It’s day 10. The final day. It’s time to reflect upon how things went, and lessons learned.

For me, that starts with looking at a basic question: how did I do on each day? My very analytical mind kicks in. Here’s how I did:

Day 1: Just Hit Publish

Ready, Set, Done

I did some free-writing to kick things off. I literally set a timer for 10 minutes, and just spewed. A bit of my views on work-related things slipped in there since I’m a bit of a workaholic.

Day 2: Why do I write?

Why I Blog

This post is one that I will revisit, over time, to both flesh out the reasons I write and to make sure to prune any that aren’t valid for me.

Day 3: Thoughts on the optimal writing environment

Where I Write: Part 1

This was just a start. I will also be posting more about my quest for the good writing environment.

Day 4: Rest

A quick breather.

Day 5: Patterns?

Spent time pruning the list of categories. I also combined some categories and tags and even converted some categories to tags. It’s not super lean yet, but is getting there. Spring cleaning started early.

Day 6: About Page

Went ahead and further refined my about page. I think it’s good for now.

Day 7: Analytics

An easy one, since I’m already using Google Analytics. I double-checked it’s working, but somehow didn’t get around to posting. I should remind my self better when there’s a deadline looming for the blog, just like for things like work and social engagements. Lesson (re)learned.

A brief, unavoidable intermission took place at this point. It delayed posting for a bit over a day since this site’s database server was down.

Day 8: Goals

I set a few goals. I think they’re challenging, but doable. The basics are laid out.

Day 9: Open Day

“Just write”

That’s what I did, sort of. I wrote about a writing tool, the fountain pen. It used a prompt from another great resource, the Daily Post Blog. That’s brings me to…

Day 10: Reflections

Today’s activity is simply this: I’d love for you to reflect on the last 10 days and write about how you feel completing the 10 day workshop. Naturally, some of you will also introspect a bit, asking yourself some of the “meatier” questions about where you’ll take it from here, how this has changed your perspective on writing and blogging, and why you feel the way you do.

Done! I think I’ve made improvements, and they will continue.

Here’s the complete challenge: 10 Days to a Better Blog!

Stipula fountain pen
I did an image search for “just write”, and the eleventh image that appeared was the first image in a post on a blog named Just Write.

This image (the image above is not the one I found) features a writing implement that I am fond of: the fountain pen. This immediately reminds me of the times I sought out, and purchased a few very basic fountain pens. For practicality, I chose a pen that was carried-loaded, as I anticipated heavy usage. I was in college, and anticipated copious note-taking.

I remember it was a Sheaffer pen, and I’ve had (and lost) a few since then. I’m very tempted to pick another up now, and perhaps to take better care of it, especially to keep my handwriting muscles in shape from more than just the act of writing my signature.

Of course, should I pick up another fountain pen, I really feel like I’d want a notebook to match, such as one from Moleskine.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Image Search.” and also part of a writing workshop, 10 Days to a Better Blog, over at the Desk community site.

Today’s assignment is a bit more behind-the-scenes than the earlier ones, but it could be interesting.

I sort of rebooted this blog decently well this past November, with Blogging 101, but the assignment today is something I should now be able to start on, and it’s the ever-so-exciting task of analyzing how it’s doing, and what’s working, and what’s not, or at least, that’s my interpretation of the assignment.

Stats from before November had very few human visitors and even then, a quick peek based upon a Google search (for, among things, “guild tabard”).

More interesting is how things went in November. A decent analysis to get an idea of how slow my blog was most of 2014, generated by Jetpack. You can take a look at it here:

Jetpack Annual Report for

I’m sure I have too many categories for most of them to be useful, and the same is true for my tags, so I’m removing many of them. My tag cloud is more useful now, I hope.

Yeah, there’s a few clear winners for tags…
Screen Shot 2015-01-09 at 9.25.09 PM
This feels less scattered somehow.


I spotted some mistakenly created tags as well as some broken posts that still are based on an older address for this blog, so this process is already worth the time spent. I’m not “done”, as this is an ongoing process, but I have a better idea how I’m going to keep tags and categories somewhat manageable. I’ll be a bit less liberal with tags and less likely to create one if it’ll be used rarely on the site.

Today was some work, alright, but I think it’ll pay off in a less random structuring of content. We’ll see.

This post is part of a workshop I’m participating in, and is my response to the day #5 assignment, over at the Desk community site.

10 Days to a Better Blog — Day #5


I’ll be honest, I haven’t put much thought into where I want to primarily sit down and write at, so I often wind up writing where I have spare time and a computer. Since I’m mostly* a Mac user, the app Desk is usually at hand, but the most recent WordPress update has done well allowing distraction-free writing, if I’m not sitting in front of one of my Macs. I do want to improve this, since sometimes I still allow myself some distractions (too many!)

Ideally, the place and environment I’d want to go with is a place with a comfortable seating environment, room to deploy my writing machine, and music (via headphones, if needed) is really the “essentials” for me.

I’m going to try a few places that are available to me as I go through the current challenge. Having a MacBook Pro handy should help with that. First, I think I’ll try a few areas around the homestead. Then I’ll take a look at some remote locations, including a few break areas around the office. This post is just the start.


via 10 Days to a Better Blog — Day #3 – Writing – Desk Community.


*I do own a non-Mac laptop for gaming mostly and also since it’s good to experience a different OS, first-hand.

I’ve been prompted to collect my thoughts on expressing my reasons for blogging. I should more accurately state that these are my reasons as well for blogging more often. Hopefully, this is the blogging push that keeps the train on the tracks. So, here’s a rough list of reasons I came up with and it’s subject to change after future review, your mileage may vary, batteries not included, etc.

  • I have these thoughts sometimes, but there’s no audience ready to avail,
  • Some things I’d possibly like to remember, or pass on to another, at some future date,
  • Social networking

I think those reasons are a good start (back) up blogging.

I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.

– Douglas Adams

I’m participating in an online blogging workshop and this post is day 2. More great posts are available over at the Desk Community.

It’s time for some free writing. I used to dread these exercises in high-school composition. The main reason being that I was always afraid that the thoughts wouldn’t flow for the entire time set and I’d feel a bit foolish when I had it evaluated by my peers. Yes, peer review is a scary thing at any age!

So, I sat down, set a timer, and just started typing. I think it might be easier to handwrite, but that’s only because my handwriting speed has suffered over the years due to less usage. I really ought to look into more practice there as well. Speaking of hand-writing, I want to pick up a fountain pen again. those actually felt pretty good to write with. Despite my analytical nature, advanced writing classes were a thing for me during the grade school years.

Another thought I had is a bit work-related, and it’s a bit of a view on how technical support should be very useful. I think it’s better being a “guide” for the person seeking help, and not simply taking over and doing some arcane task. It’s a fine line between being a teacher and a friend, looking over the person’s virtual “shoulder”, especially when you can’t be physically present to see what the person you’re helping is struggling with. Sometimes, frustration could be avoided by keeping in mind that role.

I sometimes see signs of a gradual change, sometimes irreversibly, into jaded, minimal help, with less human touches in a response, and more links to documentation. I try encourage bing sparing in giving links unless needed, and only as the “for more information” part of my response, following an explanation or step-by-step instructions, in my own words, if needed.

Well, that’s it, the timer is going off in a few seconds and I’ll be hitting publish soon after. That wasn’t as bad as I remember it.

Go for a 10-minute free-write: have no mercy on your keyboard as you give us your most unfiltered self (feel free to edit later, or just publish as-is).

via Ready, Set, Done | The Daily Post.