Five-Year Reflection

I received this notification today:
5 Year Anniversary Achievement
“Happy Anniversary with!
You registered on 5 years ago.
Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging.”
 My blog turns five years old on New Year’s Eve. When I look back on that first post, Follow the Yellow Brick Road, I wonder: how on earth did I make it this far?
images-200x199Before I started blogging, I wondered what the point would be in it. I used to liken it to shouting into a void, and where was the fun in that? And at first, that’s exactly what it was. With only a handful of followers, getting a like or two – or, wow, is that a comment??? – was all the encouragement I needed to post another photo, or a poem, or a thought about something.
Consistency is everything, as many of my blogger friends will tell you. Showing up and putting in the time and energy is what draws more followers, likes and comments. It is what brings the lovely reward of connection with other like-minded people, as well as with those who walk an entirely different path.
 So much can happen in the span of five years. When I reflect on my life as shared through this blog, certain events stand out. I remember the highs – cherished moments with friends and loved ones (which strengthened those relationships), travel to new destinations near and far, and the fulfillment of two novels written; and the lows – first and foremost, the loss of my beloved mother to Alzheimer’s disease, as well as other sad good-byes, personal disappointments and health afflictions. For me, keeping a blog is also a form of testimonial to my ongoing gratitude, as a way to pay homage to the priceless gifts that life has granted me.
 Today, I can’t picture my life without blogging. I know I’ve said this on earlier blog anniversaries, but it still holds true. When life gets hectic or throws me a curveball, I admit to moments that hint of burnout, but those times have thankfully been few.
I hope Jennifer’s Journal lives on for a few years yet. Why? Because, as an introvert, I have been enriched and inspired by all the incredible people I’ve met here. You’ve added another meaningful dimension to my days, and I want to keep you around, in 2017 and beyond!

How long have you been blogging?
Have you found the connections you’ve made rewarding?

Jennifer’s Journal is Turning Three

Happy Birthday to my little blog!

Actually, my blog will turn three years old on New Year’s Eve, but I thought I’d get a jump on marking the occasion with  questions and answers about my experience as a blogger.

1. Did you think you’d still be blogging after three years?

I didn’t think about it in the beginning. I only knew I was willing to see where it would take me.

2. Can you describe your blogging experience in one word?

Rewarding! This post tells why.

3. How has your blog changed from the time you started until now?

At first its purpose was to practise more writing of poetry and short prose to better prepare myself for the discipline of novel-writing. But my posts broadened quickly to include photography, still in keeping with my blog’s central theme of sharing what I love.

4. Are you a better writer three years later?

I believe I am. I think my ability has been honed, while my curiosity about everything has expanded tenfold. Writing a couple of novels definitely helped too. I hope my research and editing skills have improved as well.

5. What do you dislike most about blogging?

I keep wishing I could meet some of the wonderful people I’ve found here on WordPress. Or at least hear their voices. Come on, everyone, let’s vlog! (video-blog) 🙂

6. What do you love most about blogging?

It’s hard to choose only one thing, but I love to create something that readers can identify with and moves them to share their comments. Posting photos that others like as much as I do is gratifying too.

7. What advice would you give to someone starting a blog today?

Commit to a schedule and blog regularly. Be consistent and be yourself; in other words don’t try to be everything to all people. Don’t choose a theme with a white text on a dark background, or too many bells and whistles. Most people find it hard to read those kinds, including me.

8. What has surprised you the most?

Connecting with people who are like-minded, as well as those who have different interests and opinions. Besides it being an education, it is a great way to cultivate an open mind and form new friendships – even if they are the virtual kind.

9. What have you learned about blogging?

Most people are visual creatures. An image catches my eye and invites me to read in a way a block of text alone can’t. The writing still has to be engaging, of course.

10. Who was your first follower?

Carla from Seasons Change and So Do I. We started our blogs on the same day and we still follow each other. We’ve both been through a lot in our lives, and just as her blog name suggests, we have gone through significant changes since we began blogging. I’m grateful for her support. She feels like an old friend.

11. What are the most popular posts of the past three years?

I will qualify this answer with the reminder that I had fewer followers in the first couple of years, so the lists reflecting the most popular posts are also the most recent.

By reader views:

Greenspond – Part II
Friday Bouquet #11
Hello, December – Goodbye, Nano!
Christmas Renewed
Imagine (and a Birthday)
Wildlife of Newfoundland & Labrador
A Walking Trail, Bergy-Bits, and Other Pretty Things
About Me
To Sea by Virtue
Relics of Rome

By reader likes:

 About Me
Photo Challenge: Threes
Summer Lovin’
Cat Dreams
Vivian’s Room
Photo Challenge: Up
Remembering Rhonda
Is There Room* in Your Book for Me?

12. What are your ten personal favorites?

Thinking Out Loud
My “Backyard” – Part 1My “Backyard” – Part 2: The Beach
A Spanish Purr Sounds Just As Sweet
The Day We Met
If Only
She Writes
“That’s my father”…
Hey, Little Girl
Vivian’s View From Here
Autumn Walk on the East Coast

13. Anything you’d do differently?

I should have started blogging sooner. I have a vague memory of wondering why anyone would want to have a blog. Now I know.

14. Anyone you want to thank?

I’d like to thank everyone who has taken the time to read Jennifer’s Journal. I especially want to thank those who have liked, commented, followed, signed up for emails, reblogged on WordPress, retweeted on Twitter, or shared my posts on Facebook. You all know who you are. 🙂

I also thank the lovely bloggers who shared their stories, advice and talent with me, supported me in my writing, and those who nominated me for blogging awards.

15. What will the next year look like for the blog?

I have three chief areas I hope to work on:

a. more opinion pieces, poetry, and short fiction to develop my skills for writing articles and short stories
b. better photography, thanks to a new DSLR camera for Christmas – providing I learn how to use it 😉
c. articles about writing, while periodically sharing what is going on with my pursuit of the craft.

~ J.K.P.

Is there anything you’d like to see more of in future?
Jennifer’s Journal would love to hear your suggestions.

Jennifer’s Journal: 2012 in review

Well, what do you know? prepared a 2012 annual report for my blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 5,700 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 10 years to get that many views.

Silly statistic, isn’t it? But don’t let that stop you:

Click here to see the complete report.