I wanted to start a blog for a long time, but I was always postponing it. A little bit more than a year ago, I’ve made a commitment to write a blog at least ones in two weeks. In fact, I’ve ended up to publish a blog post almost every week.

Today, I would like to look back at this year and share my thoughts with you.

Why did I start the blog in the first place

There are several reasons why did I start blogging in the first place.

First, English is not my native language. It requires a lot of effort to become fluent in a foreign language. One of the ways to improve language skills is to use it more active. One can read books (as I do), watch shows and movies (as I do), or play video games (I do that as well) to improve language skills. All of those activities enriches one’s passive vocabulary. On the contrary one need to work on active vocabulary as well. That can be achieved by speaking and writing.

My first goal was to work more on my active vocabulary, practice writing and improve the ability to express myself.

Second, teaching is another form of learning. I want to learn more through writing blog posts.

Here is one of the quotes I like:

“Writing is nature’s way of letting you know how sloppy your thinking is.” - Leslie Lamport

We can learn stuff by reading blog posts or books. Similar to learning a foreign language, that will be a passive knowledge.

To make the learning more active we need to apply that knowledge. To improve technical skills we can write more software or we can share the knowledge we have.

Knowledge sharing requires to transform thoughts from one’s head to heads of other people in the form people can understand. In order to teach others, one also needs to understand the subject.

My second goal was to learn deeply by sharing the knowledge I’ve acquired.

How did it go

There is a lot of interesting themes I would like to learn about. The better way, of course, is to focus on a single topic and stick to it for a while.

I’ve picked Elixir to be the first of those themes. I wanted to learn the language, so I thought it would be a good starting point.

More “whys” you can read in the “Why I have decided to learn Elixir” article.

I’ve started reading articles, books, watching various videos, attending conferences, and more important practice with the language. Then I was transforming the knowledge I’ve got about Elixir to my blog posts.

Of course, I could do all of that without writing blog posts, and, actually, the learning process could be even faster. On the other hand, writing about the stuff I’ve learned helps me understand things deeper and memorize them better.

To be more experienced Elixir developer, I need to write more code, no doubts. But I’ve intentionally slowed that process down, and I think I laid a good foundation.

I constantly keep the list of ideas for blog posts. During a week I pick the next topic, think it through, prepare the code and then on Sunday I sit and write about it. Usually, it takes from half to a full working day to write a blog post. Even though, I try to work on my discipline and stick to the schedule.

Yes, I could spend that time with my family or take a rest. To be honest, sometimes there is a temptation not to write “today” and go outside or play video games. The temptation is stronger when the weather is nice.

For example, that is the weather outside the window, when I write those lines.

To be honest, sometimes I succumb to this temptation.

Besides the time I spend to write a blog post, all that blogging part pushes me to learn more and hone my skills. If I have no schedule, I can always postpone things, but as soon as I need to post about something, well, I need to learn something new.

That’s one of those advantages I like about my blog.

After some time, I’ve started to receive a feedback from users. They are asking questions, saying they like my posts. Some of them are saying they don’t like it.

All of that boosts my motivation to keep going. When you see, that the work you do is useful for someone, that brings satisfaction.

Besides Elixir there is a bunch of other topics I am interested in. I was playing with Alexa skills development and I was answering questions on StackOverflow about the subject. So, I’ve decided to share that knowledge as well and change the theme of my blog a little bit.

That I’ve noticed, that people are not that interested in topics about Alexa skills. The number of articles’ reads and accepted answers on StackOverflow is quite low. But to be honest, I can compare it only with my articles about Elixir for now.

Also, I think, Amazon does a very good job to tell the world about Alexa skills. They provide a lot of articles of how-to-learn and raise motivation to publish skills.

Besides that, there are still lots of topics I would like to write about. For example, I’m currently playing with React Native and I find it interesting technology. I think that would be one of the next directions for the blog.

What did I achieve

I tend to think that writing the blog has improved my English skills a little bit. That is moving me towards one of my goals.

From my point of view, I’ve learned how to express myself better. Which, I hope, makes me a better employee. I write more documentation, provide more meaningful information through comments and discussions.

I’ve got familiar with Elixir programming language. I didn’t reach the mastery of course, but I am familiar with most of its concepts and can work further on improving my skills.

I was invited as a guest to “Elixir Mix” podcast. It was my first experience and I was pretty nervous. In the end that’s a great experience and I appreciate the invitation.

The figures

Let’s look at some figures from that year.

  • 46 published articles. Not including this one.
  • 74,243 page views
  • 30,339 unique users
  • Around 100 visitors per day
  • Email subscribers: 26 people
  • The most popular post: “Elixir. Multiple processes. Basics.”
  • The most googled query: “Phoenix channels”
  • AdSense revenue: €46.08 (Can’t withdraw it yet)
  • Two people bought me a coffee: $6
  • Revenue from affiliate links: None. I’ve tried to participate in Amazon affiliate program twice. No success.

What’s next?

Will I proceed? For sure. I will keep going. I will keep learning new stuff and blog about it.

I will try to ask to proofread my articles and try to learn from that. I will review English grammar courses, that should help me write even better, and, maybe faster.

I will try to work more on my active vocabulary. I am thinking about producing YouTube videos to improve my vocal skills.

Thank you

I’ve started the blog for myself to hone my skills. Even though, I would like to thank you, my readers. You are the part that keeps me motivated. I appreciate every feedback I’ve got from you. Even when feedback is a number of page views.

Have a nice day. See you soon.