When I started the blog last year I had a business plan in the shape of a triangle. In one corner was my regular website which promotes my classes, another was the videos on my Youtube page, and the third was this blog. The idea was that they would all be mutually supporting, people who looked at one would be drawn to the other two.
My success has been modest. One of my videos has had 90,000 viewers. Combined with the others my videos have been watched a total of 145,000 times. I haven't made time for more videos in 9 months. My goal for the summer is to produce a video I can sell, and to make more videos for Youtube.
I've also got a plan to make some cool t-shirts to sell through Cafe Press or some such site.
My regular website has basically been doing its job of informing people about my classes and getting me new adult students, but I've done almost nothing to improve it, so that is on my list of things to do this summer too.
Over all I've been happy with the look of my blog but disappointed in my abilities to do more with it technically. I made about $15 from Amazon books linked through the site for the whole year. I'm considering having a separate book reviews page that will sell books, but I've decided not to have them on the main page.
I would like to go through all my posts and put them into new categories so that people can follow the themes I have covered over time more easily. However, that is a big project and I may not get to it for a while. I also want people to be able to see the most recent comments, but the software I'm using has resisted that change, so I may be changing software. Perhaps I'll attend a Wordpress camp or something.
The various tools I've tried for counting how many people read my blog, and how often, have been frustrating. At one point in the spring my yahoo counter was telling me that I was getting 2000 hits a day. Now it's way down at 150. Go figure. Still I'm happy for even one reader. When I started I had no idea whether people would be interested in what I have to say.
San Francisco is usually a great place to practice outdoors all year round, if you don't mind wearing long underwear . At the moment, however, San Francisco has been covered in smoke from fires burning all over California. It's been like this for a week. After practicing outside I come back in and cough. I hope the fires end soon. Despite the fires, my practice has been taking new turns and is a great source of excitement. Of course when that happens it means I change from being a wuwei master who is content with his faults, to striving for transcendence. In other words, I'm back on the track of striving for perfection which leaves me feeling imperfect.
One of the difficulties of teaching children through the schools is that I don't have a way to keep them together after the residencies end. I would like to have a children's performing troupe but for that to happen I think I will have to have a dedicated space, which is really difficult in San Francisco because renting space is so expensive. Most of the martial arts schools either shoot for huge numbers of students, thereby lowering the quality of teaching, or they have a lot of teachers in the same style, or they run their space as a business that rents to yoga and other simple fitness stuff. Renting to other teachers is a whole business unto itself, one that would take away from my role as a teacher. Still the thought lingers.
In the past I've done workshops during the summer but this summer I'm laying low. I'll probably do a couple of ad hoc workshops for my students in push-hands and roushou but by next year I should be ready for something on a larger scale.
The article I wrote in the Journal of Daoist Studies in now available for purchase in electronic form or hard copy.
Thanks to all of my readers, this year has been a great beginning.