New Year, New Rules

Well, we did it: we made it to 2019! 🎉 🥂

And with the big change of the calendars comes that yearly opportunity to set goals and challenges whilst just generally realigning personal direction. I’m not one to believe that the New Year is necessarily the best time, nor certainly the only time, when you should take a pause to evaluate priorities, but it does have a nice feel to it.

More importantly, after just over six months living relatively consistent lives, I think we’re finally sure enough of our surroundings to begin forcing them into a more rounded shape. Drumming is one clear area we’ve managed to create consistency, but there’s plenty of room to ensure that what we want to do and what we’re doing aligns as closely as possible.

Personally, that means reevaluating my goals. Yes, I absolutely want the experiences to keep on flowing, which is good because we already have a whisky evening booked, two gigs sorted, a climbing experience to work out and the previously discussed Zoo membership to make full use of. But it also means finding ways to refocus on hobbies and make our London life more, well, self-centred.

The Year That Was

Two years ago I gave myself a Big Challenge to write one article a week, minimum, for an entire year. Last year I shied away from making any big, bold, public claims; with an impending move across the country and loss of a job, long term commitments needed to be chosen wisely. Which isn’t to say the New 52 Challenge was frivolous – it likely played a significant role in my career change over the course of 2018 – but that type of thing would have become a distraction.

That said, I did write down a list of goals that I still wanted to accomplish over the past year, so that became a good place to start thinking about ideas for 2019. I’ll preface this by saying my 2018 To Do list didn’t exactly have a great strike rate, but nevertheless, here it is:

  1. Find a new job ✔️
  2. Read 12 books ✔️
  3. Finish all outstanding MiMs ❌ (hah!)
  4. Migrate CMS ❌ (though I have at least had a good play with Directus and Grav)
  5. Create better review system ❌
  6. Add social streams to theAdhocracy ❌
  7. Start making better use of Twitter ✔️
  8. Upload 4 videos ⭕ (1/4 definitively, but also a few more – not what I’d intended but not awful)
  9. Sort out hard drives ⭕ (I’m in a much better place but still only about 50% done)
  10. Find a better organisational tool set ✔️

I think it’s most interesting, when looking back, that photography factored so little in my plans, despite it being a pretty central hobby. That’s more of a shame because I did manage to hit some good milestones in terms of rate of turnaround, uploading and even (finally) printing out/framing some of my shots for the new flat, and it would be nice to have been able to get some more ✔️ in there, but oh well.

Onwards and upwards!

When looking at what the next 12 months could hold, and what it needs to be, there are two main standouts. The first is to find more time for personal projects and creativity; the second is to begin planning for 2020. That might seem a little odd – to make the goal of one year to focus on the next right from day one – but 2020 is going to be a big one. It’s a new decade, so for fellow children of 1990 that means a new leading number on the age dropdown. Turning 30 really doesn’t bother me, but it does offer a good opportunity and excuse, so it’s fair to say that it would be wise to begin planning ASAP.

Starting a new decade also has an even greater feeling of a changing of the guard, so as 2019 becomes the last year of the… teenies (what do we call this decade?)… it seems like a good excuse to focus inwards and generally get things in order.

With that all said, I’m not planning any big overarching projects or challenges for 2019, but I do want my to do list to be public, hence this article. So without any further ponderings, these are my big goals for 2019:

Photography

  1. Finalise all photos taken in 2018 by the end of March
  2. Upload at least 52 photographs to portfolio channels (500px/Instagram)
  3. Print out and hang more photos
  4. Get my Quiraing shot framed
  5. Go on at least two specifically photography related day trips with friends/solo

General Life

  1. Finally finish sorting out my hard drives
  2. Create a process for organising video files
  3. Finish digitising my magazine backlog
  4. Plan the big 3-0 trip
  5. Visit the zoo at least 6 times

theAdhocracy

  1. Create a personal logotype and logomark
  2. Migrate CMS!!!
  3. Create a better review system
  4. Add social streams/focus on homesteading
  5. Publish at least 12 articles

So those are my goals. Some are “borrowed” from 2018 in the hopes that they may actually happen, some hark back to years long past, whilst others are brand new. The overarching themes are to drill down into photography and flesh out what theAdhocracy should be, which is a digital playground and home base, somewhere that’s just mine. I want to move away from trying to branch out or diversify hobbies and, instead, spend 12 months really getting to grips with what I know I already enjoy.

Obviously I still have other goals, some loftier (it would be great to learn React, for instance) and some less serious (I really wanted to add both “Play archery tag at least once” and “Minimum one full, extended LOTR marathon” to the lists), but those will remain nice-to-haves rather than focused goals.

Hopefully in twelve months time I’ll be able to write-up a success story, but even if the hit rate is as low as 2018 (or lower) I think simply putting these plans out there and having somewhere to refer back to will be a useful tool. So here’s to an exciting, progressive, focused, and fun-filled 2019! 🍻

The New 52: A Summary [#52]

So the end is nigh. Fifty-two weeks, fifty-nine articles, two failures and the most complete challenge I’ve ever set myself. Sure, I may not have managed to write once a week, every week, during 2017 but I have managed to write a whole lot more than I would have done otherwise. I’ve documented my plan to record more of my media in 2017 than ever before, only to have innovative new technology create a road block. I’ve shared my ever increasing love and interest in photography, including some very big personal milestones. I’ve received my first genuine comment, not just from an anonymous stranger on the internet but from a creator and individual whom I have followed for years. I’ve discussed my own life, my travels, worries, annoyances and ideas; I’ve had a space to comment on wider industry trends, disturbing news stories and things which I’ve just found interesting.

It’s been a fantastic, frustrating and, at times, not particularly well executed fifty-two weeks. On the whole, though, I’m extremely proud of, and pleased with, the fifty official “New 52” posts that were published (see full list below – now numbered correctly). I’m also a little astonished that only six of them are MiM posts, with most being self contained articles I would likely never have written if it weren’t for this challenge. Sure, I’m annoyed that I missed two weeks, just like I’m annoyed that there are several MiMs and other articles still sat in my drafts folder, but that doesn’t take away from the accomplishments I have made.

So then, the next question is: fifty-two more? Well, put simply, no. I still plan to post, particularly with media reviews, but 2017 was about finally finding the courage to put my writing out into the world, and forcing myself to do so. That has now been achieved and I’m very happy with the end result. The next step is to focus that energy into new challenges and new skills. I will not be starting 2018 with any specific challenge or checklist of goals; instead, I’m going to forge forward with several ideas. The first step will be to clear out/complete as many incomplete projects as possible, beginning with that drafts folder. It’s ridiculous that I have drafted movie reviews from October 2016 that have never seen the light of day. It’s equally ridiculous that I have spent over a year talking about migrating theAdhocracy; changing the article format; implementing home-brew backed cross posting; and getting some of the travel videos I’ve shot edited, uploaded and accessible. The last year has been about learning new skills, proving that I can balance commitments with creative endeavours and working out where I enjoy putting my energy. I’ve now got a pretty good idea of how that will all work, so the next step is to begin applying it. I’m excited to see what my year-in-review will look like in another twelve months time, but the aim is for it to be even more diverse!

New 52 Challenge Posts:

  1. The New 52: A Challenge
  2. Scrobbling Movies
  3. Rating my Opinion
  4. A New Mozilla
  5. Month in Media: January 2017
  6. Martian Mirrors
  7. Interneting is (Apparently) Hard
  8. The Existential Crisis Question
  9. Awesome Azhdarchids
  10. TV vs Film: The Great Debate
  11. Willow, Wetlands & Nostell Priory
  12. Empathy Just Makes Sense
  13. Thoughts from Around the Web
  14. Month in Media: March 2017
  15. April Foolery 2017
  16. Duping the Genie
  17. Finding the Time
  18. Echoing Frustration
  19. Hyperfocal Stone Rows
  20. Vinyl Scratchings
  21. Factual Distrust
  22. Welcome Home
  23. Mister Vimes’d Go Spare & Assorted Odds ‘n’ Ends
  24. A Gap in Time
  25. Peaks & Troughs
  26. Security All The Way Down
  27. Month in Media – June 2017
  28. Marrs Green
  29. The Poetry of Spam
  30. Untapped Market
  31. That Anti-Diversity Googler & Self Introspection
  32. Where is Superwoman?
  33. The Weight of Opportunity
  34. Stickers, Eclipses and Lighthouses
  35. Life Between the Worlds
  36. When is a Cat a Mongoose?
  37. Sunrise on the Quiraing
  38. Month in Media – September 2017
  39. Month in Media – July 2017
  40. Forgotten & Surreal Instruments
  41. Welcome to the Grid
  42. Asking the Right Answers
  43. Insta Inspiration
  44. Fair Phones & Mobile Woes
  45. Dark Booking Patterns
  46. Month in Media – November 2017
  47. Spiders, Dinosaurs and CVs
  48. Death of the Internet
  49. Remember: Anger Leads to the Dark Side
  50. The New 52: A Summary

A Gap in Time [#25]

My last post was on the 8th. Today is the 20th. Do you see a little problem there? In short: 12 days are longer than a week. Sad times.

For 22 weeks I have written a minimum of one article every week. Frequently, I’ve actually managed more; in fact, the total number since the start of the year is currently at 31 published, and I know there are several more sitting at > 50% completion. Still, the challenge was one article per week for 52 weeks and I didn’t even manage half. It’s a better track record than many previous challenges, but still not a fantastic end.

However, I’m not going to stop here. You’ll notice I’m still numbering today’s post, but skipping one. The week of #23 will forever be blank but the challenge will continue, one article per week until the end of the year. I’ll be interested to see how many other blank spots appear (hopefully none).

As for the why, I think that’s the part which is most frustrating. A combination of tiredness, apathy and forgetfulness is the real answer. Last week was a build up to a fun weekend celebrating a family birthday, meaning we were staying with my partner’s parents. As a result, there was a push to get the photographs from our recent trip edited and ready to show, so that took priority of me team and wiped me out creatively. Every evening was spent gutting out a third of the stills I took and actually editing several dozen favourites, whilst lunches were spent sorting out bills etc. or just taking a break. Writing took a backseat because I was tired.

I had hoped to write something on Sunday afternoon after we got back, but as tends to happen the day disappeared. We’d intended to return before dinner and actually arrived home at 10pm, without dinner. At that point, I just forgot. It’s that simple. I came very close to missing previous uploads whilst in the Hebrides due to lack of internet and just scraped through. I was proud of that. I’m not so proud today.

The New 52: A Challenge [#1]

Well it’s a new year and that means a new challenge: The New 52!

First of all, no I am not challenging myself to read the entirety of DC’s New 52 range of comics, nor am I going to eat my way through 52 varieties of Heinz. Instead, this challenge can be considered a spiritual successor to the 100×100 challenge that effectively caused theAdhocracy to exist.

I’ve (hopefully) learnt from my mistakes, however, so the ‘New 52’ is going to be a little looser and a lot more lenient. The aim is to publish one article a week, every week, until December 31st. No daily or (really) weekly commitments and no punishments; articles can be queued up months in advance or left pending until I actively need them. There are no restrictions on content, so an article can be ten words or ten thousand long and it doesn’t matter a jot. Similarly, articles that I already intended to write count just as much as utterly unique posts, so hopefully my Month in Media series (behind yet again!) will fill up 12 of the respective slots straight away.

The hope is to craft a challenge with low stress levels but just enough incentive to actually push me to write when my reptile brain is screaming “why bother!”. I’m aware that it’s not the biggest challenge but, ultimately, it’s something I’ve never actually done. I published 23 articles last year, including MiMs, so managing 52 in 2017 would be over a 100% increase, which would be pretty awesome to be able to achieve.

So, with that said, welcome to article #1 of 52. I’ll be interested to see what the others stack up to be.