May in Review

monochrome image with a colour rainbow

One of the problems with the monthly reviews I write on this site is that, in the days leading up to the end of the month, I’m often more focussed on completing posts in progress rather than writing up a review of how the previous four weeks went. Last month was a slightly special case because of the timing of my 100th post, but most months I’ve been distracted working on ‘real’ posts rather than review posts. That’s the way it should be, I guess.

This month was no different, although I did stop working on photographs to start writing this a day before the month ended. I didn’t get very far. In fact, I got was far as the first use of the word ‘different’ in this paragraph before May ticked over into June.

I don’t currently have many posts at the writing stage. I have over 500 images from the last couple of days that need to be edited, and over sixty from a trip last weekend that have been post-processed but need trimming down a little more. So, it’s almost a welcome break to step away from the photographs for a while and actually try to write something.

This isn’t all that great either, however. I’m currently suffering from creative block, which is mostly like writer’s block only it also is affecting my photography. Whilst out last week I wasn’t really in the ‘zone’; I wasn’t feeling the creative spark that allows me to turn a mundane scene into an interesting image, which is why that post will contain some familiar sorts of images.

I’ve been struggling with it for a while, which is why the words of my posts over the last month or so haven’t been all that great either (not that they normally are, but they haven’t been up to my usual mediocre standard).

I’ve also been struggling with my laptop, which as a three-and-a-half year-old machine shouldn’t be struggling that much, especially as I upgraded the storage and RAM last year, but it is often locking up, it runs far hotter than it probably should under the relatively low load I’m putting it under (even for a MacBook Pro), and the hard drive space continues to be radially running out (anyone who follows me on Twitter will probably be more than aware of these issues, since I tend to moan about them reasonably often). I’ve much decided to replace my laptop in the near future, I’m just waiting on the ever-secretive people at Apple to refresh their lineup for the summer, and hoping that the rumours of high-resolution Retina Displays on the iMacs and MacBook Airs are true.

Anyway, that’s now, which is, technically, June. This is supposed to be an account of May.

That said, there wasn’t much to May. Although the records will show there to have been six posts last month (if you click the ‘categories’ drop down menu at the right), in reality there were really only three since my last monthly statement which, thanks to the 100th Post and that creative block I was talking about, didn’t make it out of the gates until almost the middle of the month. That was then followed up with the gradual release of three posts that had all been photographed the previous month: Macaroons: An Exploration in PicturesInstagram #10, and Rainbow Over Yonder.

coloured macaroons on a plate

I’m not disappointed with the quality of the images for the month, but there wasn’t much scope for variety, with there only being three posts. Both Macaroons and Rainbow were reasonably well received; both managed ten likes, although they weren’t heavily commented on. I’m probably proudest, however, of Instagram #10; I think the quality of the images in that set are better than any other Instagram post I’ve put out. As is often the way, that post only received five likes, further proving I have no idea what you like.

Although all of the posts in May contained images from April, I’ve still been pretty busy. I took a few hundred images during May, which as ever will be whittled down to a more sensible number, but these won’t see the light of day now until June. A lot of the images ended up being of people, so I’ve been planning and shortlisting a new portraits post, which I’m intending to take my time on and get right, because I’m really pleased with some of the images.

The Daily Photo is still chugging along, putting out a photo a day – although in all honesty I missed a day around the middle of the month. I quickly published a backdated post, so history will never record the blunder, but I’m annoyed at myself for that one.

By the numbers, Creative Splurges had just shy of 600 hits in May, and has now passed 48,100 all-time hits and is trundling towards that big, round 50,000 figure. The Daily Photo had 554 hits, and passed the 4,000 all-time mark to currently have 4,351. Creative Splurges has 247 subscribers (excluding Facebook and Twitter), whilst The Daily Photo has had a small surge this month and has 46. The Creative Splurges Facebook page now has 16 likes.

On the subject of social media, also this month I started a Creative Splurges Twitter account: @CreativeSplurge. Yeah, I know – the Twitter username character limit is one character too few for ‘CreativeSplurges’. Like most of my forays into social media with Creative Splurges – as opposed to my own personal presence – I’ve not really thought too far ahead with how I’m going to use it, but for now it broadcasts new posts (although if you currently follow me on Twitter, I’m currently retweeting those, thus making the whole exercise even more redundant). The account has a grand total of two followers, making this already something approaching a success.

I’m not great at this stuff, the social interaction stuff. I lucked out with getting Freshly Pressed a couple of months ago, which boosted my follower count and hit total by a bit, but I’m still trailing far behind other blogs that haven’t had the benefit of the reasonably high exposure this blog had (indeed, one blog I follow lightheartedly referenced waiting for the Freshly Pressed blessing this week, and it has more followers and more comments per post than this blog). The 100th post poll last month received only six votes out of 247 subscribers. This tells me I need to work on encouraging hits and interactions to both Creative Splurges and The Daily Photo. This is unfortunately where I get stuck, because I clearly need to be a bit more proactive, and that’s not something I’ve ever been good at. In fact, if you can tell me how to be more proactive in all areas of life, that would really help immensely.

Right now, my only plan is to attempt to improve the through traffic from The Daily Photo to Creative Splurges. As I mentioned last month, the Daily Photo was set up to use the daily posting format to help keep a more active presence and drive people towards Creative Splurges. That isn’t happening in much volume; if anything more of the traffic has been in the other direction. So, I’m going to start putting links on the images on the Daily Photo to the post on Creative Splurges that the image is from, which will hopefully start encouraging more people to check out this site. I’m also contemplating how I write up my posts, because as of late they have contained a lot of words and pictures, and breaking up posts into shorter chunks might make the blog more accessible. However as ideas go, this is all I’ve got, so if you have any other suggestions please leave a comment below.

Thank you for reading.

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