One Month of Pendora's Box

Preamble: I meant to post this early in March but the month has been so busy for me. Well, better late than never.

Pendora's Box went live on February 1, 2016. The blog is still in infancy but I thought I would reflect a little on the past month. I don't foresee that I would do this every month but I think it would be interesting to look back on how the blog came to be, is doing and what else I want to do with it.

February 1 was a self-imposed deadline and it was a bit of a scramble pulling everything together to have a functional website on Day 1. Frankly, I was afraid to go live. But I knew that if I didn't put on a deadline then I would just push things off indefinitely. Since nobody knew of my plans, I had no one to be accountable to except myself.

I created the blog as a creative outlet for me. When I was going through the Focus Course, I was challenged by Shawn Blanc to define vision statements for the various areas of my life. One of these areas was "community". I wanted to challenge myself to engage more and share within the communities that was a part belong of.

During the past 2.5 years since I fell into the pen habit, I've benefitted greatly from the enthusiasm and kindness of the pen community. I soaked up many pen and ink reviews from various blogs and forums to form my own purchase decisions. The voices of Brad Dowdy, Myke Hurley, Brian Goulet, Stephen Brown, Azizah and Matt Armstrong all ring in my head. They are like an extended family. A big happy family with a common interest around fountain pens.

Yet, despite the great community, I was afraid to dive in too deep. My life was busy enough that I couldn't afford to spend too much time on social media. So I held back.

After reading Shawn Blanc's writing on focus and living a creative life, I decided it was time to stop holding back. I needed to 'show up everyday'. So I pretty much said, to heck with it. It was time to stop making excuses for myself. I would find a way to live a creative life both at work and personally.

So, the idea of a blog was planted. I thought of a few potential names for the blog but I was drawn to Pendora's Box being a play on the idea of the myth of Pandora's Box and, of course, the endless rabbit holes from the pen habit. To my surprise, the url was available. I signed up for a Squarespace account as a way to show my support and the Pen Addict podcast. Then I went to work creating the site.

On January 31st I didn't think I was ready to go live. But I decided to go ahead. I learned from Shawn Blanc it would be better to just go for it. Nothing is engraved in stone. My blog will evolve and change with me as I continue on this journey.

Still, it's quite embarrassing each time I re-read a post and catch typos or even complete non-sensical passages. Despite how many times I proof read something, those typos still show up. It's like they have a life of their own.

The first day of the blog went quite well. I got many visitors from Twitter when Myke and Brad 'liked' my tweet about starting a pen blog using Squarespace.

After that, I just kept posting various things every other day. Sometimes more often. I settled into a set format for Chinese Cacography and Throwback Thursdays.

My first article type post was sort of an open letter I wrote in response to Myke's cry for help from the community. I was quite pleased with it. It kind of laid low for a couple of weeks until Myke mentions my post during Pen Addict Epidsode 194. The sad thing is that I was busy that week and wasn't able to listen to the live stream or even the posted episode until a few days later. I was completely surprised when I heard my name mentioned and even more surprised to check the analytics on my blog. They were at the highest levels ever. I never imagined that I would get a mention when I started this blog. Certainly not in its infancy. It was kind of awesome. I did a quick post about it here.

The second highlight for me is related to my review of the Vanishing Point. I had this pen for the longest time so it inevitable that my first pen review be on this pen. It was quite well received. Following that post, I was asked by Chris at the Penman Post to do a guest post. We had some discussions on a couple of ideas for posts and we settled on profiling my VP post on his blog. Chris is a social media pro. Shortly after the post he reported 2000+ page views on my guest post. That's so cool and humbling too.

I still have many pens to review. I have also not done a proper ink or paper review yet. I have some ideas for these so they are definitely coming. I still want to explore in more depth along the lines of digital-analog tools.

All in all, the first month of has gone quite well. I made many new pen friends, got mentioned on the one and only Pen Addict podcast, and featured as a guest post on another blog. It was more than I ever hoped for for a blog that kind of dropped from no where. Thanks to everyone for reading and engaging me on the blog, Twitter and Instagram. It's been a fun ride.

Some Analytics for February

Month overview

Breakdown by week - note impact of Pen Addict traffic week of Feb 21