Sunday, December 6, 2015

It's the 2 Year Anniversary of the Stick Chick Blog!

Two years ago on this date, I published the first post on this blog: Enter the Stick Chick.

The first image I posted here with a semi-clever comment.
Hey, I got funnier! Mostly! Kind of! Sometimes!  *sniffles*

Believe it or not, this blog actually is an outgrowth of my Pinterest account!

I was finding and pinning all sorts of martial arts-y goodness - my art, related Filipino Martial Arts, other martial arts good stuff, martial arts humor and culture, neat-o weapons.  I got lots of shares and likes there (I still do, although I'm rarely very active there any more due to time constraints). I enjoyed that interaction.

I found that I wanted to say something about it all.


This blog, summed up in one gif.

I wanted to provide my own point of view, my own commentary, and share my own journey. I was excited about a new web show called "Enter the Dojo", and I wanted to talk about it.  I was laughing at very bad martial arts videos - I enjoy those like I enjoy so-bad-it's-good movies.  I wanted to talk about what it's like to do what I do, especially since so much of the martial arts blogging world was either in arts I don't pursue, or are written by people who aren't short dumpy middle-aged women who started this journey very late in their lives.  I wanted to make my martial arts world wider and more diverse.

I wanted to converse with other people about all these things.

So I did a bit of cursory research, decided to use Blogger as a platform since I'm pretty heavy Google products user and it seemed the easiest to start with, and created this blog, The Stick Chick.  Fun fact - when I started in December 2013, there was another blog - looks like it's gone - with the same name on Blogger, but it was about knitting.

We were having a huge ice/snow storm in Dallas-Fort Worth in early December 2013, so I holed up on my warm couch with my laptop - not like we could go anywhere, as we have no road equipment for regular streets here - and wrote a whole bunch of posts all at once, and scheduled them.  I read them now and cringe, but that's how this works.  Early work sucks.  A lot.

Yep, pretty much the universal reaction.
It takes time to find a voice, and a style, and a theme for a blog.  If you are wanting to start but afraid that your work sucks, I assure you that right now, it probably does.  But it gets better with practice, and time, and experience, just like we do as martial artists.  Just as you sucked when you first stepped on mat, so you will suck when you start a blog.  But keep at it, and you do get better.

The Stick Chick is now a very different beast than it was in the early days (or even a year ago).  I have less video, for example, because it didn't seem to resonate with readers and it was hard to keep up with.

I'm not really posting "Shenanigans" posts any more, because it didn't seem to help, even though there's plenty of material to draw from.  I'm less critical than I used to be - although that definitely drives views and is pretty easy to write, I think in the long run that can hurt a blog's regular readership. I try to be more upbeat and positive here, as I actually am in real life.

This was this blog for a period of time about a year ago or so, not like the real me at all. Mostly.
I used to have a pattern to the posts I made in terms of theme (general topics on Wednesday, personal topics on Saturday, and rotating humor, shenanigans, self defense, and general topics) but I abandoned that and just write what I feel like writing now.

I used to have a regular guest blogger (see his work under the tag "Troy-Kwon-Do") , but life intervened and he doesn't have the time to contribute now, and I haven't found a new one (which I really would like, if anybody's interested but doesn't want to start/manage their own blog).

I've played with Motion Mondays (didn't have much response), and Face-Off Fridays (good response when I can think of a good topic - if you have any ideas, please let me know).  I moved fresh posting days from Wednesday/Saturday to Monday/Wednesday.

I started up a weekly round up post on Saturdays, an idea I blatantly stole from several other big-time bloggers who typically do the same thing.

Heck, I even bit the bullet and bought "thestickchick.com" url this year, even if it did mean losing all the comments from before the conversion (and I do miss those comments - there were some really good ones!).

In the past year, we opened Mid-Cities Arnis and I write for that blog too (thankfully it's a much less frequent and very tightly focused blog - very different than The Stick Chick).

I've learned a lot about marketing - social media in particular - since I started this blog.  This was actually another part of my purpose of writing the Stick Chick, and I've learned tons (I'm a direct/database marketer in my day job).

The Stick Chick is doing pretty well, as martial arts blogs go (although even after a couple of  years there are bloggers out there who blow me away in every metric you want to consider for success and I love those guys). I'm grateful for those of you who read, who comment, and who share this blog.  Thanks for being generous with your kind words - and most of the feedback I get is very kind, thank you.

Please know that a view or a like or a share gives me the same thrill I got two years ago when I first saw views other than my hubby's and mine showed up in my stats.

This blog will change, as it has in the past.  I learn what you guys like to read, and what you don't.  My own interests will change as I grow as a martial artist.  The martial arts world - and the wider world - will change.

The Stick Chick will change with it.

I hope you "stick" around for all of that.

Thank you.