Four years.

Four years.

This blog quietly turned four on February 8. I might have marked the day here on the blog … if I had remembered.

If WordPress didn’t tell me otherwise, I would solemnly swear that this blog began in the spring, and that it’s impossible that four whole years have gone by since the first post.

It doesn’t feel like it’s been that long, not even close.

I’m fuzzy on the public beginning, but I remember the private origins clearly. It was right around New Year’s, the kids were in bed, and Will and I were doing the wine and cheese thing at the kitchen table, talking hopes and dreams for the upcoming year.

We talked about the blog he’d started the year before—a new thing for him, an experiment. Then he interrupted himself to say You know who should start a blog? YOU.

Nope, I say, you’re crazy.   

Five minutes later, I was convinced it was the best idea ever.

blog brainstorming

That was the beginning, even if the first post didn’t go up for another 40 days or so.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into. The whole thing has been nothing like I expected, from start-to-finish.

I started MMD because I wanted to write, and improve my writing: the blog gave me the reason, and the accountability. Those reasons aren’t unique: Seth Godin says he would pay good money to have a blog because the daily practice is invaluable.

I get it. I’m a much better writer than I was when I started this blog. (If I ever need to be reminded of that, I can just look back at the early posts. Cringe.) You’re reading Post #1078: that much practice will make anybody better at anything.

Back in 2011, I didn’t know about the blogging community. I didn’t expect to find wonderful people online through my blog and those of my fellow bloggers. I was amazed when that started to happen.

The best thing about blogging has been that community: the friends I’ve made and the relationships I’ve built. I don’t mean in a networking sense (although I’ve made those connections, too, and they’ve been invaluable). I mean that after four years, I’ve met a substantial number of actual friends online—some of them right here in the comments section.

I’m so grateful for this community; it’s the best part of the blog. The wonderful conversations that happen in the comments section—and often continue offline—will never stop surprising me. As of this morning there were 34,272 comments here. That’s a lot of conversation.

four year anniversary: thoughts on four years of blogging

A few stats on 4 years.

After 4 years, 1078 posts, 2.6 million visitors, and 8 million pageviews …

The top 5 most viewed posts, meaning the ones with the most pageviews.

  1. 39 stocking stuffers that will actually feel appreciated, don’t feel like a waste of money, and won’t be broken/forgotten/destroyed by New Years. The Washington Post linked to this back in the fall, which singlehandedly catapulted this Christmas post to the top of the list.
  2. Books worth binge-reading. For reasons I can’t explain, this one went bananas on Pinterest.
  3. A dissenting opinion on the IKEA Ektorp sofa. Google search continues to drive heaps of traffic to this post daily. Apparently people love their Ektorps, and anything IKEA.
  4. Un-put-down-able. Another Pinterest winner.
  5. Laundry 101: clean towels. This was one of the very first posts, and isn’t the kind of thing I would even write today. Several years after I posted it, BuzzFeed linked to it, and drove so much traffic the first few days I was afraid my blog would crash. (It didn’t.)

The most commented posts. It’s hard to quantify your favorite posts, but easy to see which ones garnered the most comments.

  1. The 2015 reading challenge. I’m thrilled y’all are so excited about reading.
  2. Literary matchmaking. Personal shopping for books. Whatever you want to call it, here goes. This is the first literary matchmaking post. Yes, I’m still working my way through this list s-l-o-w-l-y, although at this point so much time has gone by I’m emailing readers to see if they’re still interested. Watch your inbox…
  3. Let’s make Autumn Reading a thing. Summer reading gets all the love. We made up for it by sharing our favorite fall reads here.
  4. The book isn’t better than the movie. Occasionally, a movie will be better than its book. Very occasionally. I ask for your examples, and you blow me away with your suggestions.
  5. There are 7 ways to hate a book.

My favorite posts. I’m allergic to picking favorites, but these represent the kind of posts I like most: the ones that compel you to consider things from a different perspective (and with writing that doesn’t make me flinch on a re-read).

  1. When we were in the fire.
  2. When the planes hit the towers on 9/11, I was over the Atlantic Ocean, in a plane bound for New York City.
  3. “Crazy” Mary Todd, and other historical myths.
  4. In the waiting room.
  5. What keeps women from showing up?

Moving forward

Some people say blogging years are like dog years: a year on the internet is worth 7 off-screen. If that’s the case, MMD just turned 28.

I like the sound of that. Many people feel like they don’t come into their own until they hit 30 or so. I hope that means Modern Mrs Darcy is about to hit her stride. 🙂

Thank you for making this a great four years. I’m looking forward to more to come.

P.S. To celebrate four years, How She Does It is on sale all week for $2.99. (Details here.)

46 comments | Comment

46 comments

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  1. Congratulations on your 4 year anniversary, Anne! It’s so much fun to go back and look through old posts and see what was popular, how writing styles have changed, and just to generally see growth. Thanks for sharing!

  2. beth lehman says:

    i’m so glad to have found your blog!! it was long ago through a link i followed to a summer reading list!! as an avid reader and book lover it has been so fun to read your blog and recommend books to others, based on your lists/reviews!! i have also found your posts on highly sensitive people to be quite interesting. thanks and congratulations!

  3. Congratulations on four years!!! I’ve only become a regular reader in the last seven months or so, but now I never miss a post. I love the things you talk about and I love the conversations that happen here.

  4. Happy blog birthday! I just celebrated my first a couple months ago, and I’m planning a “What I’ve Learned About Blogging” post for the near future.

    Actually, I’m really curious to hear some things that YOU’VE learned, since you’ve been doing it way longer than me. Got any wisdomy tidbits to share? 🙂

  5. Patti says:

    Happy Anniversary! I’m grateful that you took the plunge into the blogging universe. There are very few that I follow but I’m happy to have happened upon yours! My TBR list is considerably longer now and my horizons have been broadened due to your suggestions and those of your readers. Hoping you realize that what you do and the time spent doing it makes a difference to readers like me.

  6. Congratulations on four years! I had a “mommy blog” for six years and faded away from it as my kids grew older and I no longer felt comfortable writing about motherhood/parenting in the same ways I had before. I love visiting Modern Mrs. Darcy and your blog has inspired me to start thinking about committing to my newer and mostly neglected non-mommy blog. Thank you for your words!

  7. Congratulations on four years! I still consider myself a new-ish reader here, and I’m excited to find some time to revisit some of these older posts that I wasn’t around to read. I love the work you do here on your blog and am excited to see what the next four years brings!

  8. Emily says:

    Is that seriously a notebook for your initial planning? So fun to see! I was surprised that one of your top read posts was about laundry!

    I’m happy to hear that you cringe at your earlier posts. I do the same, but they were only written a few months ago. I desperately want to delete them…but then I would have about 5 posts up. 🙂

  9. Anne says:

    Happy Blogiversary! I love this blog. I remember how quickly it became one of my favorites. And I agree that you have a lovely community here!

  10. Mary says:

    Anne, I am fairly new to reading your blog, and I suspect I am not in your target demographic, seeing as I am a retired mid-60 something. Having said that, I enjoy getting your posts in my email daily–always good reading! I have no conception as to how you manage to get so much reading done! I love to read (am a retired Reading Recovery/first grade teacher—so I spent many years teaching little ones to read and to love it), but even in retirement, I’m not reading the quantity of books you read! (Could it be the recreational baking, the sewing, the crafting, the going-to-lunch-with-friends that interferes?) Your writing as well as your reading habits are an inspiration!

  11. Jen says:

    Awww, what a sweet post to find this morning – congratulations!

    I find that the funny thing about blog reading is how it morphs slowly over time, so I can’t pinpoint when I started reading your blog, but for the last year or so it’s been one of my four daily musts (I used to read a bunch more – I’m not sure when it changed). Another of those reads is what is now The Mom Edit and that’s been a good 18 months, and I know you introduced me). It seems as if blogs have gotten more specialized, but what I love, love, love about yours is that you keep such a nice variety and inspire me so. The booklists are obvious, but the chocolate cake, the trick with the laundry basket, and those tall boots (I bought the same pair)!

    And then that post about sitting outside with the kid not ready for church (or nursery)? I forced that on everyone at my church because it really hit home and it was part of what made us realize that we really weren’t serving families with the youngest children.

    So thank you – thank you bunches for brightening my morning (even with the hard questions). If I could make a request, I’d love to hear more about your thoughts on NaNoWiMo and I always love to hear about writing conferences (or other mom conferences. Are there such things?)

    (Gosh, I never write comments and look at all this). Again, congrats and thank you!

    • Anne says:

      Thanks so much! That means a lot.

      (As for writing conferences, I have Festival of Faith and Writing on my calendar for April 2016, and am keeping my eyes open in the meantime for others …)

  12. Janna says:

    Congratulations on your anniversary! I read your blog every day. I enjoy the variety of topics you discuss and have read many good books thanks to you – we seem to have similar interests. Keep up the good work!

  13. Tim says:

    I know what you mean about the wonderful surprise of making wonderful connections with people though blogging, Anne. Just last month I went to a writer’s conference where I was able to finally meet face to face with one of my earliest encouragers, Keri Wyatt Kent. Friendships on line can be real, and I’m glad you and I have had a chance to interact, write for each other and read together.

    Happy Anniversary!

    Tim

    P.S. Fred and Barney wanted to say happy anniversary too:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knp9-GY6fHE

  14. Jeannie says:

    Congratulations on your blogoversary, Anne! I guess I’ve been a regular for a couple of years now; my day wouldn’t be quite complete without stopping by MMD. And while, like Mary above, I’m probably older than most of your readership, I find that the issues you discuss, especially re books, personality types, life planning, etc. are time- and age-less. Here’s to many more years of blogging!

  15. liz n. says:

    I only found your blog last year, and am so happy I did. Yours really is one of the best.

    My dear husband has said that I should blog, but I have no idea what, how…maybe someday, in future.

    Happy (belated) Blog Birthday! I hope there will be many, many more!

  16. Breanne says:

    What a fun post! And hurrah for four years!! I enjoyed reading your lookback and am so glad to have connected with you through this wonderful medium. Thanks for writing and inspiring me to write and read more.

    And, I”m so glad the comments aren’t dead on your blog, I love reading the insights in this section as well as the post.

  17. Kristen says:

    Happy Birthday to Modern Mrs. Darcy! That’s a wonderful accomplishment. I’m so glad I discovered your blog and look forward to the years to come.

  18. Grace says:

    Love it! Your blog and one other are tied for my favourite blog to read. So interesting looking back on these posts. I think I have been around for all of them except the laundry one. Happy bloggiversary!

  19. Dana says:

    Congratulations! I love this blog for so many reasons and I do not miss a day reading your posts. It is where I go first when I get online each day. I am outside your target group, I am sure ( 59 years old, retired teacher, no kids), but I find all of your posts interesting and enlightening. Of course I especially love the reading entries, but I have found lots to love in many other posts.

    All the best for many more years!

    I came to your blog about a year ago so I missed the laundry post. I am going to read it now!

  20. Kelli says:

    Happy Blogiversary! Definitely impressive stats! I too cringe at most of my early posts (and photos!).. I think most of us have that same learning curve.

    It’s funny – I’ve only been reading your blog for about a year, if that, and a few weeks ago I decided I wanted to read more of your posts (even though you are wonderful to post daily), so I went back and started to read from the beginning. I read a couple every day. I just checked my history and saw that I started on Feb. 10 ~ so close!

    I also am not in your target demographic – mid-40s, unmarried, don’t and won’t have any kids, and have a bit of a less traditional life – but your blog is a favorite. I look forward to reading it every morning – it’s like a treat that I give myself 🙂

  21. Lisa says:

    Oh well, Happy Blog Birthday! I just posted on reaching 1001 posts. Writing definitely evolves through that many posts. Glad to have found your lovely blog.

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