State of the Blog: It’s this baby’s third birthday!

A message for those participating in The Sparrow Read-along: Discussion questions are posted at Age 30+…A Lifetime of Books today. You don’t have to be finished with the book to participate in the discussion, and you can post your answers any time prior to March 30 (that is the date your review should be posted). My own responses will go up tomorrow, since I have something else on the blog calendar today – read on!

Happy birthday to me
This here blog is three!
So many posts later
It’s still where I want to be

Thanks for joining me here today (and every day, or however often you do)!

My first post here went up on March 16, 2007, and was probably not read by anyone. Today, The 3 R’s Blog has over 500 subscribers – most days, depending on what Feedburner tells me – and gets an average of 35 visits per day, according to Google Analytics. There have been almost 1150 posts in this space (including a few guest posts), with posts appearing at least four days a week (usually more).

Wow! Looks like this hobby of mine keeps me pretty busy, huh?

I’ve posted two blog recaps since my last Blogiversary – my thousandth-post celebration in September, and my Year in Review in December 2009. I mentioned several of my favorite posts of the year at that time:

My Top 5 10 personal favorites for 2009, including a couple of two-parters:
These brought reading and writing together in book-inspired commentary:

These are the Top 5 “popular favorite” posts since January 2010:

I’m rather gratified to see that last post on the list, because it was the most personally meaningful one I’ve written in a while, and I continue to appreciate everyone who’s read and commented on it.

I have a sense that I haven’t written as many of those “personally meaningful” posts during the past year as I did in 2007 and 2008. I’ve focused more on book-related content, which is why I started this blog in the first place, and have become a more involved member of the book blog community – and I don’t regret either of those developments for a second. But I used to write more posts that were inspired by my reactions to current events and issues, as well as more about life in general. Some of that writing now goes up on the LA Moms Blog, but I’ve missed doing it here and I want to make it a bigger part of my blogging again. I’ve got lots of fragments and ideas jotted down, waiting for some more of my time and attention. (But for the record, most of my “personally meaningful” blogging probably won’t get as personal as yesterday’s post.)

There’s my objective for Year 4 of The 3 R’s: more of the ‘Riting but, ideally, not at the expense of the Reading, and the Randomness – including those link roundups y’all seem to like – will not go away.

Another objective of mine is making this a welcoming place for you to join in and comment! There are some commenters’ names I see regularly, others I’m happy to see whenever they come by, and I’m always glad when someone new pops in…especially when they come back for a second or third time, and then they’re not so new anymore. (And if you’re unable to get a comment posted for some reason, you can always e-mail me at 3.rsblog AT Gmail DOT com.) I try to prompt your comments with questions in my posts, but for Blogiversary, I wondered if you might have questions for me – so I asked you to ask!

of Bermudaonion wants to know:

What’s the one thing you wish you’d known about blogging before you started?
I wish I’d known how much of my time it would eat! But honestly, that’s been an outgrowth of how much I like doing it – which is another thing I couldn’t have known before I started.

Jeanne of Necromancy Never Pays says:

Here’s my blogiversary question: what would you like to see more bloggers doing, and why?
Leaving comments here, because I want them to.
(Sorry, my first response is usually the smart-alecky one. )
Seriously, though, I’d really like to see bloggers express more of themselves on their blogs. Unless they stipulate that the only reason for their blog’s existence is to review books or products, it’s disappointing to me to see a post only when they’re reviewing something they’ve received just for that purpose – especially when the review doesn’t tell me much I couldn’t read on the book jacket or in the ad copy. It’s also disappointing to me to see content primarily driven by the Meme of the Day. I don’t necessarily mean that the blogger needs to share a lot of personal information; I know that quite a few book bloggers, in particular, choose to be more reserved with that, and that’s fine. But one of the most important reasons I’ll decide to follow a blog is the voice of its writer; if I don’t get a good feel that the writer has a voice of her or his own, I probably won’t hang around for long.

Wordlily, who is also celebrating a Blogiversary (with reader questions, too!) this week, has a few queries:

How long does it typically take you to write a review (including formatting, etc.)?
Most of the time, it takes about 60-90 minutes. I have a basic template I use for almost all my reviews. I’ll paste in book information from LibraryThing, a link to the author’s website (if there is one), and a book description (usually from the publisher’s website, with a link). Writing the Comments section – the body of the review – is the big variable, depending on how much I have to say about the book and how easily it’s coming. I try to write my review within a day or two of finishing the book, although sometimes it won’t post until a while later.

What review and/or post are you most proud of? Why?
That’s a tough question, considering the number of posts I’ve got! Most of the posts I’ve mentioned earlier in this entry are posts I’m pretty proud of, but none are reviews. In that category, I’ll single out Still Alice by Lisa Genova. This story of a woman with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease was a tough read for me, because my mother died of the same condition, but it was also enlightening and moving, and I highly recommend the book.

What’s something you’ve accomplished in the past year that you’re particularly proud of? (Not necessarily blog related.)
One of my posts was published in a book – an essay anthology used for college-level writing classes – and that was pretty exciting, although I didn’t actually have to do much except grant permission for them to use it. I also went to my first blogging conference – BlogHer’09 in Chicago – and actually talked to people instead of hiding in my room, which was kind of a big deal for me. It’s a big enough deal that I’m going back again this August, for BlogHer’10 in New York City!

Kay from My Random Acts of Reading asks:

Do you have an e-reader and if not, will you get one? What do you think about them?
I’ve had a Kindle since last summer, and I like it a lot, although I seem to read e-books more slowly than print ones. It’s very comfortable to read on it, and great for bringing books with me while traveling. Also, since the books are priced more attractively than hardcovers, I can buy new releases for it sooner (instead of waiting for the paperback editions). But for me, it’s not going to replace “real” books – at least not any time soon.

One of the interesting things about blogging is that when a blogger celebrates, the readers get the presents! I went back and forth over what to give away for my Blogiversary – ARCs I’ve finished? Books? Treats? An e-gift card to a specific site? A LibraryThing membership, again?

I decided on the laziest prize ever – a $35 e-gift certificate to the shopping site of your choice. The winner will get to pick out her or his own prize! Please complete the form below to enter the giveaway – entries via comment will not count. Good luck – and thanks for celebrating my Blogiversary with me! (If you’re viewing this post in a feed reader and the form isn’t showing up, please click through to the blog to enter the giveaway.)


Once again, thanks for celebrating my Blogiversary with me!

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