it. If they like what they read, they are more likely to read more. The reverse is also true so if I write boring, poorly punctuated, meaningless, or pointless, non-entertaining stories – then I don’t deserve anyone spending time to read my work – so this drives me to do better. But the number of readers I have is hard to really know, because WordPress, I think monkeys with the number, adding ‘likes’ to ‘views’ but, and I hope I’m wrong here, it seems not always. As compared to last year when I had a big burst of readers from Facebook, this year may not see as many ‘views’ because I’m getting a lot less from that platform while seeing more from WordPress, just not as many, so how serious do I want to take this metric? I would have liked to see more readers in 2022 than I had in 2021 but am already grateful for the readership I’ve seen this year.
I started one project this year that was made possible by the Read-Aloud feature of MS Word. I decided to go back and put each of my ‘I Recall’ memoir essays through this edit step and this week I finished the first section of this collection. All my grammar school stories are now new and improved. I even added new material to some and rewrote many sections.
I promise there are some great laughs to be had.