52/52: The final word
On January 2nd this year, I wrote my first blog post and finished with the words "I start 2020 with my eyes on a new challenge and the excitement of what might come from it."
Little did I know what the real challenges would be this year.
When I wrote those words I was reflecting on a BHAG (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal) to take part in the Rip Swim, however, like so many of the things we all planned in 2020, it didn't happen. It turns out one of the biggest challenges for me this year was actually writing this blog! A commitment I made to myself 12 months ago today, to write a blog post every week of 2020.
Why was it so hard?
Lack of theme/too many ideas: I began with "52 Frames - the stories behind my photos". That's great, but it was often in conflict with the ideas I felt I should be expressing on a professional basis. A photo of a dog or a sunset might be cool in itself, but creating a dialogue to go with the image was difficult. In the end, this dilemma helped me to think abstractly, connect unrelated dots, and write creatively but it didn't make it any easier. Next time, I'd work within a structured plan, considering in advance the topics and themes I wanted to cover.
Too many channels: For most of the year I was posting to LinkedIn, my own website, Instagram and YouTube. Next time, I'd focus on one post to my website and then share on the other platforms. The blog is either a VLOG or a BLOG, it's not both.
Too few ideas: For at least a quarter of this year, I had no idea what I'd be blogging on at the time I sat down to write. Sometimes I really surprised myself with some quality material and at other times I was embarrassed to hit 'publish'.
On the flipside, however, I did get a lot of positives from this experience:
Improved writing skills,
A greater understanding of social media including its ability to communicate with a broad audience and the role it plays in the promotion of ideas,
Increased followers and potential to influence,
A greater ability to reflect on complex issues, form an opinion on these ideas and share it in my own style and voice,
A collection of critical thoughts from 2020. This is the first time I've systematically put my thoughts on paper on a weekly basis to create a body of work. I hope I'll be able to look back at these musings and reconnect with my state of mind at the time of writing. It's my first diary and what a year to do it!
Less concern about what people think. Like many people, I worry about being judged for my thoughts and the quality of my writing. However, the key driver became the need to publish something (anything!) every week and as a result, I became more focussed on the process than the feedback. I'm now far more confident to put my ideas into the public realm in January 2021 than I was in January 2020.
So to wrap up this year and this week's blog, I want to thank two people. Firstly Lyndall Taylor, our Marketing Manager who worked with me at Stratacon and gave me the confidence to start this blog. Secondly to my wife Tamsin who became my Editor and confidence builder...every single week this year. Thanks.
The final paragraph: '52 Frames' was a challenge worth taking on and something I hope will benefit me for years to come. As day turns to night on the last day of the year, I'm very happy I can close the last page on 52 Frames. I look forward to 2021, sharing my ideas (occasionally), taking on new challenges, and creating new opportunities. Finally, I want to say thank you to everyone who read my words this year, commented and encouraged me - I wish you all a very Happy New Year.