Posted in Stories

Blogiversary

The power of serendipity.

“Serendipity is an unplanned fortunate discovery. Serendipity is also seen as a potential design principle for online activities that would present a wide array of information and viewpoints, rather than just re-enforcing a user’s opinion.”

Yes, I stuck a pen in the center of a mini carrot cake.

Wow, it has been a year. Can’t say it started on the right foot. I spent weeks being confused. I even bought a WP For Dummies book and I was still confused. Yup, I have a pea brain with flat spots. But I endeavored to persevere and here we are. Not only are we here, but I started a second blog, a satirical view of the world through the eyes of a puppy – that setup went much better.

I started the blog to connect with like-minded individuals who view writing instruments as a thing of beauty. At the time I assumed that there would be 3 like-minded people. I am flabbergasted, amazed, and in awe, during 1 year of blogging, I managed 76 posts, writing 43,000 words, which were read by 2100 visitors – remember this blog is about PENS! Writing instruments.

Thanks to all who have viewed, liked, and commented on my posts, and to those who follow the blog – thank you. By most blogging standards, these numbers are infantile, which is why I appreciate you all.

A special thanks to Ray at Fountain Pen Quest. Since he has mentioned the Chronicles in his blog, my viewership has quadrupled. I encourage you to visit his blog.

The Beginning

So how did it all begin? I restored or is it refurbished a Parker Challenger. During the process, I did countless dumb things and a couple good things. Afterward, I got the bright idea to address the brassing on the cap clip. The clip is nickel-plated and I found a DIY nickel electroplating process – it was a blast and my garage still stands. It is difficult finding pen restoration information. I wanted to save others from a similar fate.

I have a long list of topics that takes me into next year, hopefully, you will continue to find the content as interesting, and informative as I do.

Blogging Pros and Cons

I did not start the blog for fame and fortune. I started it to be social and to meet others. I’m following blogs that have nothing to do with pens, created by individuals from all over the world. I honestly think that is really cool. Unfortunately, I am the type who does best with a schedule and if I miss a posting date I stress. Each post is reviewed and edited at least 20-30 times (this post has been revised 25 times) before my “editor” reads it. Even with my self-imposed stress I still have fun.

The next trip around the Sun

I’ve given some thought to changes for the next blog year. Taking a page from several other bloggers, I’m going to add a “month in review,” summarizing my posts and highlighting other blogs. I’m going to comment more and “Like” less. I have some other ideas but they are just ideas for now.

In closing, I got to thinking that since this is a blog about PENS maybe I could share a couple facts about myself:

  • Currently reading: A Memory Called Empire
  • Last movie seen: The Dog
  • Pets: 3 dogs and 3 cats. Yes I live in a zoo.
  • Last concert: Black Sabbath, I have tickets to see Ziggy Marley, it has been cancelled twice.
  • Pens in my collection: OMG too many. Including pens for sale I have 22 Esterbrook, and 11 Parker, plus many, many more.
  • Most recent acquisition: Pilot Namiki Capless
Posted in Stories

Blogging: More than sitting around a coffee shop making up crap

A couple weeks back I reached the 50th blog post (Genus of Ink) – Yah me! Some of the reasons why I’ve been blogging is explained to the interested on the “Why you might Ask” page and on the “Seinfeld” post. Today I thought I’d highlight the processes and the effort that goes into each post. I imagine most people skim the post, not bothering to actually read it (I know this to be true).

This post is not directed towards bloggers, it’s for those who scoff at blogging, to educate and provide insight into the process. Maybe the muggles will gain an appreciation. This is not a “how-to” post, though 99% of help and tips does come from other bloggers. For me, it’s about something I’m interested in and I’m having fun, let’s look inside the creative process (stop laughing).

Technology

I use an iPad and a couple apps throughout the process, from tracking ideas, to research to first draft. It’s a little embarrassing that I write a blog about fountain pens and never pick up a pen.

Ideas

I use Evernote . As ideas come to me I pull up the app, open the “Future Blog Ideas” and create a new topic line with the idea plus maybe an explanatory sentence. If I’m walking the dogs and the idea hits me, I pull up Evernote, click the note and use the dictation function. Ideas are fleeting and will be gone in a matter of moments. Then as I start researching the topic, I simply add to the note until I am ready to write the post.

Writing

I use the Chronicle app, free in the Apple App Store. I bought the multiple journal upgrade as I also use the app to journal vacations and as a daily journal. The app exports directly to Word Press, saving the post as a draft.

Writing is the easy part, the typical post goes through +30 changes before it is published. I recently decided to avoid adverbs – thanks Stephen King.

Schedule

Many “successful” bloggers will tell you, maintain a regular posting schedule so I picked Monday. Then every other Thursday, we’ll sort of. On Thursdays I have a new post or a TBT repost on FB only. Gotta maintain a work-life balance and I have other interests. I keep a schedule of posting ideas in the Numbers app (I started with Excel). It is easy to reorder topics plus I like to keep some basic statistics. I use the Word Press feature to schedule a publication based on date and time. Also, I don’t write and publish in order, I’ve already written a post for Sept 26, 2022.

Spreadsheet Posting Schedule

Photos

I use a couple photo apps on my iPhone, Camera+2 and ProCamera they do a good job providing macro (close up) images. I air dropped the photos to the iPad where I make edits as needed using the Pixelmator Photo editor app.

Blogging Software

As you have discerned, I am using Word Press. I choose this software in part because, it was so popular, it is so easy to use thus I figured it would be easy for the “old man” to set up the blog and get help. Depending on what I want to do, some things are super easy on the iPad app, some are easy as the Chrome App and other times it is easy using the web version. Having some insight into html has also been helpful – I had to make changes in html. The software comes with tons of options and the instructions are clear as mud, but I manage. Oh and BTW, free is not free in the world of blogging.

Side note, I just made a “photo box” to improve my photos and eliminate the need to coordinate picture taking with the available sunlight. Besides I love projects.