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2018 Writing Reflections

Welcome to 2019! I didn’t plan to write or publish this 2018 reflection on blogging, but I got up today and that’s what happened… I think this is a good annual practice for me to get into in order to think about the year in review and the year ahead, and who knows, maybe a few people will find it interesting. So here goes:

2018 in Review

2018 was my best year for readership (just barely edging out 2013, shortly after I launched Talent Vanguard). Most of my readers found me via search engine, closely followed by Twitter, and in a more distant third place LinkedIn (which is significant because I almost never post stuff on LinkedIn). 2018 was also my most consistent year for readers/visits (based on month-to-month blog visits and views). I also think that my e-mail subscribers doubled (although I’m not 100% certain since I wasn’t really paying attention to it before).

In 2018 I wrote 37 posts adding up to 55,449 words published, which is a lot, but is down significantly from 2017 when I posted at least weekly for a total of 58 posts and 88,564 words published. (Read my Reflections section below for some of the reasoning behind writing/publishing frequency.

Average words per post in 2018 was 1,499, which is still long but, (believe it or not) is down slightly from 2017 (1,527 words per post). The most regular constructive feedback I get about my writing is that my posts are too long, which I absolutely acknowledge and have chosen to ignore in order to prioritize actually writing and publishing stuff (rather than getting stuck trying to make things shorter).

My two most-read posts of 2018 were ones that I wrote in previous years: When Are Subcultures in Your Organization a Problem (which I published in October 2017) and HR Capacity Building (which I published all the way back in January 2013!). These posts are mostly being found through search engines.

The most read posts I published in 2018 were:

A couple of my favorites that weren’t as widely read:

Writing Goals for 2019:

  • Keep writing. I’m going to aim to publish bi-weekly but not get stressed out if I miss the odd post. I have a lot going on this year.
  • Get my average words per post down a bit (no firm target, just an intent to practice my self-editor skills this year)
  • More interviews. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that 2 of the 5 most-read posts I published this year were interviews (with Evidence-Based HR with Natasha Ouslis and Cancer & Resilience in the Workplace with Alyssa Burkus). I know *so many* smart, generous people doing interesting work, and I’m going to make an effort to feature their thoughts on the blog this year.
  • Publish somewhere else – I’d love to write something for Quartz at Work, Talent Quarterly, or elsewhere. I’m pretty uncomfortable writing this, but I’m putting it out there in hopes that it keeps me accountable to do something about this goal (but not until Q2!). I welcome suggestions about other places my writing could fit.

Writing Reflections:

I’ve experimented with a super-strict publishing schedule (at least weekly for all of 2017 and early 2018), then a strict bi-weekly schedule (most of 2018), and then relaxed those rules a bit as 2018 drew to a close. In 2017, I absolutely needed the drop-dead weekly publishing timeline to get me past the perfectionist anxiety that had prevented me from publishing in 2016 and 2015, but I’m in a different (better) place mentally now, and I trust myself to write about what I’m interested in because I enjoy doing it. So, I’m going to relax the constraint of my publishing schedule on purpose, and instead focus on being more concise in 2019 (as anyone who ever writes anything knows, being cogent in less words is hard and takes longer).

Readers who’ve been here for a while may have noticed that the focus of my writing has shifted considerably (most especially in the last year) from a tight focus on Human Resources, to a broader focus on…what exactly? Honestly, I don’t know. I’m writing about stuff related to work and organizations that sparks my curiosity and I haven’t had a clear sense of who I’m writing it for for awhile. I think that flies in the face of most ‘blogger’ wisdom, but I’m just here to write, so I’ve given myself permission not to worry about it.  The ‘scope creep’ of this blog parallels the scope creep in my professional life and interests, so it’s felt organic.

I’ve been playing with a couple of tools that I’m going to try out in 2019: Otter Voice App seems like an impressively good voice to text transcription app; I’m going to try to use it to capture ‘rough draft’ thoughts that I normally think I’ll remember when I’m back at a computer and then never, ever do. And I’m incorporating The Most Dangerous Writing App to push through that specific ‘can’t get started’ writer’s block, and to push myself to be more consistent about writing weekly reflections (for myself, not for publishing). Basically, you can set a time limit in which you have to type and keep typing or your work gets erased. Great for stream of consciousness writing to get the words flowing.

Thank you

The very best part of writing this blog is the people it brings me into contact with – while blog comments aren’t really a thing anymore (like they were back on 2013), I have a lot of interactions with people via Twitter and e-mail that might not be apparent to others, and I love hearing from people about their thoughts and experiences sparked by something I’ve written. I’ve made so many valued connections and friendships (online and offline) because of Talent Vanguard.

Thank you for reading, and happy new year.

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