#31: One Down, Eleven to Go

With this 31st blog post of the month, I have officially accomplished my goal of posting every day in January! Hooray! I’ve learned a lot about planning, curiosity, and consistency:

  • Planning: I traditionally struggle with procrastination, waiting until the Panic Monster forces me to do something at the last minute. But in working and traveling, I’ve found myself needing to prepare in advance, knowing that if I don’t then I won’t finish on time. It can take the form of jotting down ideas, doing research and organizing links, creating structure outlines, or prewriting posts. Planning feels like a weak muscle that I’m just trying to test a the gym for the first time, but I also know that if I keep at it then it will get stronger.
  • Curiosity: Needing to find thirty-one different topics to write about forced me to figure out lots of ideas. In the beginning, I made a list of some of the obvious candidates, but beyond fifteen days I didn’t have anything figured out. So this necessitated not only creativity, but being curious about the world around me, doing experiments involving those items of curiosity, and then reflecting on them for the posts. So I’ve noticed a compounding effect from needing to write, as it also creates an opportunity to make sure I investigate things about which I am curious.
  • Consistency: I realize that if I had tried to do this challenge in the beginning of 2019, I’m not sure that I would have succeeded. Consistency is both the fuel and end result of habits, and many of those I began last April. Accountability definitely helps, but I’ve realized that New Years Resolutions don’t start on January 1st; they need to be started much earlier the previous year.

While the main reason for this blog is for myself, to both create a Success Spiral in other parts of my life and to improve my writing, I do get a great deal of joy hearing from people who are read and enjoyed it. I try not to focus too much on the analytics, but it is cool to see that this month it has been viewed over 1500 times in 20 different countries.

Twenty countries!

I feel like I’m starting to get the hang of things and engrain writing as a habit. (Including this post, this month I wrote over 15,000 words!) So to make time to actually accomplish my other monthly goals, I plan to scale back to posting every other day.

Speaking of which, the goal in February is … Photography! I’ve been interested in photography since I was in high school, I studied aspects more formally in film classes during undergrad, and I have dabbled off and on ever since. But I still feel like a novice in many aspects of the craft, and so my goal this month is to level up my general knowledge and expertise. Specifically:

In February I will take at least one picture every day with my Sony a6000 camera.

As cell phone cameras get better, I’ve increasing relied on just using the easy camera in my pocket instead of carrying around a bulky base with a bunch of lenses. But for more professional looking photos it is very useful, especially since my iPhone SE is far from the cutting edge of cell phone cameras. Also, there is a different feeling to holding something with both hands and looking through the viewfinder, and the increase in customizations and manual controls is part of what I want to learn during the month. So while the official goal is just to take one picture every day, the general outline breaks down into four parts:

  1. Read through the manual for the camera and learn the interworkings of all of the settings. I have had my camera for more than five years, and embarrassingly there are still many aspects of it that I don’t understand. Even more embarrassingly, there are several glitches (like bright green lines on occasional photos when I transfer them over to my computer) that I haven’t looked up how to fix.
  2. Review composition and lighting strategies, as well as explore curiosity through different subjects, shooting styles, perspectives, and themes.
  3. Establish a better system for storing and organising photos, as well as for backing them up and exhibiting online.
  4. Learn the basic and intermediary aspects of photo editing programs like Adobe Photoshop for photo enhancing and adding a further creativity dimension. I have done some basic editing, but there are still many aspects of the program that I don’t comprehend at all.

Thanks everyone for reading and supporting me. It really means the world. I’m excited to move into February and take on another challenge!

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