It has been exactly one year since the initial post on YSPR. In that year, the two biggest changes for the blog have probably been that the main author started graduate school and the move to a new domain name. The first change has meant that my own writing has made up a smaller proportion of the posts, relying more heavily on readings or links. The second change has meant that I've tried to put up content at least three times a week.
Combined, these two changes have meant more content but less of my own voice. They have also meant a substantial growth in readership since the beginning of 2012, when I started keeping a more regular schedule (generally Monday, Wednesday, Friday). If you are new, what attracted you to the blog? If you have been reading for a while, which changes have you liked and which have you disliked?
I thoroughly enjoy this process of putting ideas out there, even if it is only a memorandum to my future self to remember something (as with many of the news reports of DTO leaders being captured or killed). The biggest lessons I have learned from a year of blogging are:
- Create content often. A blogger can probably get away without having a regular schedule, but it definitely helps me. If I let the blog slip for a while, by the time I come back to it I have forgotten the ideas I had while I was away. Frequent blogging helps me to come up with more ideas than I otherwise would have had.
- Be yourself. There is no point blogging if you have to pretend. Unoriginality will get you nowhere; even if your "take" on things is represented only in the uniqueness of the way that you combine ideas, that can still be a valuable contribution. Write about what interests you.
- Respect your readers. I really appreciate getting comments from readers, whether they are personal friends or individuals I have never met before. I make an effort to respond to as many comments as I can, whether through a comment of my own, a response post, or an email.
- Include others. This may seem to contradict #2, but really it is a combination of the first three lessons. Jim's guest post last year is an example of content I never would have been able to share if not for the blog. My writing absolutely benefits from the comments of others, whether on the blog or when the post is still in draft form.
- Respect other authors. This is a fairly recent lesson that I learned when I saw some content I had created shown on another blog. I did not mind that the other blogger had reposted it, but there were a number of constructive criticisms of my work on that blog that I had missed out on for months because I was unaware of the cross-posting.
For more reflections on blogging and some links to other good advice, I recommend Marc Bellemare's post here and the Tyler Cowen video below. Tomorrow I'll post my top ten favorite posts from the past year.