Has it really only been a year since my extreme hubris got the better of me, convincing me that people cared about reading my opinions? Some days it feels like I've been doing this--or not doing this--forever.
And I know it's only been seven or eight posts since I took my imaginary readers down memory lane in my 100th post haikus, but milestones are important. I'm a girl who loves traditions and nostalgia, and I'm not sure if the term nostalgia can really be applied to such recent events, but it's my party and I'll cry if I want to.
Fans of the blog may be aware that I occasionally post birthday blogs in honor of a random sampling of my friends and family. There's very little rhyme or reason to who gets picked and who doesn't, which is a pretty shoddy way to do business. Sorry about that, people who feel left out.
But in true birthday fashion, I'm going to tell you my five favorite things about the blog. I considered doing my five favorite posts or something commemorating favorite comments, but the five general favorite things fits the birthday blog tradition more fully. So here you go.
5. I love the little monetary surprise that comes along with the blog's participation in the amazon associates program. Faithful fans (or anyone who follows that link) will recall that I enrolled in the program in March, just because I'm greedy, and I think it's been fairly painless for us all. Several of you, who I assume were going to shop at amazon anyway, follow links from my blog to the amazon site to place your orders. When you do that, I get anywhere from 4-15% of your purchase price, just for referring you there. Plus it's one more statistical report for me to pore over on a monthly basis. In the seven months or so since I put the ads up on my site, I've probably made between $30 and $40 dollars, which seems ridiculously wonderful to me for the tiny amount of work that went into setting it up. I'm banned from looking at my full Associate report right now because word on the street is that someone bought me a Christmas present from amazon through my site, but I can still go to the general account page to check on my balance for the month. So far in December alone, I've earned $72 in referral fees. Thank you! I'm blown away by that amount, and I promise to do something ever so nice with my windfall in your honor.
4. And since I mentioned statistics, I'll proclaim Google Analytics and its various measures of site traffic as another blogging favorite. I know I've said this before, but it's insane how much satisfaction I get from knowing how many people come to the site and where they're from, what pages bring in the most visitors, the methods that folks use to find me, and the keywords searched that lead people to the opinions. In the past few months, the keyword stats have been compromised because after I mentioned things that people googled to find me in a conversation, a couple of avid readers started testing what they could search to bring up the blog. But Google Analytics fills up a very nerdy place in my heart.
3. I love how the blog has often given me a sense of purpose and direction this year. There have been countless ways in which I've come up short from the big resolutions to missed deadlines to time wasted on frivolities to the general disorganization of my life, but there have also been moments and instances when I've followed through and gotten some crap done just so I could share it here. In a life severely lacking in motivation, I never guessed that this forum would provide a sense of accountability. But it has. I hope that this unexpected blessing continues to push me in the next year as well. Feel free to help in that regard, imaginary readers. Speaking of which . . .
2. You. Of course, I'm thankful, for you, not-so-imaginary readers, from the loyal fans to the casual readers who pass this way. Without you, I'd have no Google Analytics to study. I'd have no comments to read and enjoy and hold to my heart. Without you, I'd just be talking to myself, and as much as I have and will continue to profess all sorts of self-love, if you weren't here reading what I'm writing, I'd be every kind of a loser. I love that you're here reading these words, and I love that several of you will post a comment and encourage me to keep doing this. I can say without hesitation that if my precious family and several close friends hadn't come along and created my little fan-base, I would have hung up my blogging hat months ago. (Hmmm . . . now I want a blogging hat--maybe I'll use my $72 on that.) And though I don't really think that any of my repeat readers are strangers, it's been nice for those who don't know me in real life to stop by and stay for a while too. I feel like most of the time the ellen portrayed here in the blog falls into a neighborhood several miles south of likeable, so the fact that anyone sticks around is amazing and special to me. My cup is full and running over from the blessing that is your presence here, dear readers. Thank you.
1. I love having a collection of my writing from the past year. I know I've been spotty at times in keeping up with things, and in some ways, I thought that I'd have done something more or different. But overall, I'm just thrilled that I've stuck around at all--that there are at least a few posts from each of the past twelve months. I should be embarrassed to admit how often I got back and read older posts, but I feel no shame. I love having a way to go back and review what's been going on in my life. Often when I need to find an old post to link to something new I'm doing, I get caught up in reading old favorites. I know it's painfully and ashamedly obvious that I'm completely self-absorbed already, so I'll go ahead and admit to you, that I think I'm a pretty great writer. I don't love everything I've written here, and occasionally I'm shocked at how mundane the writing can be, but when I'm firing on all cylinders, I'm witty and eloquent and, dare I say, readable. I never gave any thought to reading my own blog, but as it turns out, it's kind of a lot of fun.
Happy Birthday, ellen has an opinion! Your name is still ridiculous, but I love you anyway.