Tomorrow will be the first anniversary of this blog, so I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you all for reading and commenting and sharing. Over these twelve months, I’ve had 60 posts and somewhere in the range of 20,000 views. The most viewed post is the one on reverse outlines, which has been viewed almost 1,000 times. Since I often identify the reverse outline as the most important writing tool available to us, this number makes me very happy. The other tops posts are the one on transitions and the one on using writing to clarify your own thinking. But why am I pointing you to the most popular posts?! I should be directing you to the least viewed post of the year: something from September on the role audience plays in our anxiety about writing.
It has been very gratifying to see how many people have added the blog to their blogrolls or otherwise shared my posts with their own followers. But in looking over a year’s worth of stats, I was most interested in one number: the number of times readers have left my blog to visit places I have recommended or linked to. I am delighted by the approximately 3,000 times that readers have gone elsewhere from my blog; the most frequent destinations are The Thesis Whisperer and Grammar Girl, both excellent choices. Since the Internet often has exactly what we need amidst thousands of things we really don’t need, I’m happy to be part of helping people to find the good bits.
I’m looking forward to another year of blogging. My plan is to carry on in the same vein: one week, a post on a topic in academic writing; the next, a post commenting on discussions of academic writing found in blogs and other online sources. This plan will carry on for some time, but I would love, at some point, to add a more general and responsive discussion of writing. In the classroom, I find it very helpful to give students some non-directed time with examples of academic writing. A class discussion of a particular issue will involve many related examples, all designed to allow students to apprehend the problem. However, unsurprisingly, this apprehension doesn’t end all difficulties with that issue. There is a subsequent—and much slower—step: developing the ability to diagnose writing issues without the prompt of knowing that the writing is being looked at with a particular issue in mind. I would love to add a new feature to the blog that might help to develop that ability: I could present a passage—one that hadn’t been selected to exemplify any particular issue—and then see how it might be improved in a range of ways, drawing on topics discussed in previous posts. Look for that feature once I’ve exhausted all the foundational topics I need to discuss and think about whether you have any troublesome passages of your own writing that you would like to share for online analysis and revision. And, as always, if you have questions or topics you would like to see me discuss, just let me know via Facebook or Twitter or via the blog’s contact or comment functions.