life on the funny farm

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Class Reunion

I’m celebrating something today.

A reunion.

And while my high school reunion IS fast approaching, that’s not the one I’m referring to.

I’m talking about the April 2012 MNINB Platform Challenge Reunion.

I know, it’s a mouthful. I’ll break it down…

April 2012: A year ago.

MNINB: My Name is Not Bob. The name of the blog of Robert Lee Brewer (whose name is not Bob). That’s Robert Lee Brewer of Writer’s Digest fame, for any non-writerly folk out there. He’s a writerly-type extraordinaire, and he had the grand idea to put his knowledge out there for folks like me.

Platform: This is what you want if you’re a writer that hopes to be published. Why? I don’t know, but all the agents whine platform, platform, platform All. The. Time. Apparently you need it, and size matters. As in, they want to see a lot of followers and lots of traffic and a large presence in all the sundry social media venues.

Challenge: Because I’m challenged.

Reunion: The folks who went through the challenge formed a bit of a band. A family. And it’s extremely cool. At first, we were calling ourselves the Not Bobbers, but now we’re all grown up and we go by Wordsmith Studio. Isn’t that the bomb? We have our own blog and a badge and everything.

See?



Anyway, we realized that we had all learned so much during the platform challenge and then in the ensuing year, and we said, “Wordsmithers? We should have a reunion of sorts so we can all reflect on how we’ve grown and what we’ve learned.”

Only it was going to be way better than a real reunion because nobody would be talking about how much weight the prom queen had gained or how pot-bellied and balding the varsity quarterback had gotten or how Mr. Most Likely to Succeed was still living with his mother 30 years later.

Each of us that wanted to attend the reunion had only to sign up for a date in April and write up a piece about all that reflection and growth.

And so this is mine.

From the challenge, I learned that it’s not enough to say “If I build it, they will come.” Not in this digital age, anyway. You have to build it, and commit to adding to it, and sharing it, and engaging with others till you become that cool party house that everyone wanted to hang out at. You know, the one with the laid back parents and plenty of chips.

And I’ve learned that a lot of this process is fun, but some of it is tedious and downright hard. With this reunion, it’s time to look back at what I was taught, and figure out what I learned and what I still use. Just like those school subjects so many years ago.

For example, Twitter and Google+ and Linked In and SEO? That was math for me. I learned it, but it’s not easy for me and I don’t enjoy it. I know how to use the basics enough to get by, but you’ll never catch me dabbling in it just for fun.

Facebook and Blog Hops and Guest Posting and editorial calendars? That’s my English. A bit dry and dreary at times, but it comes easy and I kind of enjoy it.

Pinterest? Art class! It’s fun and it’s easy and I love it.

Creating blog posts and reading comments and checking my stats? Those are the after school activities that I do because I choose to do them, not because the state mandates that I take the class.

Of course, there are a few areas I need improvement in, and I need to work on those skills. Kind of like taking an adult education class at the local community college. For example, I suck at engagement, so I really need to beef up my skills there. It’s partly a time issue, but I know I can’t blame it entirely on that. And I need to find a way to allow readers to follow me by email. I tried to put an email-following widget in my sidebar once, but I failed. I need to retake that class. Summer school?

Clearly, I learned plenty during the challenge, even if it wasn’t all fun. But where did it get me? Am I more successful now as a writer than I was in March 2012? I’d say yes, I am. When I look back at where I was in terms of platform before the challenge compared to now, I can see an enormous change. My blog followers have grown from numbering in the teens to over 500. My monthly page views have grown from about 4,000 to five times that amount. I have a healthy following on Twitter and Pinterest, and a Facebook fan page that’s none too shabby. Besides the increase in traffic and followers, my “searchability” has improved tremendously, I’ve received a few awards, and I’ve had essays published in magazines as well as in several books. I’ve been interviewed a number of times, and I receive queries for guest post submissions and advertisers on a daily basis. So yeah. HUGE difference for me.

Besides reflecting back at what you’ve learned and how far you’ve come when you’re at a reunion, you also apply that to your classmates. Where are they now? So I ask, what of my fellow “students” from this graduating class? Well, I am nothing short of amazed. When I think of their collective creative genius, their fortitude, and their leadership skills, I am blown away. The Wordsmithers is an organized and efficient group, with a board of directors, committee members, and an ambitious yet grounded vision. They are intelligent, supportive, inquisitive, and talented, and I am humbled and honored to be a part of this incredible group. What’s that expression about sisters? Chance made us sisters, choice made us friends. That can be applied quite neatly to the Wordsmithers, as well.

So now, drink in hand, I stand at the corner of the room and look out at my Wordsmith classmates, drinking, laughing, dancing under the lights at our reunion. We all went through it together, and we all emerged knowing more. We each took away something a little different, perhaps, yet this common thread has been woven into a rich and beautiful tapestry.

Here, hold my drink. I want to go dance….






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Rudeness disclaimer:

I love all your comments,
I read every one!
But I can't hit 'reply',
I've no time for fun.
Please don't judge me,
Please don't hate.
If you have a question that just can't wait,
Send me an email at farmbeachgal@yahoo.com,
And I'll answer right back because I'm, you know, the Mom.








31 comments:

  1. I enjoyed this post! Congrats to you. (And I completely relate to your summary of social media.) Stopped by from the SITS Sharefest.

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    1. Thanks, Pam! So glad to have you here...

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  2. Loved this post. Laughed at the reunion metaphors. Well said.

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    1. Thanks, Heather! So glad you enjoyed it!

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  3. love the comparison. just hoping i'm not the one living with their mom! that would make a great twitter chat giving everyone a label! must mention that to khara and kasie! great piece!

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    1. Thank you, Bolton. If you can use any of this in a Twitter chat, go for it!

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  4. Love the comparisons, too. Congratulations on all you have accomplished and thanks for introducing the group to the TALU blog hop that you host. Happy Anniversary!

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    1. Thanks, Michelle! I always love it when you join up with the TALU hop. Did you know that Kenya is now a fellow co-host? Keepin' it in the family....

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  5. An amazing post, Anne--beautifully written, funny, and just poignant enough to make me tear up a little bit. I'm proud to know you! Cheers, Wordsmithers!

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  6. Engaging writing. Your personality shines through your words. Congrats on all your accomplishment. One of these days I need to try a blog-hop.

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    1. Awww, thanks! Yes, you definitley MUST try a blog hop. In fact, you must try the one I co-host! Tune in on Tuesday....

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  7. I wanna go dance too! Great post. Congrats on all your accomplishments! You've been so very busy and successful! Time to celebrate. High fives all around.

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    1. Thank you, Sarah! It was fun. So glad to be a part of such an amazing group!

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  8. Felt like I was in the room for that reunion. It was great to read how successful this past year had been for you, Anne. Amazing job. May next year be even more successful.

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    1. Come on, Sabra, let's go dance!
      Thanks for stopping in, and for the well-wishes...

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  9. You have the best break down for social networks. I might have to steal it, I mean casually refer to you when I casually say Pinterest is an art class to new users. Anyway, great post Anne, so nice to be in a group with you.

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    1. Well, Sopphey, I will casually thank you for casually wanting to steal that reference! Take it and run with it, if it helps. We're all in this together, right? Thanks for the comments, glad you liked it!

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  10. Great post, Anne :) I'll go to one of your reunions any day!

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    1. We can go as each other's date, Melanie! Thanks for stopping over!

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  11. Ohmygoodness, Ann, my high-school reunion is coming up this year, too, and let's just not say which one! I like your comparisons between the things we have to do as writers with our favorite and not-so-favorite subjects. Congratulations on published articles and your following - amazing!

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  12. Great job, Anne! Congrats on all the things you've accomplished! Great comparison to a reunion, and I'm so glad I get to party with all you wonderful people :)

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    1. Party on, Jennifer! Thanks for stopping over!

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  13. Great post! I'm so happy and proud to call you a classmate! Here's to another great year ahead.

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  14. You are totally the cool house where everyone wants to hang out! (I don't always join in TALU, but I'm always happy when I do!). Great metaphor for your post too, love the connections to a real reunion and to "class".

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    1. I'm the cool house! I'm the cool house! I have arrived! Hehehe...

      Thanks, Emily!

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  15. Great post, Anne. I am so happy to be part of such a group! The best part is that we obviously drink too! This is the best ever!

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  16. Anne:

    Congratulations on your many, many, many fine achievements in writing and in social media. You have certainly worked your fingers to the bone to get you as far as where you are today. Being asked to do guest posts on a daily basis? Wow! I'm jealous. That is AWESOME!

    I wish you even more success in your writing!

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  17. Its great story you posted for us. I laugh and dance too with my Grand mom. At least I just say it's awesome.
    Article writing
    Content writing

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