Some old friends met me for a coffee recently and commented on my perfect life.
My perfect what-now?
Apparently my blog gives people the impression that it’s nothing but sunshine and roses here, which is kind of hilarious. Life is not perfect. I generally suck at it. There is not a day that goes by where I don’t feel like a total failure at some point, usually because I’m fighting with the kids about messy rooms/skipped meals/messy kitchens/missing homeschool lessons/messy everything.
If you want to know how my life is going, check out the dates on my blog posts. Have I put a few new posts up this month? Then we’re probably doing pretty good. Have 6 long weeks passed without a single update on my site? It’s likely that I don’t have time to write; I’m probably too busy searching the local school board’s website about late enrolment dates because I. am. done.
I sat down to write my summary of Blogging 2016 with a bit of sadness. After all, I never have time to write, my traffic is down right now, my income was practical nil this year, and I’ve failed to master Pinterest in any way, shape or form. Probably because the lords of Pinterest keep seeing me post online about how much Pinterest drives me crazy. They hate me now. It’s mutual.
So, 2016: lousy year.
Or was it?
When I set out in 2016, I made some very specific goals:
1. Blog weekly. Ideally more than that. FAIL
I did not blog weekly, but I did post 23 times, which is like every two and a half weeks? That’s not as bad as I’d feared. I can work with that. I’m not completely hopeless.
2. Increase the traffic to my site. SUCCESS
Why did I think traffic is down? It’s been better this year by far. And I plan to double it next year.
3. Create a regular newsletter to complement the blog. FAIL
I did not create a regular newsletter, but it’s still on the to-do list. Like, the top of the to do list. I might even send the first newsletter out tonight. Or not.
4. Make a bit of money so I can chip in for household bills. FAIL
Nope. Didn’t happen. Truthfully, this might have been my worst year yet in terms of income, but it’s because I didn’t go after sponsored posts. I just didn’t have time.
5. Post on a big site, someday. Like the Huffington Post. SUCCESS
I did this! I did post on the Huffington Post Canada site — FOUR times! AND I was lucky enough to have each of my four posts promoted on the HuffPo Facebook and Twitter accounts, AND one of those posts was translated into French and Spanish AND featured on the site’s home page! I totally have a screen shot (I’m such a nerd): you see my teeny-tiny face in column one, a post about the competitiveness of Canada on the international markets in column two, and then a big old tampon ad in column three — which is probably the only reason that I haven’t framed it ha ha ha.
There were other successes too, not related to my goals. At the beginning of the year, I signed up for a free 6 week blogging mentorship course run by Julie Nowell. She’s the one that connected me with the HuffPo editors, and she’s also the one who inspired me to try making a video for Facebook. Oh, the Easter Egg video. It’s been watched over 12,700 times now, though I suspect that 700 of those views are my own kids. Funny, but the other video that I made – the video of me ironing to promote a blog post – only garnered 350 views. Still, I can’t believe that over 300 people watched me iron pockets on a shirt.
Other successes? One of my posts hit the StumbleUpon jackpot and brought 14,438 page views in a single day (an astronomical leap in traffic for me). Finally, I published another article in EcoParent magazine this year. You wouldn’t believe what a treat it is to go to a magazine rack at the bookstore and see my name in print there! Honestly, I feel like I might actually get to be a writer when I grow up after all!
After making this list, I don’t feel so bad about the year at all. In fact, I’m excited — and I’m excited to see what happens in 2017.
I’ve set some more goals, though they look suspiciously like the same ones I had for 2016:
1. Blog weekly. Ideally more.
2. Grow my traffic.
3. Write a regular newsletter to complement the blog.
4. Make a bit of money so I can chip in for household bills. Actually, my goal is to make enough money blogging that I can hire childcare once or twice a week — so that I can blog. Because I love it.
5. Post on a big site, someday. Like Well Family on the New York Times website. Lofty goal, I know. But you never know…
If you have anything in particular that you’d like to see on the blog in 2017, please let me know. You can send me an email, leave a comment here, or write a comment on Facebook. If you want it, I will write it.
Are you curious to know what posts were the most popular in 2016? Here’s a list of the top posts, based on page views — but before I get to them, let me thank you for being my reader. I keep hearing that blogging is dead, so I’m delighted to have found people who will faithfully visit my site, leave comments, and share my posts with their friends. I never, ever thought I’d love blogging as much as I do, and I suspect that part of the reason I love it so much is because of all of your support. ♥
Top 10 Posts of 2016
#10: Our New Favourite Toyhttp://www.unhurriedhome.com/our-new-favourite-toy/
“The tree had to go. It didn’t take long to cut down at all – in fact, I don’t know why I didn’t just do it last year. Oh right. The crippling guilt.”
#9: Letter from a Homeschooling Momhttp://www.unhurriedhome.com/to-school-moms-from-homeschool-mom/
“School moms, I don’t know how you do it. … You somehow manage to drag your kids out of bed and then feed them and dress them and groom them enough to meet the generally accepted level of hygiene, and you do this all before 9:00am.
I can confidently say that this is simply beyond my skill level as a parent.”
#8: Adding Poetry to our Dayhttp://www.unhurriedhome.com/adding-poetry-to-our-day/
“I had no idea that I would love these little lessons so much.
Simple? Yes. And so perfect.
Not too long, not too short. A pleasant mix of “teacher-led” and “independent” learning, covering grammar, poetry, picture study, and copywork using quality literature. The Charlotte Mason in me was like, “wwwwwwwhaaaaaaaaat??!?” (Just kidding, the Charlotte Mason in me is far more articulate and dignified and even has a haughty British accent.)
#7: Our Kitchen Makeoverhttp://www.unhurriedhome.com/our-kitchen-makeover/
“I didn’t love my kitchen but I didn’t hate it either. But now? Now it’s the most beautiful space in our house – you’d never believe it was the same room!”
#6: Emeibaby Reviewhttp://www.unhurriedhome.com/my-babywearing-project-emeibaby-review/
“Harbour was more difficult to get in. First, you cannot adjust the carrier’s body while the child is on your back (unless your double jointed, I suppose). This meant I had to put her on my front first to do the adjustments while she did her best to claw my face off and escape (refer to paragraph two). The fabric is clamped tightly in the rings, which is great because you know that it’s secure but a bit more difficult to manipulate when your child is punching you in the kidneys.”
I don’t even know why this post gets so much traffic. I don’t see many shares on Facebook or Pinterest. I’m baffled.
#5: My Favourite Decluttering Tips from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Uphttp://www.unhurriedhome.com/my-favourite-decluttering-tips-from-the-life-changing-magic-of-tidying-up/
“I grabbed a copy of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo from the library, in hopes that rereading it would give me a jolt of inspiration. Instead I was reminded that I’m the only person in North America that doesn’t love that book. Oh, right…
I read this book a few years ago, expecting to fall madly in love with the Konmari method. Instead, I nearly sprained my eyeballs because I was rolling them so much. Why wasn’t Kondo’s charm working on me?”
#4: Tutorial: Easy Last-Minute Fairy Wingshttp://www.unhurriedhome.com/easy-last-minute-fairy-wings/
“I was left with two wingless fairies on my hands.
I wanted to get some gorgeous silk wings from a toy store down the street. But when I casually mentioned them to my husband, he casually mentioned the garage door that broke last week. And the iPhone that I shattered on the weekend. Not exactly the best week to be buying fancy costumes.”
#3: Wayfarers: My Pick for a Charlotte Mason Homeschool Curriculumhttp://www.unhurriedhome.com/wayfarers-made-charlotte-mason-homeschooling-easy/
“When I downloaded the curriculum samples, I discovered that the curriculum was more than just history; it was science, geography, composer study, art, literature, Bible and more — all conveniently scheduled in a day-by-day planner.
It was the open-and-go Charlotte Mason homeschool curriculum that I was looking for. Cue church bells and angel choirs.”
#2. Making Amber Wrap Bracelets II: The Tutorialhttp://www.unhurriedhome.com/amber-wrap-bracelet-tutorial/
“This post is for all the moms out there with a stash of old amber necklaces just begging to be made into something new and pretty. Because if you’re anything like me, those necklaces have been gathering dust for half a decade now. Go on and dig the necklaces out of storage – I’m going to show you how easy it is to make a wrap bracelet using the amber beads.”
#1: The One Item Every Settlers of Catan Fan Needs from Ikeahttp://www.unhurriedhome.com/the-one-item-every-settlers-of-catan-fan-needs/
“On Saturday night, we set up our Catan board with the hexagonal shapes and the number discs, then we placed the frame carefully over top to keep everything in place. It fit perfectly. Like, so perfectly that every future Settlers game should come with a $6 gift card to Ikea.”