Every year, I take some time to reflect on the past 12 months: what I accomplished, what I didn't, and what surprised me. As I look back, there was a lot to celebrate in 2012.
Although I don't put much stock in goal-setting or making plans, I do believe in the power of creating new habits. And this year, I focused on the habit of writing — not just any kind of writing, but deep, intentional writing.
Instead of merely blogging a few hundred words per day and calling it quits, I would set aside a few hours per week to write thousands of words at once. The result was I became a more confident writer.
I also started studying the craft of memoir, which you'll see evidence of in my next book.
What I did in 2012 — the big moments
All in all, it was a great year, full of so many firsts it was hard to keep track of them all. Here were some of the bigger moments:
- Martyn Chamberlin designed a beautiful, custom blog theme for me.
- I wrote an eBook that hit the #1 spot in its category and the #3 book on Amazon.
- We had our first child, Aiden.
- My wife was able to quit her job and stay home to raise our son (thanks to your generosity and willingness to buy my books).
- My first traditional book published and two days later went into its second printing.
- I signed a second book contract (manuscript is due tomorrow!).
- I got a chance to do some public speaking at conferences, churches, and colleges.
- I launched an online course and had over 700 students sign up.
State of the blog + Top 10 posts
This year was a year of tremendous growth for the blog. In January, a guest post for Zen Habits bumped me past the 10,000 subscribers mark. And shortly after that, we passed the 25,000-reader threshold (most of which subscribe to my weekly newsletter).
Also this year, Goinswriter.com had over 1.9 million page views, which apparently is a big deal, especially if you live in Lichtenstein.
And according to WordPress.com stats, these were my 10 most popular posts (with corresponding page views):
- 3 Reasons to Travel While You’re Young (122,884)
- 10 Ridiculously Simple Tips for Writing a Book (41,256)
- Book Ideas for Young Writers (40,697)
- How to Influence People: The Most Overlooked Secret (35,210)
- Five Weak Words that Make Your Writing Less Effective (33,512)
- The Writer’s Manifesto: Stop Writing to Be Read & Adored (26,831)
- 8 Tips for Waking Up Early & Conquering the Alarm Clock (18,348)
- The Difference Between Good Writers and Bad Writers (17,381)
- 5 Easy Tricks to Help You Write Catchy Headlines (16,884)
- How to Get More Traffic to Your Blog and Keep It There (16,323)
Takeaways & targets
Although, I'm not crazy about goals, I do look back at what I've learned from the year and focus on a few targets to aim for in the future. Here are some of them:
- Write more “evergreen content” that has a shelf life beyond what's currently trending.
- Do more shared experiences with my blog community (like series and contests).
- Offer more personal access to me (via courses, communities, and events).
- Focus on helping people create their habits that will lead to legacy projects (like writing a book).
- Work less and make more time for family.
- Don't settle for anything less than my best work.
- Consider moving to Lichtenstein (they might make me their king or something). 😉
What I'm most proud of
Yes, it was a great year and certainly one worth celebrating. When I began this blog back in 2011, I never imagined the impact it would have. I'm humbled.
However, all those numbers aren't what keep me going. Having tens of thousands of subscribers and millions of views is good for sustaining a platform, but what sustains my passion is:
- The daily emails from readers, telling me they now have the courage to call themselves writers.
- The private community of writers I helped start (a group exclusive to those who finish my course) that is doing incredible things.
- The unpublished words I write, some of which may never be seen.
- The moments in the middle of the day when I get to take a break and spend a little quality time with my family, which is what it's all about for me.
Lastly, I'm proud of the community we've built, this blog that has turned into more than just a place for me to rant. Thanks for believing in me and in the impact of words. You make all this worthwhile (and give me reason to show up on when I should be finishing my next book). See you in 2013.
Final reminder: If you'd like to get a copy of my book for you and a friend, all you have to do is make a tax-deductible donation of any amount to charity. Find out more by clicking here.
What have you done this year that's worth celebrating? Share in the comments.