Taking on too much

Not far into 2019 and I feel I’ve overcommitted to passion projects already. Between home and work I’m struggling to put the required time and energy into much at the moment. Hoping it’s just a slump but I need to do a bit of soul searching on what to concentrate on.

My blog is the easiest to keep updated and the bit I’m most passionate about.

The podcast is on hold, still stuck in a loop with Anchor. This is probably a good thing as I’m struggling to find stuff to talk about right now.

I’ve also wanted to record an album of my own music to keep for prosperity rather than market or anything. Playing guitar again is something I need to bring back into my life, too much tech related stuff isn’t good for me personally right now. This’ll take priority over the podcast depending on what I want to do going forward.

Lots of thinking to do.

Blogging from an iPhone

You’d be amazed at the amount of posts that I do from an iPhone. I tend to wake early so a lot of my writing is done in these quiet spots before my day kicks off. It’s one of the reasons I ended up getting an iPhone XS, bigger screen and better camera. For me my iPhone is by far my used device and after thinking about this post the most used one for blogging.

Here’s how I’m doing it.

First off I use WordPress so most of my posting is done from their iOS app. It’s not bad, a few UI glitches here and there but been pretty solid for me. I can also tweak my design and resolve any page issues. If it’s a small post I’ll quite often just write it in here too. The app gives you the option of posting straight away or you can schedule it for a later date.

My second app is iA Writer. You’ll know that I use it as my writing app of choice and the place that posts like this one starts. It gives me a clean writing experience and puts all my documents into iCloud.

If I want an image for a post I use Halide to take a RAW image (although the built in camera app will be fine for most things) and then Darkroom to edit before saving out. With the addition of iCloud Photo Library it’s doesn’t matter which device I’m using I’ll have access to all of my images.

Once I’m happy with how my post looks in the WordPress app (I copy it from iA to the WordPress app) I’ll add my tags and publish immediately or schedule it in for another day.

When I’m feeling creative I’ll write up a load of posts and get them all scheduled in over a week or sometimes two.

iOS has been a massive help to me for keeping up with sharing my thoughts and I have no excuse not to post something here with my pocket computer always available to me.

Forget your blog statistics just enjoy writing

Over the last few months I’ve become less and less interested in the statistics of my site. I’m really pleased that month by month I’m seeing an increase in visits but I’d gotten to the point I was checking it obsessively.

What I’ve found is that now I’ve taken a step back I’m writing more. Yes, my posts are more micro than long form so I shouldn’t have an excuse not to post more anyway but I’m genuinely feeling less pressure on myself and writing more of what I want.

I’m not looking at trends or what my top posts are, I’m just writing.

Give it a go for a few months and see how your relationship with your blog changes.

Keeping going

Being a creative person on the internet has been hard over the last 10 or so years for me. I went from being somewhat successful in the world of YouTube guitar players back in 2008 to losing my channel then discovering blogging and freelance writing, which took me down the path I’m on now. I constantly have to remind myself that I prefer writing and chatting on podcasts more than I did feeling awkward on camera producing YouTube content. To be honest even if I’d stuck it out the guitar content has fallen into the click bait world of YouTube now too, so wouldn’t have been comfortable making it anyway.

There so much vying for attention with the addition of social networks and click bait favouring algorithms that keeping going with your own thing is hard.

I’ve been demoralised at stages in the last few years with my blog, realising that not many people want to help support you. My failed patreon was also having a negative impact on my confidence levels and I’ve completely removed this link now from the site. If you can make it work then great but from my experience unless you already have a large following somewhere else it just didn’t work out for me.

I think my issue was that I was trying to ‘make it’ in the world of being an independent journalist but have quickly come to the realisation that you can’t make a living doing this alone in this day and age. I’ve given up trying to ‘make it’, hell I can’t even get other professional bloggers or journalists to give me feedback and publications and some podcast networks only pick guests from their inner circle.

What has helped me keep going though has been finding a smaller niche group of people that actually read my stuff and give me feedback. I’ve also found more smaller creators that I’ve had some great interactions with and have given me the energy to keep going.

I’ve also found that I enjoy just writing what I’m passionate about. I’m not competing with any site I just want to share my thoughts on stuff and not worry about sticking to a particular theme.

I guess what I’m trying to say is (I’m trying not to ramble) if you read someone’s content out there, especially from an independent like me please engage with it. RT, like, cross post, comment – do anything you can to let them know that you’ve read it (it’s also not rude to point out typos by the way).

So, it’s this interaction that keeps me going. I have no financial dependence on this blog at all, it’s a passion project as is my podcast but for us small creators please let us know what you think of our stuff.

Thanks to everyone that’s engaged with me on my content, even that little like you may have done on Twitter really helped me out that day to produce something else.

Finally, in the spirit of sharing others work here are some fine folks that have really helped me keep going over the last few months.

Traffic update

I’m really pleased with the performance of the blog since moving to WordPress.

The traffic has built steadily and after a record December I’m already seeing growth in the first week of January. One of my goals this year is focus, so I’m going to be more consistent on the blog and other creative outlets. If you build it they will come, right?

Blogging in 2019

Every year I ask myself about the state of blogging. In this age of social media it’s often forgotten about that people still have them. Personally I’d rather put my content (that I value) somewhere that’s mine and share from social rather than build up content on someone else’s platform. Throw away comments are fine on Twitter but a post like this one will always be put on my blog.

I don’t think blogging is anywhere near dead and will come back around once the social media frustrations are drawn out. I’m already seeing a decline in people using social media, especially FB and before I deleted my account saw hardly anything from friends.

My focus for 2019 might shift a little towards podcast or video but a blog will always be the backbone of my content, somewhere everything hangs off.

LJPUK Stats 2018 roundup

Although I’m not setting the world alight with my content I’ve seen a steady increase in traffic since launching the new site on WordPress. I’m not talking hundreds of thousands but I’m in the tens of thousands now, which I’m pleased with. I’ve not marketed at all really just put out content that I’ve wanted to share.

So, my top post:

This won by a considerable margin and shows writing how to’s for small creators is a good way to bring some traffic your way.

Next up the top ten countries that visit my site.

Not a surprise given I’m based in the UK and write mainly about technology. I’m surprised that Switzerland made it in there, thanks to whoever is visiting my site from there.

Lastly here are my top referrers.

Surprise for me is seeing a lot of readers coming from other WordPress users. I have a steady number of them being added every week and something I didn’t expect. If you have a WordPress site consider using the reader to follow sites within the app.

So, good to see an upward trend on my viewers and hopefully blogging makes a comeback in this age of toxic social media.

Thanks to everyone that’s contributed to these stats this year.