Six months ago I came up with a crazy idea to start focusing on my long neglected blog. I was unemployed and needed something to work on that would help keep my mind occupied so I wouldn’t get over-stressed after being laid off. I have never done well when I don’t have enough work to do, so the thought of not having a job to go to was driving me a little insane. I also thought it might be nice to write again and have some current work to show prospective employers if I had any luck breaking into the social media field. I wrote off and on for four months and managed to post ten commentary pieces, mainly about cycling. I wrote about Lance Armstrong, losing weight, and charity rides. I even had a couple stories picked up by www.cyclerecycleuk.com and published on their blog site. I was also lucky enough to be featured in www.wheelsuckers.co.uk, a social network for cyclists in England. They featured my work in their members’ newsletter after I published a few blogs on their site. I am proud of a couple of those pieces and they provided a good foundation for what was next.
I was happy to be writing but I wanted to do more with my blog site. I decided to follow some advice and publish on a set schedule. I had read a feature on WordPress about bloggers who took up a challenge to publish on a weekly schedule for a year and decided that I would give it a shot this year. This is how the 52 Posts in 52 Weeks Challenge started. To be honest, I threw the idea out on twitter and got such good feedback that I decided to go for it. That would be a repeated theme in the next few months.
I had an idea of when to publish, and had committed to 52 new posts, now I just needed to figure out what to write. My first post contained the rules for the challenge. I set out the idea that each post had to have a central idea and only some of them could be about cycling. The last part was to force me to write about more than just my current passion. The rest of the rules were set to try to make the posts as readable and entertaining as possible. I never assumed I would have readers, but I wanted to try to entertain anyone that showed up.
I began to get more and more serious about the blog and making sure I had content each week. This isn’t as hard as it might be for others as I am still looking for a full time job. I did begin to get more serious about the blog as an undertaking. I started to promote it on my Facebook and Twitter pages but I began to feel bad about forcing it on my friends each week so I jumped in and created a Facebook page for the blog. I still can’t call it a fan page with a straight face, but I am continuing to work on building up the content of the page and using it to promote the blog. I have also dedicated most of my Twitter feed to the blog, connecting with other writers and participating in #MondayBlogs, a great tag for bloggers that is used to help us cross promote each other each Monday.
So, where does that leave us after two months of blogging? I am pleased to say that the state of the blog is…..okay. Some ideas have worked really well, like the #MondayBlogs promotion. Other ideas have met limited success. I sent a query letter to Bicycle Times Magazine to see if they would be interested in publishing one of my pieces in their magazine. I am still waiting to hear back from that. I am pleased to say that the Facebook page is over 100 “likes” and I am announcing the winner of the first giveaway today on Facebook. I am still trying to build a readership, so please like that Facebook page and share the blog!
Moving forward I think that I am going to concentrate more on my story. I am going through some changes at the same time the blog is starting to gain some traction. I have a very ambitious spring, summer, and fall lined up for cycling and running. I have started to blog about what I am doing to get ready for all of these events and what else is going on in my life. These blogs seem to be the most popular ones so I think I am going to keep the focus on these events. I hope that everyone enjoys being let into my life a little more over the next few months; it is going to be interesting living it, I hope it is just as interesting reading about it. I am going to take everyone behind the scenes as I train for the big rides and the Rugged Maniac race that I will be running as well as how my dieting and nutritional struggles are going. The first one or two posts will be giving everyone a baseline of where I am and where I am going.
I hope I can report back in a few months and let everyone know how much the blog has grown. Let me know if you have any suggestions or if there is something you would like me to write about. Most importantly, thanks for reading!