Za mnogo godini, everyone.
Until then, let’s make some resolutions for the coming year.
I already talked about what worked and what didn’t last year (to summarize: more alpha-readers, more medium- and short-length work, more collaboration, but no more serialized stories on the website), but today I want to cast a more critical eye on what I’m doing and in the spirit of the season, make some resolutions.
With charts! (uh, if you don’t like the charts, just scroll down to the end)
I pulled these numbers out of the air, but you can see that Wonderful Awful Ideas is a huge success. At least for me. It’s a fun, easy way for me to either get an annoying idea out of my head or see that it could use more development. I thought I would be the only reader of the language blog, but it seems to interest people on Tumblr and Facebook (is that a good thing? See below). The podcast alternates being the MOST FUN EVER (the actual conversations) and THE BIGGEST DRAG EVER (the audio editing) and it takes an enormous amount of time, but it is the biggest draw to the website (uh, I think. More on that below).
Ah, the social networks. A waste of time, or a complete waste of time? Tumblr is a bit whacky, but I’ve had a few really interesting conversations there, it’s a convenient place to develop bits and pieces of ideas, and it’s fun. Twitter doesn’t take up much time, but is usually pretty barren, unless I manage to be online at the same time as North America (in other words, talk to me, Europe!). Facebook surprised me with how useful it is. It’s not as much flash-bang fun as Tumblr and takes more time than Twitter, but there are days when the bulk of my site traffic comes from the Big Face.
And then there’s the time I spend, you know, actually trying to write novels. Research takes forever but makes me a blast at parties (assuming you want someone to lecture you about Ottoman history), and if I didn’t do it I’d be ashamed of myself. No, sorry, research only takes 75% of forever. Illustrations take FOREVER and I’m always disappointed with them but I the website looks like crap without them and I promised my friends I would draw pictures of dinosaurs for them! I’m sorry! I’m sorry I haven’t drawn a dinosaur for you! Please don’t leave me because, notice that huge blue triangle for “correspondence?” That isn’t just alpha- and beta-readers (without whom I literally would not be able to write), it’s the fun conversations I’ve struck up and continued with awesome people with awesome ideas. <sniff> love you guys!
There’s one problem with all this stuff, though:
When I calculate how “useful” something is, I barely know what I’m talking about. I can tell how many people visit the site on a given day (not many) how long they stay (not long) and how many leave immediately and never come back (lots). But I can’t figure out which posts get the most views, how long the average person stays once you discount the people who leave immediately, and what kind of material people want to see more of.
So I guess my first resolution is going to have to be: (1) learn how to use Google Analytics.
As for my other resolutions? Well…
2) shift from many, meaningless interactions to a few meaningful ones
3) figure out ways to pay it forward and help other people
4) set aside time for some god-damn art
5) research more (sigh)
And as for projects, well I don’t want to jinx myself or set anything in stone, but I’m thinking about:
1) making a comic with someone
2) expanding one of the Wonderful, Awful Ideas into a medium-length story (but which one?)
3) the next novel? Maybe sci-fi? Maybe on the theme of exploration?
4) Figure out how to get more feedback from YOU, my readers.
So what do you want to see me do this year?