March 2022 Newsletter: When Fortune finds you

Another month, another newsletter. The year will once again be ramping up as I prepare for April, May and eventually July and October. Articles are being planned, poems are being written, and stories are coming together.

A lazy month

I’m going to take March as a lazy month. The weather is nice and I’ve been working more hours at work. The sun is shining through my blinds as I write this and I am simply relaxing on my day off. With this month, it’ll only be this newsletter. April will be a month filled with poems so I’m okay with taking a break.

What have I been up to?

A lot of walking. I’ve walked more this year than I have in a long while. Pokémon Go has helped motivate going on walking adventures where I simply enjoy nice weather while catching Pokémon. This year in general has been a Pokémon heavy year as I play through Shining Pearl (the fourth generation of Pokémon) and gear up to jump into Legends of Arceus. It’s more or less been a celebration of Pokémon and I’ve been enjoying the journey as I keep myself busy.

Outside of Pokémon I hosted a game night with friends and it was an absolute blast. I opted for a combination of board games and Mario Party. I plan to do more in the future but it’ll be tough to do them monthly. However, it’s one of the best ways to keep in touch with friends so it’s worth the effort.

I boiled beets. This may not seem like a big deal but it marks the start of my ‘back to cooking’. My New York Times cooking subscription is paid in full and I will slowly begin to cook over the year. I have twelve months, so what could go wrong.

Dog Training!

It’s finally time! After years of having Abby, my Golden Retriever, she will be going to training. She is currently three but better late than never I suppose. I am doing classes with my brother and mother which start on the 23rd; who knows, I might even start writing about my dog if I enjoy the classes enough.

Dating

I’m considering making dating a top priority once more. I have a couple of dating apps as my lifeline for a man adrift at sea and I’m seeing where it leads. Ideally I have a meet-cute where I bump into someone in person but as I get older I don’t know how likely that’ll be. 2020 was supposed to be my year of dating and while I had found success, the Pandemic turned it into a year of self reflection. Will there be more dating articles, who knows? People seem to enjoy when I talk about the follies of love, so nothing is off the table this year.

April

National poetry month! The format is set and this year will be a good one. April is not like my typical poetry. It is the only month where I dive in a little deeper and explain the meaning behind the poem. It’ll be three poems and this year is set to have a good variety for each. I’m feeling a love poem for April, so stay tuned.


And that’s a wrap for the March Newsletter. The next newsletter will be in June. Get ready for an awesome year of writing and content. And as always, thanks for reading!

State of the blog: 2022

Ah, January. A month of promise, a month of hope. With my resolutions written, it is time to take a look at my blog. My bastion, my slice of the internet. Whatever storm weathered, this is my safest port (if not my only port in the storm). With this post, I wanted to take the time to talk about the past and look forward to the future. All my plans and dreams (blog related), laid out for the world to see.

2020

A lot of planning went into my blog for the year and the effort showed. My goal was to provide consistency without burnout and to that end I am extremely proud of the work I’ve done. I have no pressure to write and have a lot of freedom when it comes to what I write. I’ve situated myself as a poetry, short stories, and articles blog and made the brand Mike Cole, so there’s no confusion as to what you’re getting into.

2021

I could better understand what was working and what could be improved upon. Overall, a great year. A year of growth and progress and I really have no complaints. Some minor tweaks here and there and 2022 is poised to be another great year.

Come this year

I didn’t want to take too long going over the last couple years as this year is the most exciting to me. This year is simply refinement of the core concepts developed in 2020 and 2021.

The Newsletter

The Newsletter is now official. It was experimental in 2020 and was my way of adding cohesion to the blog itself. In the past, if I disappeared for a while, I would occasionally write an update to let people know what was going on. The problem was, it would be completely random. By having a monthly update 7 or 8 times a year, I’m able to better communicate what’s going on. I find it enjoyable to give a glimpse into my life and the reception to the updates has been fantastic. The Newsletter had a bit of a branding crisis early on but this year I’ve worked out most of the kinks and have a better idea of what I want the purpose of the posts to be.

Series

In 2020, when I made the decision to make my blog a more consistent, cohesive experience I looked into what specifically that would look like. The Newsletters were a big aspect of that change. Every month, even if it was a busy month, there would be a newsletter; I wanted practice writing them and it makes a lot of sense from a blogging perspective. The second aspect of the blog was to give myself a time and place to write about what I enjoyed. Up till this point, the articles I wrote were great but once again inconsistent.

Short Stories

For the series, I decided early on there needed to be four. This gave my content a rounded out feeling and would allow me to have exciting content throughout the year. Short Stories are something I had always pondered writing but usually make me blush in embarrassment with how dorky they can be. I equate them to a similar experience as a D and D campaign (I have only played one, I swear!).

The reason I’ve been so adamant regarding scheduled time to write short stories is I truly believe it helps with creative thinking and problem solving. I love any activity that challenges my brain so being able to create a world from nothing is extremely enticing. What I’ve written has garnered positive feedback and it’s an aspect I’ve been wanting to expand upon for a while now.

Sustainability Month

Years of brainstorming and it’s finally come to form. I picked two issues I cared about and chose those as my hills to die on. Sustainability has been near and dear to my heart ever since I was a young lad. My first memory is that of the garden we had at my preschool, picking peas from a pod and remembering how delicious they tasted. In my later years, I joined Students for Environmental Action and built a community garden at my high school. In college, we had a garden in our backyard and even made our own compost from our leftovers. Now, I can at the very least write.

Last year was the first year I started my sustainability series. It was exciting, fun, and for the most part lighthearted (except for the Oregon wild fires). This year, I plan to continue all that was good from the last year and expand upon it. Sustainability is a broad topic so it gives me a lot of ground to cover. I could talk about corporate greed, consumerism, and all in-between. I can also talk about walking, cooking, and all other manner of fun topics. The goal is for the series to be engaging and not go into climate crisis mode. There are many pieces written nowadays that stress the urgency of action but as far as effectiveness I don’t know if I believe it works. I’ve read about terms such as “climate anxiety” and it all seems very peculiar to me. Our world is complicated and my hope is to make it simpler. I’m excited for what this year brings!

Mental Health

Mental Health is a tough subject to talk about. In my everyday, I brush it off when in the company of others. I tell everyone everything is fine and it’s rare I’ve been vulnerable around anyone. A lot has happened to me the last couple years so the articles planned for this year will reflect that. I have a rough outline of what I want to talk about and overall I’m excited to share as I work through my life. This year will be a mix as I experiment with articles, only one is planned to be heavy subject matter with the rest being general mental health articles that are more on the lighthearted side.

Poetry Month

Celebrating national poetry month was fantastic last year. I opted to return to form to when I had started this blog all the way back in 2015. A simpler time filled full of questions of the weeks and a bunch of random other topics as I tried to gain a foothold on my chaotic world. It is rare that I have the opportunity to reach back into the past and pull it into the present, so the fact I can for poetry month has brought a smile to my face.

Most poems I write nowadays I simply write and leave up to the readers interpretation. I have my inspiration but the beauty of poetry is applying your own meaning to the poem you’ve read. To make poetry month special, I brought back analyzing poetry from my ‘Fruitful Friday’ series, a now ancient relic of a bygone era. The best part is now the analysis is of my own poetry rather than famous poets. Poetry month will stay the same for this upcoming year.

In Sum

There won’t be any major changes this year. The website is easy to read and follow and the content has been solidified. I am talking about what I want to talk about and the final piece of the puzzle has been resolved this last year. Horror Month is no more and Short Story month is here to stay. There are no creative restrictions and basically the sky is the limit for what I can write about. Two to three articles a month is reasonable for me and writing now takes top priority over other activities.


That’s it! This is just an overview for the upcoming year! Of course there will be updates through the Newsletters and more to come as we get closer the series. I’ll be back soon for the February Newsletter!

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.

December 2021 Newsletter: A crazy couple of months.

So it is now officially November December. A lot has happened since September and I’ve risen from the dead to give an update.

The New

Towards the end of September, I had accepted an offer to become an insurance account manager. Come mid October, the offer slipped from my hands and within a matter of weeks I landed a new job as a Welcome Desk Associate. October was stressful but ended on a high note as I’m now making money and can take a deep breath after what has been pure chaos for a little over a year now.

Horror Month: Oops

I had big plans for October and ultimately, they fell through… Horror Month I still think will be fun but I have begun questioning the limitations of making it a story centric month. I had great ideas for horror themed poetry and articles but was so focused on short stories that I ultimately did nothing. That said, I might repurpose some of the drafts that never saw the light of day for future short stories. Horror month is my most experimental so I honestly don’t know if I want to keep it. All other series from last year were a resounding success (Mental Health, Sustainability, and Poetry) but Horror Month has proven tricky. I’ll be tinkering with the final series category yet again… I’ve done Horror Month for one year so I might try simply making a Short Story Month.

Thanksgiving

It has come and gone. I sang, I ate, and even got my haircut. For the first time in about four years, I was able to spend it with my cousins and relatives. No Black Friday and no Cyber Monday! It was fun, cheery, and motivation to get my life in order.

Upcoming Plans

For this month, this is it. The blog was set up last year to make it easy to post while having a job, so I’m finally putting that theory to the test. Write a book? I now have time. Create a podcast? I can really dive into that. Gain certificate after certificate to build credentials for work? Also very feasible. And of course, blog!

The Winter season (aka now) will be slow filled with poetry and delight; two poems, spread out between the December weeks. Come 2022 I’ll be doing Poetry, Mental Health, and Sustainability Month so that will keep me quite busy as I explore those topics further. I have some great ideas and am looking forward to begin work on each. And the Fourth Series will land one of these days. Short Story Month is sounding much better the more and more I say it.

This Last Year.

Has been a huge success. I am grateful for how much the blog has grown and however crazy my life has gotten, through the ups and downs, my blog has been here. From a blog I never expected anyone to read to now, it’s been a journey I’ve enjoyed. As we get closer to January, I’m glad to keep writing and improve myself in the process. Thanks for reading and stay safe as we usher in a new year!

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