The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it. ~ Michelangelo
This time last year, I dreamed that ARHtistic License would grow from 350+ to 600 subscribers. As of this writing (Wednesday afternoon), we’re almost there. If you haven’t yet joined our subscribers and you like what you see on ARHtistic License, please help us out by hitting the “Follow” button on the sidebar. Thanks, and welcome to our artistic community!
My hope for 2019 is that ARHtistic License will pass the 1,000 follower mark. It would mean a lot to me if you’d help out by spreading the word, sharing your favorite articles on your social media.
My Top Ten Posts of 2018 tabulated by number of views. Have you seen all of these?
- #DC350 Rimana Heart String—This post (and the next five) includes my entry to the Diva Challenge, a weekly Zentangle challenge. I don’t participate every week, but Zentangle devotees are a very generous group who encourage each other by visiting each other’s blogs, Instagram, Flicker, and Pinterest accounts.
- #DC379 Holidaze
- #DC364 Puf
- #DC360 Shattuck vs. Tripoli
- #DC362 Somnee
- #DC346 Phicops & Huggins
- 12 Best Quilting Blogs—in my opinion.
- 10 Best Zentangle Sites on the Web—again, in my opinion. I’ve stumbled across some more fabulous ones since I published this list; I’ll have to update it eventually.
- NaPoWriMo Day 21—My poem for Day 21 of National Poetry Writing Month (April) was featured on the challenge’s official website the next day, sending lots of traffic to ARHtistic License. The downside: it was not one of my better poems for the month. I much prefer this one or pretty much any other poem I posted that month.
- Hawaiian Quilting with Pat Gorelangton—I wanted to write about Hawaiian quilts and had the good fortune to find a website that featured Gorelangton. I contacted her and asked if I could write about her work, and she generously consented to be interviewed via email and sent me images of her quilts to use in the article. Not only did my article get lots of views from quilters and people interested in the art of Hawaiian quilts, but Gorelangton is beloved in Hawaii, and her fans found the article, too.
But an article I wrote in 2016 got even more views this year than the Gorelangton interview. Jan van Eyck’s The Crucifixion and the Last Judgment: Painted by a Committee received 543 views in 2018 and 870 views since it was published.
Other older articles that were heavily viewed in 2018:
2. Ballet Feet—what ballet dancers suffer for their art.
3. How to Practice the Piano: Doh! Dohnányi—If you’ve ever practiced these exercises, you know what I mean.
4. How to Make a Meme on a Mac—step by step instructions.
5. Yarn and Beads—about the art of the Huichol people of Mexico.
6. Escaping the Khmer Rouge: Review of Beautiful Hero by Jennifer H. Lau—This autobiographical book has won 5 awards.
7. Happy Anniversary!—wherein I celebrate the first three months of the existence of my blog.
8. Phoenix Art Museum—what my daughter Katie and I saw on a Mother’s Day excursion.
I also contribute guest posts to A Writer’s Path. Here are some of my top articles there:
1. 12 Worst Blogging Mistakes. 808 views.
2. For Bloggers: How to Post Every Day. 543 views.
3. 20 Tools Every Writer Needs. 478 views.
4. 21 Inspirational Quotes for Writers. 416 views.
As I review my creative goals for 2018, I see that I didn’t completely achieve them, but I did make general progress.
I did a run-through of my God of Paradox manuscript with my bible study group, got some excellent feedback, and discovered some real problems that needed to be corrected. I’m almost finished with the rewrite. I’m going to see if my pastor or someone with a theology degree will read through it for me, then I’ll maybe do another rewrite if necessary, or a quick polishing, and start submitting in 2019.
The Unicornologist has been on the back burner, but never far from my thoughts. I’m hoping to solve all my plot problems and do a thorough final rewrite, then seek representation in 2019.
I’ve really stalled on recorder and guitar, hardly practicing at all in the last six months. I’ve been more faithful about piano.
I’ve written some poetry; if I can write and rewrite enough poems in the next couple of weeks, I might enter another chapbook in a contest.
I had a hip replacement in July. For eight months before the surgery I suffered enough pain that I could not dance. (Heck, I could barely walk.) I am happy to say I am dancing once again and helping to teach dances in my international folk dance group.
Now it’s your turn. Tell me what you’d like to see more of on ARHtistic License. What art- and creativity-related topics would you like me to cover? Which artists, musicians, and composers would you like profiled? Which of my articles and features do you like best? Please share in the comments below. And don’t forget to subscribe to ARHtistic License, to hit the “Like” button below, and to share your favorite article (find links to my most popular articles above) on all your social media. Thank you, and have a happy New Year!
It’s time to set some goals. Want us to keep you accountable? Feel free to share your 2019 goals in the comments below.
When I set my goals for my blog for this year, I hoped I’d reach the 350-follower mark.
I’m thrilled to say I made it a few days ago. It’s silly to set a goal that’s completely out of my control (relying solely on you, dear readers, to actually click the follow button), but I am gratified nonetheless. Thank you, all of you, for your kindness to me. I will try to deserve your readership by writing more of the kind of stuff you like to read. (Your suggestions are welcome! Share in the comments.) My readership goal for 2018 is 600. You can help me make that goal by sharing (through Facebook, Twitter, Google +, email, etc.) any of my posts that you think might interest your friends. Thanks!
My Top Ten Posts of 2017 (in terms of views). Have you seen all of these?
9. #DC339: In the Holiday Spirit This post, as well and #6, #4, #3 and #2, are responses to a Zentangle challenge. I’ve written before about challenges being a good way to find new readers for your blog (as well as more blogs for you read!) The zentanglers have surpassed even the photographers in their support of ARHtistic License. (My photochallenge posts have always made the top ten before now.)
8. How to Practice the Piano: Doh! Donányi My thoughts on a particularly difficult piano exercise book.
5. The Magic of Landscape Architecture About the transformation of our yard.
4. Inktober Day 24: A Composite One drawing, entered in three different challenges.
- Serb Fest I was not expecting that my photo essay about a local ethnic festival would be my #1 post written in 2017. I thought my dance friends would be interested in the beautiful costumes the Serbian dance groups wore, so I posted it on my folkdance group’s Facebook page. My daughter forwarded a link to her Bosnian friend, and I think somehow it circulated among the Serbian-American community.
My biggest surprise is that three of my blog posts from last year had as many views in 2017 as my top three above did. They are: Jan van Eyck’s The Crucifixion and the Last Judgment: Painted by a Committee, Ballet Feet, and Go Mobile.
One step I might take next year is to chose a new WordPress “theme” (it’s like a blog template). Even though last year I upgraded to a “premium” blogsite, I kept my free theme because I like it and I’m very comfortable with it. However, it doesn’t have the functionality of the premium themes. Switching up might also mean a huge learning curve for me. Any bloggers out there have a suggestion for me?
On New Year’s Day I’ll share my progress on my other writing, art, dance, and music goals, as well as sharing my creative goals for 2018. See you then!
The new year starts in six days. Have you thought about what you’d like to accomplish in 2018?
Last January, Jeff Goins posted an article about writers resolutions. His ideas can help you make realistic goals.
The best thing I did last year when I set my goals was actually schedule specific days to work on specific projects. I’d highly recommend you do that. (I’ll tell you how that worked out for me when I post my creative goal update on New Year’s Day.)
There are so many things I still want to do—regain my German-speaking skills, maybe take art and/or guitar lessons—but I know I have to figure out how to make time for those things, or they won’t happen.
I also need to identify positive steps I can take next year for my writing. I believe I have a brand—the arts and the creative process—but I’ve been told my focus is too wide and I ought to narrow it down. My gut says I should continue to explore everything that interests me, even if that means I’m an expert at nothing. I’m not getting any younger—I can’t put off all my pleasures for some far-away future.
What about you? What new things do you want to try? What kind of progress do you want to make on the work you’re already doing? Do you need any help setting some new goals?
How to Set Your Creative Goals for 2018:
- Make a list of all the things you’ve been promising yourself that you’ll try someday—whether it’s exploring the antique stores in your county, making scrapbooks for your children, learning how to yodel, or writing a cookbook.
- How much time can you free up to do some of the things on your list? Use this determination to choose a reasonable number of activities (say, five, or three, or one—at least one).
- Right now, plan exactly when you are going to do these activities. Pencil them in on your 2018 calendar—i.e. yodeling on your spouse’s bowling nights, antiquing on the second Saturday morning of every month, etc.
- Now, make a list of all the creative endeavors you’re already doing, like sewing felt hand puppets, recording stamp-collecting podcasts, and crocheting infinity scarves. What can you do next year to take your art to the next level? Come up with at least one action step for each endeavor.
- Schedule all the items from step 4 just as you did in step 3.
- Come up with a motivation to actually do the work. Do you have an artistic buddy who could be your accountability partner? Do you have an agent who is waiting for a rewrite? Do you have a blog you can post your goals on?
- Visit ARHtistic License on January 1st. I’ll be sharing my progress on my 2017 goals, and my new goals for 2018. You can share your goals, too.