I'm not the kind of guy who likes to talk – or in this case write – just to hear himself talk. I constantly doubt my bone fides as a writer because, well, I don't feel compelled to write. In fact, if I can avoid it, I do. For me writing is a craft, like masonry, carpentry or plumbing. Writing is the vehicle through which I earn a living. Often not much of a living, but a living nonetheless.
Writing is a skill I've honed over more than 30 years, but I don't wake up every morning with some random thought and think, wow, I must express this idea; I've got to put pen to paper. (For you children, “pen to paper” is a euphemism for typing on a keyboard.) Nope; Steven King I'm not. When absent from writing for a while, I certainly don't miss it.
The previous two graphs are a rambling preface to a promise – more to myself than to you – to put more effort into this blog going forward. I am writing this on December 31st , and my previous Clanging Bell post was November 20th. That's not a blog; it's a monthly journal.
When I launched the Bell, I was experiencing a dry patch in paying work. Weeks might pass between assignments. My career was a desert and each sporadic assignment a rare oasis. I stumbled from one to the next, clutching to the hope things would get better. They always had, but 2010 and 2011 were dismal years in a career trajectory that mimicked an Acme rocket in the coyote's arsenal.
I started the Bell toward the end of 2010, simply to exercise my writing skills. As with any other skill, writing demands to stretch its legs on a regular basis. Because I wasn't getting much in the way of money-earning work, I had to fake it til I made it. I had to create a platform on which to practice my skill while waiting for things to pick up.
I contributed posts almost daily. I would search headlines in sports, entertainment and the auto industry mining for blog topics. It wasn't that I believed readers were actually looking forward to my thoughts on topics ranging from movies to shed building, but I knew I needed to be writing something, anything, to flex my creative muscle.
As paying work picked up, my blog posts decreased. They dropped from 228 posts in 2011 to 126 in 2012, 79 in 2013 and so forth until they almost disappeared in 2016. Counting this confession, I cranked out 25 posts this year – barely two per month: a shoddy performance by any measure.
Other distractions beyond paying assignments conspired to foil my best blogging intentions. Home-remodeling projects elbowed their way onto my list of priorities. In late summer, I launched just3thingsvideo.com. I've been pouring the bulk of my creative juices into that for the past six months. In fact, my plan for this morning was to edit a video, but I made myself compose this post before allowing myself to spend time on a video. It wasn't easy.
I don't make New Year resolutions, but if I did, it would be to write at least one blog post per week in 2017. That's my goal. Will I follow through? Well, I've managed to accomplish tougher tasks, but who knows? Stay tuned and we'll find out.