Toledo Fireworks by OCVAMy blog turned one-year-old on October 13th, but I count November 1st as my website’s official anniversary. I decided to kick the tires a bit and went with a soft release in October before hitting the open road in November.

A year ago, my life and career were in very different places than they are today. Everything has essentially improved in the Year of the Rabbit, although there have been plenty of growing pains along the way.

It’s in my nature to be sappy and sentimental when it comes to looking back on yesteryear. But to avoid smothering you with my corny nostalgia, I’m celebrating with Darren Rowse’s 2010 7 Link Challenge instead. (Hat Tip to Marian Schembari for giving me the idea.)

Some of the following posts are my favorites and others, my not-so-favorites. But all of the entries are representative of my growth a freelancer, blogger and businesswoman in the past year. Hopefully, after walking down this memory lane with me, you’ll view my methods a little less maddening.

1.)  My First Post

The Second Mile – 10/13/2010

I wrote this inaugural post after completing one of my proudest achievements as a music journalist and writer. I stepped out of my own shadow and really went for an assignment that I created, landed and delivered better than I ever could’ve hoped.

I equated this milestone with a runner reaching the next level of their fitness goals. I ask what is necessary to maintain this level going forward. This post is also the only one on my blog that uses unattributed images I pulled from a Google search. (I’ve haven’t made that mistake since. Remember what I said about growing pains.)

2.)  A Post I Enjoyed Writing The Most

Whistle While You Work – 6/10/2011

There’s not a lot of text in this post, but I had more fun writing up an intro to my song list than I had writing anything else for my blog. I’m a music addict, but I hardly listen to it while I create.

Except for this post. Writing, editing and formatting a blog post to a playlist you’re actually including with that post was a fun exercise. I may do it again next year just for fun.

3.)  A Post Which Had A Great Discussion

I Still Use A VCR – 4/15/2011

I’m all about doing what works best for you. In so many areas of our lives, we remain fearful of the minority. Being in it, associating with it and, of course, supporting it. One of the less life-altering, yet socially damaging ways this mindset can manifest is in the form of technology.

This post — which asks that we be more tolerant of those who choose to carry something other than the latest and greatest tech — sparked an interesting discussion that I’m proud to be apart of. Feel free to chime in with your thoughts. It’s never too late.

4.)  A Post On Someone Else’s Blog That I Wish I’d Written

20 Things Every Girl Needs Now by Fajr Muhammed – 4/28/2011

I’ve plugged another one of Fajr’s post in a previous entry and I’m happy to do so again. But this one is for a completely different reason. It takes a lot for me to go ga-ga over a list — the blogworld seems jam-packed with them these days. However, Fajr’s post captures what happens if you do a list post just right.

Clever, polished, fun and a wee snarky is a voice that millions of bloggers hope to achieve and maintain in this crowded virtual newsstand. Fajr never fails to deliver that voice every time and this wonderful post is a perfect example of how well she does it. Color me jealous!

5.)  My Most Helpful Post

How Burn Notice Taught Me to Strategize My Freelance Business – 12/21/2010

It’s hard to tell which post is the most helpful without comments explicitly stating “Thanks! This was really helpful.” So I picked the post I’m most proud of that illustrates how I approach my business and my goals. I take inspiration from a wide variety of sources — including some you wouldn’t even imagine there’s a connection to what I do.

In this post I explain how Michael Westen’s voice overs aren’t just entertainment with a little fun fact thrown in for setting the mood. You can really take his advice to heart and apply it to your business plan and daily life as a freelancer. Here’s hoping others found his lessons (and my post) as helpful as I do.

Thilo Leibelt's Me, 6 and iMac6.)  A Post With A Title That I Am Proud Of

Look Ma! I’m Famous: Guest Post for Diary of a Mad Freelancer – 4/5/2011

Ok, this one is a bit of a cheat. My first guest post on a fellow freelancer’s blog uses the title: “Don’t Fear the Red Pen: Self-Editing Tips to Live By.” It’s a lesson in the lost art of self-editing. When I submitted it to Princess Jones, I warned her that I’ve always been terrible at titles. Captions? I’m good. Subheads? No Problem. But my titles are usually unremarkable or verbose.

So for this entry on my blog, I gave myself permission to be a little silly and compensate for the ho-hum of my guest post title. I picked the phrase “Look Ma! I’m Famous” and coupled it with the image of Lumiere from Disney’s Beauty & The Beast. Why? Because the kid in me loves the song “Be Our Guest” and I was linking to a guest post on another blogger’s website. See what I did there? Take a moment to admire the complexity.

Yeah. I’m deep.

7.)  A Post That I Wish More People Had Read

Hoosier Hometown Pride – Crossword Style – 5/7/2011

I like to try something different every now and then. Variety is the spice of life and all that. So I occasionally post an Open Forum question or mix in my reviews of arts & culture events around my city. It not only builds a more accurate picture of me and my perspective, it also opens the door to a wider array of dialogue.

So it’s not a surprise that combining my love of culture and history with my hometown pride led me to create a post spotlighting some of the interesting and peculiar fun facts about the city. I’m not sure if anyone took up my challenge and gave the crossword a try, but I put a lot of thought into how I wanted the puzzle to look, as well as make the clues encouraging, but not too simple.

Google Analytics tells me that this was one arts & culture post that didn’t get a lot of attention — as opposed to “Painting in Red & Black: Hearing Radmilla at the Eiteljorg,” “Someone Asks Tiffanie Bridges: Is That Your Reel Hair?” and “Out At The 2010 Indy LGBT Film Festival.” It’s disappointing, but I’m glad I gave it a try and I’m happy with the final result. A blog is about more than making your audience happy. It’s an exploration of your interests, concerns and ideas.

What are some of your favorite posts on Incandescere?
What did the 7 Links Challenge reveal about your blog?