Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

Why 2012 Was a Year Worth Celebrating: Top Posts & Other Highlights

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.

Celebration Cake Photo

Photo credit: D. Sharon Pruit (Creative Commons)

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):

  1. 3 Reasons to Travel While You’re Young (122,884)
  2. 10 Ridiculously Simple Tips for Writing a Book (41,256)
  3. Book Ideas for Young Writers (40,697)
  4. How to Influence People: The Most Overlooked Secret (35,210)
  5. Five Weak Words that Make Your Writing Less Effective (33,512)
  6. The Writer’s Manifesto: Stop Writing to Be Read & Adored (26,831)
  7. 8 Tips for Waking Up Early & Conquering the Alarm Clock (18,348)
  8. The Difference Between Good Writers and Bad Writers (17,381)
  9. 5 Easy Tricks to Help You Write Catchy Headlines (16,884)
  10. 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.

Also, you can see last year’s review here. And if you need a reminder to slow down, check out this recently-published piece I wrote: 5 Ways to Slow Down 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.

About Jeff Goins

I write books and help writers get their work out into the world. I am the best-selling author of four books, including The Art of Work. Each week, I send out a newsletter with free tips on writing and creativity.

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  • I’m thankful that I ran across your blog somehow last year. You have stretched me and I needed it. I remember most of your Top 10 posts and I agree they were awesome. Thanks for leading the Tribe — I look forward to 2013. 

    • Thankful for you, Alene. You’ve been a great encouragement!

  • So many beautiful things to celebrate.  Thank you for your commitment to helping others.  May you continue to be surprised in 2013! 

    • The feeling is mutual. Thanks for being part of the tribe, Eileen.

  • Meg R

    Congratulations on such a wonderful year.  I feel privileged to know you and go thru the days with you.  When I get confused, I look at your lists and pick one step to do right now and it gets me moving again.  See you in the new year.  

    • Awesome. I’m honored, Meg. It’s seriously my honor.

  • I’m going to read through all of these, so I have a better idea about how to blog during the new year.

  • Jeff – Congrats on a great year.  Like Positively Alene, I ran across your blog sometime this year and am grateful I did.  Your passion for (great) writing has fueled me.

    This year I am most proud a) that my 4th child was born (a little girl), b)I started writing seriously this year for the first time ever and totally loving it, c) I put in place a team of men that is taking a makeshift ministry to the next level.

    2013 is looking to be awesome!!!

  • Scott

    Celebrations: running my second half-marathon (and shaving 25 minutes off last year’s time!) after 40 years of couch potato-hood! Publishing my novel – 10 years in the writing. Most importantly, believing God was hearing my prayers and had an awesome job for me to replace the one I despised…just had to wait for His timing. Well worth the wait!

    • Wow, Scott. Those ARE big achievements. I ran my second half, too, but my time was worse than my first. Only made me want to run another. 🙂

      • That’s awesome for both of you…Funny how doing well can spur us onward and so can doing not as well!

  • Just would like to thank you for the work you’ve put into this blog. I regularly read your posts and they’ve been instrumental in helping me build my blog in a more informed manner. Wishing you even more success in 2013!

  • kookazoo

    Most proud of learning, and still learning patience, to slow down and look around me, appreciate my surroundings and write, write, write. Find time for me, which is a challenge for most Mum’s. The best thing I did in 2012, because it is 2013 here already people…happy new year…. the best thing was join Jeff’s online writing course. In a matter of weeks I have learned to accept that I am a writer and must write everyday. I have started my blog, something I would never have done without a push and my confidence grows daily with every assignment I tackle….. thanks Jeff you have inspired me in ways I did not think I needed to be inspired,

  • Finished the first draft of my first book, an anthology, and the first draft of my second, a cookbook. I never thought it could happen! Also, I want to thank you for the nudge I received from reading your blog to be bold enough to call myself a writer, and the encouragement I received to prioritize my writing as valuable.  Blessings to you and yours in the New Year.

  • Jeff, thank you so much for the very helpful blogging and publishing that you do. I became a grandmother when Natalie Claire was born on July 14. With tonight’s entry, in 2012 I will have finished by third year of posting night entries from the one-year diaries I kept in the early 1960s, first as a high school student in Iowa and then as a college student in Missouri. Best wishes for a productive 2013. 

  • Tom Bentley

    Jeff, you truly had a year to be proud of, and are obviously not resting on your laurels. Thanks for the good advice and good cheer you provide for writers. As for me this year, I had a collection of short stories published by a small press, a number of articles published in magazines, some of them national mags, and continued to have a copywriting business to support my other writing loves. Shopping a new novel now. Here’s to 2013!

  • Jolee Donnelly

    Three things:
    1) Thank you for writing.2) Thank you for helping me call myself a writer. 

    3) Cheers to another year of writing, reading, and life!

  • The first thing I’m proud of was finding so many amazing blogs (like this one). In short: I self-piblished two ebooks and sold over 75,000 copies. I followed Jeff’s example and got a book deal without a proposal or agent. 

    I started speaking and spoke at events in 8 states and 4 countries. I started coaching and consulting. I created a couple of products, a coaching program and yesterday launched my very auto responder series. I attend two Brendon Burchard events and got some of the best training in the world. It was a good year. Oh, my wife and I celebrated being married 14 years 🙂 

  • Great article.  Not just another list, but a breakdown of the successes of the year.  I love what you have done with this article.  Thanks for sharing it with us.

  • Jeff, I came across you blog late August or early September. About that time, I was “burned out” from blogging and felt God was calling me to step back. I read The Writers Manifesto and it helped to confirm what I sensed He was telling me. Since then, I joined Tribe Writers, began a brand new blog (I know, sounds weird), and got back to writing what I always wanted to write.  I can’t tell you how valuable the course was and continues to be for me. And the community…well everyone is great!

    Blessings to you and your family in this New Year.

  • Sweet! 

    All the best to you and your family for 2013!

  • -> Started a blog
    -> Wrote and published and eBook on Amazon Kindle
    -> Received acceptance for my first magazine article
    -> Led a youth missions trip
    -> Learned how to mud & tape drywall

    Special thanks to you Jeff, along with Michael Hyatt, for teaching and guiding me through my first year in the craft of writing! Before 2012, writing existed as a dream and hope on my life list.

    Now, I am a writer!

    Thanks once more Jeff for the great content in 2012! I look forward to learning more in 2013!

  • Although 2012 was a tough year, there are certainly things to celebrate. The biggest is probably my two-week mission trip to Kenya. That was terrifying and exhilarating and right all at once. I can also celebrate signing up for Tribe Writers in December.  Here’s to an amazing 2013!

  • I’m with you on habits rather than goals.  Happy New Year!

  • Congrats, Jeff. As fast as 2012 flew by, it’s easy to think that nothing really important happened – but I saw a lot of positive change as well (Although you becoming a parent probably tops any experience I had this year).
    It was funny what you said about Lichtenstein. For some reason, I have a following in Nigeria – which is really humbling but comically strange at the same time.
    Oh, and I love the top ten posts – especially number 7! 🙂 

  • That’s an awesome year, Jeff. So awesome. Happy New Year!

  • Very happy for you dude… Congrats on all your success this year.  I look forward to seeing what kind of awesome you have in store for 2013.

  • Shauna

    Found your blog and subscribed to your email updates! Congratulations! 

    • Shauna

      Oh good grief. I need to proofread before hitting “send.” Congratulations on your successful year was what I intended to say! Finding your blog was something to celebrate in my reading habits. 

      • Glad to hear it, Shauna. Thanks for reading and subscribing.

  • 2012 was indeed a great year. I appreciate your passion and energy – you encourage and challenge me regularly. 

  • Your 2012 helped me have a great 2012. Thanks! 

  • Using the Tribe theme you and Martyn designed.  And since you provided his name, I was able to contact him for support.  He saved me hundreds of hours had I done the corrections myself!

  • Wow, Jeff, so much has happened for you in a very short time! I truly believe God honors the way you pay it forward. I was inspired by Ann Voskamp at (in)courage.me to write my own list of bests for 2012 on my blog. So in case anyone wants to check it out… https://ourstoriesgodsglory.blogspot.com/2012/12/whats-on-your-bests-list-of-2012.html

    One of the strange things worth celebrating was the door God shut. I was devastated at first when a writing project I had been working on for three years was cancelled. I was sure this was God’s assignment. Why would He allow it to be taken from me? Well, God being God, He knows best. And there is no question I would not have been able to start my website if I was still working on that book. 
    “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

  • That’s a busy year.  But I’d say the most important thing you did in 2012 was the impact you had on so many people.  Numbers are great.  Stats are cool.  Having a book hit number 1 and 3 is something to be super proud of.  But I’d wager you have no idea the number of people who you have inspired, helped, or touched with your work.  You may never have an actual number for that.  And that’s okay.  
    Just know that your work has done it for some.  And that’s good enough.  
    Looking forward to seeing what you do in 2013.  
    Keep it up.  🙂

  • Hipmamamedia

    What a tremendous year you have had, Jeff: full of achievements and hard work.  Like many of your followers, I was blessed by your writing when I discovered you this year via another follower, particularly your writer’s manifesto and your post, “Stop waiting to be picked.” Both of those gave me the desire and motivation to start a blog, rekindle my freelancing and, most of all, move forward in using my gifts to engage with others. Hope your 2013 rocks1

  • The colors always make us that much more cool. thank you

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  • 2012 was a tough year, Here’s to an amazing 2013!

  • Jeff, I came across you blog late August or early September. About that
    time, I was “burned out” from blogging and felt God was calling me to
    step back.

  • Y8

    You have used a lot of really great content to make your point. I agree with your views.