As it is the end of the year, it’s a natural time for reflection. Whether it’s for work, for hobbies, for family or simply for yourself, the end of the year offers a much needed chance to reflect on what you have accomplished and also to take a look at where you would like to go in the future. It’s the same impulse that leads people to create New Years Resolutions; the desire to change something or accomplish a goal you failed to meet during the previous year.
Now I’m not a New Years Resolution type person, mostly because I have found that resolving to make some kind of big and drastic change is setting yourself up for failure. What I discovered upon reflection is that speaking strictly for myself, for changes to be successful they must be made incrementally. Tweak one little habit, and you can roll that into another tweak of another habit. Start adding those together, and that’s when you can accomplish your goal almost without realizing it.
I have maintained this blog for one year now, and in that time it has shifted a bit in everything from topics to the blog’s appearance and organization. At the start, the goal of this blog was not only to get me writing again about topics which sparked my interest, but also to bring awareness to things I felt needed attention, hopefully to spark a conversation about these topics and to help build momentum for my career. These goals are still paramount, and I now have a year’s worth of data to analyze and think about.
With that in mind, I will be making some tweaks to the blog in the coming year.
Tweak #1: Eliminating Weekly Proscribed Blog Topics
This tweak is designed to help me eliminate two problems that became obvious as I have evaluated the blog and its data. When I first implemented the idea of a Medical Monday, Webinar or Whitepaper Wednesday and a Fascinating Friday post, I had a couple of objectives in mind.
- First, having the proscribed topics would serve as a writing prompt if I was ever stuck for topics or facing a case of writers block.
- Second, it would encourage me to keep in touch with and write about topics within both a field I find fascinating (Healthcare IT), but currently do not deal with on a daily basis.
- Third, it would encourage me to begin to tackle the backlog of whitepapers and webinars I began adding to my task list for my own professional development.
The main problem with this idea is that it eliminated a lot of freedom to address topics as they came up. If I happened to stumble across something very interesting from the healthcare IT field, it might very well be old news by the time the next Medical Monday post came due. The opposite was also true; if I read a few white papers and took a few webinars in a week, but none of them were particularly interesting, it was very difficult to force a post on those topics to conform to the proscribed schedule. Therefore, in the coming year I will be eliminating the proscribed topics and posting on these topics which interest me as they occur.
Tweak #2: Shifting Focus Towards Smaller Posts
Reading and writing are hobbies that I have had since I was very young. My collegiate training in history reinforced and already existing tendency towards long from writing, given that most of what you were writing was in preparation for a PhD dissertation. However, my post-college career experience has been in public history, adult education and software training/education, which is rightly shifting its focus towards shorter, get-to-the-point formats.
In addition, changes in other goals are going to limit the amount of time I can spend writing long form pieces. I have a 40 minute commute to and from work every day, and my weeknights and weekends are going to be filling up with more projects, such as getting back to the gym and studying to obtain my Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) and hopefully a Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) as well as I pursue career advancement goals.
I also recognize that for you dear readers, asking you to read a 1000 word piece can be a bit too demanding. You are just as busy as I am, and have just as many demands on your time. So, I am shifting focus towards shorter posts which will help me improve my writing and editing skills, but will be easier and less time consuming for myself and for readers. I won’t stick to the typical microblogging definition of 140 characters (that’s what Twitter is for, and you can follow me there), but I will cut down my word limit to 500 word pieces.
I will be making additional tweaks as well. Check out Wednesday’s post for more information.