Meta Monday & the Attack of the Creative Heart

I have a luxury that, I would guess, many people who post stuff online don’t have.

I don’t need to generate an income from this.

I’m lucky. I can blog without ads. I can post without sponsored content. Dabble in new media without penalty for failure. I can pay my hosting bills with my real job. This is a hobby. A pasttime. An indulgence.

That means that after a year and a half of writing, five hundred and seven days of effort and three hundred and eighteen posts in — and though there about thirty or so readers who I get to hear from now and then — the fact that I don’t have a million subscribers (and probably never will) nor viral content on this site doesn’t really concern me too much. It’s like we’re doing a small, initimate theatre show here: just a few of us in a cozy room with me up on stage doing my thing, and that’s kinda how I like it.

On the flip side, I have a kid who cruelly laughs at the small number beside by social stats because so-and-so teenage youtuber has eight million subscribers or such-and-such streamer in his early twenties on twitch has thirty million subs and a gazillion bucks and ”geeze, dad, you’re barely even…”

On another flip side, I’m what some of you might call a “Creative Soul” or “Artistic” or (as I like to fashion it) “Inspired to Make Stuff” and, as I mentioned, blessed with the luxury of time and resources to do so.

I’ve often written on the sidelines of this project that I have a lot of reasons to write and to continue writing. It’s cheaper than therapy, for one. But also it drives this cycle of writing about the stuff I do and so doing stuff to have something to write about about, and so on and so on and so on.

I’ve also mentioned previously on this blog times and efforts when I’ve dabbled in other projects adjacent (and not so much adjacent) to this project. (Did you know I play classical violin in a local orchestra, for example??) I like the whole Cast Iron Guy project because I get to write about things I enjoy doing, foods I like cooking, and places I like exploring, and thus I do, cook, and explore more so that I have things to write about. The aforementioned cycle works out great for me.

That said, I have other stuff I work on, and other channels I like to work in.

I used to do a lot of photography.

I used to draw a web comic.

I used to dabble in video editing.

I used to write novels (though I never did publish one!)

Last summer, I took a break from writing here. A year ago the push to press the publish button on the daily (which I don’t attempt anymore) seemed to conflict with taking some vacation and enjoying the outdoor weather. This summer I don’t think I’m going to take that break. I think, instead, I’m going to branch out and add depth and complexity to this Cast Iron Guy project. More stuff. More side projects. More experimentation in other media.

(On a side note, I’ve been backburnering a change of ”brand” and updating the name and general theme on this site to something that is less focused on cooking, but until I go at least two days in a row thinking that’s a good idea it’s not getting much traction even in my own head!)

Some of the things I’m working on include:

I added some galleries last year and I’m going to try and get my camera out more to enhance those over the summer. Hopefully you’ll see more photos.

I already posted about my new Youtube channel where I have a couple ideas to post videos if not regularly, then at least sporadically with some frequency, with films and clips that I think might be interesting and fun to record.

I’m toying with the idea and preliminary work of recording a simple podcast, but I haven’t completely got my head around the format and formula yet. I figure it will take a few episodes before that gels into something I really like and want to write more about.

And of course, on top of all of this, I want to get out and explore, travel, do a lot more drawing, writing, and generally enhancing of my content on this blog as it already is, including longer format articles with more focused topics, more photos and videos to accompany the posts, and overall stuff that I think could entertain those folks who already read my posts while attracting others and building a bigger community around the adventure seekers lifestyle.

It’s a creative-heart attack. I think those are healthy.

And this is hobby, pasttime and an indulgence, and I can try new things without worrying that I’m going to bankrupt myself. A year and a half on, a little more than five hundred days of Cast Iron Guy blog, it’s time to see what I can do with this whole thing.

The summer looks to be full of adventure, filming, sketching, recording, and building a collection of interesting stories to share here… and not because I have to, but because I get to.

Meta Monday & Spring Galleries

I spent nearly twenty hours just lingering in the gorgeous outdoors of my own backyard this past weekend doing all manner of activity, from doing serious chores like tending to the garden, patching my lawn, completing the installation of my irrigation system, to partaking in more leisurely activity like cooking barbecue, playing with the dog and sketching spring foliage.

Sometimes when you manage a small personal website like this it’s important to stop after a weekend like that and remind visitors that the whole point of an internet blog is to highlight those things in words and pictures.

To that end, I’ve been updating my galleries as well as my posts.

Enjoy!

Some photos from Spring 2022

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.

Creative Outlets

It’s November.

Every November for the last couple years I’ve hunkered down in front of my computer keyboard and started writing … occasionally finished writing … a novel.

There is an online writing event called NaNoWriMo wherein those so inclined to put pen to paper (or more likely, fingers to keyboard) can launch through a month-long inspirational, deadline-based effort to scrawl out fifty-thousand words around a singular cohesive plot in one month.

I’m skipping a year.

It’s not that I didn’t think about it.

A lot.

Heck, I even roughed out a basic plot outline and started naming characters.

Rather, it’s that I have a bunch of other projects, other creative outlets that I’ve decided to make a priority … keep a priority.

This blog, for one, is among a small set of projects that have gnawed into my free time and tempted my distractibility to it’s frayed ends. And entering the eleventh month on the homestretch to the one year anniversary of this site, I’ve liked how it’s going and am happy with the results of the effort so far.

I’ve also been doing a lot of drawing. The prospect of actually travelling again next year has me excited about bringing an art set on vacation and doing a lot more urban sketching. I think I’ve written about this before, but I’ve been an avid photographer for decades, and the next step for me seems to translate that compositional eye I’ve developed into something slower and more deliberate, like watercolours and sketching. That does mean that I’ve been using the free time I could have been writing a novel, and instead practicing my art skills, bringing them up to a stronger space worthy of capturing travel scenes. And while one might think a little bit of drawing practice would be quick and simple, even a basic sketch (like the one above) can consume about ninety minutes of my Sunday afternoon.

In short, time for creative outlets is precious and limited. A new project would detract from all projects.

Between blogging, nabbing photos for the site, doodling, and of course poking through various cookbooks trying to foster that more delicious side of my creative urge … a novel is not in the cards this November.

My priorities are set, at least for a little while. So, thanks for reading this one.