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By the Numbers: Blog Posts and Newspaper Columns

February 6, 2019

By the Numbers: Blog Posts and Newspaper Columns

This is my 500th blog post. It took me six years to get here, about 83 posts a year. It was not a race at all, just stating facts.

But for a gal who has written over 1600 newspaper columns over the course of about 32 years, that is a good deal more than the 52 columns per year I averaged writing for Another Way. I wrote just about all of those 1600 columns, (only using guest writers maybe 40 or 50 times) for vacation or just because I think readers enjoy hearing other voices from time to time. For some of those writers, it was their first time being published, and I liked that.

For most of 2018, I shared only the newspaper columns on my Finding Harmony Bog, not posts written specifically for the blog. How do those differ?

When I’m writing a newspaper column, I try to keep in mind the wide audience of a typical daily or weekly newspaper: usually a range of political persuasions, and an array of religious bents from nothing and agnostic to deeply Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, and Evangelical. I suspect there are Muslim and Hindu or Buddhist readers but I don’t hear from these very often. I usually try to include some faith aspect but not always—and always strive to contain a solid takeaway or thought to carry with you. I want readers to feel like it is worth their time to engage.

But the main difference between what I share on the blog and in the several papers (4) which Another Way is still in, is recipes. My column is not a cooking column. So on the blog, especially from 2013-2017 or so, I shared over 113 recipes—every week for a short while! And while I enjoy cooking and trying new recipes and photographing them, that takes time and effort and expense—investing in new spices or sauces or various flours (such as for gluten free items for my grandson with Celiac). I would say what draws new people to the blog are recipes: they go searching for recipes online and stumble across my site; what draws people to Another Way is its more inspirational focus.

Over the years, the most popular blog posts are either recipes or those with compelling titles. Of these five most popular titles over the years, four contain a recipe.

Another frequently viewed recipe, especially in summer: Midget Sweet Pickles: Pure Paradise in a Pickle.

Looking ahead. Like many other bloggers, I also blog to attract an audience especially for any future books that I may still write. They used to say writing a book is one half inspiration and one half perspiration. But successfully publishing a book these days is almost 100 percent platform or marketing: how many readers do you have, how many can you draw, how many reviews can you get on Amazon within the first couple months of publishing. Does the cover and title grab people either online or in the store? Can you attract big name endorsers or a worthy foreword writer? How many “influencers” do you have—that will share info about your book online—in social media to their friends and so on. So not only do you need to write beautifully, correctly, movingly—but you must market diligently, intelligently, and perfectly—if you want to make money or at least pay for your efforts.

Knowing all this, I intend to forge ahead writing a memoir with stories from working for the Mennonite church in its communication efforts for the general public for the last 40 some years. Most of my years in that work has been in outreach media—radio broadcasts, TV documentaries, radio spots, and print efforts—not internal church communication. Who would buy or read a book like that? I’m not sure, but I know that storytelling, done well, is what I will aim for.

So, I also hope to continue writing the Another Way newspaper column for as long as newspapers pay me for it, and work on this memoir thing.

I invite your feedback and comments on any of the above! Thanks for reading and please respond to the poll.



From → Writing Life

  1. Congratulations on your 500th blog post – and six years blogging, quite a feat. One post at a time – wonderful!

    • Sorry to steal your “blog post day” of Wednesday but all of a sudden I realized this anniversary was coming up and I wanted to share it before the day I’m now usually sharing my column posts on Saturdays. … Blessings on your day and thanks for responding!

      • You are not guilty of theft, and I am not at all offended! Again, congratulations on your blogoversary. You should be proud of all you’ve accomplished. 😊

  2. Congratulations on 500 blog posts!! (And on your many, many newspaper columns!)

  3. martyw37 permalink

    Congratulations on 500 posts , I have been a reader of your various columns for many years now and have enjoyed them very much and always share them with others.
    Although we have never met personally, I feel we have become friends through our various communications.
    I will continue to look forward to the new posts which be writing Your longtime friend in Ontario Canada

  4. Caro-Claire, thank you dearheart, my longtime friend! It would be amazing to meet sometime. I have some other folks I’d love to visit in Ontario once I retire. But it may be a few more years until I can head that way with my hubby. Thanks for the good wishes.

  5. Congratulations on reaching 500 posts! That’s quite an accomplishment!

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