So, this all got a little out of control, but in a most excellent way. I started all of this, both the writing and the biking as a way to kill some time. On a whim I decided to push both a little to see what would happen. I began riding further than before and I decided I would update this blog weekly for a year. Again, just to kill some time and see what would happen. I didn’t think ahead at all, I just decided to jump right in. I was unemployed at the time so I wasn’t committing myself to much extra work. If anything I needed both distractions to keep myself sane and focused on something other than the negative. I didn’t spend a lot of time planning on how to make these joint endeavors a success, but that wasn’t the point in the beginning. I had random goals, but there weren’t very serious goals and no one would know if I didn’t achieve them so it was no big deal. If I did I could always brag about them later.
A funny thing happened, it all started to work out. The first quiet goal was to start writing. That worked, obviously. It wasn’t as easy as I had hoped it would be. I thought it would be like college. Sit down, start writing, and be done in an hour. That’s great as long as you have a topic and structure. Not so easy in this venture. I did start to get the hang of it by talking about biking. So I kept talking about biking and accidentally accomplished quiet goal number two, get someone to read what I was writing. I got lucky when CycleRecycle needed guest writers for their blog. I happened to have some stuff ready and they put it up. I suddenly had readers. I can still remember staring at my computer, shaking, as I read my work on someone else’s site. That gave me the courage to jump into weekly site updates for my blog. I couldn’t believe it, but I seemed to keep my readers and even manage to find a few more. Writing is work, but I seemed to be doing okay with it.
One unexpected struggle with the biking and blogging is the self-promotion that became necessary to keep everything growing. I have done promotion in the past, but it was all related to large events or my radio show. It was easy to promote and there were well established methods to accomplish the promotional goals. Trying to promote my writing has been a struggle. I am not confident in the quality of what I am doing and there is a certain awkwardness in figuratively standing up in the internets and screaming for attention. I feel like a carnival barker sometimes, calling out to passing strangers to see what I have written this week. I started by telling everyone I knew on Facebook that I was writing and had a blog. I did the same on Twitter, hoping someone would check it out. I began to feel bad that most of my posts were about promoting my blog or whoever else had published me. I had to make a change. Twitter seemed to be more adaptable to promoting my work while still interacting with friends so I shifted my admittedly weak focus to that platform. I also created a Facebook page for the blog. I still can’t bring myself to call it a fan page as I can’t seriously believe that I would have fans. The Facebook page has done little to convince me otherwise. I do see the value in the page as there are more people liking it every day.
My real struggle with all of this is time. I started a great new job that takes up 40 plus hours a week that I used to fill with writing, promotion, and a job search. I want to continue writing and creating content for CycleRecycleUK.com and IWearSpandex.com, two blogs that I am honored to guest write on. I love to interact with readers when they reach out to me. My issue is that I end up neglecting my Facebook page and my Twitter feed. My Facebook page is especially neglected. I had started to focus more on fitness there as it seemed to generate a positive response. I like to post about what I was working on as well as some inspirational pictures. I linked to other pages where people were trying to create something or follow their dreams. It started to be a nice corner of the internet, but I ran out of time keeping it together. The same can be said for my Twitter feed. I used it to promote myself and some other authors as well as interact with readers or other sites that might be interested in me guest blogging for them. With my heightened and tightened schedule that started to slip away as well.
Now I am faced with a choice. I have been contemplating three possible scenarios. The first is to leave everything exactly the way that it is. I can continue to write and to let the Twitter and Facebook sites fall by the wayside but keep the figurative lights on there as a way to promote what I write. I don’t think this is a great plan as I would rather both pages be much more engaging, but as I said, I am struggling to maintain them right now. The next plan is to shut down the Facebook site and keep the Twitter page for my personal use. It wouldn’t go dark, but it wouldn’t be used for promotion either. I like the time that would give me back at the end of the day, but this plan seems counterproductive because I am writing to have other people read what I write. Not promoting at all would cost the blogs traffic, or at least not boost traffic to them. There is one other alternative. I could put out the digital help wanted sign. It would be more like volunteer wanted, because there is no money in this endeavor. I don’t get paid so I can’t afford to pay anyone, however it might be good promotions experience if someone is looking for that. If someone wanted to handle the admin of the promotional pages it would go a long way towards driving traffic on the sites and take that burden from my shoulders. I would also be willing to share creative control over the Facebook page to the point that someone could develop it into whatever their vision of the page is as long as it still promoted the blog, fitness, and stayed positive.
If anyone is interested in helping out with the page, please get in touch with me. Again, there is no pay, but I am sure that it would be great practical experience for someone interested in promotions. I can’t guarantee that it would work as an internship for school, but I would be more than willing to pursue that if it would help someone who was interested in doing this anyway. I would also love to talk to anyone that has any ideas of what to do with the page as well, even if they are not interested in helping out. I feel like it is a great resource that is languishing right now.