October 20, 2014

B201 Day One: Three Goals

Okay, time for the first challenge! Today, the Blogging 201 requirement is to set three long-term goals for my blog and (if daring) to post the goals publicly. I can do that.

The post starts of by offering two thinking questions: Why do I blog, and what do I want this blog to be? Okay ….

Why do you blog? To gain notoriety? To secure a book contract? To self-publish your work? To establish yourself as a leader in your field? To gain followers? Traffic? To connect with others? To work through and clarify your own thoughts?

This is a good question. I started this blog because I needed a safe place to say things out loud, to share my experience with others, and to connect with the trans community. But I don’t really need the blog for that anymore. Do I want notoriety? I suppose. Do I want a book contract? I’d love that. I guess I still blog because I still think that I have worthwhile things to say about the trans experience and about life in general. I also blog because I love to write and I want to write for a living.

If your blog exceeded your wildest dreams, what would that look like? Would you have a different design? How many followers would you have? How much traffic? What sort of community would participate? What discussions would take place? How often would you post?

A different design, definitely. Part of my frustration the past few months has been settling on a look for the site. More followers? Yes please! A blog ‘community’? I would love to inspire such a thing. Really, I envision this blog being a place where I post interesting things everyday, where people engage and discuss those things I post, and where I make sufficient money blogging to quit my day job. I’m not too modest to say it: I want to be a voice that people listen to, that people want to hear more from.

Looking at those desires stated plain, I can easily see where I have been falling short in recent months. I have been focusing on the wrong things. Who cares about how pretty my theme is if no one is interested in what I have to write? Who cares what font I’m using if I’m not getting enough eyeballs on the work to appreciate it? Why worry about the window dressing if I’m not putting words on the page? So here are my goals:

1. Post three times a week between November 1 and January 31. I have been averaging 8 posts a month since July — that’s less than two posts a week, as there are some 5 week months in there. I aim to change that. Three posts a week is what I need to be producing. Of course, that means finding something to write about three times a week, but isn’t that why I’m doing this in the first place? As a last-ditch reach, I can always head over to The Daily Post and do whatever the day’s challenge is.

  • Sub-goal 1a.I will be creating an Editorial Calendar for those three months because … well, I probably should.
  • Sub-goal 1b. I will create one “weekly feature” to fill one of those days. Because … well, I probably should.

2. Double my Unique Daily Visitors (UDV) by January 31. Over the past three months I have averaged about 500 unique-per-day visitors per month; if I exclude July and run what I’m averaging so far for October, that goes up to about 520 [July was the month I switched servers, so it’s a bit off]. That’s 17 people a day, which is abysmal to me, especially since it could be the SAME 17 people each day. I want to double that. Actually, more than double, but I will settle for doubling the UDV in three months. Getting 17 more people to read won’t be that hard, will it? [She said sarcastically.]

3. Spend one hour each week reading the creative output of fellow trans creators online, and commenting on their work, from November 1st until January 31st. I like the idea of having one less self-centric goal, and this one shouldn’t be too hard for me since I browse a lot of blogs anyway. It not only serves as an inspiration boost, but commenting is a well-known way of networking and drawing new eyes.

As you can see, I’m using January 31 as my target date for all three goals. I think a three month window is a good one; it gives me time to work but also puts the deadline reasonably close, to motivate. Also, it gives me a month beyond Christmas (Christmas is a slow time for blogging). And away I go!

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  • Why wouldn’t you want to use your blog to share your experiences and connect with the trans community? You can still do that even after you have completed your transition. You might be a role model and an inspiration for others who still feel more insecure and who are glad to find a blog where someone writes about life after transition. Just my idea, of course. You should write about what fuels your passion and your creativity.

    For myself I’ve decided to add a new weekly feature: Inspirational Quotes. That way I can publish one more post which doesn’t cost me much time and still inspire my audience. And Michelle of WordPress said that single-photograph posts are totally okay too.

    BTW, 500 visitors a month is not bad. The best I had so far was 900 views, but that probably equals less than 300 visitors. Most months I’ve had much less. (It’s getting better though, I’m working on it.) So you can congratulate yourself, you already have quite a large audience! 🙂

    You say you want to write for a living. Have you decided yet whether you want to write fiction or nonfiction, or both? I’ve come up with a story today, out of the blue, after writing about spirituality and my own experiences for quite a long time. Don’t know if that is a change of course or just a new path in addition to what I’ve done so far. But I’m intrigued. Can’t wait to see what happens next. 🙂

    • It’s not that I don’t want to share my continued trans experiences. I just don’t get as inspired to write when things are good. I suppose I need to work on that. 🙂 I also need to come up with some weekly thing like “Inspirational Quotes.” Still stewing over that one.

      Re: Visitors. That 500 a month isn’t unique. It’s an add-up of daily uniques. I probably worded that poorly. Technically, if the same 17 people visited me everyday for a month, it would count for that number. I should probably reword that.

      Re: writing. Fiction or non-fiction? Yes please. 😉

      Thanks for being a reader. 🙂

  • Have you ever come across Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way? I can only recommend it. She says when you wait for inspiration to hit before you start writing, you can wait a long time, and you won’t write very much at all. You need to write when you’re tired. When you’re totally pissed off. When you’re on a train or in a cafe, and you only have a napkin to write on. When you’re happy. When you’re sad. When you don’t feel like writing at all. In other words, just show up on the page every day. It doesn’t have to be great right away, you can always fix it later. That’s one of the ways blocked artists block themselves, by demanding their work has to be perfect right away. They don’t allow themselves to just write. For me, the sentence that hit home the most was “It’s impossible to get better and look good at the same time.” I had been trying to look good, and that kept me stuck in the same old routines.

    And yes, I just didn’t get what you meant by “unique”. Thanks for clearing that up.

    If you want to write both fiction and non-fiction – well then, I can’t wait for your essays, poems, rants, short stories, musings, satires, plays and novels to appear. 😉

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