Every year, I love taking the time to look back on the blog posts I’ve written and select a handful that truly stood out. This year, I wrote 127 posts, which is 25 more posts than I wrote last year! I am not sure what my blogging life is going to look like next year because 2019 is the year I am going to throw my whole self into writing my novel. This means waking up early and writing in the evenings and spending lots of time on the weekends writing. This means making space for novel writing, not just finding time here and there. In order to make that space, other things need to go and I know my blog might be one of those things. By that I don’t mean I won’t be blogging anymore. Oh, I will. I for sure will. I need this blog like I need air. Writing is my catharsis, my happy place. It just means I may not write as frequently. Definitely not three times a week, which has been commonplace for this past year. It may only be once or twice a week. It may mean more breaks, but I will always come back to this space. I can promise you that.
Let’s talk about 2018 blogging, though. This year, I launched my “What I’m Reading” weekly post and while I don’t get a ton of engagement on those posts, I had multiple people ask me about them when I stopped writing them for a few weeks. I really enjoy writing those posts, though, and I think I’ll continue them throughout 2019. I used Wednesdays as my “personal essay” days and Fridays to write the more “fun” posts, like Currently, Friday Questions, Five for Friday, etc. The personal essays always get the most engagement, and I may end up doing away with Friday posts altogether to give myself a bit of a breather. We’ll see!
I always like to take a moment to look at my blogging stats at the end of the year. I don’t really care about my stats throughout the year – I don’t have any idea of how many people come to my blog daily – but it’s a fun year-end tradition to check them out:
- Top post: I’m 27 and Scared to Move Out
- Top search term: “dachshund loyalty to one person”
- Most active month (in terms of visitors): January
- Least active month (in terms of visitors): June
- Total words written: 102,034
- Average words per post: 994
- Total number of views: 35,989
- Total number of visitors: 16,047
And now, the handful of posts that stood out to me. It was actually really hard to narrow down my posts to just these eight posts, but I managed to contain myself. 🙂
My favorite post was Life Lessons from Pops. In this post, I detailed six life lessons Pops taught me during the 31 years I got to spend with him.
Pops loved people. He loved his family, he loved his church, he loved the people he met at the gym, he loved strangers. Every person was deserving of a smile and a conversation, in his mind. Every person had a story to tell, and it was his job learn that story and connect with them. He was interested in people. He was interested in their lives and it was from a place of complete authenticity. I don’t think I ever had a conversation with Pops that didn’t leave me feeling seen and heard.
My most popular post was Why I’m Giving Up Online Dating in 2018. Near the end of 2017, I made the decision to delete all of my dating apps and not worry so much about online dating this year. In this post, I explained why I did so and apparently, it resonated with a ton of people!
The truth is, I haven’t found any sort of happiness in dating for the past few years. It’s not fun for me to go on dates and get my hopes up, only to find them dashed by a guy who is much less interesting in person or who ghosts on me right after that first date. It’s not fun to message with guy after guy after guy, and have to try so hard to keep up conversation because, news flash, most guys are actually terrible at communication. I can’t tell you how many conversations have stalled because the guy doesn’t ask followup questions or gives me few-word answers.
My most helpful post was How to Choose What to Read Next. In this post, I answered a question from a friend who wanted to know how I choose the books I read because it can get overwhelming with all of the choices out there. My system for choosing books is rather complicated, so instead, I gave some options for creating your own system of what to read next.
I have a seriously intricate process when it comes to choosing what I’m going to read next. I have at least seven different TBR lists that I refer to when I’m making my monthly reading list, and it’s very hard to explain how I go about choosing what I’m going to read. But it’s a system that works for me! It’s probably not a system that will work for most people, though. So, instead of discussing my exact process for selecting books, I thought I could give some tips on how youcan figure out your own system for choosing what you are going to read.
A post whose success surprised me was What My Budget Looks Like Today. This was the second most-viewed post from 2018, and it’s surprising how much this one resonated with readers! In this post, I get brutally honest about my budget using actual numbers (including revealing my salary!)
Why am I doing this? Because I think we need to be more honest about money and not feel ashamed to talk about our salaries and budgets. Sure, my salary may not be all that impressive to other people, but it’s fine for my needs and it allows me to support myself easily.
A post I felt didn’t get the attention it deserved was Some Thoughts on Anxiety, Medication, and Shame. I used this post to talk about my decision to increase my antidepressant medication, which was the best decision I could have made for my mental health at the time but also came with a level of shame that I’ve rarely experienced.
I left the office feeling, for the first time ever, shame.
I’ve never, ever felt shame about my anxiety or needing to take medication to manage it. I understand that my brain just functions differently than those who do not experience anxiety and depression, and that the medication is necessary to balance it all out.
So, this feeling of shame was a new experience. I think it stemmed from this idea that I wasn’t getting “better.” Shouldn’t I be at the point where I could drop my dosage from 10mg to 5mg… not double it? Shouldn’t my brain be fixed by now?
My most beautiful post was In Loving Memory of Pops. This was my memorial to Pops, something that felt incredibly surreal to write. His death was so unexpected, and it was hard to put into words how massive this loss was for both me and my family.
Pops was ready to live for many more years, and that’s what feels so hard about losing him. I expected to have decades longer with him. I expected him to see me marry and love on my babies. I thought I would be able to bake him so many more batches of cookies, have so many more holidays with him.
The post I was most scared to push publish on was My Junk Financial Beliefs. Money always seems like a taboo topic, and this one was especially so. In this post, I discuss some of the money mindsets I’ve carried with me throughout the years and what I’m doing to shift my thinking.
I have a scarcity mindset when it comes to my finances. I never feel like I’ll ever have enough money, even though I actually do. I’m able to pay my bills, put food on the table, go on vacation. But I don’t save as much as I would like, I have credit card debt, and I always feel as if I’m working at a deficit when it comes to my budget. And it all feels very natural to me to have this unhealthy relationship to my finances. That’s the way I was raised, always fearing that one bill that could turn our world upside down, and that’s the way I live today, even though I don’t need to.
The post I am most proud of was The State of My Faith Today. In this post, I get real vulnerable and honest about my faith. I talk about the way my faith has changed throughout the years and what happened to cause a dramatic shift in my mindset. This is a post that has been on my heart to write for quite a long time, and I’m grateful it was met with mostly positive feedback.
My faith was a huge part of my identity from the time I was young and throughout my early twenties. I was fully invested in everything the church preached: I didn’t curse, dressed modestly, believed sex outside of marriage was sinful, didn’t listen to secular music or read books that didn’t have Christian themes. I wore a “True Love Waits” ring on my left ring finger for years and felt pride in the fact that I had never “given up my special gift” for some random guy. I was highly judgmental of people who didn’t follow the Christian faith. I believed that the only path to happiness was by being a believer. I didn’t believe in gay rights and was staunchly pro-life.
If you have a blog, do you see your approach to it changing in 2019?