I will not be answering emails, comments or actually involved in the blog from tomorrow until the 10th of January as I do want a bit of a break. However, regular positing will resume on the 5th of January, although these will be automated until the 10th.
Well, this is the 200th post to the blog!! When starting the blog there were doubts it would last more than a few months. For a number of reasons, like not having enough content to keep it going, when I started I struggled to write more than a handful of new posts each month. I ended up going through all the 'backup' stuff within the first three months. But slowly as the blog and my research grew so did the content.
Another reason I doubted the blog would last was due to a lack of interest. There are plenty of sites on death, grieving and so on. But so few on the funeral industry itself, the better side of none in fact. I thought that people would not be interested for more than a morbid curiosity, or would be put off by it. But as it turns out there are lots of people scattered about who are interested in and passionate about the funeral industry. This blog has turned into a handy way to help connect these different people and to give a sorely missing perspective on the funeral industry itself.
To many 11,000 total views is not exactly a lot. But to me it's a huge thing, even one view a day is a massive success as far as I am concerned. Especially considering the audience for this type of thing is limited.
Here we are, a year later and with 200 published posts. It has been an interesting experience so far, and a very positive one. Through the blog I have learned about the funeral industry and met some wonderful people. All of which will be incredibly useful to me next year when doing honours.
I must point out that this has not been a solo experience either as many people have assisted me in my research and on the blog throughout the year. There is a lot of help going on behind the posts. Unfortunately these people cannot be named or given the personal thanks they deserve for obvious reasons. But they know who they are and that I am grateful for their help!
Despite an overall reluctance from the industry to engage with me two companies have done so, and been a wonderful help. They are Lady Anne Funerals and Walter Carter Funerals. I am grateful to both companies and the staff, and look forward to a long and rewarding future together. They have not just been directly helpful in allowing me to work with them. Both companies have also been so supportive and positive of my intentions and work. They will certainly be getting an acknowledgement in my honours thesis for a number of reasons.
Overall this blog has been a great experience, though at times it feels as though I am tilting at windmills. Many times I have questioned the point and purpose of the blog. It does take up a lot of my free time now, and has slowly bled into all parts of my life. Now it is something which takes up my 'professional' and 'personal' time. It is something I work on professionally in a way, setting aside specific time to research and write for specific posts or to explore concepts. But it has also entered my personal time, I work on it before bed if behind schedule, on the train, even thinking about it in the shower sometimes. It is something I discuss at parties when asked what I do as people are always quite interested. In the end I put in over 20 hours per week into just this blog, plus then there is my own research on the funeral industry.
So at various stages I have questioned how valuable my time was, the way the blog took up so much time and entered all parts of my life. But whether it was really worth it or a futile attempt at a mad idea. Recently this comic by SMBC below summed up how I feel about the blog so accurately (and ironically as it was about death in a way).
I was thinking of different ways to thank my audience, those who have supported me through encouragement or help. So I am looking into organising different events for next year, from museum visits to picnics. There should be a number of events organised by me, or others. All of which will be casual and fun ways to meet people interested in the industry and enjoy a nice day.
Hopefully next year will be just as good or better than this one! And I look forward to joining everyone again next year. Have a merry New Year! :)
And yes, I am incredibly excited about honours next year. I finally find out if I got in sometime in January, then start in late February. There's no reason I shouldn't get in, but I never count my chickens until they hatch.