I’ve never been a really bit “resolutions” guy in my personal life, but professionally I’ve found it helpful to take some time at the end of the year, reorient, and make sure your business is on target with where you want it to go for the next twelve months. I do that with my day job (a legal practice), and I try to do it here, though last year I fell off the wagon a bit and by the end of the year felt like I was drifting. After taking some time off during the week between Christmas and New Years, I came up with a few thoughts on where I want the site to go this year:
Work Through the Backlog. As you might have guessed from the massive pen sale and giveaway I held a few months ago, I accumulated far too much stuff throughout the year, both my own purchases and review samples. I overcommitted and found myself scrambling during the last few months to meet my review commitments, with little time left to explore the things that interest me, which is why I started my blog in the first place. My top priority for the year is to work my way through my personal collection and make sure that I’ve written about all of the pens, inks, and stationery that form my personal collection and shape my own preferences. (You’ve seen the results of this already, with my recent reviews of the Conway Stewart 100 and the Pilot Decimo.)
Buy Nicer Pens. Or maybe it’s better to say “Buy the pens that I want, rather than what I think I’m expected to review.” There are so many pen blogs and websites out there right now, that I shouldn’t feel like I have an obligation to chase and cover every major release. If it doesn’t interest me, someone else will pick it up. (Example: I suspected that I might dislike the Lamy Aion, but felt like I was “duty bound” to give it a shot. I should have passed.) The time and money saved already has funded some absolutely awesome acquisitions that I’m truly excited about, and I can’t wait to get reviews up on the site.
Take a Step Back. I’ve pushed myself pretty hard over the past two years, and I ended 2018 really, really tired. I need to take more time off if I feel that I need it, and while I plan to stick with a regular posting schedule, I won’t let it kill me if I need to skip a week or push a post by a couple days. I actually think the content will be the better for it. Relatedly…
Attend Different Pen Shows. The past couple of years, I feel like I’ve been in a bit of a Pen Show rut. I used to get really excited about attending the same group of shows, but in terms of pens (not people) it’s begun to feel like more of the same. The truly exciting releases are becoming a bit sparse, the price of decent vintage (not to mention near-vintage, past limited editions, and discontinued brands like Omas) is starting to approach what I consider absurdly overpriced, and my interests are shifting a bit towards pens and brands that aren’t very well-represented at most pen shows. I still plan to attend a few, but I’m going to target shows I haven’t visited before, maybe something on the West Coast, or even internationally.
Acquire WAY Less. As I mentioned above, I’m moving towards less stuff, not more, and even though I’ve gone a bit wild with my pen purchases over the last month or so, new pens coming in are vastly outnumbered (and funded) by pens that I’ve gotten rid of. It feels great to be able to see the surface of my desk again, and once I finish shipping the last load of giveaway items (today, hopefully), my office floor will even be clean. I plan to continue holding more sales and giveaways throughout the year, as I fine tune my personal collection and try to avoid holding on to anything that passes through for review purposes.
So goodbye 2018, and I’m looking forward to what the new year has to offer! If you have any suggestions about content you’d like to see on the blog (particularly something you may have enjoyed in the past but haven’t seen in a while) drop me a line through the “Contact Me” link at the top, or e-mail me at Joe (at) gentlemanstationer.com.