Hello, beautiful readers! Today is the final day of the #RRBC 30-Day Blogging Challenge! With as busy as my life is, I met my goal of posting every day on my blog for the entire challenge! Woohoo!
Today was a normal work day, but it ended with the Teacher of the Year dinner. This year, I was nominated by my school to be the teacher of the year. Out of all the teachers in my region, I was chosen as one of five finalist for the Regional Teacher of the Year. I did not make it to the next level, but I am beyond honored to have made it that far. So, tonight, they held a dinner to honor all of us who were chosen to represent our schools, to celebrate the four regional finalists, and then to announce the district's teacher of the year. My principal reserved a table for our school and allowed me to bring three people, so my parents and my sister joined me. I had a wonderful time being there and celebrating excellence in education.
As I close out this challenge, I'm a bit relieved but also reflective. If you have been following my blog throughout this journey, you know I live a very busy life. Except for Sundays, I am nonstop almost every day. There was a part of me that hesitated in even making the commitment because I didn't know how I would fit one more thing to do into every day. Once I did sign on for the challenge, though, it was game on! I love challenges, and I hate breaking my promises. So, I stuck it through, and I'm proud of myself for doing so.
The title of the challenge was "A Day In My Life." Our instructions were to share what our day is like, and I've made sure to do that every day. When we first started, I remember thinking no one would want to read about my days. They are just wake up, work, rinse, and repeat. The first week was easy because I was on vacation and filled my days with great activities like scuba diving. Week two was fairly easy because it was my first work week, so I was able to show everyone how very busy my life actually is. Then, the rinse and repeat started since my work weeks are usually the same. That's where visiting my fellow author blogs helped!
By week three, I wasn't sure I would have much to talk about. Then, a few of the other bloggers shared a trip or two they had taken, so it inspired me to share my trips. I figured there would be some people who would enjoy reading about them and perhaps even use them to plan their own trips. Blogging about my trips brought back great memories and helped me stay in the challenge.
I enjoyed visiting the other bloggers, though it took a lot of my time to do so. I believe in reciprocity. If I'm asking others to invest in me and my blogs, it is only right that I repay the favor by visiting their blogs and promoting them to bring them more followers. I subscribed to those that had a subscribe/follow button so I would get email reminders. For those that didn't, I relied on the RRBC Member Chat page to send me their links. Still, with those authors and other authors I follow, I was visiting 10-15 blogs a day, which takes up a LOT of time. I fit a lot of it in during down time throughout the day. Two minutes here, four minutes there. Then, at night, I'd tweet everything out before I went to bed.
So, did this challenge serve its purpose? When Nonnie Jules put this challenge together, I believe her purpose was multi-fold (this is solely my opinion; she may have had other goals). 1 - Get authors writing again and show us that we do have time to write. 2 - Help us build/rebuild our blog. 3 - Assist us in attracting more blog followers. I'll take each of those separately.
#1 - This challenge definitely got me writing again. I'm back to writing poetry with my poetry community, which I missed greatly. I enjoyed writing the posts and interacting with other authors. Will it turn into writing stories? I hope so. Fitting in a few minutes here and there to create a blog post isn't the same as separating time to write a novel, but it has shown me that I have some time throughout the week where I can separate a half hour or hour to write. So, I'm hoping to find at least three times a week to work on my current WIP.
#2 - In 2021, I wrote 31 posts in the entire year. Last year, I wrote 47 posts for the whole year. In January alone, I've written 33 posts, so I would say this challenge is on its way to rebuilding my blog presence. The problem is I still don't know what my niche is for my blog. Most authors I follow have something specific they focus on, and I just haven't found that segment idea yet. I know I plan to continue posting my poetry, so that should be four posts a month. I'm thinking of sharing my book reviews each month, like some authors do. That will be another post. I just don't know if I have a regular "thing" to write about on a weekly basis, at least not yet.
I also have learned that Blogger isn't user friendly for some of my visitors. I'm sure there is a solution, but I'm not the greatest at searching the internet for solutions. I prefer speaking to an expert, but there doesn't seem to be anyone I can call. Before I decide to become an avid blogger, I need to learn more about how to enhance my blog so it's more user-friendly. I've considered switching to WordPress, but I have so much already invested in this site, and I'd hate to lose it all.
#3 - I'm not really sure this challenge has helped build my followers. That number has stayed the same, though that may have something to do with my Blogger issues. On most days, I had maybe 3-8 people comment on my blog. The only exceptions were my poetry posts. There, I have over 15 visitors. There were a few visitors who shared my posts on social media, but it was just two or three people, and there weren't many retweets.
My stats show a little bit of a different picture, though. (Thanks, Nonnie, for letting me know there are stats! I'm still learning this blogging world.) In the past 30 days, I have had:
- 4,307 views, including views from USA, Germany, Canada, France, Belgium, the UK, and other places. This shows me that hashtags made a difference. Even though the likes and comments don't reflect these numbers, it still shows readers are stopping by.
- 497 comments. This includes my comments, so it's more like half of this. Again, most of these comments are on my poetry posts, but it does look better than the 3-8 I listed above.
- My top three posts were: Day 11 (399 views), Day 19 (219 views), and Day 8 (202 views).
- The top referrers were t.co (not sure what that is), Rave Reviews Book Club, and my poetry community.
So, while there have been more visits than comments, I don't know that I'm using my time wisely. For now, I think it makes more sense for me to spend that time working on my stories and creating 2-4 posts per month.
All in all, I don't regret participating in this challenge. It has reminded me how much I miss writing and that I need to make the time to write more often. I've enjoyed visiting the blogs of my fellow authors and supporting them through this challenge, and I look forward to continuing to support them in their posts.
Thank you to those of you who came by to visit me, even if just once. A special heart of gratitude to those of you who visited me on every post and left me comments and words of encouragement. I truly appreciate it. 💗💗💗
Did you enjoy my posts? Do you have any suggestions on what you'd like me to write about? I'd love to hear from you.