I started writing Bulletin Board as a way to collect my thoughts and get better at articulating my ideas. I’ve always found writing difficult and this year certainly hasn’t changed that. If anything the struggle has been more intense as I force myself to produce something every week!
I was hoping to get ‘better’ at writing but sadly, as I compare Bulletin Board #1 with today, I don’t think I’m technically that much better at all. What I have noticed is I’m writing with more confidence. My quite casual and conversational way of writing that I was so concerned about ‘fixing’ when I started has turned out to be a great asset.
I really did try writing more technical pieces that I thought sounded smart and would resonate in the design community but my sister (who is my biggest and most supportive fan) struggled to give me a thumbs up.
Turns out the Bulletin’s that really hit the mark and got the most feedback were my ‘rants’. My ‘rants’ are when I sit down at my computer on Friday morning trying to write 800 words in an hour. No topic, no agenda, just a simple brain dump of what's on my mind.
A dear friend probably sent the best feedback when she wrote ‘I love that your design blog has turned into a life philosophy/psychology blog. It's brilliant.’ It’s true, life has really gotten in the way of intellectual design blog.
This year has been a peculiar one to say the least but I feel lucky that this was the year I decided to start writing. As I reflect on the year past and what has happened I almost always start crying!
It's been HUGE. It was huge for everyone.
Being separated from family and friends for a big chunk of the year in Victoria was heartbreaking! We lost access to Grandma which meant we had to look after our own children, 24/7 for 5 months straight!
Interestingly isolation brought solidarity in lots of cases. I did my very best to ring people I missed and had many wonderful conversations with people who were dealing with their own version of the pandemic.
In the depths of lock in it was hard to find the positive but now, on reflection many people are glad they experienced the brakes being jammed on. People slowed down and spent time with the people they lived with. In some cases that was stressful (ie lock in with a 3 and 4 year old) but other times it was wonderful. People cooked more and watched more movies together, spent time with each other that they may not have done before. People read books and got drunk in their backyards.
Writing about these experiences as they happened is something I’m really grateful to have done. It’s like when you share a problem with someone else, it just makes you feel less burdened somehow. Writing has done that for me.
I was talking to my Mum the other day (second biggest fan) who said she loved reading the Bulletins because she can hear me saying the words. It made me think that perhaps I’m more of a story teller than an intellectual commentator on the design world.
And I’m ok with that.
It’s not for everyone but I also came to the understanding that this is something I have to do for myself, not for anyone else! I look forward to seeing what I’ll come up with each week, sometimes I have a plan, most of the time I don’t. I trust in the process enough now though that I’m sure I’ll get it done on time - it may be kicking and screaming but it will be there each week.
I’m going to have a break next week being Christmas and all! I had only planned doing this blog for one year but to be honest I don’t want to stop. I look forward to the panic on a friday morning. It has been a great way to record the interesting topics I’ve been reading about and I have referred back to the “typeface of the week” on many occasions.
I’ll keep the Bulletins coming in 2021, they’ll still be a mixture of design topics that I find interesting and ‘rants’.
Fun facts from a year of blogging: I have 14 people on my mailing list, 4 are family I signed up, 3 are friends and 2 are my own email addresses. The most popular blog by far was Bulletin Board #47 about the story of TinyOffice. Least read blog was Bulletin Board #37 which was about not letting ‘perfect’ be the enemy of good.
Most rewarding thing about writing is when someone you didn’t expect to read the Bulletin says they learnt something interesting, or felt like they connected over a particular story. It's pretty powerful stuff.
Thank you for reading! I really do appreciate your valuable time! I hope if anything this blog gives you the push to start something you’ve been meaning to start. Writing, running, learning an instrument - anything at all. You just have to start, no matter how bad you’re going to suck, every journey starts with that first step.
Starting one thing makes it less daunting to start something else so this year, on my birthday I decided that I was going to learn the guitar. I found an online course and picked up Matt’s guitar. Before the 29th of September I couldn’t play a note, here is my latest practice session and a great summary of trying to get things done this year!