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I once read most blogs die after six months.  So when I started this blog, I said no matter what happens, I’ll stick with it at least that long to see if I really like it.  Six months later, Everyday Bright is not only still going, it’s growing! Never mind that when I try to go back and find the reference for the “6 months or die” stats, all I can find is ancetodal evidence that most bloggers quit after 2-3 months.  What can I say, I’m an overachiever.

Milestones are not only a great time to celebrate (and I hope you will celebrate with me), they’re also a time for reflection and planning.  Here are the things I’m thinking about for the blog, and ways you can participate:

  1. Interviews and inspiration: This is something I’m so excited about, I can hardly type it without adding exclamation points in the middle of my sentence (for your sake, I’ll refrain).  One of the primary reasons I started this blog was to explore my interest and talent in writing.   The good news is I’m pretty sure writing, as a blogger/freelancer/book author, is my next career path and I’m considering applying to low residency writing programs starting next summer.  My focus?  Creative nonfiction.  So to really start working my nonfiction muscles (and create some material for my applications), I plan to do more interviews and some longer pieces on the people and places that inspire me.  Arvind Devalia, recently featured in the article Top 10 Personal Growth Blogs that Inspire Action, is already in the line-up.  If you have other interview suggestions, or just want to volunteer to be a guinea pig in my journalistic experiments, let me know!
  2. A reader by any other name: One of the absolute best things about this blog is the readers, especially the ones who take the time to leave intelligent comments that force  me to dive more deeply into the subjects.  I’ve said it many times, both here and at other discussion boards, I’m a lucky blogger to have such a high percentage of thoughtful, engaged readers.  But the more I said it, the more I felt “readers” didn’t really describe who you are, at least in my mind.  And I wondered, would another name be more suitable?  In the book Switch, authors Chip and Dan Heath relate how Brasilata, a steel can manufacturing firm, starting calling all of its employees “inventors.”  The result?  In 2008, employees submitted 134,846 ideas, or 145.2 ideas per inventor!  So what would readers of this blog be called?  The tag line of the blog is “Luminations on a Happy Life.”  What about luminaries?  (See definition here)   Let me know what you think in the comments section.
  3. Feedback: As I start to devote more time and energy into the blog, I’d like to get your advice on how I can make Everyday Bright even better.  Fellow reader and blogger extradinaire Annabel Candy recently did a reader survey on her blog Get In The Hot Spot, and I thought it was such a great idea, I’ve decided to do the same.  Click here to take the survey. It will only take  about 5 minutes of your time and your feedback will be invaluable.  I’ll share the results with the group and let you know how I plan to use it.

Thanks again for all your encouragement and support.  It’s not an exaggertion when I say I couldn’t have done this without you (talking to yourself gets really old).  Sometime this month I plan to have a proper party by hosting a webinar event where we can interact on a more personal level and I’ll fill you on on how my career transition is going.  Want to be invited?  Just subscribe!

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37 Responses to Happy Anniversary, Everyday Bright!

    • On
    • August 5, 2010 at 11:07 am
    • Jessica
    • Said...

    Jennifer,
    Congratulations on your 6 month anniversary! You are a very good writer and I’m excited for you that you are pursuing that path. All the best to you!

    • Thanks, Jessica! I’m really excited about the future. I’ve only had one week (or less) of concentrated writing time so far, but I really love it. Especially the idea of working while being surrounded by cats. Now that’s my idea of happiness! LOL I’ll keep you posted on how things go with the applications, which I’m very nervous about. Most schools require anywhere from 25-35 pages for a writing sample. For someone who is cutting their teeth on blog posts, that seems like a lot! But I’ll get there. So nice to see you here. I’m a mutual fan you know…

  1. First – CONGRATS! Nice work. I love reading your blog and although I don’t always comment, I believe I’ve RTed or sent your link on almost every article.

    The reason I read your blog (hoping my reasoning will help with how you ‘better’ it) is because based on your past experiences, I believe you have a lot to say – and I’ll always learn something. You’re also a great writer.

    For someone like me – who is looking to ‘learn’ something – I would love if you did the following:

    1. Tell stories about your past experiences and what you’ve learned from them, how they’ve affected your life, etc. and then tie into how they will help you going forward.

    2. I believe you have *(or could have) a diversified audience based on the different groups of people you associate with / the different areas you know about…it may be nice to break out those ‘areas’ into sections in the top nav. bar.

    3. Your postings are relatively positive (which is not a bad thing), but are not usually controversial. I’m certainly interested in hearing your viewpoints on certain things that you feel deeply about as well as the corresponding comments.

    Just some quick thoughts – keep up the great work ( ;

    • Jamie,
      I love constructive criticism and this feedback is SO helpful. I know I need to open up a little more, but it’s really helpful to have someone who already likes the blog confirm it. Part of my struggle has been to talk in a meaningful way about experiences without revealing the identities of co-workers, many of whom I still work with in some capacity. As a writer, I know the interest is in the details, but that’s also where the identities are lurking too! I’ll find a happy medium, and in the meantime, I think I’ll write some posts about my early experiences in the military and how that shaped me, particularly as a woman. I probably need to take a hard look at my categories. I am trying to keep the nav bar very simple, but the categories undoubtedly could use sprucing up. If you have ideas there, I’d love to hear them.

      Thanks again for everything. Those tweets and shares mean a lot to me!

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  3. Hey, well done on reaching this amazing milestone and for fighting the good fight. You are to be admired. Happy anniversary!!

    • Thank you, Lisa! Still got my dukes up, that’s for sure. LOL Thanks for celebrating with me…

  4. Congrats, Jen! Been a pleasure getting to know you over the past few months and I’m glad to hear the blogging will continue.

    Also, I absolutely love your idea of “luminaries.” I read a great quote around that idea a few years ago, and dug up a short blog post I actually wrote about it here: http://wp.me/p9H4b-U Thought you might enjoy.

    • Josh, that is so cool! I always knew we had a lot in common. Glad you like the idea of being a luminary, because you definitely fit the profile! Thanks, as always…

    • On
    • August 5, 2010 at 11:38 am
    • Cameron Plommer
    • Said...

    Jen,

    Congrats. It’s great seeing fellow early-stage blogger keep going and seeing success. Blogging is a long-term thing and the benefits are not always quick. But that just makes success that much sweeter. Keeping doing what you’re doing Jen!

    • Thanks, Cam. I totally agree about success being sweeter the harder you have to work for it. These milestones are important for keeping the momentum, as well as friends like you cheering you along. Many thanks!

  5. Happy Anniversary! Looking forward to your future posts.

    • On
    • August 5, 2010 at 4:32 pm
    • Rebecca
    • Said...

    Congrats – you’re awesome. I love your comments here and your deeper insights and stories on your blog. Keep it up! The hardest is keeping it going after a year, but I have faith :)

    • Rebecca, I admire you so much–your compliment means a lot to me. Thanks, and I will definitely persist (it’s in my genes)

  6. Congratulations, Jen! I think of 3 and 6 months as markers for the longevity of many things – relationships, blogs, part-time jobs… ;-) Kidding. (Partly.)

    As a fellow writer with a young blog (although not my first, it’s the first one I’ve taken seriously), I know how challenging it can be to turn out good material – and how satisfying an engaged comment is. So hats off to you! And good luck with the writing program! (I’m getting ready to apply to do the same! Are we crazy? I hope not!)

    • Lindsey,
      I didn’t know you were going to apply to writing programs too. We’ll have to chat offline and compare notes. And yes, I think we’re crazy and I also think it’s absolutely the right thing to do. As I was just telling my cat yesterday: crazy is better than lazy! LOL

    • On
    • August 5, 2010 at 6:48 pm
    • cooper
    • Said...

    Congratulations, and good luck with your writing aspirations. I’m enjoying your blog so far, it’s my first time visiting.

    • Cooper,
      Thanks so much for leaving a note on your first visit. I hope we have many more opportunities to get to know one another!

    • On
    • August 5, 2010 at 7:00 pm
    • vincent
    • Said...

    Hi Jen – Congratulations on your 6 month blogversary! Very much like you, I also blog to keep my writing muscles exercised. Good Luck with your future posts and writing!

    • Blog writing is good practice, no doubt about it. The trick is to keep stretching and trying new things. Thanks for stopping by–good to see you again!

  7. So glad you’re still going and growing of course. I know it seems slow but that’s blogging. Please keep going. I’m very excited about your blogiversary. I wrote about the Blogger’s 6 Month Itch on Problogger so glad you get that it’s a longterm plan. Have tweeted and FBed you. Here’s what I said:

    Gorgeous blog + Gorgeous blogger = Winning combo

    Thanks Jen:)

    • I’ve said it many times before, and will likely say it many times in the future, you’re a terrific inspiration. Thanks for the dynamo compliment. Now just to completely believe it! Heh.

    • On
    • August 5, 2010 at 10:47 pm
    • Jay Hepner
    • Said...

    Luminaries. Like it.

    Keep up the interesting work, Jen. I read almost every post when posted.

    You’re doing something right. A few things, actually. Keep doing that to start. Momentum will continue to grab you new readers, and you’ll figure out what new twists will keep it fresh for you.

    Enjoying it.

    • Jay,
      Alright, another vote for luminaries! Thanks for the encouragement and compliment. I remember when a poet friend of mine was discussing literary journals to publish in. Most of us want the big glossy mags and she said she’d take even something printed and stapled in someone’s garage. Her explanation? “If even one person likes my work enough to share it with someone else, that’s good enough for me.” I always try to remember that in the face of “big blog” pressures. Thanks for your support. Hope you are recuperating well!

    • On
    • August 6, 2010 at 7:41 am
    • Jenn Piccerillo
    • Said...

    Congratulations Jen! and did you just call us fairies?
    I want to hear all about your life and your experiences too :-)

    • Hey, what? No! I didn’t call you fairies, I said “luminaries”! You know, bright shiny people who inspire others. You’re borderline, sister! (Just kidding of course) And I’m getting the message: talk about more personal stuff. I will. I promise. Love ya!

    • On
    • August 6, 2010 at 8:13 am
    • Barbara
    • Said...

    Congrats Jen! My 6mo. anniversary will be later this month as well. I can’t imagine giving up the blog now! It’s like a living, breathing entity now.
    Ok, I’m taking the survey now!

    • On
    • August 6, 2010 at 9:44 am
    • Tara Birch
    • Said...

    Many, many more months to come I’m sure.

    One question: what’s creative non-fiction? Non-fiction written to read as fiction?

    • Tara,
      Yes, it’s meant to distinguish itself from journalistic nonfiction. The literary journal of the same name (Creative Nonfiction) is amazing. Highly recommend it.

    • On
    • August 6, 2010 at 11:07 am
    • Shana Ross
    • Said...

    Congratulations!

    And, with regards to your creative nonfiction, allow me to point you to a short memoir contest in my neck of the woods (entries can come from anywhere): http://www.westportartscenter.org/ev?genre=literature#10litmemoir

    If you enter and win, I will put you up in my house the week/weekend of the reading. If you want.

    • That’s incredibly generous of you, Shana. Thanks!

  8. I just took the survey. And read the poetry on your site – what a lovely blending of both sides of your brain.

    You are the bright light for the luminaries. I can tell that your six month anniversary is a jumping off point for great things.

    • Phyllis, Definitely one of the bright spots of blogging is connecting with other amazing people (or should I say “luminaries”?). I’m so glad Blogger Link-up connected us. Let’s definitely stay in touch!

  9. Jen – It does get easier after the six month time. I just crossed my one year anniversary with Elephants at Work and the posts are flowing because I write about what happens everyday to everyday people.

    • Lynn,
      Yes, I don’t have a problem generating topics, usually just with balancing time to write with other needs/desires. As they say, the trick to being a writer is to sit your butt down in a chair and write! LOL. Thanks for joining the celebration, Lynn.

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