WordWacker is 5!

A cake with frosting baloons and the number 5, with text: Happy Blog BirthdayWordWacker is five years old today!

In some ways, this has been a rocky year, with good news and bad. I’m still lamenting the passing of the WordPress Photo Challenge, which ended in May 2018. I tried my own photo challenge for the second half of 2018 (you can see the first entry here). It worked, in that I posted a photo a week, one for every letter of the alphabet, and I liked the structure of it. Still, it felt awkward and never garnered much enthusiasm (though I did appreciate the constant participation of Olga Godim). I didn’t continue it past December. Then I didn’t post at all for the first few months of 2019. I needed to regroup and find a new direction.

I came back in mid-March, though, and participated for the fourth time in the A-Z Blog Challenge with another set of haiku puzzles (you can see them starting here, if you want).

Since the end of April, I’ve been posting once a week with Something for Sunday. There have been 11 of these posts so far on a range of topics, starting with an essay on how a popular movie movie relates to an important facet of human evolution and ranging through public celebrations like Mothers Day, private milestones like my anniversary, and a meditation on the complex relationship most of us have with our belongings.

This has been a year of modest growth on social media.

  • I posted 68 times on this blog.The biggest category was the A-Z blog Challenge, followed by my own photo challenge.
  • The number of new followers grew by the same number: 68, which brings my total followers up to 32. Welcome! I am sincerely grateful to all my followers. This blog wouldn’t exist without you. Thank you for coming, and I will try to provide you with content that’s worth the visit.
  • I’ve been participating more and more over on Twitter, where my follower count is up to 282, more than doubling the 121 followers I had this time last year. On Twitter I mostly post haiku (I wrote about it on the blog here), but I also follow various writing groups there, including #amwriting and #WritingCommunity. If you’re on Twitter, check me out @Celia_Reaves.

What do I see looking forward to the next year?

  • I’m going to get the my novel in shape to begin querying. That’s been a long time coming, but I think I can see the finish line from here.
  • I’ll keep up the Something for Sunday posts at least through the end of 2019, and see how it goes after that.
  • I’m going to look into becoming more active on Instagram. I’ve got an account there but haven’t done anything with it. I intend to figure out that platform and participate over there at least a little.

So, here’s to the end of another year on the blog. A good year, if not an outstanding year. Again, many thanks to all my followers for sticking with me, and I hope to make it worth your while for another year.

WordWacker is 4!

Today is the birthday of the WordWacker blog. It’s 4 years old today, and I’m celebrating by looking back and looking ahead. As always, let’s begin with some statistics:

  • In the last year I posted 92 times, which means an average of about once every four days. This brings my total posts in the blog to 373.
  • The WordWacker Facebook page is now discontinued. It was never a big platform for me, with just a handful of subscribers, but I decided a few months ago to get off Facebook personally and deactivated my personal page, which means the WordWacker page is also no more.
  • I’m much more active these days on Twitter. I’ve got 121 followers over there, and I’m proud to say I lost none in the recent bot purge. I’ve been posting a haiku there every day for the last month or so, and plan to continue that. I also participate sporadically in some of the hashtag writing games, mostly #1linewed and #SciFanSat, but only if there’s something in my current WIP that fits the theme. Other than this, I drop occasional messages when I feel like it. You can see my most recent tweets in a feed here on the blog, and can follow me on Twitter @Celia_Reaves.

Looking at my blog posts over this past year, here’s what I find.

  • By far the biggest category was photo challenges. I was very active in the WordPress photo challenge, posting on that 41 times until it ended (I wrote about how much I’d miss it here). I’m not willing to live without a weekly photo challenge, though, so I decided to start my own as of July. There have been five posts relating to starting up this new challenge, and you can see the first entry here. I hope that over time more people will decide to join in and post links to their own images each week, but even if that doesn’t happen I’m still going to post an image a week based on a letter of the alphabet.
  • The second largest category was the A-Z Blogging Challenge, for which I composed a haiku word puzzle relating to each letter of the alphabet. There were 29 posts, one for each letter plus some extras like the theme reveal. This was the third year I participated, and it was still a lot of fun. The first and most popular letter was the letter A, but the letter G and the letter P also got lots of likes and comments.
  • I posted only seven times about my writing. The biggest one was in honor of the 4th version of the manuscript. In that post I said it would soon be going out for beta comments, and I’m at that stage right now. My plan is to revise based on their feedback (which will be version 9!), get another round of feedback, revise yet again, and then start querying with version 10. I’m also cooking an idea for a second book to work on, though my ambitious plan to draft it this month during Camp NaNoWriMo didn’t work out.
  • There were 10 miscellaneous posts on other topics: holidays like Christmas and New Year, Earth Day, and Star Wars Day, and some recognition of a photo of mine being chosen as a writing prompt for the A-Z Challenge.

Looking ahead, what do I see for the blog?

  • I will continue to post photographs. Those are my most popular posts in general, and I love doing them. If I can continue my weekly challenge, or even grow it, that’s great. If not, I’ll find some other way to keep posting pictures.
  • I will do the A-Z blog challenge again in 2019, and I will almost certainly use the same theme of haiku word puzzles. That’s a whole lot of fun to do.
  • Every year I vow to post more about my writing progress, but it never seems to happen. I’m not going to do that again. I will write about writing when I have things to say (as I always have), and especially if I reach some meaningful milestones. When I start querying, you’ll hear about it. I’ll probably post something when I get my 100th rejection, and my 500th. If I should get an offer of representation, you’ll definitely hear about that! If I get that second book up on its feet, I’ll write something about it as well. I also hope to do more reblogging of helpful information from other bloggers. There’s a lot of wisdom out there I can help to spread.

Oh, and there’s one more really important thing I want to say:

Thank you to my followers!
You make it worthwhile!

WordWacker’s 3rd Birthday

Yes, today is this little blog’s third birthday! I like to have an image each time representing the event, and today I pulled together the number 3 with one of my other interests, showcasing one set of polyhedral dice, suitable for Dungeons and Dragons or other tabletop role-playing games, all showing the number 3. Cool, huh?

My main topic today, though, is to look back at another year here at WordWacker. Here are some highlights:

Some Statistics: Things are growing as well as I might hope. Yes, I’ll never make any Top Blog lists, but what’s happening here is generally making me happy. I’m up to 281 posts and 191 followers (up from 131 followers at this time last year). Hi, followers! I love you all! I’ve lost two followers on the WordWacker Facebook page (from 8 down to 6), but that’s never been anything other than a mirror of the blog itself, so it doesn’t surprise me. On Twitter, where I post occasionally, I’ve gone from 18 followers to 75.

Blog Posts: Here’s a breakdown of what I posted on this year. It adds up to more than 60 because some posts fall into more than one category.

  • Photo Challenge: 37 (some just posting a photo with little comment, like this one on Earth Day pointing out There Is No Planet B, some with associated essays, like my post on the science of water in Water’s Edge)
  • A-Z Blogging Challenge: 28 (the 26 letter posts, the Theme Reveal, and the Refection looking back at the experience)
  • Writing: 23 (including longer posts relating to writing in general, like this one on Cultivating Creativity, and shorter ones like this one encouraging people to Visit the Shark: Do You Know Janet Reid?)
  • Wedding: 4 (I managed to restrain myself from focusing on this ALL THE TIME, but did have an early post showing the dress as we were Counting Down to the Big Day, and a look back at the event when it was over, sharing my wish that the couple will Live Long and Prosper.
  • Miscellaneous: 8 posts that really didn’t fit any of these categories, like this Poem I dropped on a day when I was feeling too sick to do anything else.

Writing and the Book: The initial goal of this blog was to chronicle my writing journey. As you can see from the blog post statistics I’ve shifted away from this to a certain extent, but I don’t want to lose that focus. Here are some changes I’ve made, and what I plan for the future in this arena.

  • I continued to participate in Janet Reid’s flash fiction contests through 2016, but then I stopped getting involved. This was partly to redirect my energies in other directions, and partly because the people who participate in these contests are so amazingly, astonishingly good that I wasn’t in the right league. I’m still a faithful reader of Janet’s blog, though, and if you’re interested in writing or the business of getting published, you should be too!
  • I’m participating in Camp NaNoWriMo right now, pushing to revise my novel by the end of July. (Yes, I should be working on that RIGHT NOW!). The last time I did this, in 2015, I was posting compulsively about it. This time I just posted once when I signed up and will post again when I finish. Win or lose.
  • 10 Minutes a Day: I pledged in January 2017 to write at least 10 minutes a day, and post my progress on the blog. Mea maxima culpa – I failed to follow through. This spring semester was the most demanding one I’ve had in a long time, with routine 50-hour weeks at work, and I just couldn’t keep it up. Yes, I know lots of other people work more hours than that and still manage to crank out wonderful books. I am not one of those amazing people. Good to know, I guess.
  • Wednesday Words: In October 2016 I started a regular feature on writing that I called Wednesday Words. I wrote or reblogged on this topic regularly until WordPress changed its photo challenge day from Friday to Wednesday. At that point I switched to Weekend Words, but posted under this tag only once, on February 13. After that I just ran out of time. I miss this regular focus on words and writing. So I plan to come back to it in some form or other, even if it’s just once a month, after I finish the revision I’m working on now.

So, bottom line: The blog is healthy and growing. My interest in doing it is still strong. I plan to make some changes, bringing writing and books more into focus, but mostly I plan to do more of the same.

Here’s to a long healthy blog life in the future! I hope you join me.