Tag Archives: blogging

I’m back.

24 Oct

Hi Friends:

I know it’s been more than six months since my last blog post – this sounds like I’m in the confessional (not that a Jew like me would know much of that) – forgive me friends for I have committed the sin of not writing for more than a half a year.

I’ve had a lot going on. And my close friends know what.  To say that it consumed my thoughts and therefore my ability to write about it is to understate the obvious. “It” was also not something I wanted to live out in social media. Thankfully, life moves forward and so am I.

The last six months have been interminably long, and I learned a ton about myself.  One thing I learned is that I’m immensely resourceful. I also learned (not too surprising here) that I’m not wired to be idle. Thankfully, I’m anything but at this point, and now instead of too much time to think, instead I don’t have enough time for anything. And I love that.

The long story short? I’m back.  Let’s just leave it at that. The pub that pours a steady flow of Stew’s Brew is back open for business.

What prompted this you ask?  Mentorship.  That’s what.

It took me close to 4 years to do this, but I have been able to pay forward the favor done for me by my friend David Deal when he and I sat down for a delicious Chicago Dog and he coached me into starting my personal blog.

Today, I coached/mentored a young colleague into starting his blog. We met to discuss how he could contribute to the company’s blogging and content development effort and the conversation turned into “how do I get started with blogging?” Four hours later, he’s banged out his first post. I like to think I’ve added a little something new to the world. I’m thinking he’s going to go far in this.  My friends and followers, meet Tom Fowell:

“History is Written by the #”.

Much more to come, my friends, much more to come. From me, and well, I’m sure Tom will have much to say too. Life has not stood still while I took my break from writing. But in the meanwhile, enjoy the words of this fine young writer. And some fresh Stew’s Brew will be poured within a day or so.

As you were,

Stew

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Meet the New Year … same as the old year!

2 Jan

Ah, the ritual greeting of the New Year.  The calendar turns. You have to get used to writing a new date on checks (although who the hell writes many checks anymore what with e-banking).  Celebrations are had – champagne popped, fireworks shot off, Auld Lang Syne is sung, etc.  New laws are announced.  And people make New Year’s Resolutions.  That are promptly forgotten. 

I put on my Facebook wall yesterday that I’m not much for New Year’s Resolutions.  My feeling is if you’re going to commit to something, commit to it.  Why do you need a big milestone to do so?  That said, I made a rough list of things I want to do more and less of … that’s here:

– more guitar playing and singing. Perhaps some lessons too!
– more time spent on reading, less time on social media (yes, I said that.)
– more investment in learning to cook more inventively and more healthy cooking
– more eating healthy meals, less crap. Dabble in vegetarian/vegan meals.
– more talking and joking about bacon. Per above, less eating it.
– more exercise, less sloth. 
– more time spent with friends I don’t see often
– more time spent with family I don’t see often
– less worrying, more positive planning, less stress, more action
– NO big DIY home improvement projects (three were enough for 2014 – sheesh!) instead, finish all the little details on things that I’ve been wanting to finish.

And as I hopped on the train this morning, I thought to myself … and more writing in my blog.

As you know, my muse has been sparse to visit me this past year. I think after the challenges of 2012 I had with health and all, and then my focus in spring of 2013 of making a career change – something that found me but nonetheless took a ton of energy and more than 5 months to close the deal, I was sort of out of topics.  I hope that changes this year.  I’m going to make much more use of the features of WordPress to be able to post interesting content – photos, quotations, reposting of other blogs and more.  I’ll post more about food and cooking, and of course will use my observational capabilities to your enjoyment.  There’s quite a few folks on my train still to introduce you to, plus I’m commuting by bus from the train station to the office right now and that’s a bit of it’s own trip.  So, more “railroaded” posts to come.  I’ll also be traveling a ton for biz, so that’s a good ripe topic to mine as well.

A quick bit of observation for you this morning – it started snowing in Chicago the day before yesterday and it hasn’t let up yet.   That’s 36 hours of straight snowfall, and it might go all the way to 48 hours what with this lake effect thing that has kicked in and is just POURING snow from the sky.  That observation on its own isn’t remarkable.  We live in Chicago. Snow is what happens here in the winter and the lake effect is part of it.

But what is remarkable, always, is how Chicago just sucks it up and deals with it. Living in Iowa growing up, it snowed there too of course – and pretty much the streets were covered with packed ice and snow from mid-December through mid-February.  Highways would often be “tracked” versus clear, and well, that’s how it was.  They weren’t very effective in making it go away.  Here in Chicago on the other hand, fates of Mayoral careers (hello, Michael Bilandic, it’s Jane Byrne calling!) have hung in the balance.  It snows here, and by G-d the city just keeps on going.  Plows are rolling by constantly and a dried ocean of salt is poured on the streets to keep them from icing up.  Usually, within 4-6 hours of the end of a snow storm, the streets are completely clear of snow and ice from curb to curb.  The expressways generally only get wet and slushy during a snow – only when it’s really cold and therefore, the salt isn’t working well, do they get badly snow packed.  It takes an immense blizzard to stop this city.

And it just gets more beautiful with a layer of snow.  I can’t wait to be downtown today and look out at the city from my office windows.

So … Happy New Year, my dear readers.  Have a great day.  Here in Chicago, we’re having a snow day, but it’s not a Snow Day. 

Finding my muse again

22 Sep

It seems like I have lost my way again with Stew’s Brew – my blog.  My goals with this are and have always been to be an enjoyable creative outlet, and also, just plain to give me a way to stretch my mind.  I think with my new position at iProspect, I’m much more intellectually challenged than I was at iCrossing, and that’s manifesting itself in less time to write and well, less need to as well.

That said, this is mental exercise, and therefore, I really should do it.  I hate to say it but I’m at that age where if you don’t push, pull and stretch the mind a bit, you’re setting the seeds for issues that will manifest themselves in 20 years as mental decline.  I AM definitely pushing my mind a ton at work.  The new job presents a much broader set of challenges, as the chief/leader of three different offices of iProspect, and having to track the personnel issues, facilities issues, financial responsibilities, corporate communications of those offices, business development, and much more.  All are things I’ve managed before, but all are amplified with the fact that I’ve got three offices, and more than 100 people laddering up to me.

Another thing I found is that I was somewhat a victim of my own success – in the last six months, I had several posts that went more or less viral, collecting thousands of views as people shared them around – my post about the Boston bombing collected 10,000+ views in the space of a week or two – just amazing.  As people shared and reshared that post – the power of “viral” really banged home.  And ironically, the weight of that success sat on me – “how can I follow that up?” kept occuring to me.

The other thing that seemed to weigh my blog down was that I’d found an interesting rhythm in writing stories that were about 1000-1500 words long – which, if you’re measuring pages, are about two typewritten pages of text, single spaced.  The stories were longer, had more room to breathe, etc.  But the alternate reality of that is that a 1200 word post takes a couple of hours to write, edit, think about, etc.  I tend to write on the commuter train and on weekend mornings.  But I’m so busy right now with work that all of my train time tends to be eaten with work tasks – and usually in the evening, I’m too mentally fatigued to write a blog post.

So, onwards – my intent going forward with my blog is to get back to that thing that started me up.  I started this to enjoy writing.  My friend David Deal, blogger and social media expert extraordinaire, whom I credit for getting me started with blogging, helped me originally define my motivation – am I writing for an audience or am I writing for me?  Very simple.  I write for me – for the sheer joy of writing (yes, I know for many this is a chore, for me it is an enjoyable task).  It’s a bit like my guitar playing.  Do I enjoy playing for others? Yes, of course – that’s the best.  But I play and sing for me.  I do it because I love the sweet joy of making music.  And I write because I like the process of it.

So … here we are again.  I’m working to tap the muse.  I’m going to give short-forming a try – I’m going to also try more photojournalism – I’ve invested in a device for my camera that allows it to automatically push photos onto my laptop or mobile device, so I can share through that.  It’s time to shake things up a bit and try some different things.  I hope you enjoy it.  And well … if you don’t but I do, well, that’s good enough for me.  I’m not going to make the artificial pressure to “go viral” weigh this thing down.

Glad to be back.

As you were,

Stew

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