I have just completed a goal that I set out accomplish two years ago: publishing a blog post weekly for 2 years (and I never missed a week!). I’m can’t believe it’s been 2 years. It’s an incredible feeling. It certainly wasn’t easy, but I’ve learned more about commitment (and calligraphy!) than words could ever explain. I’ve done recaps for each year here (2016) and here (2017). As you can see, great things happen when you show up everyday.

2 Years of Blogging

Since this is my last post of 2017, I wanted to provide some insights into what I’ve learned from blogging and what 2018 holds.

The Ups

I set out blogging with several of overarching goals in mind:

  1. To help others aspiring artists develop in the craft of lettering & calligraphy
  2. To challenge myself by developing a consistent habit of content output
  3. To build an audience around my calligraphy

I would say that I’ve definitely accomplished each goal. I approached almost every post with the intent of inspiring or teaching. When I started blogging, I certainly didn’t know everything about all of these topics. That was one of the beautiful parts of blogging; coming up with an idea that was often based on someone else’s questions and learning how to answer it. The topics on this blog are pretty niche, but there was still an excellent reception from a growing audience of artists and calligraphy enthusiasts.

Another aspect worth mentioning was the year of monthly artist spotlights. Not only was it fun to share someone else’s story, but speaking with these incredible artists was eye-opening. I’m grateful for the opportunities I had to learn from inspiring artists from all over the world.

The Downs

One of the most rewarding aspects was the rigid habit that came along with writing and publishing weekly. However, this habit often felt like a burden. I developed systems to plan my content (and often create it) ahead of time so that I wasn’t always down to the wire. However, life happens. Writers block, lack of inspiration, illness, work, holidays, etc. These are all things we struggle with and managing such a large commitment on top of everything else can be overwhelming.

Perhaps the biggest downside would be the several hours of free time I’d have in one week where I’d ideally like to be creating. Instead, it was the only time I had to prepare content for an upcoming post. In that regard, it would stifle my creativity and practice time.

One other big trap I found myself falling into is spending so much time creating content that I had no time (or motivation) to promote it. Loyal audience members would consume that content but how would it ever reach someone else if I’m not passionately plugging it on other channels and spending the time necessary to connect with other artists looking to learn? I was spending 95% of my time creating and 5% marketing it when really it should be the other way around.

You see these bloggers putting out fresh content weekly (sometimes daily) and promoting the hell out of it. And they make it look so easy. In retrospect, I could do that too if I had no other big obligations in life. But I work. I have a relationship. I have a social life. I cook and clean. I also have other hobbies. Without sacrificing those things, which I have no intention of doing, that sort of habitual commitment isn’t realistic.

What’s Next?

I never planned to fully stop once I hit my 2 year goal and I certainly didn’t make any promises to myself that I would keep going at the same rate. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what 2018 looks like in terms of a balance between content and creativity. I’ve developed some insanely disciplined habits over the past 2 years, writing hundreds of thousands of words. There’s plenty of content that I’m really proud of. One thing I’m not proud of is how little calligraphy I’ve done recently.

Here’s what you can expect from me in 2018:

  • Priority number one is creativity. I’ll be sharing more work and challenging myself to improve on new levels.
  • I’ll be diversifying my content output with more video. Look for more of that on my Instagram and YouTube.
  • This blog isn’t going anywhere. I won’t be publishing as often or on a rigid schedule, but you can still expect content periodically.

Also…

The 2018 #52Letters Alphabet Challenge

What better way to bring your skills to the next level than with a hardcore, in-depth challenge? In an effort to promote creativity, practice, and community, I’ve decided to pursue a new weekly challenge and I want to invite you along for the ride.

Here’s the deal:

  • One letter a week for 52 weeks (the whole year)
  • Weeks 1 through 26: lowercase a through z
  • Weeks 27 through 52: uppercase A through Z
  • Share your progress online with the hashtag #52letters

Follow the challenge online at 52-letters.com!

See you next year!