Taking Stock: Reflections on a Year of Blogging

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Photo via Daphne Cholet

People sometimes say blogging is dead. They may as well say writing is dead’ or that ideas are dead. As long as people want to read others’ thoughts and writers desire to share them, blogging will be alive and well.

That’s one of the things that has been confirmed to me this year.

I began blogging in earnest 12 months ago. On such an anniversary, a bit of a meta-post seems appropriate, a chance to take stock and to look ahead.

Prior to jumping into blogging and making a commitment to stick to it a year ago, I had posted here intermittently. I finished 2015 with somewhere around 11,000 views. I am on track to finish this year with about 50,000. In the wide scope of Internet traffic, 50,000 is a small number, but I am pleased with the growth that steady posting has garnered. I hope that, a year from now, that number will be even higher.

Telling myself that growth is possible if I work at it is easier when the numbers bear it out.

For a long time, I worried about my niche. I think I have found it. My mistake in earlier days was thinking I could find my blogging niche by doing something other than blogging. Not true. Rather, as I write posts around the themes that matter most to me, my niche emerges.

It’s clear that I am not really part of the “manosphere” though I often write about men. I am not part of the alt-right blogosphere either. I am, I have discovered, out here pursuing my own thing, responding the issues that plague me.

At the heart of all my thinking is a single question: “What does being at home, as much as possible, in the world require?” All the posts I have written in the last twelve months are, in some way, an answer to that question.

Such a question is, of course, broad and so allows deep exploration and admits of multiple answers. This year, my posts have tended to answer that question in the micro by focusing on personal character and on cultivating relationships.

Going forward, I expect that will change somewhat. I sense my interests shifting toward analyzing those social trends that make founding and maintaining a thriving home almost impossible.

Looking at reader response, it seems there is an audience for posts that address this question from both micro and macro perspectives. My most popular post of the year was this one, about the shooting of Harambe, the gorilla and the underlying problem of our separation from the realities of nature. However in my five most popular posts of the year, about half are oriented toward the personal.

My desire is to write more deeply in the next year, to challenge myself to think more fully about the many facets of the question central to this blog, to my life. Because that means thinking in broader terms about social arrangements and more deeply about psychological issues, I expect to move away from writing advice-type posts, at least for a while.

I suppose my ultimate goals with this blog are four-fold. I want: 1) to create value for people out there who are bewildered by the stupidity, venality and staggering loneliness of our modern world, 2) to explore through writing questions that preoccupy my mind 3) to mount a defense against the attacks to which the modern world constantly subjects the precious and fragile things 4) to, if possible, earn some income to help me and mine keep going.

Your feedback about how I am accomplishing those goals is always appreciated.

What’s different now from a year ago is that I have a much clearer notion of my purpose and, consequently, of this blog’s purpose. What I hope becomes clear in the following months is how exactly to best work that out.

So, that’s where I am, one year down, having produced some good work. Now, on into the uncertain future.

Perhaps I’ll see you there.

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