Monday, December 30, 2013

This year around here

As the end of the year is upon us (and how in hell did THAT happen, amirite?), I thought it was timely to once again turn my thoughts to how 2013 has played out here on Play, Eat, Learn, Live.

Firstly, from an overview perspective: the year saw a slight decline in both PVs and posts (this post will make the 150th for this year, to last year's 184). The decline was proportionate - ie the reduced number of PVs is about commensurate with the average views per post x reduced number of posts. I am guessing this suggests that my readership numbers here are fairly stable, and, which I also suspected but wasn't sure of, reasonably consistent year to year across categories.

In terms of what drew the eyeballs most this year, my top 5 posts were:

1. Fox in the Box restaurant review (August)
This review that I wrote of a beautiful little gluten free cafe in Gardenvale is now my third top post of all time, and not surprisingly, as the cafe promoted it on their own Facebook page. (Stats tells me a lot of the traffic originated from there).

2. The stream of my consciousness (November)
This is the genuine puzzler of this year. Numerically my second-best post of the year by quite a margin, and currently sitting at 6 in my all-time top 20 list, this is a post about - quite literally - nothing; just crap I was thinking about at the time. It only got the usual one-Tweet promotion, that was all. Yet, it got hammered. Go figure it.

3. Reading Notes: Destination Saigon (June)
I am delighted that this book review came in at number 3 (and is currently sitting at 13 on my alltime list too). The author promoted the piece repeatedly, as did I, and it's genuinely exciting to me that a book review came in among the top performers.

4. Can you struggle on $250k a year? (March)
This was my slightly ranty opinion piece on the superannuation comments of Joel Fitzgibbon earlier in the year. I was somewhat trenchant. People read it, apparently.

5. Reading Notes: Questions of Travel and The Burial (March)
Again, my cheer that a second book review post performed solidly enough to come in at number 5 is immense. This particular double-header review, which was part of both my Australian Women Writers Challenge and my Stella prize longlist challenge, drew traffic from the AWWC site as well as Twitter and one of the authors.

One trend that continued this year was the fading away of comments. Like last year, there was no corresponding drop in PVs; it's just that less people seem to want to talk about stuff (or at least nor here). There was a substantial uptick of people tweeting their thoughts about posts to me, or even emailing them, rather than making actual comments on the blog. I'm not sure why this is so, but it is. I find it mildly disheartening; I used to love the conversations I had in the comments section, and I miss them. It's the way the world is going though, I think.

In terms of what I did with the blog this year, there was a marked divide between the first and second halves, largely due to commencing my fulltime job in July, after which the opportunities for blogging became much scantier. I still did primarily the same sorts of posts, but just a lot less of 'em, and with a lot more hand-wringing. In terms of categories, there were:

- 24 book reviews (here - plus another 7 straight reviews over at The Shake, a review at Dark Matter Fanzine and a Booker composite review at Global Comment)
- 29 poems, of which the most read was January's villanelle, Schoolyard, and a poem that I wrote in February but published in November called The Beginning of the Holiday)
- 10 op-ed posts on a range of topics
- 15 that could be reasonably described as slice of life
- 8 that were about holidays
- 15 posts that were about work, and the challenge of juggling work and family

The rest were a hodgepodge - a little bit of this and a little bit of that.

I've been thinking hard about whether I want to keep going with this blog in 2014. As things stand at the moment, I am probably finding it less of an outlet than Twitter, and something of a commitment at a time when I am struggling a bit with managing all the aspects of my life.

I'll certainly be blogging in January - I've signed up to do the Month of Poetry challenge and will be posting most if not all of my poems here. Beyond that, though, I just don't know. I'm reluctant in some ways to let it go, as I look back fondly over all the birthday and holiday posts, the little quirky stories, the enthusiasms, the literary scrapbooking that I've done here.

At the same time, as the kids get older, what I can say or should say about them in this the ever-living Internet is more limited all the time. Prudence and ethics also precludes me from writing in more than very elliptical terms about work or private life dilemmas. And as my family, my work and my dilemmas take up 85% of my headspace at any given moment, that leaves only the 15% of stuff that isn't that (poems, books, logistics, opinions and observations) to write about. Which would be enough, if I didn't also have three excellent online magazines who are willing and able to take my book reviews / literary content - so I do not, anymore, need this blog for that purpose.

So, I don't know. I'm still thinking on it. We'll see how things rest when Month of Poetry finishes. But if it should happen that this is the last of these wrap up posts - well, I'd like to say thank you for the reads and the encouragement, and may the road rise gently to meet you.


  1. I am still enjoying your blog very much, and I wonder is the lack of commenting due to people reading blogs on mobile devices? There have been a few occasions this year when I've tried to comment using my iPhone and it has failed. So while I'm here on the PC I'll add in that your Lucy in amber poem was very much enjoyed - my 7 and 5 year olds discovered Narnia in 2013 (I don't think I ever forgot).

    1. You know I hadn't even thought of the mobile devices angle but I bet you're right. It can be ridiculously frustrating using comments on tabs and phones.

      Thank you for the kind comments on the blog and on my Lucy poem. Tomorrow i am going to attempt an Edmund POV one :-)