Welcome to 2020, too.
I saw that joke on a sign in a bar and thought it was clever. It really does feel like we’re stuck in a COVID loop. And yet, time marches on.
It is actually 2022, which means it’s time for a look back on the blog and what happened in 2021.
How much did I publish?
I wrote 7 posts on the blog last year. It feels like an abysmally low number, but I’m not all that bothered by it given how much growth I experienced as a writer. I wrote a large number of drafts I still haven’t published, which is great and all, but it doesn’t “count” unless it’s published.
That said, I’m willing to cut myself some slack. I moved across the United States and started a business. As I’m sure you can imagine, that took some time and attention from me. However, I’d love to see my published posts count come up this year. I hope to do that by focusing on reading and “writing from conversation”, a David Perell term that describes the process of having or developing ideas through interesting conversation with others.
Of the pieces I did publish, here are my favorites from the year (in no particular order):
- All Things in Their Time
- Tea Tuition
- To Keep Life Simple, We Must Practice
- Don’t Write Tea Reviews, Tell Tea Stories
I picked each of these posts because I’m happy with what I accomplished in writing them. The concepts that lie at the heart of this writing are things I’ve thought about deeply in the course of my tea practice and writing practice. I’m pleased that I’m closer to being able to write what I would consider meaningful pieces of content that are thought-provoking or capable of illuminating, sharing, or teaching others.
I can say with confidence I genuinely grew in mastery over my craft as a writer in 2021, and each of these pieces were a part of that. That’s pretty cool.
There’s also the 30-day writing challenge I did in the spring, where I spent every day writing 250-word micro essays and posting them on Twitter. If you missed out on that, here’s a thread that contains a tweet for every essay.
This turned out to be one of the most beneficial things I’ve done as a writer. It’s not that I wrote 30 masterpieces–far from it. Simply having done it at all is what I’m proud of. It was also the first time I started exposing deeper thoughts and feelings about tea and life. Doing that legitimately felt like standing on stage naked giving a speech to the school–the stuff of nightmares.
In fact, most days my writing still feels kinda like that, but I can’t stop. The work I’m doing is vital for my happiness and my soul.
As an added bonus, within those 30 posts I discovered the bones for a book on tea. I also came up with a concept that has become quite important to me: the God-Shaped Hole.
(Note: if anyone does have interest in trying this, the next run starts in March. Signing up here will give me a kickback, if you’d like to help me out.)
Finally, there are all of you–my readers. The Tea Letter email list grew to over 250 subscribers in 2021. I don’t really fuss too much about numbers, but for some reason that number really stood out to me. It’s humbling and more than a little mind-blowing to think there are that many people who are even remotely interested in what I have to say.
Writing is a lonely endeavor. Although I’ve made other writer friends in and out of the tea sphere, when it’s time to write it’s just me versus the blank page and that horrible blinking cursor. To have even one other person show interest in what comes out on the other end is meaningful in a way it’s hard to describe.
Thank you for being a part of The Tea Letter in 2021. I hope you’ll continue to enjoy what I have planned for the New Year. 2022 is the Year of the Tiger in the Chinese Zodiac–my year. The last Year of the Tiger was 2010, and that’s when I graduated college and began dating the girl who would become my wife. I’m excited to see what the Tiger has in store for me this year.
Health, blessings, and wishes for good tea to you all in 2022.