Tome of Nerd is celebrating its 1st birthday. My little baby is growing up so fast! It seems like just yesterday I was birthing this website into existence from my creative womb. Now here it is, crawling around on its own, but still not really able to take care of itself for more than a few minutes. Stupid babies.
I thought now would be as good a time as ever to look back on the past year of Tome of Nerd. I’ll pull back the curtains a bit, talk about what has gone right and what has gone wrong. I’ve learned a few lessons, had a few successes, but in reality I still feel like I’m just starting my journey. So sit back and get ready for some reflective ramblings.
Being a Creator is Hard
It is no surprise to me that actively managing a website is hard work. In fact, the idea of creating something is what inspired me to found Tome of Nerd. I wanted to build something that I could be proud of, something that is both entertaining and helpful for others.
But yeah, that is hard to do. I have found that there are three main challenges that I face when it comes to the website: time, motivation, and ideas.
Time. It’s finite. I have a full time job. I’m lucky enough to have a wife to go home to. Time is already limited in my life, so trying to cram in an entire website is undeniably challenging.
Motivation. One of the lessons I’ve learned in life is that it doesn’t take motivation to achieve things, it takes determination. Anyone can do something when they are motivated. That’s easy. It’s doing the work when you aren’t motivated that is the challenge. It’s what separates hobbyists from professionals. I have had various bouts of motivation, but true dedication is when you are determined to work even when you might not want to.
Ideas. Before I launched Tome of Nerd, I had a list of ideas and topics I wanted to explore. Some appeared in my first articles. Others are just popping up now. But I found that some ideas were nothing at all while other blossomed into more. And sometimes my brain felt empty or the ideas unworthy. To have a site, you must have content, and to have content you must have ideas.
With the above three challenges, I found that if I lacked one resource, I could move forward. If I had time and an idea, I could motivate myself to work. If I had a good idea and was motivated to work, I could find time. Hell, if I had time and was motivated, I am usually able to pull an idea out of my ass. It’s when I was facing a lack of two or more of these qualities that I really felt stuck.
If You Build It, They Will Come, Kind of
One thing that I knew about launching a website is that most of the stuff you write will never be seen. In some ways that is annoying, but in other ways it can be freeing. Sure, you’ll write a lot (60,000+ words as of now) that will probably never be looked at. But also, for fraidy-cat introverts like me, that almost makes you feel good. “Hey, even if this sucks, no one will ever read it.”
That being said, over the past year I have learned what articles are going to pull in an audience and what articles are more for me. Doing some actual SEO research and keyword targeting works! You can find a slice of a market niche and pull in readers. Crazy.
You can also do a lot of research, write a lot of words, and sometimes things just don’t click with whatever Google’s search algorithm is these days. That’s okay too. Being the highest ranked site on X topic is not my goal. My goal is to create excellent content that people want to come back to. And ultimately that is what I’m still working on.
Most Proud Of
When I look back on the first year of Tome of Nerd, one thing stands out the most to me: Time for Time Travel. Taken as a whole, it is the work I am most proud of and also the most fun to write.
The series touches on a lot of my personal goals. First, it is undeniably and unashamedly nerdy. I dedicated five articles to complete science fiction and I loved every second of it. Next, I like to think it was fairly well researched. One of the things I strive for is quality, so I did my best to include resources wherever possible. And not to toot my own horn, but I really think the series does a good job at covering a wide breadth of time travel stories. To me, it feels like a complete work.
There are a few other pieces that I really like and worked hard on, like the DS9 Dominion War Guide and my Defense of LOST, but they didn’t necessarily live up to what I was originally hoping for. On the plus side, there’s no way I’m not going to write more about DS9 and LOST in the future.
With one year under my belt, I have to say that I am just as excited as ever to work on Tome of Nerd. In many ways, I’m still finding out exactly what my voice is and what this site will be, but it has been a fun experience and given me something worthwhile to do.
I love writing and I love being nerdy. I love to create content, both for myself and for your enjoyment. Everything you’ve read so far is the prologue. I’m just getting started.