My Writing Year – 2018

As I mentioned last week, 2018 has been a mad and crazy year. A lot of work got done. Some other pursuits got neglected and sidelined as a result. Overall, it’s a year I’m proud of: I survived, I did some great work for interesting clients, and I have sufficient energy and enthusiasm that I’m looking forward to what 2019 has in store. I’m taking that as a win.

I reflected last week on my writing here at a very high level. In 2018, I have, to date, published 27 posts, most of which come in around the 1,800 word mark (this one means that I will wrap up the year with a final tally of 28). I have an intention of writing weekly. Clearly, that doesn’t always occur. But it’s occurred often enough that the site has attracted a reasonable following (and one that I’m extremely appreciative).

The blog started in about 2013 (there was one post somewhere in the depths of 2012, but I’m not going to count that). Since then, there’s been (relatively) steady increase in writing and in reading. This year saw 4,834 people actually visit the site (you know who you are) with 8,278 page views. The vast majority of visitors are from North America; following that, the most visitors hail from the United Kingdom, Australia and then the Netherlands. Looking at a map, there are few points in the world where readers haven’t visited from.

Of much more interest is what people have been reading. What follows is a list of the top 10 most-read posts from the site this year:

Page #
Exercising Agency: What Is Agency? 530
Review: Value Proposition Design 285
Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys 230
Reflections & Resolutions 229
Facilitation – A Peek Behind The Scenes 212
“Best Practices” Aren’t Doing For You What You Think They Are 187
The Role & Place For A Devil’s Advocate 183
The Verbification Of Nouns: Grammar Crimes of the 21st Century 182
Creating In-Between Spaces 141
You Can’t Implement Process And Get Culture 121

Many of those are from the last year. A few noteworthy ones date much earlier, though. Number one on the list is Exercising Agency: What is agency?. Dating back to 2015, this was one of a series of posts that I wrote on the site introducing my book, Exercising Agency. It was an introduction to the idea of agency; that we are active and free players in our organizations that make choices about when, how and to what degree we play along with the rules of our organization (formal, informal, political and otherwise). Nearly four years later, it gets more than twice the traffic of any other post on the site.

Equally surprising is Review: Value Proposition Design. This was one of those rare books you come across that falls into the category of “I wish I had written that.” It’s an intensely practical book that builds on the concepts of the business model canvas that were introduced in Business Model Generation. I reviewed the book early in 2015, shortly after I did a webinar that explored how you could use the value proposition tools in a project management context. It’s cool that it is still getting interest even now.

The earliest post on the list is the Verbification of Nouns: Grammar Crimes of the 21st Century. This particular post ranged well away from my usual stomping grounds. It was essentially a rant, protesting the degree to which we insist on taking defenseless and perfectly content nouns and force them to behave in verb-like fashion. It was a short rant, mind you. But it was a highly indignant one. In the five years since it was written, a surprising number of people are finding their way to it for reasons that largely escape me. Although I still stand firmly behind its sentiments.

The rest of the posts are from this past year, and actually represent some of the writing that I most enjoyed producing, and continue to be most proud of having written. Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys is very much one of my favourite posts ever, so I’m particularly delighted to see it show up as number three on the list. A little more surprising for me is that the next post is last year’s Reflections & Resolutions. The post was my personal take on the year that had been, and my hopes and plans for the year that was about to become. It was certainly some of the most personal writing that I had produced to date.

Some of my more practical and process-focussed writing also made the list. Facilitation – Peak Behind The Scenes was a surprisingly popular exploration into the contents of my actual facilitation kit (something that still delights a surprising number of people when they see it in person; office supply fetishes are strong in the circles I run in). My indictment of the over-use of best practices made the list as well. Squeaking in at the final slot was You Can’t Implement Process & Get Culture. It’s also an article I’m quite proud of, and is a theme I’ll be writing more about going forward.

The final post that I’m going to call out here is a series that was the hardest to write, and which contains some of the most personal reflections I’ve written to date. While the production required effort, the results are ones that I’m extraordinarily pleased with. The post that made this list was Creating In-Between Spaces, which was the first of what eventually became five separate articles exploring the concept of liminality. There were also contributions on Facilitating in In-Between Spaces, Working in the In-Between Spaces, Inhabiting In-Between Spaces and Storytelling in the In-Between Spaces. There’s a lot here, but there is more—far more—yet to explore. As yet, it’s not been ready to come out. I’m hoping that in 2019 it will.

What I’ve outlined above is a fraction of the writing that appears on this site. It’s also a subset of the overall writing that I do. As I’ve commented elsewhere, in large part I’m a professional writer. The tangible work products that I produce are mainly reports and presentations. I also write monthly for (and deliver a monthly webinar series for them as well). What I write here, though, is altogether more personal. What I post here are the things that interest me. The things I write are reflective of what I’m exploring, what I’m puzzling over and what I’m finding meaning in.

I look forward to what 2019 brings, and I look forward to sharing it with you. Thanks for reading. And the best of wishes for a happy, safe, successful and intellectually curious new year.

Lastly, a favour: I would love to get your input on my writing and corresponding newsletter, and where it goes in the coming year. I’d be incredibly grateful if you would take a few minutes to respond to the following survey:

Click here to respond.

2 Comments to “My Writing Year – 2018”

  1. Jim Duggan says:

    I like this article for at least a couple of reasons. One is it reminded me of some of the ones I have read over time, enjoyed and will revisit. Another reason is that there are some I missed that I will make a point of taking in.
    Thank you for your always insightful, articulate and relevant writing, Mark!
    One question though…what is that object in the picture??

    • Mark Mullaly says:

      Thanks so much as always, Jim! (And happy new year to you). I really appreciate the feedback. And I’m glad you’ve find another few gems!

      Pretty sure the object is a coffee mug. Right next to the old-timey-typey thing. 😀

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