4th Anniversary Blog

Posted on May 18, 2015

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The Numbers (and What You Can Do About Them)

At this time last year I had just cleared 30,000 hits in three years. In the last year alone, I’m now closing in on 50,000 hits (47,441 as of this morning). I think this is largely due to a few good friends such as Gink & Gasoline and Orvis who have republished some of my posts (and to whom I both owe content). But I also notice that my daily hits have kind of reached a critical mass, where I might get 20-50 hits in a day even if I haven’t posted for a while. HDR B&W, Once Black, and The Snake Between My Legs still getting hits almost every day and currently account for an embarrassing 8% of my total traffic, which goes to show that sex sells and maybe I should stop being serious and make money.

blogMy world map is looking pretty good! Thank you. The point of all this is: As always, every like or share is worth hundreds more hits than people simply discovering me, so if you find content on the web, mine or anybody’s, this simple act of a single button push will really help us out. You may just help somebody reach a dream – that’s how I got published –  and what better simpler gift is there than that.

World_Map

For the first 3 years I was on pace and published ~50 times a year. I fell off a little this year, with 190 total posts. I’m okay with that because I actually get paid to put content on other blogs that I might otherwise put here (boring Agile stuff which people rightfully asked that I not post, and of which I have a ton). Some of the posts this year were quite long (New Trout in Old Books, Thoreau’s a Week on the Merrimack, Remembering Rye, A Small Sharp Blade) were all over 5,000 words. Blade was close to 10,000. Some of these require significant research and time to compose (I have 21 posts in draft form waiting to finish the research, thought processes, photoshoots etc.) I have a whole 50pp series on story theory. One 5000 word post I previewed with a select audience who panned it and so never published.  Even “short” posts generally top 500 words and those short in words usually make up for it with a surfeit of images. (I cannot write short, I banged this out over lunch at 1200 words. Sigh.)

Previously I’d used my anniversary posts to “explain” the blog, its content, and navigation. This year I created a sticky post to have all of that on the home page and I’ve also spent some time cleaning it up so that people coming from external links can find their way around.

The Art

The numbers are interesting, but it’s the art that we’re here for, right?

Writing

All in all, I would still have to say that the blog has been a good vehicle for my writing, if only to make sure I keep doing it. In fact, I would go so far as to say everything I have accomplished in writing as been as a direct result of this blog, peripatetic as it may be. So, if you are writer, want to be a writer, or have an idea, I will parrot the old adage and tell you “Just write.” And I will add the a blog is a great, easy way to do it. It took me 5 minutes to set this blog up and get to work, and I can access it from any computer at any time. Excuses gone.

While I have not “published” as many stories here this year, it’s not because I have not been writing. I finally decided to work on a novel, and in the last three months I have made tremendous strides on that as well as another novella. Speaking of novellas, it turns out that eBooks are a great market for them and I’m this close –  || – to publishing two ebooks based on novellas I’ve already written,  Michael Kilkenny’s Wake and Van Gogh’s Absinthe. I just need one more edit pass and to approve the cover art. Over Christmas, I went to Orvis world headquarters and talked to the editor about writing/sharing some of my work on their blog and will do so if I ever wet another line. Finally, I spent a ton of time on Fly Fishing in the Russian Far East. We have a very talented designer and did one last grueling edit pass, which I need to find time to polish and incorporate (no small task as the book is over 300pp). I got published again in the Fly Fish Journal, and invited to read at the inaugural Writers on the Fly. One of the writer’s there is even writing a sequel to The Very Cruelest Thing! I have fan fiction.

Photography

While the blog has done a lot for my writing, it also pushes me to take the occasional picture.  Part of my frustration this year was due to equipment failures. At one point all of my cameras were broken. I’m still fascinated by how many situations present themselves every day to make “art,” and how many truly breathtaking compositions I could’ve taken this year. I’ve slowly been replacing lenses and getting camera work done (I have an upcoming post on ths ;-)). I’m still looking for a replacement for my main “go-to” SLR lens and as a result I have missed a wealth of breath-taking shots , so I need to put some energy into resolving this.  I bought, and played with, a Fuji GX680 medium format tilt-shift camera before the battery died and I just now got it fixed.

Posts, like the Thayer Barn required numerous photo shoots and post-processing time, pushing me into the realm of digital.  In fact, the push to digital ended up with me posting a lot more photographs than ever before (my camera rolled over 10,000 images and restarted numbering from 1 last week). Ironically, although I clearly have long way to go in digital, I am reminded by every minor “success” how much I enjoy the film work and have finally gotten back into the darkroom after an embarrassing lag.

Upcoming

And what is on board for this year? I hope to severely disappoint some of my fans by actually catching some fish. Photographically, my tilt-shift is working and I will be doing some architectural photography, and perhaps some landscapes I have yet to capture (Mt. Baring, the Sultan). I will probably solve my white balance void and get sucked further into  digital post processing, if only to motivate myself to go into the darkroom. I’ve been on a year-long garage/house remodel to make workshop space and the ultra-large project is tickling my brain with an ever bigger feather. And printing on glass and backing with gold leaf. And film testing. And caffeinol. Okay, if I just get to the ULF, I’ll be happy.

And writing. I have a new novella The Forest God, which desperately wants to be a novel, but that would interfere with my actual novel, Boa, New Mexico, wherein my fly fishing detective and his trusty Rottweiler finally get to save the world. We will finish Fly Fishing in the Russian Far East. And, of course I had originally hoped to have my two novellas out by now but got stalled, so that will happen.

In my draft folder I have:

  • Edward Curtis
  • Tilt-shift
  • Bellevue Architectural Study
  • A reader competition
  • Portsmouth Book Stores
  • Several Stories
  • A bunch of stuff on story theory

I hope you bear with me as I persevere on my erratic course.

P.S. Who Are You and Where are You From?

Who is visiting me from the Ukraine?

WordPress gives me these awesome reports and I can see how people find me, where they live, how they found the blog, what pages they visited. I see people from Europe, Asia, South America, and I always wonder who they are. I would love to get comments from you!

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Posted in: Photography, Writing