I started The Real Recreation Therapist (TRRT) Blog to combine my experience and passion for writing to create quality Recreation Therapy articles. It was my hope others in the profession could benefit from this blog and share their expertise and knowledge to make a vibrant community.
I will admit, when the idea to start TRRT first hit me, I knew nothing about creating a blog. I contributed to other blogs in the past, but I had no clue about web hosting, WordPress, and all the other details that go into creating a quality blog. Needless to say, it was a learning process with trial and errors. The time, research, and effort put into this project, however, has been a great experience.
During many late nights, I was able to create 29 Recreation Therapy articles as well as promote the blog so it got over 10,000 views by almost 7,000 unique visitors this year. Considering Recreation Therapy is a relatively small niche, I am thrilled by the results.
In addition, the site had a couple makeovers to improve readability and navigation. As I continue to learn, I hope this blog becomes more user friendly and useful to all Recreation Therapists and Activity Professionals.
Let’s take a look at some of this year’s highlights.
The TRRT blog’s Most Popular Recreation Therapy Articles for 2017
Sometimes, when posting a blog, you won’t know how popular it will be. I was pleasantly surprised with the success of the following articles. Here are the most popular:
I loved the idea of this article from the beginning. Being a great Recreation Therapist does require certain skills–sometimes innate, sometimes learned. This article highlights the skills I found to be most useful as well as ideas to improve.
The holiday season is one of the busiest times for Recreation Therapists and Activity Directors. The multi-tasking and stress is enough to wonder why we chose this profession. Luckily, there are ways to make this time of year more bearable. This post, I feel, gives great advice.
One of the perks about blogging is learning more and sharing interesting topics. For years, I’ve enjoyed gardening (or pulling weeds), and I wanted to discover ways to use my greenish thumb to help my participants. Researching this article gave me a couple good ideas including growings seeds from produce purchased at the grocery store. In the post, I included a picture of seedlings sprouting from lemon seeds. I am happy to report those seedlings are still alive and safely indoors (it is currently 13 degrees F in Chicago).
This was another topic I didn’t know much about. Luckily, while blogging I connected with Danny Pettry who had a home study course on this project. He gave me some wisdom and insight to put together a great article about using movies in Recreation Therapy programming.
Before I started posting Recreation Therapy articles on the TRRT blog, I wrote a few just to see how they would go. One was entitled Chainsawing and Finding Zen. It was an article about self-care for Recreation Therapists. How does chainsawing factor in with self-care? Well, read the article. Anyway, I was never happy with that initial article so it stayed shelved for months. Then the idea to incorporate the Flow Theory came to mind. Suddenly the article had new life. I’m happy it became one of the most popular articles on the site.
Recreation Therapy Articles You May Have Missed
As with most blogs, the initial posts are often met with metaphorical electronic crickets chirping in an empty space. Through promotion and connecting with others, blogs slowly build traffic and readers. Here are a couple early articles those new to TRRT site may have missed.
In late March, I posted my first blog post. Needless to say, it didn’t take the internet by storm. I intended it to be an inspirational piece devoted to the many hats a Recreation Therapist wears. Is it worth checking out now? You be the judge.
It turns out you could teach a Recreation Therapist about a lot of topics, but you can’t tell them to meditate. This is the least viewed Recreation Therapy article on my site. Even if a handful of you checked it out now, it would probably double the amount of views (yeah, that unpopular.) As a regular meditator for the past few years, however, I feel this is an important topic to explore to make you more focused, less reactive, more resilient to stress, as well as several other benefits. Go ahead, read it.
This is another one of my early Recreation Therapy articles that never got many views. I believe activity employing gratitude in one’s mindset can help improve your life and the lives of your participants. This article talks about the benefits of gratitude and gives a few ideas about incorporating it into programming and everyday life.
What’s New for 2018?
Hopefully you checked out a couple of the above articles to reminisce or find some new ideas. So what does the TRRT blog have in store for the upcoming year?
I’m not going to lie, I’m not the most social media savvy. With a full time job, a very active toddler, and a handful of freelance writing gigs, finding the time to be on social media is very difficult. I will admit Facebook has been one of my biggest referrers to the site, so I am thankful for the other Recreation Therapy Facebook groups that allow me to share my posts. Over the year, I had over 250 people “Like” and almost 300 people “Follow” the Real Recreation Therapist Facebook Page. That inspired me to create my own group page for the blog. I hope it will help create a supportive community where we could share our triumphs, frustrations, ideas, and knowledge with others. Please join the group and we will build it together.
Recreation Therapist’s Profiles
This is an idea I wanted to work on for awhile, but it never took off. A few months ago, I asked if anyone was interested in doing this, but only got a couple takers. When I emailed the questionnaire to them, I didn’t hear anything back. It was my fault though, I had way too many questions on it. I worked on developing a new profile questionnaire with seven simple questions.
Why do I feel this is important? As Recreation Therapists, we are curious about what other RTs do in the profession. It is such a diverse field with different settings and populations served. I think it would be great to hear what others are doing and what works for them. If you are interested, please contact me. I would love to hear from you.
Monetizing the Blog
Creating and maintaining a quality blog takes considerable time and some cash investment. That being said, I am looking into options to help make some money to defer the costs of running this website. Don’t worry, the site will never be riddled with annoying pop-up ads or anything to diminish the quality of content. But if you do see affiliate links or ads for products you would be likely to purchase, please consider going through TRRT site to get them. It is my hope to only feature products useful this profession. If you have Recreation Therapy related products you are looking to feature, please contact me so we could share them with others.
Igniting the Comments Section
For whatever reason, TRRT blog comments sections is full of those metaphorical electronic chirping crickets. Several people offer great comments on Facebook, but not much is heard on this actual site. I’ve tried a couple things to inspire comments, but no luck. Perhaps I have some spam filter set too high or maybe there is another reason. I invite you to comment your thoughts and ideas to any article. What you have to say is important. If there is something I could do to make the comments section more inviting, please drop me a line.
What else is new for the coming year? Sometimes even I don’t know. Inspiration hits me at different times. My learning curve continues to grow. This site constantly evolves so it is useful to the readers. As always, if you have any ideas or thoughts, please drop me a line. If you want to write a guest blog to promote an idea, product, or anything else, I would love to collaborate.
Let’s make this a true community of Recreation Therapists and Activity Professionals.
I sincerely thank every one of you who took time out of your busy day to read my Recreation Therapy articles. Thanks to everyone who shared and liked my posts in social media to help grow an audience.
Happy New Year! I look forward to connecting with you in 2018!
Let’s Ignite the Comments Section Now!
What would you like to see on The Real Recreation Therapist Blog in the coming year?
What do you like about this blog? Do you see anything that could be improved?
Do you have a favorite TRRT article?
Your thoughts are important to growing this community!