Rekindling the romance by going back to basics

30 Jan

Blogs are an interesting thing – almost like a romantic relationship, I’m finding.  It starts out with infatuation – almost like the rush you got when you met that special someone back in high schools – you’re suddenly defined by this person, you spend every single waking moment thinking about him or her, and when you’re together, you can’t keep your hands off each other and it is bliss.  Same thing with my blogging – I fell in love with the idea.  It started with the company asking me to write a couple of blog posts for greatfinds.icrossing.com – the iCrossing “Great Finds” blog, then I started thinking “I can do this!”, and I opened this blog space.  And I got infatuated with the idea.  I then started a blog for the Patch news organization, wrote three more iCrossing posts, began planning a food blog, etc. etc.  I loved this idea!  I wrote prolifically for about 3 months and then wham … that’s when the “oh, we’re used to each other now, now we have to work at this relationship” part of the love affair kicked in.  Suddenly blogging became work.  And boom, the words stopped.  I “jumped the shark” when I suddenly felt like I had somehow committed to writing for Patch and that would be really work.

And, I have to admit, at that point, I wandered off and started dating around – my guitars, which were feeling like jilted lovers off the in the corner suddenly got a whole lot of new love from me.  I am always fond of cooking and got more creative in the kitchen.   And of course, there is politics.  With the crank-up of the primary season, my writing mojo was being more than satisfied arguing on my Facebook wall with all my conservative friends.  (I intentionally keep politics off this space – it’s just easier that way).

On the music front, my rekindling was driven by a few things – I am finally cleaning up the office mess that occurred when I purged my career of having worked at my last company by shutting off the computer and walking away from my home office.  I am in the process of converting that space into what I’ve always wanted it to be – a music studio.  In the process, I’ve begun playing my electric guitars again, and loving that, and also playing bass again, which is where it all started.  I’m focusing on my basics – technique, repetition and playing along with recordings.  Things that I’ve always done since I started playing in 6th grade.

Over the past few weeks, while avoiding blogging’s desperate calls and texts saying “where are you?  Why won’t you write?”,  I also “reopened” one of my other love affairs – home brewing.  All my friends have known and loved my obsession with making home-brewed beer – so much so that for my 40th birthday, they even bought me a neon Stew’s Brew sign.  In the first few years of that hobby, I brewed 4-5 times a year, always had Stew’s Brew bottled up or kegged up, etc.  After 2002 though, my rate dropped to 2-3x a year, then even further from that.  Never had any results issues – in fact my beer kept getting better and better.  Then in 2007 or 2008, I sort of hit the wall.  I had a couple of batches, that while my friends loved them, weren’t up to my standards.  Some of my gear was starting to wear out and that made it more of a pain in the ass to brew and enjoy the effort.  The end result was that while I still was enjoying through the tail ends of 3 batches of Stew’s Brew, I did not brew any beer in 2011.  Well, I decided to change that.

In just three short weeks, I’ve brewed more Stew’s Brew – two batches – than I did in all of 2010 and 2011.  I have plans for another batch in another three weeks or so.  In fact, I’ve got enough “empties” space between my bottles and kegs that I could have five batches going at once.  Part of it is a desire to get back to the basics – really hone the craft.  I’m concentrating on documenting the procedures, really researching the recipe I’m about to make, making sure I’m not cutting any corners in the process, which may result in off-flavors, and breaking new ground by trying new techniques like dry hopping.  I just tried a “test bottle” of the batch of Anchor Steam-meets-IPA that I made on January 7th and I think the results will be spectacular.  I just brewed again this past weekend – and again, I think I will have great results as I focused on doing the basics.

The same with this blog.  Last night, I posted on Facebook “Ok, I got my brewing mojo back, now time to rekindle the blog”.  The biggest challenge for me is topics.  I am intensely competitive person, and I found I was competing with myself with each blog post.  “How come this topic got 200 reads, but this one only got 20”?  When I was thinking about getting started in blogging, I had a long chat with the “voice of iCrossing” – my friend David D – who blogs for iCrossing and administers all of iCrossing’s own (as in “not paid work for clients”) social media presence.  David asked me “who are you blogging for?  Yourself, or others?  Or, put it another way, when you play your guitar are you doing it only so you can perform, or are you doing it for the enjoyment of making music.”  For me, it was all about just making music.  Sure, performing is fantastic – and I am a junkie for that performance rush.  But at the end of the day, it’s just making music that drives me.  Same with the blog.  I was writing for me.  Not you.  I’m happy if you read my words, but … if you don’t, I’ll live.  My “getting back to basics” on this is going to be simple – just write.  It is the words coming out of my brain, into my fingertips and into this space that are important, not how many readers, how many images I put in to the post, their placement of it, etc. that all made the effort to write, well, work.  Not play.

So, like the beer, and the music, the blog is back.  I won’t commit to you that you’ll like or find anything I write to be enjoyable, accurate, beautifully designed or anything else.   But, I will commit this – I’ll have liked writing it.

Good to be back.

As you were,

Stew

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3 Responses to “Rekindling the romance by going back to basics”

  1. Becky Cunningham January 30, 2012 at 9:43 pm #

    Glad you’re doing what you love! Isn’t that’s what it’s all about? (well, maybe the Hokey Pokey too) Enjoy!

  2. Lois Cox January 31, 2012 at 3:08 am #

    Glad to hear your blog is back, Stewart. I don’t read your cousin, Tom’s because it is not on my e-mail,,,,,,and so I forget about it. Your Aunt Lois

  3. carpetbagger February 3, 2012 at 7:20 pm #

    What! My mother doesn’t read my blog?! Fiddlesticks!

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