People often share year-end blog recaps. I remembered that today (oops) and checked the hits and views and other statistics from last year. I was not too surprised to realize my numbers were down 13% compared to 2021.
I know a couple of reasons why not as many visitors came last year.
One: not as many projects to follow. I used to write a lot about projects we were engaged in, like renovations and ranch improvements. Some got lots of interest. But we’re not able to share as much now. Just horses.
Two: not as much drama. Posts about deaths of pets, illnesses, natural disasters, and conflict get lots of hits. I didn’t have but one dead rooster and a niece bitten by a lack widow. I’m not going to complain about a lack of drama!
Three: better mental health. I’ve felt better, so I’ve ranted and whined considerably less. Reading about how good I feel, how much fun I’m having, and how little other people’s issues are messing with me is not riveting entertainment. And that’s fantastic!
Four: apparently there were folks reading this blog just to find things to gossip about. By not mentioning most people in my life (other than my husband and horse trainer) I’m not providing gossip fodder. Please gossip about me and my flaws all you want, though, because that’s your problem, not mine. I’m at peace with my idiosyncrasies.
So yeah. I’m more boring! That’s the BEST! The people I care about are still here, and I appreciate the chance to share nature, horses, dogs, needle crafts, and travel with them. Thanks for hanging out with boring and happy Suna.
Hot damn! I knew one day this blogging thing would pay off. All those chicken, horse, and dog photos have finally made me a wealthy woman!
No, no, no. I’m not rich. But a couple of years ago I thought I’d give it a try and put ads on my blog. I find ads incredibly annoying, but I was curious to see if a small-time blogger like me could ever get any payoff whatsoever. It turns out you get paid by how many times an ad is served up, so months when I get lots of hits from people looking at photos don’t garner as much as months when I post long things with more opportunities to stick ads in. This is not going to change a thing; I just find it interesting. In any case, after at least two years, I will get PAID for blogging!
They don’t pay you until you hit $100, which is hard to do unless you have a lot of followers and hits. I just hit 900 followers, so I should be earning more per ad after I make it to 1,000. Follow me, follow me! (One reason all this takes so long is that I’m not very big into marketing and self promotion. Another reason is that people my age just aren’t usually the kind of people who get declared “influencers” today.)
But, I blog to connect with friends and meet new people, not for fame. Fame is no fun if you’ve got my mental health issues, where criticism makes me a big ole mess, even when I know it’s fine. I enjoy reading about the lives of people around the world in their blogs, so I’m returning the favor.
Even if I am not always fond of the institutions where I live, I sure love my home. That’s what counts. Home, sweet home.
Now I’m off to make my surroundings sweeter. I bought a hammer, a screwdriver, and some nails for the tack room! And I still have money left from my $100 (which has not arrived yet).
Well guess what? I started this blog four years ago today.
I’ll skip the stats. I’ve posted lots. Many people get them by email or read on Facebook. Thanks to all of you! I sure enjoy your comments, however you deliver them. I don’t expect anyone to read my ramblings, so it’s so gratifying to know I’m not alone.
That’s it. Just thanks. It can be very lonely out here where I’m even weirder than I was where I used to live. I’ve missed friends so much during the pandemic, plus I’ve lost so many family members to I don’t know what…
I know, I know, whatever you think is a journal will count as a journal. But Lee and I were talking about our journals. One of us said, “I’m down to just one journal.” Then they (I) realized that nope, there was something else the probably counted as a journal, and hmm, maybe something other than that was also one…I figure this blog is really a journal of my thoughts, just online and not printed, and mostly for me and a couple of friends. I also have my lovely bullet journal that I started in February. It’s still going strong, and covered in cheerful stickers and inspirational notes to myself.
So, that makes two journals that I update daily. But wait, what’s this other thing? I do believe it’s a horse journal (if it wasn’t one, it should have been). I get given a lot of journals with horses on them, so I figured I might as well use one of them, and started this one the day I got Drew.
I’m surprised to admit that I have written in this one nearly every day, and never missed more than one day. It’s been really useful for keeping up with the progress of Drew and Apache’s training and health, and I won’t lose important information like what they’ve been eating, when they got their vaccines (I am pro horse vax), and how they do mentally every day. Uncharacteristically for me, I started out using a pink pen. I’m still using it, so the notebook is pretty consistent (one day I left it). Pink is not a Suna color, but I’m trying to embrace my traditionally feminine side, I guess. I even painted my nails.
Lee got to thinking, and he realized he mostly uses his one journal, which is not inexpensive but is consistent and looks good on a shelf. He writes a LOT in his journal, including gratitude, things to do, deep thoughts, and so much more.
And Lee does something I find it really hard to do, which is re-read his old journals. I get all cringey when I go on and on about my latest favorite person or things I did that I now wish I hadn’t. But it was ME, so what gives? Lee is really enjoying reading a journal from around 2010 and is culling out interesting things he says for a collection. That actually sounds like a fun project.
The person in the family who has the most journals is Kathleen. She lives a journaling lifestyle. I’m in awe! It has to help a lot with organizing thoughts and goals.
I must say that all my various journals are helpful to me, and I’m glad I have a mundane journal of notes and dates, a blog journal of all kinds of other thoughts, and a horse journal. I just never thought I’d end up with so many journals.
Ha, especially since I hate to re-read my old stuff, this seems to be an odd place to end up journal-wise. But, I think I can re-read these, at this stage of my life, where I’ve figured out most my self-destructive tendencies, negative self talk, and insecurities.
Do you re-read journals? Can you even FIND your old stuff? Maybe I’ll share about some old stuff I recently found…
Let’s see if I can get anything written today. I’ve been having technology issues, annoying bill-paying issues, and trouble doing what I set out to do today. Cows are mooing their asses off outside, too. So, I’m hoping a pleasant blogging break will help get me back on track to do some proofreading.
Even though I have a nice-looking journal I use right now, in what turns out to be a semi-bullet journal format, I ordered another journal, because I forgot to check whether the book I’m using opens flat. It doesn’t, and that is more than a little irritating, even though it’s a pretty little book. I can use it for something else.
I know this journaling style is all the rage these days, but, as usual, I avoided looking into it, since I have my own system. But, one of my goals is to learn more, in general, so I’ll learn more. So far, I’ve learned how important BuJo journal proponents believe it is to write things down by hand. I’ve always agreed with their premise that writing helps cement things, which I why I was such a big note-taker in college.
The handwriting fans maintain that typing is not as good for focusing as the act of writing on paper, mainly because typing goes so fast that you don’t necessarily really think about it. Hmm, no wonder my blog doesn’t make sense; my hands just go typing way ahead of my brain. I honestly find typing to be equally helpful, but I also think my brain works a little differently than some people’s.
Nonetheless, I know my handwriting has become a LOT worse since I stopped doing it so often, so maybe writing more intentionally in a bullet journal will help with that. You see, a LOT of people make their journals into pieces of art, which all sorts of colors, drawings, stenciled headings, and stickers upon stickers. That has to slow down the “rapid logging” process, don’t you think? Maybe they just do it as they prepare their monthly sections. Maybe I should read more of the book.
I think one reason I hesitated to look into this stuff is that before, I felt the way Lee journaled was very rigid, and that may or may not be right. It is very goal oriented, so you don’t get to do things that don’t contribute to a goal. There goes my fondness for random activities and plain old fun (so, one of my goals is to have fun…HA).
I was happy to see that there’s a LOT of freedom in bullet journals. You can put in art, write stories, keep lists, track your food, or whatever you find important. The best freedom, though, is to get rid of things that don’t work for you. That’s very Agile, I think, as is the iterative monthly planning. Oh goodness, Agile project management is everywhere in my life these days!
Let’s see what happens once I get my journal actually going. I’m still using the old one and practicing BuJo style bullets and style. I need to finish the book and learn about all the components before I mess up the new one. I mean, use it however I want to.
Do you journal? Is blogging journaling? Memoir writing? Narcissism? Who knows.
No, this is not one of those annoying blog posts that lists a certain number of things, where the blogger just looks stuff up and cuts and pastes. Oops that an opinion, not the start of a post. Anyway, 500 always feels like it’s halfway to somewhere, and it’s popping up for me.
First, I managed to reach the milestone of doing 500 volunteer hours with the Texas Master Naturalist program. That came faster than expected, thanks to doing the chapter blog, Nature Along the El Camino Real, being secretary substitute, and being president. I won’t make the next 500 so fast, since my iNaturalist observations here at the Hermits’ Rest no longer are acceptable as hours. You aren’t supposed to observe on your own property. Those of us who live on large properties are not thrilled. And with COVID, it’s hard to go many places. But, yay 500 hours. It’s a glass half full, glass half empty deal!
The other 500 achievement was that I got the notice that this blog has 500 followers. Surprise! That came only a little over a month after it hit 400 on December 4. To contrast, it took 7 months to get from 300 to 400 followers. This reminds me of how I track my exercise on my watch. I’m always thrilled when I hit a milestone, even though I’m not competing against anyone other than myself!
I see some sharing algorithms at work, which is fine. I’m just glad for the readers who are real people and who comment and share with me. Getting to know new friends and learning more about old friends is the best part of sharing my journaling online. And MY blog readers, at least, aren’t mean. I get enough of that in other arenas.
This is a stretch, but I wanted to share this. The solstices are halfway points through the year, ya know, .500. This year, Lee discovered that we had oriented the ranch house to where the morning sun on the winter solstice shines straight through the upstairs hallway!
We didn’t get a picture on December 21, but the above photo was taken by Lee soon after. I remember being blinded by the morning sun blasting my eyes for about a week! Isn’t that cool? Hallway henge at Hermits’ Rest. Future generations will film dorky shows wondering why the builders of this house oriented it this way!
Thanks for all the kind thoughts about yesterday’s post about my son. It helped me get through a long, hard day of endless meetings and people expecting me to solve problems that I can’t. It’s a challenging time, and I don’t post all the stuff here, believe it or not.
I thought y’all might enjoy some positive news today. There’s more to come. I’m doing lots to keep an upbeat focus and do what I can to improve life. What little things are you doing?
Last year I went over the most and least popular posts of the year, but I’ll just gather a few statistics today and sum the 2020 blogging up with that. It was, at least, a good blog year. It wasn’t all that exciting, though, because I got halfway through this post last week and never finished it. A suiting “tribute” to 2020: Not worth the effort of summarizing.
I didn’t see it as it happened, but more readers (real and bot) found The Hermits’ Rest blog, which led to more interaction and me discovering more interesting blogs, too!
Slowly but surely, as the months passed, the readers built up, went down, and came back. I think a lot of it was better tagging, linking and keyword use on my part. I was apparently very interesting this summer.
I always wonder what causes a post to be popular, but this year I know.
The most popular post is the one linked to my recent very simple knitting pattern, and #3 is the other post about it. Yep. If I want hits, I need to write more easy knitting patterns. I know why the Passive Aggressive Facebook Posts one got so many hits, too. That’s because I tagged it with “passive aggressive Facebook memes.” That’s apparently a popular thing to search for, and I did include some doozies!
Popularity fell off after those, but I was happy to see so many posts with over 100 hits, which is high for me. Two of those were popular from being shared, the Ghosts from the Past one about my former college professor, Doc Shenkman, and the Restoring Your Historical House one, which the book’s author shared.
Of course, we will want to know what is NOT popular. I predicted which genre of post would fill the sad end of the spectrum: book reports. I figure no one reads those but me. I like just going to the Book Report page and delightedly realizing that I read 44 books last year (which I just did). Hey, not bad for someone who also reads a lot of wordy magazines!
But, look, I was wrong!
Only one book report was in among the sad posts that only got viewed 18 times, and that’s the one about one of my favorite books of the year, good old Barry O. I thought I did a good job on that one, too. Well, 18 people enjoyed it.
The nature posts generally don’t do too well, so I am not surprised to see lots of them down in the basement. That’s perfectly fine with me, since those are mainly to help me remember what I did and saw.
All in all, though 2020 had its challenges for living one’s life, it was a fine year for blogging. I think I’ll keep it up, as long as writing brings me pleasure and helps me meet new and interesting people. Now, go click a lot of links and get me hits. No, wait, that’s not it. Now, go read things you are interested in and that make you happy. Much better!
Well, yesterday was a fun one for me on WordPress. Innocently enough, I’d posted the pattern for my Fireside Wrap on Ravelry (the popular fiber arts community website), thinking someone else might like to make one. I thought no more about it, and spent most of the day watching clouds.
Then, I started getting notices that my stats were booming. Hmm, I didn’t think the post about the chicken palace was THAT interesting. So, I checked out what was happening. Oh, of course. The pattern.
I’d forgotten that new patterns go into a little featured area, where people can look through them. People were obviously looking (drawn by the photo of Penney, no doubt). I monitored the posts all day long, figuring I’d have more hits than usual, but not all that many more. I underestimated how many people look at the Ravelry site on any given day. Lots.
I never had more than 200 views per day, as far as I can remember. This is not a hugely popular blog (and that’s fine with me; I write it for me, my friends, and nice other people who happen to find it). Thus, 558 blew me away. It certainly makes the rest of the week look sad, right? I’ve already got 78 this morning (written around 10:15 am), which is more usual for a normal day or a medium-popular post or posts.
As expected, the two posts about the wrap/blanket accounted for most of the hits. Still, even without the surge, there were 146 views, more than usual. I think what’s happened is that I hit the magic number of followers that gets the blog picked up by WordPress to display under certain keywords, so my tagging has done its job.
Actually, I noticed that since I hit 400 WordPress followers, I’ve gotten new follows at a much higher rate. I’ve gotten 50 followers since December 4. Also, more and more people are “liking” past posts, which means they got displayed somewhere, because certainly no one is searching for them! Algorithms are pretty interesting, even for people who don’t blog JUST to attract hits and followers.
I’m glad I’m doing something right, and I’m glad that a few people might make a simple, yet pretty wrap like I made. It’s good to give back to the community in a small way. I’ll never be the fancy pattern designer I’d hoped to be, back when I was trying to be a part of the cool kids in the knitting community, but I’m there, and that’s what counts.
Let’s admit this right off. I stole this idea from a very talented bogger, whose writing I really enjoy. Her blog also has a beautiful design, so check out this post on the Zowiezoe blog. Zoe (how come it’s so much easier to find an umlaut on the phone than on my dang keyboard?) shared how she has never been a fan of New Year’s resolutions, but decided after the weirdness of 2020, she’ll make lots and lots of them. She is going to revolutionize resolutions and resolutionize her life! You see, if you make so many that it’s hard to keep track of them, you’re bound to succeed at one or two!
I Can Resolutionize, Too
I decided that it would be a fun Christmas Eve activity to make some resolutions, myself. This also conveniently procrastinates from more closet organizing. I won’t have quite as many as Zoe did, but I did like her category ideas. Here goes.
Be free with praise to productive coworkers
Contribute more to the LGBTQ+ group and make it the BEST
Remind myself that I enjoy organizing and writing, and have fun
Get a better desk location near a WINDOW
Find new ways to support and encourage my direct reports
Hearts, Homes and Hands
Write more frequent blog posts
Figure out what I can do to help without getting in the way
Support the team!
Find more ways to help with MTOL; I’ve been a sucky Board member
Keep the spirits up with the Master Naturalists as we can’t DO much right now
Keep my mojo going on the Friends of LLL newsletter, even though hardly anyone gets it because we have so few members
Crochet a cardigan
Crochet an afghan
Knit Lee’s table runner for his office
Knit anything a family member requests (within reason)
Try some new (dog-friendly) things
Use my stash as much as possible
Organize the craft room in each house (ha ha ha ha ha)
Talk to kids more
Find ways to talk to more friends (and see them, eventually)
Be a better conversationalist, even when tired
Conversely, stay out of conversations where my contribution would not be helpful
Participate more in online groups (I tend to lurk)
Blog every day, for my own fun, not statistics
Comment on people’s blogs and encourage them
Quit trying so hard to be nice to people who aren’t nice to me
Get that annoying post-nasal drip looked at
Go to a dermatologist
Get new glasses/prescription
Keep walking as much as or more than now
CBD Oil. Lots of it.
Don’t stop my therapy just because I only have one big issue
Ride the damn horse or get another horse that has good feet and just enjoy Apache
Get more chickens and keep them SAFE
Help however I can to get a tack room and fencing for horses on our property
Contribute to beautifying the outside
Get rid of ugly stuff in the house, like dead plants
Replace the nature tree with a new one
Geez, that should be enough. I hope I get some of this done. But, at the least, Lee will be happy that I now have GOALS and priorities and lists! He loves those, more than anything, I think.
Maybe I’m becoming a better person, right? Some of this will help, or, at least I’ll have fun trying!
So, are you ready for the resolution revolution? Let’s ALL resolutionize!