2013 – backwards + forwards

Down the garden path (Photo by Tseen Khoo)
Down the garden path (Photo by Tseen Khoo)

Most people do their retrospective posts at the end of the year, but the end of the year was such a frenzied mishmash of work, outings, functions, and at-home time that I was lucky to get that final 2012 post out at all.

Not that this post is about making excuses.

It’s actually a wrap-up of my blogging and other writing from last year, and some musing on what I hope to get up to – writing-wise – this year. My semi-resolution from January 2012 was “to write more and to do it for fun, not academia”. This I did, in spades.

I churned out a lot posts, most of it split between RW and here. I was also invited to write several guest-posts for other blogs, a couple of articles for The Conversation, and was approached for a sponsored post. When I look back on it now, I wrote more consistently and faster in 2012 than I’ve ever done before.

What happened with the Banana Lounge last year?

A bit of back-story: I created this blog on another platform in late 2004, but didn’t post to it till Feb 2005. Back then, I was at the start of my Monash University research fellowship, without kids, and long-distance-relationshipping (living solo). The AASRN was still a loose, unformalised network, and asian_australian-discuss was still around (just).

At the beginning of 2012 – six years after I started writing in The Banana Lounge – I decided to make a real effort to post regularly here. I’ve made promises of more regular postings before but they never amounted to much. There is a small handful of stalwart readers who have been with me for years, and I’ve never set out to build an audience.

Having gained experience (and – dare I say it? – discipline) with running RW, I thought it was a good time to give cultivating a readership a good go. The aim was to publish about once a week, and rotate topics or types of posts to ease the pain of pondering what to post through the year.

Overall, it has worked out really well. I’m happy with the range of topics and quality of posts that appeared in 2012. The weekly schedule fell over a few times, but the majority of the year stayed on track.

The top two posts for 2012 were both kids’ books I reviewed (Tyrannosaurus Drip and The Lorax), which reminds me that I haven’t posted one for a long time! Also up there was my review of the movie, Prometheus.

In the top ten were also several posts about Asian Australian and academic identity issues, as well as the women authors of diverse heritage post that I put together for AWW 2012.

Blogging highlights:

  • Though numbers don’t mean that much in terms of quality of blogging engagement, I was happy to have the blog triple its average daily views this year. That said, it started at a pretty low base so the only way was up…!
  • I’ve loved the buzz around a good post that tapping into Twitter and Facebook can create. It made me realise the kinds of networks that I’d built over the years (particularly in AASRN), and how resilient and strong they were. It has also surprised (and delighted) me how quickly bands of sympatico colleagues can build up around a few good items and associated conversation on other platforms. The key areas that my posts addressed with some consistency were diasporic Asian identities, AWW 2012, and kids’ book reviews.
  • I managed to keep to the weekly posting schedule, for the most part. It has meant ‘working’ on posts for the majority of my evenings throughout the year, not to mention many lunchtimes.

Blogging fails:

  • My Write Nights faded out, both as blogposts and scheduled evenings. I’m still keen on getting the story finished, and really need to put aside a day a week (at least) to try to make this happen.
  • I was going to include a photo-prompt post every so often, but this hasn’t happened. Instead, I’ve been taking photos in my everyday life with the aim of using them for RW or Banana Lounge posts. I must credit @jod999 with inspiring me to feature my own work in posts, rather than trawling Flickr for other people’s photos. This has been a very satisfying practice to cultivate.
  • I was hoping to blog about my research area in a bit more detail. For example, talk about the fieldwork that I’d done, things I’d seen + done in the process of carrying out my projects. It must be said, as keen as I am to present an engaging version of my research and findings, I’m finding my connection with this stream of stuff is getting thinner.

Total words written in 2012: ~ 61.5K 

  • For Banana Lounge: ~26,912 words
  • For RW: ~19,609 words
  • Fiction: ~15,000 words
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