January 2022 Newsletter: The Clock keeps ticking

It’s reflection month! Each year I like to take time to look back at my life and see what I’ve accomplished and how far I have yet to go. There are two times I typically do this: September, my birth month, and January, the start of the year itself. The Pandemic has forced me to reassess a lot of my goals and find what I value.

A Look Back At 2019, 2020, and 2021

2019 was without a question a horrible year for me. My anxiety was at an all time high, I was working a dead end job of two years, and to round it off my father passed away. At 26, my life was unraveling before my eyes and there was nothing I could do to stop it. Come 2020, I was ready for a fresh start.

The months following my fathers death were extremely difficult. A handful of friends knew and that was that. After October, I simply showed up to work and did my job. October 2019 was major life event one. Major life event two was The Pandemic. And I threw my hands up. I said enough and quit my job. Originally the plan was to work until I paid off my student debt and while I can handle a lot of stress, The Pandemic pushed me over the edge. I was put in a no win situation and my only real option was to quit.

2021 was consumed by the job search. For 6 months I strategized and learned the best practices. Three to Five applications a week, weekly meetings with a recruiter, and a completely reworked resume. On top of this, I was posting to LinkedIn every couple of weeks and keeping a strong presence with my network.

October was a tough month where I was studying to be an insurance agent, only to fail the exam. I am now working part-time and have recovered the money I lost during The Pandemic. Life has slowed down to a crawl and slowly but surely I am finding solid ground.

2022

Looking ahead, I have a better grasp on how I want to tackle my challenges head on. I’ve learned that I can persevere no matter the circumstance and my circumstances could be far worse right now. I am better off now than I was 6 months ago and that’s all I can really ask for. My main task for this upcoming year is to pay off my student loans. $14,000 left and frozen till May, I’m feeling I can turn my fortune around. It’ll mean extra hours at work but ultimately I believe it will be worth it in the end. I’m going to double down on coding once more and obtain certificates by completing coursework. In the coming month I’ll go over my goals in more detail but those are the most practical ones.

A Look Ahead for January

As has become somewhat tradition for this blog, I’ll be dedicating a lot of time to reflection. It’ll be an article focused month, most likely in the form of a new years resolution post and a look at the blog itself. The blog has undergone many changes throughout the years, so I always find it nice to take a look back.

This Year

The main goal is to get my fourth ‘Special Series’ month set in stone. I have been flip flopping back and forth this last year between a horror month and a short story month. Outside of that the blog is in a great spot. Mental Health, Poetry, and Sustainability Month have all been wonderful to write. The last aspect of my writing that I want to work on is writing short stories, hence why the fourth series is my most difficult.


That’s it. We are now in 2022. I can hold my head high knowing I persevered and survived. This year will put what I’ve learned to the test and I have to say I’m excited. Cheers to the new year and here’s to hoping prosperity finds you. This year I’m going to be trying polls! My hope is they spark a little more engagement and lead to more discussion in the comments.

March 2021 State of the Blog

March. Another month and with it a tiding of changes. So without further ado, let’s jump in.

The Coming Months

Last year I spent quite a bit of time working on the format of the blog and where I wanted it to go. This year, we’re in a great spot and I’m excited to use my fully implemented changes.

Series

The biggest change comes to series as I’ve now picked a few topics that will span the course of 4 months, the first being World Poetry Month for April. My Mental Health series was always meant to be a one-off but after scrambling to put it together last year for a second year in a row, I came to realize it’s important enough to make annual. The series take quite a lot of work to put together but this year I’m allowing for a little more planning as I get the articles ready months in advance.

After May I’ll have a series that I’m excited to debut focused around sustainability. It’s a topic I’ve wanted to cover in the past but never had the time or energy to talk about more outside of incorporating Dystopia Climate Change themes into my short stories. With the Oregon Wildfires last summer I realized I’d rather take the time to talk about it now than wait until I’m in some bunker waiting out the twilight of our planet. My research led to me understanding that there is no official world sustainability month and the most we’ve really ever gotten is Earth Day. One day dedicated to the planet, that’s it. As such, I decided I’ll give 4 weeks in July.

And closing out the year is October which I’m making my horror themed short story month as I want to do more experimentation with my writing. Last year saw some success and I’m hoping to expand upon what I built to make the series better and more lasting. Expect a combination of Sci-Fi and horror but we’ll talk about that more as we get closer.

Vacation Month

I’m playing around with a vacation month that I can simply take off every year. My schedule has been designed to work around my life so that I can avoid burnout and keep the blog going, indefinitely. Everything I write I enjoy writing and the blog has fallen into a nice rhythm over the last six years I’ve been writing. As such, having a month that I can simply take off without worrying about a status update would be nice. I wouldn’t mind writing every month but I think it’s important to design time around doing nothing. A month for trips, visits, and whatever comes my way. At the moment, August is looking like that month. It’ll be an experiment this year and if I feel good about it, I’ll make it routine in future years. I’ll be looking at the stats for the year and will let you know come June what the plan is.

Status Updates

So these are new. Over the last year, I’ve been playing around with the format and I think I’ve found what’ll stick. September, November, December, January, February, March, June. 7 months out of the year I will post an update, even if a lot of it might just be reiterating points I’ve made in other entries. It’s a time for me to collect my thoughts and allow me to check if the blog is in a good spot. 7 update articles strikes a nice balance between keeping the reader (you) in the loop without over saturating the year with update after update. Always optional to read, it’s designed to give structure to what would otherwise be a collection of poems, short stories, and articles. As such, I’m quite happy that I decided to start doing these.

This Month

This month is up in the air but I’m planning to write chapter 5 of New Horizon. This will be the body of the story and what will ultimately be the start of the climax before the journey winds down by chapter 10. This is my first short story series and I’ve been thrilled with the response. It’s been a blast creating my own world and seeing it come to life with each chapter. I plan to write more 10 chapter series so the fun will never end.

I have a video game article drafted and am working on making it fun, but less nerdy so that anyone can read it. If that’s not ready by the end of the month (or ever), then the second article will most likely be a poem.


And that’s that! The blog will be ramping up next month with World Poetry Month and Mental Health Awareness Month directly after that. We’ll meet back here in June. Any feedback, type below! And, if you want to donate to the blog, I’ll include the link to where you can do so:

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As always, thanks for reading!

May Update 2020

Hello Everyone! It has been a crazy last month! From quitting my job to being locked inside, a lot has happened. As of now, my main priority has been to publish my first book. If you’ve followed my blog for a while, this will be nothing new. It’s a compilation of the poetry I’ve written over the years and should total 22 poems in all. I’ve finally gotten all the poems transferred to a google doc and am currently figuring out whether or not I need to go ahead and purchase Microsoft word. Kindle Direct Publishing seems easiest for my first book and from there I will begin to look at other options. I do have plans for a second book and this will be a true to form title. Written not on the blog, but rather entirely new material. It’ll stem from my practice of writing short stories and will either be a compilation of short stories or a novel written from beginning to end. As such, once my first book is published, expect to see some more short stories on this site.

In addition to getting a book published, I have started expanding my social media strategies. I’ve built a good base for content on the site but marketing and promotion have always been a bit of a struggle. I’ve started employing some of my college of business knowledge to help push my content further. Part of that strategy has been to start publishing original content on LinkedIn. If you remember years ago, I used to publish business articles on this site. That eventually turned into self-help and then eventually the content you see today. It’s much more relaxed on this site and I like keeping it that way. That doesn’t mean I don’t cover more serious topics like mental health (I’ll try to get an article out soon for mental health awareness month) but as far as business articles go, I stopped posting them on this site for a reason! LinkedIn over the last couple weeks has been fruitful and has helped promote my writing talent on a professional platform. I’ve fiddled around with the idea of doing a third website such as medium and a long time ago I thought about a sub website (“Mike Cole Gaming” or whatever I was going to call it) but ultimately decided against those alternatives. WordPress has been my home for the last 5 years and it’s been great building this website for over half a decade.

After five years, I finally have an official facebook business page. This has allowed me to promote to my friends and family without me having to use my own personal timeline. If my friends like my content, then they can like the page. Eventually, it’ll house photography commissions and hopefully painting, but for now the Facebook page is just to promote my writing. Why I didn’t have one before, God only knows. My blog took the back burner a bit while the call center sucked out my soul. As of now, I’ll be treating writing as more of a full time job. That is why I’m pushing content on LinkedIn, writing a book, and promoting myself as a freelance writer. I enjoy writing and during a Pandemic is the perfect time to see what it’d be like if I only did this. If I can generate enough revenue, I think I would enjoy doing this every day more than any job I could apply for. Creative hobbies are fun and where my company has failed me, blogging never has.

Eventually, I might open up my Instagram to be public as opposed to private. I’m still mulling over the logistics but for now I’m going to see how it goes with Twitter. I’ll be on Twitter more often, figuring out how to tweet and gain traction. I’ll also be monitoring the audience I attract as the blog continues to expand but all in all I see no issue when we make the jump from one hundred and fifty followers (3 away!) to a couple hundred and then hit the one thousand mark. While I don’t think we’ll hit the one thousand mark by the end of the year, I am optimistic that the site will grow by at least a couple hundred. I check the stats consistently and we’re already on track to surpass last years numbers; for the entirety of 2019. The number of views for April jumped four fold from 2019 to 2020 to illustrate an idea how well the blog is doing. I am truly excited to see what May has in store. If there is any content you’ve been missing, feel free to reach out and let me know. I love writing and if there is content you want, I’d be happy to take it into consideration!


And that’s it! Just wanted to do a quick update on what I’ve been working on. It’s a crazy time but the blog has never been better. I am starting to see growth on the website and we’re set up for a strong year. Every like, follow, and share helps drive traffic to the site as well as bring in ad revenue so I can support myself. As we start to get more and more people joining my Patreon, I’d also like to emphasize that joining Patreon should come with an invitation to join my discord community page. If you don’t receive an invite, let me know. Below is the link to my Ko-Fi and Patreon, so if you feel like supporting me, you can do so!

Support this blog!!!

As always, thanks for reading and I look forward to this year!

Most Likes

So on April 20th, on the day after my 5th anniversary with WordPress, I also received the most likes on a single post in a single day. 14 likes. It’s crazy. Likes can vary from post to post but to put that in perspective, my posts typically receive 14 likes in their lifetime. If you go through my blog, posts that have been there months or even years have typically 13 to 14 likes. My posts from 5 years ago? Most have zero likes, the best typically had one. What was I writing at the time? Back then, I had word of the days and poetry commentary (if I even chose to comment on it). It was around May that I started to expand my writing and try to have some semblance of my own thoughts and it is around this time I started getting more than a couple likes on my posts. A like back then feels just as good as it does now and with my blog growing, it is satisfying to take a look back every once in a while. Some of you have been with me since the very beginning and I do notice, I see your likes pop up time and time again and I appreciate the support; I may not call anyone out individually, but as a blogger it’s gratifying to know that whatever I post, you are following me for me and not a persona I would like people to believe I am. There is a reason my domain is my name.

On the back-end, I do enjoy combing over the stats. Typically after a post, I check each day to see the views and the comments left. I see what content people prefer and do my best to meet demand (I actually have no idea what demand is). Another favorite of mine as far as data is concerned is looking at the map to see where the views are coming from. While the majority of views come from the US, at this point my blog has been seen by many nations throughout the world. And that’s what I love about blogging. Is, for every barrier we put up, we often find we have more in common than we do not.

My most popular posts seem to be my update posts. Clunky at first, like a fine wine they have only gotten better over time. And they’re fun to write. As I sit in my room, sipping my cup of coffee, I’m in a state of pure bliss.

Each like helps support the blog, each follow helps grow the community. Part of my content restructuring involves ideas for long term growth. What happens when the blog surpasses 150 followers? 200? 500? And then finally, 1000? Honestly, I don’t expect much to change. The benefit of having more followers is a larger community. I’ve been talking primarily about likes but another aspect I’ve enjoyed is comments. At the moment, very few comment on my posts but when I started, no one commented on my post. As the blog grows, I expect an influx in comments and I’m looking forward to it. All in all, it’s an exciting time for this blog.


And that’s it! Remember, if you like my content, share it with your friends or give it a shout out on social media! The more traffic the site can get, the better. And remember to check out my Patreon and Ko-fi! I’m steadily improving both, so please take a look and provide your feedback! I can add tiers for Patreon and set goals for Ko-fi, so let me know what you’d like! Below is the link:

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Looking to contact me via email? Click below:

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Thanks for reading and feel free to comment below!

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