One Year in the Books: Looking Back

Thanks for a great 2019, dear readers.  If you’d like to support the blog, please subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.  Or just leave a comment and share my posts with your friends and families.  Thank you!

Today’s post marks the 365th day of consecutive posts.  On December 31, 2018, I wrote “2018’s Top Ten Posts” to look back at the year (I downsized a bit this year, only looking at “2019’s Top Five Posts“).

At the time, I was enjoying—as I am presently—the glory of Christmas Break.  The blog had largely been dormant following a blitz of posting during the Summer of 2018, with only occasional posts here and there, such as transcriptions of my various “Historical Moments” mini-talks.  Over the Christmas season, I was trying to get back into writing.  I wasn’t in the custom of churning out 600+ words on a daily basis, so it took a bit more effort to sit down and write a post.

I never intended to keep a 365-day streak going.  At first, I didn’t even realize WordPress tracked such activity.  But I noticed (probably with this moderately popular post) that I had a three-day “steak,” as WordPress calls it.

So I decided to try to write something everyday for the month of January 2019.  January tends to be a slow month in the school year, with everyone groggily easing back into intellectual activity during the grayest month of the year.  I also find the cold intellectually stimulating—the bracing bite of mid-winter always seems to get the creative juices flowing.

Getting through January then became writing fifty consecutive posts.  At that point I thought, “why not 100?”  Most of that time I thought I would probably stop once I reached that milestone, or would go back to my old schedule from the TPP 1.0 days of posting only on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

As I approached and then reached 100, though, I began to think, “hey, let’s see if you can keep this up all year.”  I knew that would be a challenge, as it did, indeed, turn out to be.

My parameters for these blog posts is fairly simple:  try to hit at least 300 words (a very short post) and having something relevant or value-additive to write.  I have not always achieved the latter, but the former is usually not too difficult.  I’ve written more than my share of “filler” posts to appease the WordPress streak counter.  Those instances tend to be amid unusually busy periods, as there are days when I literally don’t have time to write.

Planning is important, and early on I thought I could work up a backlog of pre-written posts that would pop on their scheduled days.  I probably accomplished that once this year, where I had more than two posts scheduled and ready to go.  It made that week much easier, to be sure.  But my self-discipline (and the general insanity of my schedule) often prevented that kind of prudent forethought.

I’ve only cut the deadline for posting on a particular day close a handful of times, I’m pleased to report.  That said, I do find I work well with a deadline—as many writers do.  It’s not always good for my stress levels, but it definitely makes me get something written.

With any enjoyable activity, it has its ups and downs.  That aforementioned daily deadline often hangs over my head, especially on particularly busy days.  Some nights find me staying up far too late to slam out a post, as I know the following day won’t allow time for it.  Even this morning, I woke up early, anxious to complete the post (which has been delayed twice now by an attempt—the second successful, I believe—to catch a wayward lizard loose in the kitchen), unable to sleep.

But there have been many more bright spots.  I’m beginning to make friends and acquaintances with other bloggers.  Regular readers will know of my frequent links to Orion’s Cold Fire, the blog of my blogger buddy photog.  I’ve recently been reading and commenting on Nebraska Energy Observer.  NEO has returned the favor, and he’s been sending more traffic and commenters my way.

I’ve gotten to know the blogs of my “real-life” friends, too.  My buddy fridrix has an excellent blogCorporate History International, that I encourage readers to check out.  Bette Cox also maintains a plethora of great blogs, covering mostly faith-based items, but also reaching for the stars while she reaches for Heaven.

Finally, I’ve managed to pick up five subscribers to my SubscribeStar page.  That’s been a real blessing.  Thanks to those subscribers.  If you’d like to support the blog, too, consider a subscription for $1 a month or more.

2019 was a good year in many ways, and a tough one in others.  All in all, though, it’s been a blast writing all about it.

Here’s to another year!

—TPP

Thank you again for all of your support.  If you’d like to support the blog financially, please subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.  Your subscription includes access to exclusive, (usually) extended content every Saturday.

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