When I was teaching fencing, my colleagues and I often observed an interesting phenomenon. If a student made it through the beginning classes, odds were good that they would usually stick with it for another six months. It was at that six month mark that students started to drop out again. It’s also around this time that the fencer is just beginning to understand some of the more subtle aspects of the sport.

Understanding these aspects did not immediately make them a better fencer. It did enable them to see the differences between their skills and the people they were now competing with. Suddenly they had gone from someone that thought they had really good blade work to someone that can now see how far they need to advance to call themselves good. It’s a very disheartening feeling. You feel like you’ve wasted the last six months and are only getting worse.

We lost a lot of talented people at this point. The thing is, this is a necessary step and very important to the progress of the fencer. You can’t teach advanced techniques until the fencer has enough background knowledge and skill to understand the details. We called this a plateau and the longer you stayed with the sport the more you encountered.

I believe every endeavor has similar stages. You start a new hobby with a lot of enthusiasm, learn everything you can about it and if you’re fortunate you find a mentor or a coach to help you past some of the more difficult parts. Then, one day you look around and realize just how much more you have to learn and how little you’ve actually accomplished.

How you handle this says a lot about you as a person and your desire to succeed in your endeavor.  You can quit and find another hobby or you can grit your teeth and work past this plateau. There’s nothing wrong with either path. It’s simply a personal choice. The plateau is a time for reflection and questioning if this endeavor is really for you. You now see with much more clarity just how much farther you have to go to get to the next plateau. The plateau also marks the realization of just how much progress you’ve made in your hobby.

I mention this because I’m at the six month mark on this blog. This post will be number 70 and I will have had approximately 5100 views (by humans) on my website. I can look at the more successful blogs and see what mine is missing in terms of a coherent theme, regular readers and traffic. My bounce rate, a measurement of how many more posts you will read before leaving my site, is, well, poor would be overstating the case. Statistically speaking 80% percent of you reading this post will only read this post.

I had not realized I was facing a plateau of my own. I was still thinking about new posts. I was developing new skills to aid in illustrations. I was still… and there it was. I wasn’t writing. I was doing everything but writing. It was fun and easy to learn about Poser, DAZ Studio and Bryce. My knowledge growth was rapid. Of course it was easy, I’m not even close to that plateau.

Going forward with this blog is only going to get harder. I’m no longer excited when I see ten people in a day have read one of my posts post. Now I want to see a hundred people. When you visit my site, you see a few pictures and probably read one of my posts. My writing is the only way I have of making you enjoy your visit. Every post I write has to convince you it’s worth your time to read another of my posts. Each post should inspire you to leave comments. When I write a post, I have to intrigue you enough to share it with your friends.

This is my plateau alright. I see how far I am from a professional site and how much I have to improve to get there. I have no intention of quitting but I have to acknowledge that the shine has worn off. Now it gets hard. This as my first real blogging challenge, I wonder how I’ll meet it.

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