Year in Review 2022 (Week 52)

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This collection of my original research on “Margery,” the working title of my play, dates from around 1975-80. The notebook is from the Drama 30 class where I drafted the first one-act. By Howard Fielding. Offered under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

About this series: I revisited my journals from my first year as a freelance writer and found they told a story of their own. In this series I get the rare opportunity to give myself and other writers career advice with nearly 50 years of hindsight. Enjoy!

Fifty-two weeks, more than 100 posts. Reviews, commentary, humor, journal entries, and even a sermon. More posts, visitors, likes, and posts per visit than in the previous four years combined. Not bad.

This was the year that I started taking this blog seriously. It was worth the effort, both as a personal exercise and as a toe into the market. In comparison to almost any other site in the blogosphere, this one is not particularly successful. But that depends on your definition of success, doesn’t it?

This blog does not set out to make money. Good thing, too, because my visitor count is low. But that’s not really a surprise. Blogging, like social media, is a community. The formula for success is well known:

  • Pick a topic with a single focus, such as a hobby, or with original material that readers won’t find elsewhere.
  • Cross-promote with other bloggers. Read and comment on their sites and they will reciprocate.
  • Post frequently with useful information such as how-to pieces or list-style articles.
  • Post the kind of material that people will be looking for, and key it in to Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

I do none of these things, except perhaps for the original content. You won’t find this material anywhere else. But this blog still has no wide field of interest, no real how-to or useful lists. It’s not particularly interactive, although I do reply to comments.

In the blogging community, as in the writing community and in my community as a whole, I am an introvert. I don’t toot my own horn, which is unfortunate because no one else will. A shy writer is an unsuccessful writer. You have to sell yourself and your works.

Ultimately, the purpose of this blog is to do just that. But that presumes I have works to sell, which I don’t at the moment. Works-in-progress I have aplenty. I chose to focus on one, “Harry Houdini and the Witch of Beacon Hill,” as the first and hope to complete it in the first quarter of 2023. It has symbolic value as the first major work I undertook as a creative writer, but never completed. Why? I was dissatisfied, and then life intervened. Life does that, and then makes you more dissatisfied.

That project opened the door to others that could be quick turn-arounds. They variously fall into the categories of Humor, Humorous Memoir or Inspirational/Self-Help. The Houdini book (shorthand title “Margery”) will require a professional touch so I’ll enlist a hybrid publisher. The others will be quick turnarounds that I could push out on a self-publishing platform like Amazon’s KDP. With luck I’ll have several published by this time next year. The events in “Margery” took place in the summer of 1924, so there’s a centenary coming up.

It took me nearly half that century to write and rewrite the play, which became a book about writing a play and how perfectionism and procrastination are this writer’s worst enemy. I hope other writers can learn from that lesson, but if they don’t, the script of the play takes up the second half of the book. And who can turn down a story abut Houdini?

Thanks for joining me in this journaling/blogging/writing adventure this year. Tune in next week for Season 2, Episode 1!

— Howard

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