A year ago, I hadn’t yet started this blog. The actual one-year anniversary is in a couple of days, so at this time last year I had probably laid the groundwork, subconsciously, to start doing this. But the spark that started the fire–to use a term that I probably just took from Springsteen’s Dancing in the Dark–hadn’t happened yet. But when it did, on a Friday evening just like this one, I set off on doing something that has been more rewarding than I imagined it could be.
But “rewarding” doesn’t mean I make any money at this. No, I made more money by writing a few sentences about KISS costumes for Halloween than I ever did for doing this. And I’ll post the link to that copy as soon as I find out where it is online. But “rewarding” has meanings that go beyond the financial or material realm.
The best thing–the thing that I really treasure–is having a platform for getting my thoughts out into the wider world. I think of this as “draining the swamp,” as though my thoughts are like murky water, and my brain as a whole will be better off after some of that water has been diverted away to someplace else. It looks like Andy Van Slyke could have used used a little mental drainage too, at least in the picture above.
Whether or not anybody reads this is really beside the point. I hope that someone does, but I don’t really give it any thought one way or another. This is going out into cyberspace and thus the wider world. Whatever anyone does with it, or even if it’s ignored altogether, I’m still happy that I did what I could do to send it out in the first place. My voice will be heard some way, somehow, by somebody that I will likely never meet. That’s what makes the online world such a promising and exciting place.
Several months ago, I came to the realization that this probably wouldn’t fizzle out after a month or two, like some of the other things I’ve done in my life. There’s been a lot of time and effort that has gone into this, with the main opportunity cost being lots and lots of lost sleep. Being tired I can live with, but allowing all of my thoughts to shrivel up and die inside my head won’t work for me any more.
This post will meet two goals that I set for myself a while ago. I decided on a couple of writing targets, the first based on how many posts I can write in a month. I once read the advice to write something everyday, and so I wanted to do an average of 40 posts a month. One post a day seemed too little, and two posts a day (or even one and a half) seemed like too much. So 40 posts a month it is, and after nearly 12 months of doing this, I’m now writing my 480th post. So that’s right where I wanted to be.
The second number is derived from the first one. My average over the long haul has remained steadily at or near 500 words per post. Sometimes I go off on 1000 word tangents, and sometimes there’s 30 word intros to a picture or a video. But 500 is right in the middle of that range, and so 40 posts a month X 500 words per post = 20,000 words a month. Multiply that by 12 months in a year, and it comes out to 240,000 words, or just under a quarter of a million words. I’ve now hit that mark for the first year, as well.
I didn’t start out with a time frame or a particular goal in mind. I just wanted to write, and then write some more, and continue writing, so that I could pick up a baseball card, or a picture from my childhood, and turn it into something tangible. I’ve done that over and over again in this space, and I’ll keep right on doing it until further notice.
So it’s time to close the book on Year One of this experiment in self-improvement, which is being conducted in the online milieu and will continue into the foreseeable future. I’m quite pleased with how it’s gone so far.