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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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!