Top 5 Blog Posts in 2016 (and 5 of My Other Favorites)

2016 was… something else. Needless to say, a lot of us are eager for it to end and are looking to 2017 with bated breath, whether hopefully or anxiously. I’m leaving my assessment at that.

I’m not going to post next week in light of the holidays and everything that needs to get done, but I wanted to leave you with an end-of-the-year post that wasn’t New Year’s Resolution-flavored. On a whim, I thought a good idea would be to look at this site’s statistics and see where I’ve come in a little over a year.

The numbers were interesting, as it turns out. I’m probably revealing more numbers than other writers in my position would or even should, but I’m fairly proud of them, so I’m going to share. Between 2015 and 2016:

  • I published more posts (22 vs 30, not including the one you’re reading right now);
  • The number of page views more than doubled (527 to 1,070);
  • And the figure that astounds me the most: the number of visitors to the blog came short of tripling, but still got pretty close (236 to 602)

Once I was done being impressed with myself, whether deservedly or not, I took a look at what WordPress’ numbers were for individual blog posts. I was specifically curious about which posts took off and seeing what, if anything, I could learn from that information (which, admittedly, is a little biased against pieces that I wrote closer to the end of the year). It was nice to look back over everything again, and while there were some that I wasn’t surprised to see, there were a couple of posts and numbers that blindsided me.

In order from the least to most popular, here are the five posts that you guys looked at the most (all links will open in separate windows or tabs):

5. Social Media and Me (February 11, 2016)

This was one of my surprises and a case of “look how much has changed.” At this time, I had taken the latest in a series of steps toward being more serious as a writer and branched out into a few social media sites for networking purposes. This post was a reflection on how I used Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Instagram.

I’m still on all four of the sites, but have evolved a bit. I do about the same things on Twitter, but I’ve gotten a little more outspoken and at times even political. Not much has changed on my public Facebook or Goodreads pages. Instagram I’ve grown into: I’ve even added it to the list of social media sites that I advertise my blog posts on, which I didn’t think would work until some of those proved to be my most popular Instagram posts. As for what I use the most, Twitter is without a doubt where I do most of my posting, interacting, and mindless scrolling.

4. Bookworm Tropes and Clichés I’m Sick Of (February 17, 2016)

Another shocker for me. I can’t remember the precise event that inspired this particular rant, or if it had been building for a while, but I definitely needed to get something off of my chest. Here, I took issue with how bookworms and other literary types of people get portrayed and dissected the stereotypes accordingly.

I like my analyses and that I use anecdotal examples. While specific media instances of where particular tropes do and don’t work might have been good, I’m glad that I didn’t go that route because it might have come off as attacking particular creators, which I try to avoid. Beyond that, I still hold all of those same opinions: these five tropes still kind of irk me (and for the same reasons), and what I feel about bookworms being some of the most informed and insatiably curious groups of people still rings true to me. I would also like to add that I think we’re some of the most empathetic as well, but that point wouldn’t have worked with the tone.

3. “That Makes Me Feel Better about My Writing” (April 6, 2016)

I’m not terribly surprised to see this on the list, but I’m a little surprised that it didn’t rank higher. It actually went over pretty well with my friends on my personal Facebook page (even the ones that normally don’t interact with what I post from my blog), who were mostly curious to see how I would defend both E.L. James and Stephenie Meyer. Here, I dissect the idea of seeing a single line from someone’s novel, using it to make an assessment on your own writing abilities, and how unfair that is.

I actually consider this one of my favorite posts. I stayed as neutral as I could on both authors I talk about, which even at the time I thought was impressive because of how controversial both of them are. I stand by all of the arguments and analyses I made. I think, when I talk about the publishing industry and how difficult it is to make it, I was fair without sounding bitter. I still admire the young adult author community on Twitter and their positivity, especially in a world that increasingly needs it. I still need to work on silencing my inner critic (for myself and other writers) and focus on creating more, but I feel like every artist has that problem.

2. What Makes a Good Film Adaptation? (March 16, 2016)

At first, this one being on the list at all, let alone at number two, surprised me. It’s not that I thought it was a bad post, I just didn’t remember it standing out as particularly good. After seeing what came in the number one slot, though, and the fact that this post was riding on its chronological coattails, the numbers made more sense. This post is exactly what it sounds like: criteria that, in my opinion, make a film adaptation of a book good.

I still stand by the points that I made. I think the examples I used are good ones, even if I did get a little angrier than necessary about The Scarlet Letter and made an unfair jab at erotica writers (sorry). Beyond that, though, there’s not a whole lot to say here other than this: Wow, that was a lot of typos. Where on Earth was my editing brain that day?

1. Book Review: The Girl with Ghost Eyes by M.H. Boroson (March 9, 2016)

This wasn’t a surprise for me. I expected to see this one somewhere on my top five list, and felt fairly confident that it was going to be number one. Sure enough, it was, thanks to particularly intense engagement from both readers of the blog and social media. Boroson himself liked and shared the review; a lot of my Facebook friends liked what I had to say and appreciated the recommendation; and this post went over really well on every social media site that I had shared it on at the time and still occasionally gets likes on Goodreads.

This is another one of my favorites, and I’m still quite proud of it. The tone of the post might come off as gushing, but I had so much fun with this novel that it was hard to find anything to be critical of. If I do more book review posts in the future, I’ll probably use this post as a guideline because of how well it went over and the kinds of points that I made. Book reviews are kind of fun, especially if I can recommend what I reviewed afterward, so I hope to read another book that inspires me like this one did.

 

So those five were the posts from 2016 that have gotten the most views. The fact that they were all posted within three months of each other is strange and probably statistically significant, but I’m not the person to make that call. A couple of them absolutely deserved the honor, but there were some other posts among my personal favorites that didn’t make the list. Just because I didn’t want them left out, here are (in no particular order) five of the posts that I liked a lot that, for one reason or another, just didn’t get as many looks:

In Defense of the “Wimps” (March 23, 2016)

Outside of “What Makes a Good Film Adaptation?”, this is the only post to date where I feel that I successfully pulled off bringing in a specific example of non-book media to talk about the craft of storytelling. I liked my analyses a lot as well as the fact I was able to bring in the manuscript I had at the time, although the latter was in a bit of a mean-spirited way, in retrospect.

Formulas, Plots, and Narratives (July 13, 2016)

This managed to strike a balance between creative and analytical that I had a really fun time with. I don’t often go explicitly academic on this blog, and here I broke down archetypes and examples in literature while bringing in my own process and thoughts about the writing business. It felt like my “smartest” post, and I was very pleased with the result.

Writing Dreams (July 27, 2016)

Where “Formulas, Plots, and Narratives,” was one of my more intellectual posts, this one was much more of a heartfelt one. The fact that the post came about as a result of an interview was serendipitous, and my points were authentic and I still hold them dear. For those that were concerned about whether I got that job: I did not, but that’s ok, because my writing career has been moving forward.

Research and Real People (February 3, 2016)

I felt as though this post authentically brought in my work in progress without being heavy-handed about it or giving away too much. This post also felt, to me, like the best in terms of bringing in my thought processes while writing and researching. I’d like to be able to do more posts like this one that talk about my process, research, and work, but the stars didn’t align for it this year.

This Post Does Not Contain Spoilers (September 14, 2016)

I’m not sure if I can put my finger on any one reason why I liked this post. It was pretty fun to write; it was light, which was a nice change from some of my normal content; it made its point simply; and I stand by what I said. Between all of those factors, it stands out in my mind as a favorite.

 

Do you have a favorite post of mine? Did it make either of these lists? Feel free to talk about it in the comments!

 

I’m glad you’ve stuck with me through this year, and I hope to see you in 2017 for more posts like this (and some new and exciting ones, too)! Have a safe, happy, and healthy New Year!

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