A year in blogging

Nations: A Simulation Game in International Po...

Nations: A Simulation Game in International Politics (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am an eternal optimist. Depending on whether you share my outlook, you will either think this is a blessing of a curse. I always tend to look on the bright side and I always think that the next 12 months will be better than the last. Even in the face of a few knocks, I tend to dust myself off, take a deep breath and carry on.

This is the year I started this blog. I already had a blog on finextra.com and an internal blog with my employer, but I set this up as a playground to write what I wanted and hopefully improve my writing skills. After 8 months, 123 blog posts, an estimated 60,000 words, 100 comments and 300 likes has it been a success?

The fact that I still love blogging is a good sign. In general, my interests tend to have a short, intensive life before they burn out in a fit of apathy. The only exception up until now was playing games which has lasted for decades. I am glad to have doubled my hobbies. In general, I spend about 6 hours a week writing blogs (and probably the same again thinking about what I’m going to write).

Although I’m probably not the best judge, I feel that my writing has improved. The style checker used to have a field day underlining my initial efforts. These days, there are fewer suggestions for improvement. Whereas I used to struggle with the dreaded passive voice, these days I now understand what it is, instinctively avoid it and I’m comfortable with where I use it – something I never thought I’d get the hang of.

WordPress is an amazing platform. The way they use game mechanics to encourage bloggers to keep going is a brilliant piece of design. I still get excited when I receive notifications. It is also an unbeatable way of finding other interesting blogs to read on a diverse set of subjects.

Everything I read about being a good writer tells me that I should read more. I’ve read more books this year than ever and it does help with both style and imagination. I’ve been careful to challenge myself with what i read as well – avoiding the usual tropes and going for books I would not have chosen before.

So what next? I would like to have a go at something a little more substantial – a novella perhaps rather than a short story. Hopefully that will be the stepping stone up to a book of some description. I would also like to have a go at getting something professionally published. Although I have dabbled this year, I will make a more concerted effort in the next 12 months.

I would like to thank all those who take the time to read my posts. To those who go further and make comments, click on the like button or share my posts with a wider audience – I appreciate it.

Have a great Christmas and here’s to a great next 12 months.

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Just relax…

Writing Magazine in the UK has regular writing competitions. One of them this month is a short poetry competition. The rules are simple, just write an 8 line poem in the form of an “acrostic” – the first letters of each line spell out a word – CREATIVE. This is my first attempt – probably reflects the fact that I am currently on holiday 😉

Clouds float lonely across the sky
Relaxing in the dying sun
Ever wondered. why oh why?
A man is never done
Toil away, night and day
If only to make the rent
Vital time just ebbs away
Energy always spent