27th year: A Poem by Mike Cole

The hand struck midnight and the cycle began anew.

Once twenty-six, now twenty-seven.

He watched the hours pass and sleep did not come.

When he awoke, a smile came to his face.

The dreaded year, was not so bad.

With age came wisdom and his world had slowed.

As long as he wasn’t thirty, he still had time.


Yesterday was my Birthday! As such, I thought it’d be fun to write a poem to capture the moment. Despite the Pandemic, my birthday was quite enjoyable. I actually ended up playing Mario Kart until 5am! For the last couple years, I have gone out and celebrated with friends so this year was actually quite nice as I could just play Animal Crossing and Pokemon (and Mario Kart) all day long. I am officially 27 and am trying to live out the remainder of my twenties as best I can. Cheers to another year of life!

September 2020 update: As the leaves turn

It is officially September, my favorite time of the year! Towards the end of August, nights start to become colder and the leaves begin to rustle, ushering in the month of September. September enjoys a mix of Summer and Autumn and represents a fresh start to the year. Many enjoy Spring, many enjoy Summer, I enjoy the Autumn months. September through November, there could not be a better time. It is also the month I was born, which means it’s a month for reflection and re-balancing.

What’s in Store?

As it stands, this month is going to be a lot of heavy lifting. The blog saw tremendous growth in April and May with June, July, and August being steady. The new format seems to be working well and I enjoy the update post with one to two posts a month format. Sharing, commenting, and liking have all helped the blog grow. I’ve begun to dive into promoting the blog through social media channels and while it is feasible, it will take a concentrated effort on my part to be successful. The other option would be to enlist the help of a colleague to help promote the blog but at the moment I have yet to hear a response.

Patreon

So far, Patreon is going well! I have a couple supporters now and the extra money helps. The goal is to have most money be generated from Ad revenue on the site and to have Patreon there for those who want to provide extra support. Over time, I will start publishing books and the hope is to use the income to live a life where I can choose whether or not I want to work from 9 to 5.

Medium and Outward expansion

Last month I looked into Medium as a potential outlet for other forms of writing such as business, politics, and social issues. While Medium might work for some, I ultimately decided I don’t think it would work for me. My whole approach to my blog has been building a community that will enjoy whatever I choose to write about and Medium has a focus on writing “one stellar article to end all articles”. Over time, you get funneled one direction or the other as the algorithm decides what articles you see. I also realized that while I enjoy reading the New York Times to stay informed, I don’t particularly enjoy talking about politics. They are good to discuss with friends but to dedicate time to writing about them? Not my cup of tea. So WordPress gets my full, undivided attention.

Linkedin

As for my professional career, that has taken a pause at the moment. In college, I thought Linkedin to be the “end all, be all” but to date it has led to zero full-time positions. Writing business related articles on the platform seemed like a great idea a few months back, but ultimately it is a lot of effort for little payoff. Even posting on Linkedin has become a chore. I’ve shifted my focus to more writing oriented roles but it is extremely difficult in this hyper-competitive world we live in. The issue isn’t doing a job and doing it well, it’s that you need a skill set just to get an interview and most desirable roles don’t even get posted in the first place. As such, most of my focus will be on this blog and looking at growth and engagement, so ultimately my frustrations with Linkedin will be a net positive.

The Month Ahead

We will be ramping up! I’ve decided to keep the update simple; it’s either going to be a poem, short story, or article. Typically the posts depend on my mood, so I can’t say what I want quite yet this month. I also think I’ve found a way to write more gaming related articles in the form of Fan Fiction, a subject I never thought I would write but did extremely well with my Stardew Valley article. My other gaming articles didn’t fair so well but that’s expected when coming into your stride. If I do write a Fan Fiction this month, I’ve been playing around with Animal Crossing and am excited just thinking about the potential. I also have some ideas for Chapter four of “New Horizon” so that might come together by the end of the month. No promises but all in all we’re in good shape.


And that’s a wrap! The update for this month was fairly long and I didn’t quite cover everything I had planned. I’m already thinking ahead to October and a spooky theme. Think Mental Health Awareness month except light-hearted and fun. An article a week focused around ghosts and all that goes bump in the night. I think it’ll provide a nice balance between the more serious Mental Health series and the planned Earth Month series (planned for April, although it might conflict with Poetry month). Thanks for reading and feel free to comment below!

July 2020 update: Oh my God, we made it

2020, what a start to a new decade. As I edge closer to the twilight of my twenties this year went from an exciting start to a bizarre limbo and an uncertain end. I run on the side of hope, that all will eventually balance out.

The Coming Month

Part of the goal with these start-of-the-month updates is a chance to better connect with the community and lay long term infrastructure for the blog. If I ever need to take a break from writing, I can update in this post rather than just randomly go off the grid, like I’ve done in the past. A lot of my posts I add the occasional life update but with a monthly update I can do life updates all in one place, without tacking it onto an article; this will help articles keep their focus. This month for our two articles we’re looking at a poem and the third chapter of New Horizon, which has not been seen since 2018. I want to do the third chapter right, so expect this post to be the last week of the month. As for the poem, that’ll be next week.

Other Updates

This year I’m focused on growth but more importantly, sustainable growth. What I like about WordPress is the sense of community. Before I was a writer, I was a reader and nowhere else have I felt more at home. In the past, I’ve shied away from active promotion and have preferred organic growth; however, I’ve come to realize these two concepts are not mutually exclusive. Simply put, I want more people to see my content and enjoy what I have to share with the world. Instead of simply waiting for more people to come, it helps to simply say “hey, by the way, it’d be great if you joined the community.” Simple, yet effective.

No more weekend posts

Sometimes I get excited and want to post right away. As I’ve found over my years of writing, while the time of a post typically doesn’t matter, the day does. Weekend posts have historically gotten no traffic, regardless of topic. Fridays and Mondays are also fairly slow. So as I organize the blog and look at reach, you can expect to see posts on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. All this really means for you is more consistency, which is good.

Updated Contact and About page

Long overdue, I finally got around to updating my About and Contact page. I gave both pages an updated look, making it easier to find information about me and to reach out. Links are above if you’re curious what the pages look like.

Looking Ahead

I am currently researching podcasts and already have a draft of a first season planned. If I do create podcasts, I’ll post the content on my Patreon for everyone’s viewing pleasure. My first book is nearing completion and you should hear more within the coming months.


That’s it! Like, share, and follow if you enjoy my content. I’m excited for the coming weeks as I delve back into poetry and short stories. As always, feel free to comment below!

The first 30 days: adventures in coding

As the blog continues to flourish, I’ve begun to find my niche. Writing has kept me sane during the pandemic and for good reason. It’s given me time to reassess my values and refocus my efforts. Part of that effort has been learning how to code, a task I never thought I could do. It’s been the better part of a decade since I’ve tackled the coding challenge, being a high school computer science II dropout.

It takes confidence

Part of my issue was I lacked the confidence to move forward with my coding. I was unwilling to commit because I was worried I would fail. I talked about coding for months before I made the full-fledged commitment. Time to learn was a factor but not the only one.

The first days are always the hardest

I’m a flip-flopper. With every choice made, there is a choice unmade, a road not taken. Nothing clicks until one day everything does. The first week of coding I quite enjoyed. I told myself a lesson a day and told myself 30 days with a plan to do the 100 days of coding challenge afterwards. I had a basic idea where I wanted to head and used the career paths on Codecademy to pursue what path I wanted to take. First was the fundamentals of coding, now it’s computer science and then web development, finishing up with data science. All said and done, we’re looking at a couple years of work. That is a commitment and as such, it can be easy to get demoralized. I only have so many hours in the day, so I must value coding if I want to move forward. You cannot do anything without a why.

Closing in on day 50

Hitting the 30 day mark was the hardest, if you can do that, then typically you can keep going. Thus far, it has held true. I wake up, I code, and then I stare at a wall for the rest of the day (kidding!). At this point, it’s routine. And while coding can make me feel stupid at times, I’ve begun seeing huge applications that make me excited to finish my coursework. I haven’t had this type of clarity with any other subject. It is my belief that one day coding will be an essential skill to have in the modern job market and as such, I’m getting a start now so I’m not behind later. When I hit 100 days of continuous coding, my hope is to have something tangible to show on the blog. For now, you get articles!


And that’s it! Eventually, I’ll write a program that tells you to like, share, and follow (half-kidding!), for now I’ll be writing each individually with love and care. So remember, if you like my content, share it and leave a like! If your new, consider following! The blog has been doing extremely well this year thanks to everyone’s support. We have already surpassed last year and are looking to overtake 2018 soon. The end goal is eventually to have the blog pay for itself and eventually, a transition to writing full-time. If you can, donations help quite a bit. To make it easy, I have a link to my Patreon and Ko-Fi below:

Support this blog!

As always, feel free to leave a comment; I love responding! Also, if you have any questions about coding, feel free to reach out!