February 2022 Newsletter: Is Love in the air?

How’s it going?

February is moving along. It’s a strange time in my life right now. I’ve finally found some stability amidst the chaos and I am able to take it one day at a time. I work about 13 hours a week and for the moment, the extra free time has been nice. No more 40 hours a week, wake up at 3am and get home by 1pm. Just simple evening shifts and a morning shift on Sundays. I know this cannot last forever but it’s been nice during the Pandemic to finally have a chance to catch my breath. Eventually, I’ll need to be working fulltime again and even consider continuing my education to add more capital to myself.

Outside of work, I have been doing a lot more walking as per my new years resolution. I’ve gotten way too into Pokémon Go and have been battling my way across my neighborhood for the last couple months or so. For whatever reason, I’ve been getting more shinies in the last year than I have in my entire 20 years of playing Pokémon.

For the blog

This month is going to be relatively low key. My ‘State of the Blog’ post took slightly longer than expected and landed into the first week of February rather than the last week of January. Nothing too crazy there. The plan is consistency and this year should have everything I want to write about finalized. For this month I’ve been brainstorming a poem and while it’s not quite ready yet I’m excited to be writing a poem since it’s been a hot minute since my last one.

Other Things

I tried Yoga for the first time the other day! It was surprisingly enjoyable. It involves stretching (which I suck at), exercise (been a hot minute) and a mix of meditation (which I have been rocking). Cooking has yet to manifest itself but I grow tired of frozen burritos and potstickers so I imagine it’s only a matter of time. My bike is prepped and ready to ride, so now that I have a job I’ll probably try commuting to work everyday.


Thanks for reading! As we gear up for March, the blog will start to pick up. April is National Poetry Month, May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and July is my Sustainability Month. For now, I get to take a breath and enjoy the calm.

February 2021 State of the blog

Truth be told, I am writing this in the middle of January. We have a lot to cover this year and I’m excited to tackle what will hopefully be the best year of the blog yet.

The Month of January

With January I tried something new; I took my New Year’s resolution post and tried to make it a hybrid of my goals and the status update posts I did throughout 2020. In the future, I will leave the two separate. The formats I’ve come to realize are completely different even if in theory it could “work”. It’s better to take the time to do both as January is the month I have the most to say and really sets the tone for the year. So with that said, what’s in store?

Poetry and Short Stories

Last year, I took time to evaluate stock and see what I valued as a writer. I played with business articles on Linkedin and even considered a second blog on Medium. I also, had an informational for writing roles and ultimately decided not to mess with the formula. Poetry I’ve always loved and short stories are great writing practice. I’m obsessed with dystopian fantasies and realized I could write my own stories to further my own writing abilities and entertain. In fact, October I’ve dedicated to the pursuit. A spooky month to write and this upcoming year will be combining horror with various genres rather than strictly horror.

I’ve found my strength in writing Sci-Fi stories and thus I’ll primarily be sticking to this genre until my writing improves. Poetry will cover any topic that comes to mind as I’ve been doing it the longest and there are few barriers when I sit down to write.

Articles

I’ve been meaning to write more, however, articles take a while and do not always have the intended payoff. In the past, I just wrote whatever was on my mind as I navigated the world. As I’ve become more articulate, there has been less of a need to write about such topics. As such, I’ll be reassessing how I approach articles and see if I can’t find ways to innovate my process. The month of May is dedicated to Mental Health and will essentially be my “article” month but ideally I would like to do more if I can find a nice flow.

April, May, and October

This will be the first year where certain months are focused around a theme. April will be Poetry Month with a new poem every week. May will be Mental Health Awareness Month and will be an article every week covering various Mental Health topics, and October will be Horror Month with a focus on writing Short Stories. No more guessing when I’ll be writing, I spent a year figuring that part out!

Status Updates

Overall, status updates have added a cohesiveness to the blog that has been much needed. It gives me a chance to keep everyone in the loop and helps to organize my monthly thoughts. I’ve played around with a couple ideas and have decided 9 status updates a year works for my needs. I thought about doing a seasonal update (Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer) but realized 4 a year might be too little and my initial concern of my status updates getting in the way of writing other posts has all but disappeared. I also thought of a bi-annual update in an update mega post but have opted for gradual updates even if I feel I don’t have much to say in a given month. Short or long it matters not as I can shift the focus of what I cover in each update.

Marketing and other Goals

I’ve had limited success with Twitter and Facebook. Without a dedicated marketing team, that leaves success up to the fates. Last year I put a lot of pressure on myself to expand inorganic growth and learned quite a lot about social media along the way. This year, I’m taking a step back. I now have a Facebook page and Twitter is still around. Social Media I find to be exhausting and not where the majority of my readers come from. Organic growth through the WordPress reader is how most find my blog and I’m ok with that; this is a hobby blog and I’m not a company, so growth will come naturally.

Asking for Follows: The Stats

While it doesn’t hurt to ask for a follow or a like, I found that asking for support only made a real difference in the first months of 2020. After that, it was more or less the same as it has always been. For the last quarter of 2020, I stopped asking for follows at the end of each post and didn’t notice any changes. As such, I’m making the change for 2021 to make a mention on my update posts and thus free my other posts from the clutter. I also may draft a default statement rather than write out a new statement each time; this change should be cleaner and I expect to see positive results for 2021.

Patreon and Ko-Fi

The ultimate goal is to have the blog pay for itself, the dream is to make a little extra spending money on the side. To do this, I will need to invest more time and energy into both sites, which is easier said than done. 2020 was a successful year for Patreon and was happy to receive some support during the year. Unlike asking for a follow, I may simply keep adding a link to my support page after each post or I may simply ask here. While there is a tab on the website, I’ve found more engagement when I’ve taken the time to mention it should you feel inclined to help out this one man blog. All in all, 2021 is looking to be the best year of my blog and my hope is that it dwarfs 2020, which is now officially the best year the blog has had.


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As always, thanks for reading!

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