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Taking A Breather

How many things have you done every single week day since July, 2002? Aside from things like breathing, eating and putting on clothes (maybe that doesn’t even hold true for everyone), I’m hard pressed to come up with a list.

There is one big one though: blogging. I’ve consistently put up a new blog post at least once per weekday for the last 14 years and 10 months. To my knowledge, I’ve never duplicated a topic. That’s a lot of unique content. A LOT. Like six Moby Dicks. Except six Moby Dicks wouldn’t be unique. The printed version of my blog takes up a lot of space on my bookshelf and I haven’t even done books for the last 2.5 years.

I’ve been diligent in not missing even one day of the schedule because people are a lot more likely to stay engaged when the schedule is consistent. And while I do this mainly for myself, it’s a lot more fun knowing that there are people reading my ramblings.

Along the way, I often wondered when it would end. I came very close many times along the journey, but then I’d get a flood of new ideas and the posts would continue. These last couple months have been a slog though. I sit there a couple hours before the normal post time with a blank cursor trying to think of something to write. I’m not usually very proud of the posts when I am scrambling at the last minute to come up with a topic. Is it really keeping the streak alive if I’m just writing a filler post to keep the streak alive?

So, what does this mean for the site? I’m not naive. I know that once people stop a regular writing schedule, it very often devolves into a dead blog, but I’ve got almost 15 years of momentum behind me so I’m hoping I can keep it going, but I’m not going to hold myself to a daily schedule. I think that some weeks I might have one post and other weeks I’ll have 5. I’m just not going to force myself to put something up every single day. Hopefully when you do find a post here, you’ll find something that you have a higher likelihood of enjoying. If you want to get notified of new posts instead of coming to the website to check, you can subscribe via RSS or follow the Studio711 Facebook page.

Also, please consider following me on Instagram. I’m really enjoying that platform and I post a lot of content that ends up there and nowhere else. I have two accounts: @benwmartens for daily life and @martenswoodshop for woodworking posts.

It’s hard to click the publish button on this one. It’s such a long streak, but keeping it alive for the sake of the streak doesn’t seem like a good use of my time at this point. I guess we’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out if I really let a day lapse without a blog post…

Martens Woodshop On Instagram

I’ve been using Instagram a lot more than Facebook. I get more interaction with random people who are interested in the same things as me, and it generally feels like a happier place.

I want to use Instagram even more to connect with the woodworking community, but I also don’t want to bombard friends and family who don’t care about that stuff. So I’m segmenting my posts under two accounts. The @benwmartens account will still be normal day-to-day, family-life pictures. The new @martenswoodshop account will have lots of pictures all related to woodworking and will show day to day progress along with the finished project.

If you like it all, it’s easy enough to just follow both, but I won’t be offended if you don’t like seeing lots of progress pictures for my projects.

Some day I dream of supplementing my income with woodworking and maybe this is the first step down that path. For now, it’s still totally a hobby but maybe I can start building a brand.

No Blog Books

I have books sitting on my shelf containing all of my blog posts from 2002-2014. I love the idea of having these all stored in paper form, but the reality is that they NEVER get pulled off the shelf. But I think I’m going to stop making them…

First of all, these books take a long time to publish. I wrote a program that pulls each post from the database and puts it into a Word doc, but it’s very rough and I have to go through each post to clean it up. Then I also add in all my tweets and Instagram photos and whew, it’s a solid couple weeks of effort per book.

I told Tyla I wasn’t going to do this anymore and she thought, “AUGH! What if you die? How will we save all your posts?” So here you go: if I die, someone with WordPress knowledge should ask Tyla for our master Last Pass password and then export it all to a text file. I’m pretty sure you can handle that. And if not, all these pages are probably stored on archive.org anyway.

This blog is unlikely to live forever. I’ve had many thoughts over there years (and they’re increasing in frequency) about dropping the blog and regaining a big chunk of time. It will happen some day. Maybe then I’ll decide that it’s wort the effort to finish out the book series to have a complete set. But until then, I’m going to save a bunch of time and some shelf space and not make dead tree versions of my ramblings.

RumFriday.com

Take a second and check out rumfriday.com. Ha! That’s right! I finally own it.

What is Rum Friday? It’s pretty complicated. See if you can stay with me here: you drink rum… on Friday. Why? Umm… why not?

I don’t have any big plans for the domain name, but I’m happy to add it to the collection. I should have bought it years ago when I first looked but I delayed and then someone snagged it. They finally let it go and I anxiously waited through the period between their last payment and it being released to the general populace again.

So for now it just points to this blog along with these other domains:

  • benmartens.com
  • benandtyla.com
  • martensfamily.net
  • ctrlaltben.com
  • elijahmartens.com (points to Elijah’s facebook page)
  • tylamartens.com (points to Tyla’s facebook page)

If you’ve never bought a domain name before, it’s incredibly easy. Use a registrar like hover.com or godaddy.com, pay about $10/year and you’re done. You can just have it point to your Facebook page or anywhere you want. And if you pay a little bit more, you can get email forwarding set up so that any email sent to you at that domain name gets redirected to your regular email.

Follow On Facebook

facebook-wordpressFacebook is a monster. They have over a billion and a half unique users who visit every month. That’s a staggering number. So the odds are that many of you are on Facebook and some of you might even preferred to get notified about new posts via Facebook.

I recently added a WordPress plugin that automatically publishes a news story in Facebook for every post that I make here. They all end up on the old, but rarely used, Studio711 Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/studio711.com

If you Like that page, you should start seeing some of the posts show up in your newsfeed. Due to Facebook’s algorithms, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll see all of them, but you’ll, of course, always be able to find the full list once you come to this site.

I will take no offense if nobody follows that Facebook page, but I thought I’d throw it out there in case it’s useful for you.