2015 in review

Like my personal and travel recap, this post will look back at the areas of blogging and writing in 2015.

2015 was the year I took a deliberate step back from the blog. This act was made (partially) easier by the rebranding I undertook late in 2014; turning down a few opportunities that come in from or via the mummy/parenting niche allowed me to concentrate my attention elsewhere.

I won’t lie – it felt good. Kinda scary, but also right. I’ll dwell more on the specifics on making money next week; this is more ‘big picture’ reflections.

First, let’s take a look at my blogging goals for 2015

1. A return to long form writing

Driven by the fashion back towards longer posts (1000+ words), and also because I like reading them, I wanted to get back to taking the time to properly reflect on a subject, be it in a creative or informative way.

On the whole, I think I succeeded… to a degree. I’m especially happy with the work from the first half of the year, until I turned my sights back to my novel, starting with that 20K by 20 June goal (which I hit). Then it started to go downhill. However, I’m fine with that. When I was overseas, away from all kinds of work, I had an epiphany. At least, I think that’s what it was. Being literally so far removed from everything gave me wonderful perspective and checking in less with social media allowed me to check in more with what I wanted to achieve.

People say I’m an expert at blogging. Yes, I know what I’m talking about – but my creative (prose) work has suffered. I’ve been happy being a ‘jack of all trades’ kind of person, but ‘getting by’ isn’t the same thing as ‘getting better’. The best way is to get words down on the page. More on that below.

2. Video

I like putting videos together and I feel like I’ve learned a lot in those I’ve done this year – especially when it comes to the importance of getting sound levels right in narration or while filming is occurring.

Videos are also very time-consuming and although the software I used is middle-of-the-pack (Adobe Premiere Elements 13) in terms of price and features, I ended up frustrated because it still didn’t have everything I wanted. Or maybe it does, and I just didn’t google the right phrases for the questions I kept having. Podcasting has had another great year and I have an idea for one, but remembering the video lessons part of me is hesitant to start in case the same thing happens.

I guess I could team up with someone or outsource help, I’m not turning those options down. I’m still pondering.

… And the writing goals for 2015

Looking back, I don’t think I ever got more detailed than saying: finish my book.

And I did on the 18th of June.

It’s a big milestone. Sure, I celebrated and breathed a big sigh of relief. But that’s just the beginning of the next phase, which is redrafting and refining – something I’m still doing now. An extraordinarily difficult task during the school holidays when I don’t have time to myself, but little pieces. Little bites. And I’ll get there.

I did well in other areas – as well as completing creative challenge tasks in January*, July and November** (two of these poems subsequently accepted for publication elsewhere), I received a highly commended in a short story writing competition. Freelancing came a distant last, although I kept pitching and writing. Just not to the same extent. I was (am still?) on the point of burnout.

The biggest takeaway, as it always is: just keep going. Persistence. I know it’s boring and everyone says it, but it will get you there. I won’t lie, I’ve had a fair share of disappointments this year too. But I won’t call them failures. Failure is not trying in the first place.

*Search #mop15 on Instagram
** Search #nanowrimoprompt on Instagram

What’s In Store for 2016?

The writing is simple: publish a book.

If I want to get really ambitious, I’d like to line up a few more projects for release beyond that.

Blogging is a little more complicated.

In fact, I’ve sat down a couple of times to write this section and each time the list has been different.

I’ve seen a few people quit blogging this year. (Writing, too, for that matter.) From the small cross-section I’ve seen, either work or life commitments have taken over, or the endeavour became unsustainable for those wanting to make a living from it. This is perfectly understandable – I’m working two days a week now myself and things need to fall in place around that. As this blog has been a deliberate part-time venture, for best flexibility, I’m lucky and hope things will continue as usual with a bit of juggling.

I’d like to continue with the long form writing and keep working on the Living List goals. Even though it began with the best of intentions, the ‘Friday Celebrations’ series has become a bit of a load to bear (you might have guessed lately, seeing they’ve been late), but I’m past the halfway mark, so I’ll get to week 52 and leave it there.

Other things on my mind are: should the posting schedule change or is it fine? Do I spend a lot of money on a total site redesign? Do I need to? Is it starting to look dated? Are readers getting what they truly want? (Tell me!)

These are important, but there’s another factor: fun/pleasure. If I ever stop enjoying blogging, then that’s it. Why continue? Above all else, I need to keep those elements alive.

I also know I can help people. I do it every day. I can tell when I look at my search referrals, or someone tweets or emails me that they liked something I’ve written, or their child continues to enjoy my book. It’s very satisfying and during darker times they make all the difference.

In summary: I’m not going anywhere.

Karen Andrews

Karen Andrews is the creator of this website, one of the most established and well-respected parenting blogs in the country. She is also an author, award-winning writer, poet, editor and publisher at Miscellaneous Press. Her latest book is Trust the Process: 101 Tips on Writing and Creativity