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In 2021 I want to self improve by writing more

by Buck Hardcastle 2 years ago in goals
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Discovering a forum that fits my needs has already greatly increased my output.

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There are several health goals I want to work on in 2021. I’ve been doing Yoga with Kassandra most mornings in January and I hope to keep that going. I took up running in 2020 but I had to stop in December when it got too cold, particularly in the early morning that I find the ideal time for running. I am itching to be a runner again come spring. Last summer I did Hadrian’s Wall Virtual Challenge, where I ran a total of 90 miles. This summer I’m thinking of doing the Ring of Kerry Challenge, which is 124 miles. If the pandemic allows it, I might try to take part in an actual race with other people. Healthwise I also want to pare back my drinking, which became more frequent while stuck at home quarantined. I’ve found a useful framework to have set days where I don’t drink. I already don’t drink on Mondays, next I’ll prohibit myself from drinking any on Wednesdays.

That said, the goal for 2021 I’m most excited for is one that wasn't in my mind at all in 2020: to write more often. I’ve been an amature writer of sorts for decades now. I’ve written several books and scripts. I’ve designed games and ran a movie review blog for years. At the same time though I’ve never been a dedicated writer. Its not unusual for me to go months without really writing anything. And sometimes when I do write something it just ends up basically going in a drawer. In 2021 I’d already written and published 7 articles by the time we got a new president sworn in and I plan to keep going. You might have already guessed that what changed was that I discovered Vocal.

There are a couple reasons that I’ve found Vocal a good fit. One is that I can write about a wide range of topics. When I was running a movie blog I pretty much stayed in the lane of writing about movies. If something else came up that I really wanted to write about, I might launch a new blog, but those usually didn’t last long. More likely I’d only write about it in an email to a friend, or just not write at all. With Vocal, if I happen to see an old episode of The Simpson’s and cringe at how poorly it’s aged, I can write about that. If there’s an insurrection at our nation’s capital and I need to process how this happened, I can set myself to writing about that. If I see someone who I think is running a scam on Instagram, I can write about that too.

There is another draw to write frequently on Vocal--you can see the money being earned in real time. I’ve created content for various platforms over the years--Instagram, Tumblr, YouTube and really dating myself here, MySpace. None of them ever paid me a penny. I have made some money off writing books, but that is a pretty slow burn with a check coming in months later. Even though I’m new to Vocal, I can click on the wallet tab and see that I’ve already started earning money. Now sure, I’m not going to be able to quit my day job as is, but that’s missing the point. Seeing any money come in feels great for two reasons: 1) It just feels more fair, like I’m not just generating content for some giant cooperation who is mostly interested in selling my personal data; 2) It shows that my work does have value, that it is worth something.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” --Maya Angelou

This quote is a bit of hyperbole, it’s not that hard to think of something that would be a greater agony than having an untold story--say, being attacked by a bear. That said, there is some truth to what Maya Angelou is saying. It is cathartic to be able to get an idea you have in your mind on to paper. If I have a story that I want to tell, it can keep me awake at night. Being able to write out and fully express myself is important for my personal wellness.

I don’t want to just write, but improve at writing. I like there are some standards at Vocal. Needing to have a headline, subheadline and at least 600 words ensures that I don’t just dash off something without much effort and then move on. I know that having photos and links will improve an article. As I write more, I’ll be able to look at the detailed stats that Vocal provides and get a better idea of what people are interested in reading. And of course I’ll periodically check the Vocal Resources for tips on improving.

Improving my physical health is important, and I do plan to do the things I mentioned at the top of the article. However, writing is the goal that I’m going to tell other people about and what I most look forward to doing the most this year. If you’re a writer at any stage, Vocal is a platform worth trying out.


About the author

Buck Hardcastle

Served in the Peace Corps in Ukraine, 2005-07.

Viscount of Hyrkania and private cartographer to the house of Beifong.

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