ARHtistic License: 2020 in Review

ARHtistic License: 2020 in Review

2020 has been the worst year of my life. Obviously, the Covid pandemic has ravaged the world, killing at least 1,780,000 people worldwide and destroying the world economy.

One of my sons contracted the disease. Thank God, he has recovered. It could have been worse; he also has diabetes, and whenever he gets sick, he is at risk for ketoacidosis, a life-threatening condition. He also lost his job; the restaurant where he worked for 17 years closed and will not reopen. He has not yet found a new position. But we can help him in the meantime.

That has been the extent of the impact of the pandemic on us personally so far. But worse than that, my husband’s health took a nosedive. I’ve written about his issues in other posts, so I won’t bore you with repetition. Let’s just say complete recovery is not guaranteed.

As far as my blog is concerned, 2020 was a satisfactory year. I published 647 posts this year, my record, 1.77 posts a day. I don’t think I missed a single day. ARHtistic License had 27,700 views, also a record for my blog. My followers have grown from 807 at the end of 2019 to 1,085.

For the first time in ARHtistic License’s five-and-a-half year history, the top ten most visited posts in 2020 were all from prior years. I don’t know how to take that. I would like to believe I’ve grown in the quality of my writing, and that people are eagerly awaiting each new article that I post. But maybe these articles just have great Search Engine Optimization. Maybe you will like them, too:

  1. Jan van Eyck’s Crucifixion and the Last Judgment: Painted by a Committee This 2016 article explores the painters’ workshops and apprentice programs of the Renaissance.
  2. How to Make a Meme on a Mac Step-by-step instructions, first published in 2017.
  3. 6 Creative Ways to Name Your Characters . . . by Andre Cruz This article is a repost from another website.
  4. Review of poemcrazy: freeing your life with words This book convinced me I could write poetry. I wrote the review in 2017.
  5. How to Practice Piano: Doh! Dohnányi The unplayable exercise book that is the bane of every pianist’s existence.
  6. 10 Best Zentangle Sites on the Web I wrote this in 2018. Note to self: I need to write a sequel to this article, because I’ve discovered so many other good websites.
  7. Ballet Feet They’re not cute and dainty. Ballet dancers literally suffer for their art. This article was written in 2016.
  8. About ARHuelsenbeck This is my “about” page, written in May 2015.
  9. Video of the Week #113: Jack Storms I don’t know why, but this glass sculpture video from 2017 got 153 views in 2020.
  10. Beautiful Sentences My growing collection of little snippets that knock my socks off.

My most-read posts of 2020 include many interviews with creative people:

  1. An Interview with Judy Dykstra-Brown, Teacher, Artist, Poet, Part I
  2. Interview with Photographer Cee Neuner
  3. Meet Artist Alice Hendon
  4. Z is for Zentangle Some pages from my Zentangle journal.
  5. I’d Rather Be Dancing African Folk Dances
  6. Meet Kathy Temean, Illustrator, Author, and Children’s Literature Advocate
  7. An Interview with Judy Dykstra-Brown, Teacher, Artist, Poet, Part II
  8. Meet Kathy Reeves, Musician, Quilter, Blogger, and Stitcher of All Kinds
  9. OctPoWriMo Day 3 Every October, I participate in a challenge to write a poem a day.
  10. In the Meme Time: What to Do While Self-Quarantined My most-viewed meme of 2020.

Another way to look at a blog’s popularity is to see which posts garnered the most “likes.” To my great dismay, my Jan Eyck piece, which has been viewed 2,030 times since it appeared in October, 2016, has only 11 likes. I don’t know how to take that. Most bloggers get many more likes on their posts than I do. It’s common for Cee Neuner to get more than 100 likes on a post. I’m thrilled if I get 25.

My most liked posts of 2020:

  1. Interview with Photographer Cee Neuner
  2. An Interview with Judy Dykstra-Brown, Teacher, Artist, Poet, Part I
  3. Creative Juice #213
  4. OctPoWriMo Day 15
  5. Flower of the Day: Can You Find the Ladybug?
  6. Wordless Wednesday: Little Stone Cottage
  7. Wordless Wednesday: Sidewalk Mandala
  8. OctPoWriMo Day 7
  9. Wordless Wednesday: Mountain Stream
  10. Wordless Wednesday: Dragon Slayer

In the list above, the first two articles are interviews with popular bloggers. The third is a curated list of interesting creativity-related articles from all over the web. The rest are offerings for poetry and photography challenges. The blogging, poetry, and photography communities are all very supportive of each other. I guess if I’m after likes, I need to concentrate more on the blogging, poetry, and photography worlds, less on music, art, dance, books, and quilting. Darn. I love all forms of artistic expression.

As for my other creative pursuits, I did almost no piano, recorder, or guitar practice this year. My daughter gave me a ukulele, but I haven’t played it yet, because somewhere I have a wonderful ukulele book, but I can’t find it. Handbell choir, church choir, and Phoenix International Folk Dancers did not meet because of Covid. I’ve done some painting, drawing, and zentangle.

In my writing, I’ve set aside my unicorn book and my bible study, and concentrated on a middle grades novel and a short story retelling (that’s not so short right now, so it may become a novel or a novella). I’m entering a lot of poetry and chapbook contests, and one of my goals for 2021 is to systematically submit to literary journals. My other goals are the same as every year; you know, finish stuff I’ve started and get it all published.

Now it’s your turn:

  • How did you do with your creative endeavors last year? What are your creative goals for 2021? Share in the comments below. If you’ve posted about it on your blog, feel free to share the link.
  • Have you read all of my most popular posts this year? No? Make my day and choose, say, three of the ones listed above and let me know what you think.
  • If you read a post on any blog, not just mine, that you find well worth your while, please “like” it if you’re given the option. Or leave a brief comment. It gives us bloggers such a boost to get some positive feedback. Share good articles on all your social media. Wouldn’t it be a shame if your favorite bloggers quit and took up chess instead?

About Andrea R Huelsenbeck

Andrea R Huelsenbeck is a wife, a mother of five and a former elementary general music teacher. A freelance writer in the 1990s, her nonfiction articles and book reviews appeared in Raising Arizona Kids, Christian Library Journal, and other publications. She is currently working on a young adult mystical fantasy novel and a mystery.

6 responses »

  1. Hey Andrea. I am sorry that this year has been especially hard for you….here’s to a wonderful 2021. I want to tell you how much I appreciate your encouragement of my blogging endeavors. When my phone dings later in the afternoon, I know that you have liked my post!!! I also appreciate the number of times that you have linked my blog to one of your Creative Juice posts….it is so encouraging!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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