Meta Monday & Moving Forward

The inevitable question that every blogger faces is balancing all the pieces of time, effort, content, ideas, and purpose.

You may have noticed (if you are a regular reader) that as of late my posting rate has dropped off to somewhere much lower than daily.

This has been a factor of a number of things: a vacation that spanned into the New Year, the never-ending pandemic which I assumed would end much sooner and leave me open to exploring more adventure content, a couple other little side projects that have captured my attention, work (of course) which is getting busier with a couple big new projects, and so many other little details.

That said, I love writing here and it gives me so much joy to explore cooking and adventure and running and all the other little topics I write about in a space that is my own.

But I also want that to be a quality effort.

Posting daily is a great way to be consistent and force yourself to write, but it also leads to (and I’ll be the first to admit this) a lot of filler content.

And maybe, who knows, someday I’ll be inspired to write here daily again and keep up that pace that I tried so frantically (yes, it’s a lot of work) to keep in 2021.

For now, however, I’m going to keep writing but continue as I’ve done for the first month of this year so far on longer, more carefully planned and written content that is on topic and interesting to readers. I’ll try to write, say, three or so posts per week but in doing so avoid the sidebars and more casual “filler” writing to hit a daily post quota.

With nearly three hundred posts in my archives, this blog is not going anywhere … but hopefully the next three hundred will hone closer into my original mission of bringing my readers interesting ideas about uncomplicated things, life lived, and a mindset that reflects the philosophical practicality of well-seasoned cast iron frying pan, enduring, simple, down-to-earth & extremely useful… just not daily.

A Good Life, Well-lived & Enjoyed Aloud

As I write these words the final month of the first year of this blog has arrived.

It’s December.

And after a mind-numbing and depressing 2020 I’ve been penning my thoughts and opinions here throughout 2021 to the tune of one hundred and seven thousand, three hundred and eighty three previously published words into two hundred and fifty three posts inside this digital space.

It’s been exactly eleven months as of today.

Deep breath.

Describe your 2021
in tech or tools.

I’ve been blogging for over twenty years.

Unless you’ve cracked through my obfuscation of identity curtained across these words (hidden mostly because I work in an industry and culture where Google search results for my real name are akin to a business card and I like to keep my personal and professional selves separated) you are unlikely to know that while I’ve only been writing here for eleven months, I’ve previously managed a string of previous personal, creative, and niche websites over the past twenty-ish years. I’ve got a bit of secret tech cred. But just a bit.

In almost all those websites, December uniformly has become a time of self-refection and mindset adjustment for the upcoming year.

So, after eleven months of scattershot posting here about cooking, adventure, firepits, travel, sketching and all those other little analog and outdoor enjoyments, I’ve once again set December aside for a string of thirty one posts about … well … cooking, adventure, firepits, travel, sketching, and all similar sort of those things, but in the context of the past, present and future.

Call it a quasi-resolution-twist to wrap up the year with a bit of grace and style.

Because routine and tradition can be a good thing, even in technology where we seem to think we want fresh and innovative turned on like a firehose.

My 2021 was a technology reset year.

This year I came back to a pattern of regular writing in (and this is important) a space I fully control. We take that for granted because so many of us cede that control to the social media algorithms of big private media platforms, offloading the decision-making to money-generating, click-baiting software systems that slurp up our creative effort and spill it out to the rest of the world in a way that usually makes other people rich and famous. I was tired of shipping my photographs and art and writing off to the likes of Facebook and Reddit and crossing my fingers that an invisible software system saw fit to give it some daylight online before it disappeared into a vast, bottomless pit of old posts.

I may not have yet obtained the same quantity of folks reading what I choose to put online, but I think the quality of what I choose to curate here has elevated the whole experience for me … and hopefully anyone who chooses to join me here.

I’ve all but vacated those controversial social platforms, maintaining a minimal presence, and definitely not a preferential one.

This blog was my 2021 experiment, and the experiment was a success. Dozens of you read it and check in. And tho my daughter would scoff at that number saying “dad, such and such a youtube streamer has six million subscribers and makes more money that you do at your real job!” I would retort that I’m giddily loving entertaining any size of small crowd with genuine content that makes me as happy writing it as I hope it makes others reading it.

In other words, the experiment will most definitely continue into 2022 and beyond.

Thirty one topics. Thirty one posts. Not exactly a list… but close. In December I like to look back on the year that was. My daily posts in December-ish are themed-ish and may contain spoilers set against the backdrop of some year-end-ish personal exposition.

Meta Monday: Undaily(ish.)

While I hope no one missed my ramblings for a short week, it felt quite a lot longer.

I gave myself permission to pause my writing here for the last few days.

(And a couple other things.)

Life has a way of steamrolling you from a blind spot now and then, and on the (purely hypothetical) Maslow’s Hierarchy of Creative Needs producing content for a blog is not quite at the peak of the priority pyramid, but it certainly isn’t foundational either. It is simply something that gets deprioritized when there are other more important things to take care of.

That said.

Everything is fine.

Tho.

I needed a few days to wander through the autumn foliage, play some mindless video games, nap in the afternoon, and hunker down on the couch with the dog.

Busy work days. Upsetting decisions by friends and family. Aches and pains from that recent trail race. The news. Local politics. The end of summer. Oh yeah, and a booster shot (for future travelling plans) that floored my immune system for a solid thirty-six hours.

Pause.

Rest.

Reset.

I hope to be back to regularly scheduled posting now.

Daily Goals (and Such)

Back in January of this year I decided to re-invigorate a habit that I’d been neglecting for a long time, and start writing more frequently. You’re reading the results of that effort right now: after more than eight months of daily (with a small break for summer fun) blogging resulting in over two hundred posts to this space.

Daily habits seem trivial, but in my experience become a drumbeat of steady progress towards getting stronger, faster, better, or simply more attuned to the nuances of an effort.

Over that aforementioned summer break I took up a couple more daily habits that have been fitting into my waking routine and are starting to show progress and results.

The first of those habits has been a daily body strength workout, involving a minumum number of push-up and sit-ups and some other equipment free exercises. None of it is a proper workout, but the payoff after two months of, say, thirty push-ups every day has been a cumulative progress towards some creaks and groans that were developing after eighteen months of working from home during the pandemic.

The second (and more interesting) of my new daily habits, and something I wrote about a couple weeks ago, is that I’ve dug into my old (and bought some new) art supplies, and dedicated myself to daily sketching.

If the day has been busy and my time is short, might just draw a simple thing like my car keys, a pen sitting on the table or any other curious object laying around the house. Ten minutes with a pen and a paper.

Or, if I have more time and inclination, then all that inspiration from reading, watching, and absorbing the work of other artists around the theme of rough watercolour sketching turns into a more elaborate project. I’ll snap a photo, dig through my travel pictures, or prop up my notepad out and about in the city and draw a small scene.

The habit of exercising my artistic soul every day has paid off.

The work that I was doing a month ago was not terrible, but it was markedly weaker than just a few weeks of practice has left in its wake. (I won’t even post those early sketches.) I won’t claim to have found some kind of greatness or unlocked a hidden talent, but I am starting to get a feel for my own style and building a great deal of confidence around things I can bring to life on the page. I can only imagine that this will steadily improve over the next months and beyond.

All that (plus two hundred blog posts and some improved upper body strength) from a little daily dedication to a simple idea: habit building.