Happy New Year to all our readers!
I usually take some time during the holidays, and the first couple of weeks of the new year, to evaluate the year that has passed, and set some goals for the coming year. A lot of those goals are correlated to this blog, and my pen hobby, so I thought I would write a little about it in this first post of the year.
Last summer I made a plan for all the posts I was going to write/publish during the fall, and I also wrote rough drafts for many of them. It worked really well, and made it a lot easier to know what I was going to write about along the way. During these last few weeks, I’ve made it a point to make a corresponding plan for the spring.
Did I stick rigidly to the plan I made this summer? No, absolutely not. Some of the article ideas were replaced along the way, and the order was reshuffled several times. But having a plan in the first place was a big help. It made it easier to structure the work with the blog, it meant that I was mostly able to stay a bit ahead with the writing, instead of panic-writing on Saturday evenings, as I’ve ended up doing a little too often in the past.
Finding the good ideas can often be the biggest challenge with a blog like this. Especially a blog within a relatively narrow niche. The Norwegian version of this blog has well over 500 posts published. It’s not always easy to come up with new things to write about. In the past, I’ve tended to just go from week to week, with the stress that entails. I definitely feel that it takes some of the pressure off, when I am a few months ahead with the actual post ideas, even though I still usually write most of the content the last week before it is published. So, I had some brainstorming sessions during the break, which resulted in a long list of ideas for future blog posts.
What topics will I write about in the coming year?
Well, last year I wrote two big articles about handwriting in the Norwegian school (these were only published in Norwegian), and through them covered the history quite well, but I haven’t written much about handwriting in the schools of today. What is the status of handwriting in the school system in our time, and how are school kids using their handwriting in 2024? I will try to explore that throughout the year.
I also want to look at other topics regarding drawing and handwriting, and how we can make use of this in modern times. I’ve had a slight tendency here on the blog to focus on the tools themselves, but I want to write more about how they can be used instead, and a little less about the pens and pencils themselves. Or at least find a better balance between the two.
One of the things I intend to explore more on the blog is different techniques for note-taking by hand. I take a lot of notes at work myself, but am not very conscious of different techniques to get the most out of my notes. It’s something I’d like to learn more about. And that applies both to notes during meetings and lectures, but also to things like annotating books or taking notes when listening to music. Or for that matter, working on idea development for different kinds of projects.
I want to draw more in the coming year. Many years ago I was an avid drawer, and was active in the Norwegian comics community. I’ve missed that a bit, so I will try to set aside time this year to draw more than I’ve done in recent years. I have a lot of really great books about drawing, and would like to actually sit down and work my way through some of them.
I would also like to have a few monthly projects, and I may set aside certain months to draw more intensively. If everything goes to plan, there will be the occasional blog post about drawing, which is a topic I haven’t written much about before. I’m also considering using a monthly project to learn a new writing style or work on my everyday handwriting. We’ll see. I need the time to do everything as well.
Of more overall goals for the blog, I will try to work on getting more readers to this English version of the blog, and translate more of my older posts. I think much of what we write about here at Pennen er mektigere has international appeal. But there is a much larger community, and already several well-known blogs on the topic out there in English, and it’s difficult to get noticed, so it will require a certain amount of effort, both with the articles themselves, but also creating buzz around the blog. Self-promotion doesn’t come naturally to me at all, and I’m not very comfortable with it, so it’s a bit of a hustle.
Do you have any pen or writing related goals for 2024? Feel free to leave a comment!