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Happy anniversary, TMSW! Read through this post for important news about a giveaway to celebrate our first year together!

The month of August is an important one for me as far as anniversaries go. For starters (and most importantly), John and I got married on August 14, 2010. Then, one year and ten days later, I began publishing The Midlife Second Wife. If you’re counting along with me, that means today, August 24, 2012, is the blog’s first anniversary, or “blogiversary,” to employ a technical term. (I’ve learned a lot of blogging jargon since embarking on this social media journey, and yet have miles to go before I sleep.) This past year has been a fascinating time—filled with wonder, exploration, discoveries, and new friends. Please join me as I look back at a year in the life of a blog.

It’s all well and good to talk about marketing, SEOs, awards, and metrics, but there’s no doubt in my mind what brings the greatest value to the Midlife Second Wife the blog, and holds the most meaning to the Midlife Second Wife the blogger (that would be me). In a word: readers. Or in another word, you. Every time you hit “like” on a post, or comment, or share a blog link on Facebook or Twitter; every time you bring a new reader into the fold; every time you even click open that new post waiting hopefully in your inbox, it’s kind of like the bell ringing in that great Frank Capra film, It’s a Wonderful Lifean angel blogger gets her wings. This blog would have precious little meaning if it weren’t for you, gentle reader. Thank you for your support and continued interest.

MorgueFile image
This angel blogger just earned her wings

You might like to know that as of today, there are 555 of you who subscribe to the blog—either through email or on Twitter. Put another way, that’s as though more than one-and-a-half new readers signed on each day last year. Wow. Just wow. And while we’re on the subject of readers, as of today the blog welcomed a grand total of 24,308 visitors to its portal (An ephemeral number that has changed already because you are reading this now. But at 24,308, that is  1,706 more than the entire population of Avon Lake, Ohio, as of July 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.)

And where have you all been coming from? Well, most of you live in areas throughout the United States and Canada, as you might expect. But you also hail from the United Kingdom, India, Australia, The Netherlands, Italy, Ireland, Uruguay, Brazil, France, the Russian Federation, Montenegro, Sudan, Israel, and Denmark.

While we’re on the subject of numbers, I should also add (the pun is intentional) that 66 people “like” TMSW on Facebook. Would you like to help push that number up to 100? Please encourage your friends and family to like the blog on Facebook. I’m giving away a prize to the 100th liker. That’s pronounced LIKE-er, not liquor. And no, the prize isn’t a bottle of vodka. It has more permanence than that!

I should also say a word about The Midlife Second Wives’ Club. As previously announced, the first 110 subscribers to the blog automatically became charter members of this newly-minted association. About half of them have already received something in the mail from me, and I hope to get the rest of the mailings out before the end of the year. Although I don’t have a designated page for the club on the blog just yet, I do hope to get to that in the coming months. In the meantime, I invite you to think of names for other membership levels. There will be more on all of this in a future post.

I mentioned metrics earlier, and would like to digress a moment to pass along an observation. As many of you know, I began my writing life as a poet. Back in the day, metrics meant the scansion of my poetic line. Now, in the Age of Social Media, it has taken on a whole new flavor. A blogger’s success is measured not by the stressed and unstressed syllables in her sentences, but by the number of unique visitors to her site, whether they click through on ads and what-not, and, well, you get the picture. This is what measures a blogger’s worth, at least in ROI (Return on Investment) terms. But in ROW terms—Return on Writing, I proclaim my metrics stratospheric. Advertisers, do you care? Readers, I think you do and so I will explain.

This blog has allowed me to do something I’ve not really had the chance to do before: set aside time to write. Before, when I worked full-time, I wrote all day long, but for my employer, not for myself. And if any of you write for someone else for a living, you know that you’re often left too drained to create work of your own. But when you blog, you blog for yourself (and your readers). Speaking only for myself as a writer, I find there is nothing richer or more satisfying than knowing I have an opportunity to clarify my own thoughts, using words and tones and rhythms of my choosing. And, of course, there’s the immediacy and intimacy of the inbox—knowing that what I’ve written has resounded with someone else. In fact, the very first daily writing challenge that I did, sponsored by BlogHer, resulted in an essay about writing that the publishing network syndicated. And paid me for. When I checked a moment ago, that one post was read 5,636 times. This is quite astonishing to me, because I’m still adjusting to having so many readers. To quote Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, “I am amazed and know not what to say.”

Oberon, Titania and Puck with Fairies Dancing....

Oberon, Titania and Puck with Fairies Dancing. From William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Writing this blog has also resulted in at least one book-length manuscript-in-progress. I attribute this to the BlogHer writing challenge (also known as NaBloPoMo) I just mentioned.

The manuscript that is emerging from BlogHer’s daily writing challenge is for a book about my mother, and BlogHer honored the post that started it all earlier this month with a Voice of the Year award at their national convention in New York City. As noted in an earlier post, the essay, “Have You Met My Daughter?,” will appear in an electronic anthology featuring other VOTY winners. BlogHer and Open Road Integrated Media are jointly publishing the e-book.

Last November, WordPress, my blogging platform, featured TMSW on its “Freshly Pressed” site, an event that brought more than 5,000 visitors to the blog in less than two days. Also that month, a funny thing happened that I also attribute to blogging, although indirectly. I submitted a humorous essay to a contest sponsored by Marlo Thomas on her Facebook page, and was one of five winners chosen. The prize? Two tickets to see “That Girl” in the play Relatively Speaking on Broadway. Of course the essay, and the enjoyable experiences that ensued, ended up on the blog.

Photo credit: Marlo Thomas’ Facebook Page

TMSW has also won a few awards from other bloggers: the Liebster, the Versatile Blogger Award, and one I haven’t even had time to properly showcase yet—the Illuminating Blogger Award. To the kind food blogger who bestowed that upon me, I promise to give it its due soon. I’ve just been a little busy.

And I’m pretty proud of this one, especially given my love of coffee. Zabar‘s featured me on their blog. (In the interest of full disclosure, I did not receive either a lifetime supply of coffee or rugelach. Darn it.)

Earlier this month, I attended the aforementioned (and phenomenal) BlogHer Conference in New York, where I learned enough about social media to know that I still have tons to learn. I also met many incredible, bright, talented, and fun women, and joined up with some of them on a Facebook page for Bloggers Over 45. (Hi everyone!)

There’s also something else—something REALLY AWESOME AND AMAZING—that I just can’t tell you about yet. But when I am in a position to do so, you’ll read about it here.

Looking Ahead
I want to continue bringing you the best writing that I can, and the most interesting posts and articles. I hope to beef up the different sections of the blog, and I really long to enhance the look of it. I want to shelve all my books in the “Open Book” library, and experiment with new recipes for you to try. If you have a story idea, please let me know about it. There’s a contact link at the top of the page, or you can leave a comment at the end of this post. Either way, please stay in touch!

Thank you for indulging me in these few moments of revery. It’s a satisfying exercise to look back and take stock. I hope this first year of The Midlife Second Wife has been as enjoyable for you to read as it has been for me to write. Thanks again for being here.

And don’t forget! The 100th person to “like” The Midlife Second Wife on Facebook will receive a prize. If you know someone who should be reading this blog, who will love this blog, or who needs this blog, let them know and encourage them to like it on Facebook. And if you haven’t done so already, please take a moment and do it yourself, right now. It only takes a click, and you might be the 100th clicker. (If bells and whistles begin to blow, please let me know. I’ll try to find out how the Internet does that.)

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

Cheers, dear friends!