Sunday, January 11, 2009

It's a 500 Thing. You Just Wouldn't Understand

I had originally planned on summing up my experience with Blog 365 for my 500th post. Part of the delay was because I figured I'd go less than a week between Dec. 31 and number 500. I honestly assumed that I'd find it a little difficult to downshift from posting every day to posting only when I really wanted to. The other part was because I was kind of pressed for time during the last week of December and I wanted to spend a little time on my reflection piece.

Only, we're nearly two weeks into January and I'm just now getting around to the fifth post of the year, the one needed to reach the magic number. I've been spending some time thinking about what should go into this post, and I've come to realize that I didn't really learn a lot over the last 14 months.

I am pleased that I managed to go for more than an entire year without forgetting to post on my blog. The only days that saw me delay posting were days when I was entirely removed from a computer. I still wrote my posts and back dated them when I got back to a computer with Internet access. I'm honestly surprised at my ability to form this habit. I usually suck at this. It's really difficult for me to get into a routine. I tend to fall out of habits as easily as most people get into them, although you'll notice how quickly I've reverted to sporadic posting as soon as Blog 365 ended.

As a writer, I'm not sure how much I've learned about myself. I did find out pretty early on that the more I make myself write, the easier it seems to write. The third month of posting every day seemed to be easier than the first month. There were a few lulls during the year when it got to just be a pain to get something worth writing up on the blog, but it seemed that as long as I forced my way through them, the faucet of thoughts would turn back on to a full flow in a few days at most.

Am I a better writer? I really don't know. I'd like to think that writing something every day for more than a year would make me a better writer. It'd be nice to think that going through that much practice would actually benefit me in some way, but I just don't know. I do know, however, that having to fill this space every day made me write a few really good pieces that likely never would have come about otherwise.

Perhaps the biggest lesson I've learned is that it's a really bad idea to set yourself a daily deadline for a piece of serial fiction on a blog when you haven't already written all of the pieces when the first post goes up. I still like the idea behind that series, which makes the flop it turned into even more frustrating. I'm thinking of reworking it into a more obvious and complete comedy. I really think there's something there that I skimmed over in having to get it written so quickly last time.

Despite my not feeling like I've learned a lot about myself from this blog over the last year, I am glad that I've got this record of myself. This may end up being a snapshot of an important year in my life. I took up backpacking, which may turn into an important part of my life. I seem to be taking on the obsessive-compulsive qualities with this new hobby that I always have with any of my long-lasting hobbies, and this is chronicled nicely in this mass of writing. There's also that whole wanderlust/dissatisfaction/search for a career I can stick with thing that came up on a regular basis over the last year. You'll probably be happy to know that I threw out probably three times as many of those posts than I published. Even I get tired of the whiny little bitch I can be sometimes.

But, to end on a positive note, I've now posted 500 times, and none of you little twerps have even come close.


Julie said...

Obviously I don't understand having never posted 500 times, or for an entire year, or at all but if I may offer my opinion... I think it has helped to have a creative outlet.

You may not be happy with the creative fiction conclusion, but it was good. And I seriously doubt you can get great before you get good. Gotta start somewhere. Plus, who knows how much time in the horrible job you can withstand thanks to the fact that you got to quit on April 1? I mean, you've probably put off any psychotic break you might have had otherwise.

Plus, I am selfish and I've enjoyed having some way to keep up with my friends. I'm not good at picking up the phone because it seems lame to call when my only news is that I ate a turkey sandwich for lunch. If I get to read about your lunch at my leisure, though, it seems Ok. So thanks.

Courtney said...

Your writing improved one million percent over the past year. Seriously. And it has been great to have a daily update on my friends who had to go and move to south Georgia.

Keep it up! (Not necessarily every day, but you know what I mean.)

Mickey said...

Even though you called me a twerp, I agree that your writing improved significantly.

I forgot about your exercise in fiction. You should definitely give that another go.

Jacob said...

Julie: I actually meant to comment on your final point. Mickey and I were talking about this back in November, but when we see each other in person after months of not seeing each other, it really doesn't seem like we've been in separate states that long because we're constantly communicating through our blogs. If it were left up to phones, none of you would ever hear from me. I just don't use a phone except for emergencies and no one ever calls me.

Courtney: Hmm. Does that mean I really sucked to start with? I'm trying to decide if that's a compliment or an insult. It could be both, I guess.

Mickey: Well, I didn't call you out specifically. I pretty much issued a blanket statement, so it shouldn't sting all that much unless you're completely handicapped by low self esteem.