January 01, 2008

The Sally Edwards of Holidailies

Happy New Year from Chip and Jette

That's my joke this year: I'm the Sally Edwards of Holidailies, as though I decided intentionally to post only 15 entries in the month. Those of you who have ever participated in or cheered on a Danskin Triathlon know about Sally Edwards: she is employed by the Danskin Triathlon organizers to encourage any woman who is interested to participate in the triathlon. Sally Edwards takes part in every single Danskin event and she intentionally finishes last, so Danskin participants don't have to worry that they'll be the last one finishing and somehow hold up the race. At the end of every Danskin Triathlon, you always see this group of very happy women all encouraging each other and having a good time and finishing the event, and Sally Edwards is always there. (It looks like much more fun than finishing at the middle of pack ... makes me wish I'd tried to finish last when I did the triathlon back in 2000 and 2001.)

I think I have only ever posted 30 or 31 entries for Holidailies once, and that was because I was posting entries every 6 or 8 hours for the last few days of the month in an effort to meet the goal for once. Usually I strive for 20, and I don't often hit that goal either. And that's fine with me, even though my husband is "above the line" this year and is teasing me a little about it. I posted to this site more in December than I did for the entire rest of 2007, and hopefully I brought this site back to life and will post to it more often in 2008.

This year, I was really thinking about Holidailies overall as something people try, rather than something people are mandated to do. We did portal cuts, like we've done the past few years, but I didn't cut anyone who seemed to be still trying to post regularly during the month. One participant told me in advance that she couldn't post at all the first week, so I let her pass -- she ended up with 31 posts for the month anyway, which I found impressive. Someone else who posted sporadically but regularly also survived the cuts, and does it matter that she posted less than a dozen times? It doesn't, really. The "cuts" were mainly for people who gave up entirely, or who decided it was too much work to post to the portal and preferred Holidailies at Home. It's a good thing I don't work on one of those reality shows where you have to cut people every week, because I'd say, "Oh, let's give everyone another week, they're all so much fun to be around," or something.

So if you were participating in the Holidailies portal and you are feeling like you didn't do it right because you missed three posts, or even 13 posts ... who cares? I read a lot of entries this year and I enjoyed lots of writing from lots of different people, no matter how often they wrote. That's been the difficulty I've had with Holidailies: posting every day encourages quantity, not quality. Despite that, there are so many interesting, entertaining, and touching entries written every year. Some are listed in Best of Holidailies but plenty of others are out there waiting to be found.

I want to congratulate everyone who posted 31 or 32 times this year on the Holidailies portal -- it's hard to do, as I well know. But I'm also happy that we ended up with 150 people on the portal, nearly all of whom posted as regularly as they could, and another 150 or so who participated in Holidailies at Home. And I haven't mentioned the dozen or so Best of Holidailies panel members who read and evaluated over 1800 entries this month. Finally, lots of people participate simply by visiting the site regularly and reading all the fresh content, which is the whole point of Holidailies.

We didn't do sponsors or banner ads this year, and we almost didn't do Best of Holidailies, in an attempt to get back to basics. I think this worked very well. We did start the Holidailies Charity Project, and picked First Book as a charity to promote ... that's an aspect of Holidailies I hope we'll continue and expand next year. Every year, Holidailies seems to get better and better. I still probably won't write as much as I want, but who ever does?

Again, Chip and I want to thank you, whether you posted every day or simply read and enjoyed a handful of Holidailies entries you liked, for helping us make Holidailies a success this year. See you in December 2008!

Posted at January 1, 2008 07:14 PM

This was a really fun part of my month. Thanks to you & Chip for hosting! Happy New Year.

Posted by: Ruth at January 1, 2008 08:25 PM

This was my second Holidailies, and I think it was even more fun this time around. Thanks very much for all the work you and Chip and all the readers do to make it happen. One participant (Kitty at cinemagypsy.wordpress.com) wrote, "You know that hole in the wall restaurant you love? That is what Holidailies is like." She's exactly right. Happy New Year!

Posted by: Thel at January 1, 2008 10:26 PM

I enjoyed my month of posting. Being forced to write a little something is a good exercise for sanity. Of course, Holidailies is hardly a tyrant but it is enough incentive for me to have someone counting. I'm glad Clever Lazy is back and I hope you post some to it. I enjoy your movie stuff but I enjoy hearing about your ordinary life, too.

Posted by: LB at January 2, 2008 08:18 AM

But I LOVE the "Best of Holidailies" section! Please don't get rid of it!

Thanks for 4 Decembers of Holidailies. I enjoyed myself every time.

Posted by: Karen at January 2, 2008 01:23 PM

Illness meant that I totally fell off the wagon the last week - I don't even think I did my Panel duties - and I had a hectic month before that, and really only felt like I wrote one "good quality" post. Still, I had fun, and hope to be back next year!

I agree with Thel: I enjoy Holidailies over, say, NaNoPloMo because there's a smaller group of participants, it's more of a "post good" rather than "post every day", and I really have fun reading the entries.

Posted by: Laughing Muse at January 2, 2008 02:08 PM

Don't get rid of Best Of, it's my goal to someday get a goddamned entry picked!

Posted by: Kymm Zuckert at January 11, 2008 01:38 AM