Monday, January 02, 2012

In Which We Celebrate a Blog Anniversary

Got fireworks? How about some cake and champagne? I've been writing Chezsven Blog for six years now. My first post was January 2, 2006. It recounted a walk around Long Pond. Here we are some 1557 posts and 252,604 hits later ... Ticks are still a problem on Cape Cod, and the house perched above Long Pond is still for sale.

What has changed? Three years ago the blog acquired a second name, Wellfleet Today, thanks to Shelly Daly, a reader in Baltimore who features a Wellfleet window in the sidebar of her computer screen. I post more often, almost daily for the past two years. And, more readers follow. The subject matter, also, has broadened although it always relates to living green on Cape Cod. I still describe walks, on occasion, but try, each time, to present the material from a different angle.

Recently, I have covered a lot of events at Preservation Hall. Last year its Board asked me to write a blog for the hall, without realizing what a huge commitment of time and energy that would represent for a volunteer. I had to refuse, but I love the energy Prez. Hall generates and enjoy reporting, when I can, on community events there.

The decision by NStar to switch from mowing to herbicidal spraying under the power lines of Cape Cod caused me to become better informed on the issue of toxic chemicals in the environment, so that I could report on toxic shenanigans and warn everyone of the probable contamination of our sole-source aquifer. NStar's new plan led me to activism through letters to the editor and blog posts on the perils of plastic and other synthetic chemicals, let loose in our environment. (Here I am, last winter, at the State House with my new friend, organic gardener Laura Kelley.)

Three years ago I became a member of Wellfleet's Economic Development Committee, which brings me closer to the town's heartbeat.

I participated in two Blogathons: May, 2010 and May, 2011.

My blog caused my kids to give me a fancy camera. It improves online photo quality. (Thanks, Nat, Paul & Steph!) I enjoy examining town beaches through a camera lens and sharing photos.

When I started this blog six years ago, I was writing mostly for myself and did not expect to acquire an audience, let alone a hundred regular readers. Blogging was new to me, and, although I imagined the medium would work as promotion for our green bed & breakfast, I really didn't know quite what to expect and whether that assumption was correct or not. Actually, this weekend we had our first guest who announced (to Sven) that she's a blog reader and seems to have come to explore Wellfleet, inspired by my words and photos. (Thanks, Lucy!) But, I no longer think of the blog as promotion for our business.

Fifteen people so far have commented on last week's post about Sally Branch, a good neighbor, friend, and regular blog reader.

Twenty-four people expressed opinions on aging after reading Does Age Matter For Innkeepers?

The most fun I had reporting was when the French film crew came to visit.

And, the most fun writing? That would be Confessions of an Addicted Woman.

It's truly heartwarming to see the loyal following Chezsven Wellfleet Today has gained and to "hear" the many voices that are moved to respond. I love reading your comments. It tells me someone out there is listening.

People have asked how much time blogging takes. Sometimes I can whip off a post in a few minutes. Other times, for more complicated subjects, writing 600 words with appropriate photos can take several hours. Adding links takes time, too.

My dad was a writer, my mom was an editor. My brother edited a newspaper in western Massachusetts for years before switching back to reporting. My cousin ran a publishing company before retirement. Her niece, my second cousin, is a well respected editor in New York. Guess we've got the gene in the family!

In 2006, Twitter did not exist and Facebook was a new start-up. Last week we had guests whose best friend had lost his job because he had no social media skills.

Over the next two months, I will be taking some writing courses in Boston at Grub Street, as I did last winter. Daily posts will not be possible, but I will try to blog at least twice a week.

One of the seminars is on tweeting. Another explains how to use Facebook to promote books. I have not published one yet, but that, too, will happen some day. And you, dear readers, will be the first to know!