Each of these anniversaries seems to come faster than the last. I’ve been working on this blog for four years now, and it seems both longer and shorter than that at the same time.
I’m quite pleased at the consistency I’ve had in this. I have had many hobbies started and quickly abandoned, so it has meant a lot to me to see that I can persist with something for such a long while in some cases.
As always, I’d like to look at the numbers representing how this blog has grown over the last year. I wrote 163 posts, a bit more than prior years due to my new three-post-per-week schedule. I shortened the length of my stories a bit, allowing me to complete 8 new ones, even with having less words-per-week dedicated to them. I gave 12 updates on my novel, made 47 entries on my Revising the Storm series, and delivered 53 essays. It’s worth noting that the total number of posts for all four years has just passed 500, which was a nice milestone to reach.
This year’s work on my novel, With the Beast, saw me add 29,000 more words and finish the first draft, which all told has weighed in at 103,191 words. I also did some work to better distinguish the different voices of the characters in the story, but I’m not yet finished with that process.
Across all the different posts this year my blog has put on an extra 194,335 words, bringing my four-year total to 813,742.
My number of followers is 356, an increase of 63 from last year. Also 6 new countries read my blog for the first time, bringing the total there to 78.
Last year my big change was introducing the Improving Technique series, which was meant to take my favorite short stories and polish them up to a publishable quality. It was a fine idea, but in practice it hasn’t gone quite as well as I would have liked.
For one thing, really making a story the best that I can is a much longer process than I realized. I’ve now been at it for a year, and I’m still haven’t even finished the first story! Part of that is due to the fact that 1,000-words per week is too small of a snapshot for this large of a work. I feel like I spend half my time just getting back into the context of what I was trying to do before. Another issue I’ve realized is that it probably isn’t the most interesting thing for readers to see the same scenes posted over and over, with minimal changes between them.
But these short story revisions aren’t the only area that has been lagging. It has taken me three years to complete the first draft of my novel, With the Beast, which is much longer than I would prefer. I don’t know exactly how many more drafts I will have to do on the novel before I am content with it, but at this current rate I suspect it would take me a number of decades to finally be done with it!
Something has to change. I’ve known for a while that something needed to, but I thought it fitting to wait for the fourth anniversary of the blog to implement those changes. And the change I have chosen is to drastically cut down the scope of this blog. I’m not going to end it altogether, but you will be seeing a lot less of me for the next while.
From this point on, new short stories and essays are suspended. My only writing projects are going to be revising The Storm and With the Beast. Once I have finished revising The Storm that series will also be suspended, and work will continue only on With the Beast. Also, posts to this blog will no longer be on a set schedule, they will appear on a semi-regular basis, whenever I have some new milestone to share for either of my writing projects. I also won’t rule out the possibility that now and again an idea for a short story or essay might grip me and I will feel compelled to publish a one-off.
I do still remain just as committed to the craft of writing as before, though. I intend to do just as much of it as ever, I’m merely shifting where it will be occurring.
I’ve known that a change like this was necessary for quite a while now, but I resisted implementing it because of how much the blog has meant to me. It’s been a very dear friend and has helped me in many more ways than just improving my writing skills. And while I’m not saying “goodbye” to the blog, I am going to be spending much less time with it and I do feel quite sad about that.
At least for now. Writing essays and short stories was important for my development for a season. Now the season is changing, yet for all I know that season might come back again at some point. When or if I cannot say, but it is most certainly possible.
Also, I want to make clear that I am making this change because I think it will be good for my writing…but I could be wrong. My greatest fear is that moving my writing from the public view I will lose my accountability and consistency. If I find that that does happen, then I will make a course correction as necessary. This is all still a learning process after all.
And Thank You)
Thank you for being with me on this journey. I understand if this next leg of the expedition is less interesting to you, and if you disembark now, I have no hard feelings.
Of necessity, the next chapters I write are going to be in a place that is private. But what I write in secret I will eventually share with the entire world. If you are around to see it when that happens, then perhaps one day we’ll be able to take a voyage together again. I would like that.