I may be a little bit late on writing this article but nonetheless I'd like to take a second to go meta and discuss the previous year in terms of this website. October 2012 saw the third anniversary of my serious launch of writing online. SamSpurlin.com was originally TheSimplerLife.net before I made the switch sometime in 2011. A lot has happened in my life since starting that original website including the coming and going of serious relationships, graduating undergrad, teaching high school, coaching college hockey, and eventually starting graduate school in the fall of 2011. This website has been a constant through all of that and I'm happy to say I'm not planning on changing that fact any time soon.
THE HIGH POINTS
I think my writing continues to evolve and improve. 2012 saw some of what I consider my best articles I've ever written. A couple of my favorites in terms of quality include Harnessing Flow to Craft a Meaningful Career,Predictors of Success: Grit, and The Role of Curation in a True GTD System. I've intentionally been trying to challenge myself to write better researched and more nuanced articles than I have in the past. I'm still seeking the balance between research and ease-of-reading. I don't want to make this website a series of academic articles but I also pride myself on using my scientific training to write in ways many personal development websites don't.
2012 has also seen my coaching business grow much more than I had ever imagined. I obviously can't go into too much detail due to coach-client confidentiality but I've been adding clients at a decent rate throughout the year. I've been developing my coaching acumen and feel like I've been making a very positive contribution to many people's lives. I include this in my website review because my coaching business stems directly from the writing I do here. SamSpurlin.com is the largest driver of my coaching endeavors.
Finally, a high point in the past year has been developing my writing in a couple new locations on the internet. While I was in the Czech Republic I regularly wrote for the Locus Workspace blog and published my first couple articles about my thoughts on the state and future of coworking. I also started a personal blog called Process > Product that has received more writing over the past year than SamSpurlin.com has -- but of a different nature. Finally, I started Getting History Done, a fun repository for my collection of quotes about how interesting people get (or got) their work done.
THE LOW POINTS
The most obvious low point for me is simply the frequency at which I've been publishing here. Graduate school is an incredible time and energy suck that sometimes makes it very difficult to get writing finished. June, July, and August were my highest frequency months (as you might expect) but there were several months where I only had 1 or 2 articles published. Many popular websites publish at roughly this rate (Rands in Repose comes to mind) but I would like to be posting at least one top-notch article per week. I could obviously solve this problem by lowering my expectations for what an article should consist of but I decided awhile ago that one way I was going to try to distinguish my website from the crowd of personal development blogs was through high-quality and well-researched articles.
I've had a couple other endeavors related to the website fall by the wayside in the past few months as well. For awhile I was doing Weekly Video Updates and posting them on YouTube. I really enjoyed doing these but haven't done one in awhile. The monthly Conscious Living Newsletter was another thing that used to be a regular occurrence here at SamSpurlin.com but hasn't seen the light of day in a couple months.
To start, I'm going to shift the Weekly Video Update to a Monthly Video Update that will probably be a tad longer and a little bit heavier on the content than it used to be. Doing it less frequently means I should be much less likely to blow it off and it should also fix the problem of feeling like nothing had happened in the past week to warrant another video. Similarly, the Newsletter will be re-instated but will be released quarterly instead of monthly. I think it will be filled with higher quality content and less redundancy if I don't try to put something together every month and instead have 3 months to pull together the very best content for subscribers.
In terms of posting frequency, I'm still undecided about the best path forward. I'm intrigued by the idea of potentially publishing smaller articles that are in response to other things I read on the internet. These may be sprinkled in with my normal long form writing I've already been doing. There are a lot of things I read that I believe warrant a response or a comment but rarely do I have 1,000 words or more to spend on it. This may help me keep the website active during stressful times at school without relying solely on guest posts. Like I said, it's still something I'm toying with and will probably experiment with it in the near future.
I'm also becoming more and more interested in starting a podcast. The Weekly Video Updates have been kind of a trial run in this regard and I imagine 2013 will probably hold my first attempt at starting a true podcast. Once this semester ends in May I'll have a little bit more time to work on it and will hopefully have something going before the end of the summer. Details are sparse right now, but I have a rough idea of what it would look or sound like and am very excited to get moving on it.
I'm always humbled by the people who take the time to reach out to me on Twitter or send me an email to ask a question or make a comment about something I've written. I would love for there to be more of this in 2013. When I decided to quit my fledgling teaching career to try my hand at something very scary and non-traditional I knew this website was going to be the cornerstone of everything I did in the future. I still have a long way to go to bring it to the level I envision it, but I'm on the right path and I'm certainly glad all of you are on this journey with me.
Here's to 2013.