~ Or: A Year in the Life of a Year of a Fledgling Bla(h)gger
One year later. Well, effectively one year later plus one day on this publish date.
Last year at about this time – maybe a week or two prior – I decided to take the suggestions of a few folks and start writing a blog on a weekly basis. A real, legitimate, full-fat, weekly, episodic blogue.
Fast forward to right now and it is one year later and a whole mess of blog posts to boot.
I thought it would be interesting to go look back on this year and share some of the things that I’ve learned. Talk about a few things that were challenging. Things I’d do differently. What my plans are going forward.
You know, that kind of thing.
It’s the end-of-the-season retrospective episode.
Which might be good given that the experience of one year of long-winded blibber-blabber could use some analysis. And without all of the contrived attempts and lookback brute-forced into the script and all.
So here we go, into the rabbit hole of going into rabbit holes! Effloresce with me!
What Have I Learned?
It felt simple at first. Write about stuff that is interesting to me. Every week. That should be a piece of cake, right? I’m interested in EVERYTHING it seems. To the point of absurdity. As it turns out, writing with purpose is challenging. Because at some point it stops being about writing for the fun of writing and having a self-imposed deadline to meet.
Which, to be fair, is almost exactly what I need. Without a deadline, it’s almost a given that I won’t get ANYTHING done. That has been my Achilles Heel for pretty much my entire life. Ask anyone I’ve been tasked to do a music project for over the years – like this one, or this one, and maybe even this one, and this one that I stayed up all night finishing at the last minute – and they will tell you that it was usually a mad dash to the finish line. Or possibly post finish line. Really post finish line.
Nothing has changed.
I’ve learned nothing.
However, I did want to come back to one thing. It is still fun. I enjoy the writing. And the deadline almost guarantees that SOMETHING is going to come out of it.
And that’s just on topics that I’m really familiar with. Then there’s stuff that I randomly decide to learn about. This is ALSO fun! And harD work.
At this point you’ve probably already noticed that I really dislike picking a lane. As stated above, I’m interested in everything. Giving myself the latitude to explore ideas and concepts I don’t fully understand is so much joy. So many various idioms and expressions this last year got dug into – to greater or lesser degrees – that I knew virtually nothing about and walked away from finishing more informed.
And then there’s just plain silliness. Like, apparently you can weave the lyrics of an entire song into a blog post without anybody noticing. Well, one person noticed. They won’t let me mail them a nickel as a grand prize though.
What Were the Challenges?
* Finding topics was the first challenge. “I want to write something each week.” Ok! ……… uhh, about what? That took a brainstorming session where I sat down for an hour and just wrote down ANY idea that came to mind. Good, bad, ugly, didn’t matter. Get EVERYTHING down and then see where the dust settles. What that resulted in was an ok list to work from. I haven’t gotten through half that list and it keeps growing as life happens. But there’s a list and it’s there to draw from when inspiration is completely shot.
* Meeting my self-imposed deadline was very challenging. I’ll talk about that in the next section a bit more but that may have been the single most challenging part of the entire thing. And one year later, it’s still my biggest challenge.
* Not feeling guilty for the few weeks that I missed. That’s right. I missed I believe three weeks this year. As time has passed, I feel less guilty about it and less like I let myself and anyone else reading down. In reality, in the grand scheme of things, it’s ok. I’m learning to live with that. And sometimes I convince myself that the week off was probably a relief for anyone who has a compulsion to read this stuff.
* The time crunch presented by adding the audio version. This was a big one, actually. My friend Carl is a huge proponent of accessibility and, really, someone who is a voice actor who is NOT taking the opportunity to narrate their own blog is missing an opportunity to practice narration. So it accomplishes a couple of goals: a journal of sorts with the same content but in two different mediums: typeface and auditory. No, I haven’t given much thought to a video version. I’m already challenged for time as it is! And nobody wants to watch me flub my way through longform narration.
* Feeling like I have no business writing about some of the topics that I was interested in. Voiceover? Maybe. Audio engineering? To an extent, although there’s a degree of imposter syndrome going down there, even though I have little reason to feel that way. The joys of taking old video game music and modernizing it with real instruments? Right in my wheelhouse. Matters of science, the brain, mathematics, et al are WILDLY outside of the scope of my expertise. I sure love learning about those things – like that one time I found out our bodies have two brains and my head is still asplode – but feel uniquely unqualified to be even trying to write a book report on the subject, much less passing on what I’ve very briefly learned.
What Might I Have Done Differently?
I want to say I’d use fewer words but … presently, that’s not me. If I was some kind of professional writer, I’m sure an editor would have thrown every entry back at me with a butcher’s knife emoji – and nothing else – for commentary. And eventually I’d learn to be less wordsy. But for the moment, I’m enjoying messing around with the English language, being wildly effusive in my word count, and systemically destroying it from the inside out.
Actually sticking to the schedule I decided on when the audio version became a thing would have been a good idea. My goal was to have a Monday’s post written and edited by the Tuesday prior. Record audio on Wednesday morning when the kids don’t have to get up early. Assemble everything in the post and then enjoy knowing I won’t be at this last minute. Like this post right here. It’s the day before post date (exactly one year after the first post!) and I’m writing in the early morning darkness before anyone else wakes up.
Build out an actual schedule of topics rather than deciding week to week what I’m going to write about. With flexibility for sudden inspirations, of course. Knowing what each week is going to look like ahead of time will probably remove the “what the heck am I writing this week” barrier. It’s like planning a week’s worth of dinners and ordering groceries in advance. We started doing this years ago and it delightfully solved the “Waddayou wanna eat tonight?” “I dunno, waddayou wanna eat tonight?” conversation. Planning ahead at least maybe 4 weeks in advance seems doable.
What’s the Plan Going Forward?
The plan going forward? Keep at it. One year later and I still haven’t failed to think of something to blab on about. There were hiccups, I’ll admit. I wanted to be able to say one year later that I managed to follow through on this thing that I started without fail and that didn’t happen. I’m also glad that I was able to make those incidents blips instead of trends; once is a blip, twice is a trend.
So yeah! Here’s to an upcoming year of “who knows what’s going to come flying out of the bald guy’s keto-compatible fatty computer made of meat!” An æffirmatory statement of intent to pitter patter and get at ‘er.
And thank you to each and every one of the 26 of you who dropped an email address into the silly thing and allow me to infiltrate your inbox every Monday morning. I still can’t believe there are 26 of you! Thank you, thank you, and thank you.
Until next week!
-= george =-