Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Retirement Milestones - Blog Anniversary Stroll

This post marks the one-year anniversary of the RetirementSparks blog. The impetus to blog arose from my frustration with the paperwork that came with Medicare applications (Toe in the Water, Complexities of Simplification Sep. 1 and 7, 2010.)

While 18 of my posts have been about Medicare, Social Security and general health issues (FDA to Issue Medicare Warnings Nov. 17, Acronyms for the Jargon Dec. 15, Retirochondria Mar. 26, 2011), 13 of them were about downsizing in retirement (Facing the Music, Thinning Out the Closet Sep. 4 and 5, St. Joseph the Realtor Aug. 20.) I’m still trying to make that happen, so you can expect to see more posts on downsizing in year two.

Topics have ranged from the sublime (Patron Saint of Retirees, Retirement Beatitudes Feb. 9 and 26) to the ridiculous (What If There Were A Final Exam Oct. 2, Ice Cream Flavors for Retirees Jul. 16) and everything in between (Species of Retirees Dec. 22 and Venice Expo as Metaphor Jun. 8.)

I’ve learned that my readers particularly like posts that include lists of things (Warnings and Contraindications Jan. 12, Retirement Commandments Mar. 12 and 16.) You also like posts that remind you of how hard we have worked to get to retirement (Signs It’s Time to Retire Jan. 29, Crankypants Apr. 16.) So expect more of all of these in the coming year.

I began blogging with some simple goals: to create material that would amuse my readers (Lawn As Metaphor Sep. 8,) and perhaps inform them(Alcohol Really Is Medicinal Sep. 15,) and to polish my writing skills. I also began with a schedule of daily posting, which I quickly scaled back to twice weekly. (That happened in week two.)

It turns out blogging is hard work (Tough Work Sep. 29.) Not only must one find the time to write and to edit, but it also takes time to come up with topics (Creative Sparks Dec. 4,) and in many cases, to research them and add “color” (Name that Paint Color Jul. 9.)

So my goals expanded to include having the discipline to post on a regular schedule, no matter how much I wanted to take a break (Going with the Flow June 1.) I was doing reasonably well at this, but by month twelve, it was getting harder, not easier (Taking A Pass on Posting Aug. 6.)

As year one comes to a close, there are 111 RetirementSparks posts (including this one.) I’m seriously considering self-publishing them as a holiday gift book. Not all are top quality, IMHO, but most are as good as the fare one generally finds in those slim little impulse purchases with the catchy titles.

In an effort to provide an ever-higher standard of writing, I’ve decided to once again adjust my posting schedule. Beginning in year two (September 3,) I will be posting just once a week, on Saturdays. My goal is to provide pieces that are funnier and more interesting. In short, posts that are more worthy of your reading time.

So look for RetirementSparks on Saturdays only, beginning in September. And look for my year one anthology (insert catchy title here…) around the end of this calendar year. Finally, if you have suggestions for topics (or catchy titles), please send them to me. My email door is always open.

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