It’s time to celebrate, because this month marks my one year blogging anniversary! The beginning of the year is when people traditionally take stock and determine how to move forward, so now seemed to like a good time to reflect back on my first year of blogging…
I actually started this blog two years ago and I was determined to post an article every single week. But if you know anything about me, it’s that outside of the office, I’m the ultimate procrastinator. Between my hectic work schedule and my bustling social life, I soon fell behind on my blogging and I eventually decided to throw in the towel. But I always try not to make the same mistake twice.
At the beginning of 2016, I resolved to take up blogging again. But I knew I’d need some help this time, so in my first post of 2016, I asked you guys to keep me on the right track, strengthening my commitment to blogging for pleasure through positive reinforcement. I would like to say a massive thank you to all of you who read my articles. Over the past year, I’ve had so many friends come up to me, or readers comment, to complement my writing and it means so much to me. This has been a team effort, as every positive comment has bolstered my resolve to keep blogging.
And I have to say, you guys have taught me a lot over the past year as well. I primarily write about two things; lifestyle topics like music and travel and political subjects, like Brexit and the US election. When I’m thinking of article ideas, I always keep you in mind. I try to write about subjects that I believe you will find engaging, so you enjoy the editorial experience I provide. But I’ve often found that the articles which generate the most interest can be those you least expect to be popular.
There are some articles that when you post them, you believe that they’ll light the world on fire, but they turn out to be total dubs. Take the article I wrote about how to block Donald Trump on the internet. At the time, I was so sick of the toxic vitriol that was increasingly gripping the US election, that I wanted to erase everything related to Donald Trump from my life, just to make it stop and I know that a lot of you felt the same. However, the article was only a modest hit.
In contrast, there were two articles that ended up being more popular this year, than I ever thought they would be. In early 2016, I asked can Bernie win New York, as the Vermont Senator was giving former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a run for her money in the New York Primaries at the time. I thought political junkies like me would be interested in this subject, but I didn’t believe it had mass appeal. It’s my second-most read article of the year, indicating that there may be more appetite for positive change, something Bernie championed, than this pessimist ever imagined.
But my most-read article of the year, was ‘Revealing The Sins Of My Family.’ Posted in September, this piece looked at my mum’s efforts to re-release the book she originally published in 2011 (under the new title Sins of the Family) from my perspective. I have to admit that I decided to write this article, simply because I was due to attend the book’s launch a few weeks later and I thought it would make for interesting reading. But the level of interest this article has amassed, really showed me that lot of the time, its the deeply personal stories that readers engage with the most.
I also have to say that the process of writing this blog over the past year, has had something of a transformative affect on me, politically speaking. Everybody knows that I’m a political junkie and that often, I’m only too eager to express my opinions on serious social issues, especially LGBT and women’s rights. But before 2016, I was far more fascinated by the mechanics of politics – the machinations and the back room deals, than the issues themselves, but now the reverse is true.
The thing is, when you’re writing about politics, you have to be really careful. If you get even one thing wrong, the online trolls will descend on you like a pack of ravenous wolves, after smelling blood. Therefore, I’ve had to research each political article I’ve written this year meticulously and the more I’ve looked into these subjects, the more incensed I’ve become at just how much injustice there still is in this world. Once you know just how bad things are, it’s hard not to care.
This coincided with 2016’s unique geopolitical climate, to transform my world view. This was the year of Brexit and Trump, two subjects which I’ve covered extensively on this blog over the past 12 months. I’m avowed liberal, so I’ve become increasing dismayed, as these events signalled the rise anti-globalism across the western world, as people close off their borders – and their hearts – to those who are different to them, because they fear that which they do not understand. Consequently, I’m going into 2017 a far more politically conscientious person, thanks partially to this blog.
But you can’t be all politics, all the time – it’s too depressing! Over the past 12 months, I’ve also become incredibly grateful for this blog, as it allowed me to escape when Donald Trump’s vile rhetoric became too much, to write about fun lifestyle topics. Let me tell you, it’s hard to feel down when you’re writing about the glorious Renaissance artworks of Florence or the pristine landscapes of Oslo, as I have done in 2016, so this blog has been an avenue of escapism for me as well.
So as we move into 2017, rest assured that my determination to keep blogging has never been stronger. Your encouragement, coupled with my change in outlook, has made me committed to using my voice to both bring attention to serious issues and enrich your lives as readers. I can’t wait to see what the next 12 months bring!