I wish I could know what the future has in store for me.
Unfortunately, though, that's not how life works.
I have a fairly set plan of accomplishments and paths I want to pursue in the next year or two. Most revolve around school. Some involve other aspects of my life.
But, in the end, I can't definitively know how things will work out.
Sure, I'm wishing for some things to happen. I'm hoping for some things to happen. But I can't know what awaits in the future.
Well, with one notable exception, anyways.
I know I'll be collecting cardboard down the road. I can't promise myself that I'll always have the time to collect at the pace I do now, but this hobby has become too big a part of my life for me to just drop it all together one day.
It's just not going to happen.
Still, I could've told you that last year. I've been operating under the "lifetime collector" label since I was about thirteen.
However, one thing I couldn't have promised this time last year was my involvement with the blogosphere.
My "introduction" story isn't all that different from a lot of the other bloggers out there, after all.
I basically decided to start this blog on a whim in late 2011. After a few days of posting, I came fairly close to abandoning my writings all together. However, I forced myself to stick with it over the next couple weeks.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Now, I can honestly say that I have found one of the precious few constants in life.
Whether it's posting about a new Vlad Guerrero card for my collection or simply gushing over a "one-year" card of Al Downing, I don't see the proverbial "blogging fire" being extinguished anytime soon.
I may go through peaks and valleys, but that desire to write will always be there in some way, shape, or form.
Still, while blogging has indeed become one of those rare stable forces, the way I've gone about doing it over the past year has been a drastically changing state of affairs.
That's for sure.
The types of cards I've shown on this blog have been fairly consistent.
That's not a coincidence.
About ninety percent of the cards I feature around here are base cards. Dime box material. You probably know the drill by now.
Of course, I see this whole "dime box" concept continuing for as far as I can conceive.
However, unlike quite a few of the dime boxes I've seen over the years, I think I've become a more organized blogger over the past fourteen months.
Back during my early blogosphere career, I'd simply write whenever I felt like it. Three, sometimes even four posts a day. I'd often force myself to publish something, even if I didn't necessarily have the inspiration or energy to write a coherent post.
And, as I documented in one of my earlier write-ups, most of my post ideas in the first couple months were basically spur-of-the-moment concepts. Whatever happened to pop into my head that night was what I ended up writing about.
While those processes may have worked for me at first, I doubt I would've been able to sustain my writings had I continued down that road.
I'm still a big believer in writing whenever the mood strikes. I never, ever force posts anymore. It's not productive, and, frankly, it can lead to some pretty bad writing.
Interestingly, I've started to set aside a specific chunk of time during my day to blog. For whatever reason, that "writing feeling" seems to strike at around five o'clock every evening.
Like clockwork. Literally.
More importantly, I doubt I could've kept up that whole "spur-of-the-moment" thing. The ideas would've run out after a while.
These days, I have a specific list of possible post topics written on a piece of paper. If an idea happens to pop into my head, I simply write it down for future use.
Some, like the idea for this post, have only been on there for a couple days. Others, however, have been simmering for at least a month.
I've had an idea for a post that chronicles my feelings on "chromatized" reprints on there for a while now. I just haven't had the so-called "inspiration" to write about it yet.
Frankly, I don't even think I know which side of the argument I'm on right now.
I'll take a closer look at the shiny Mickey Lolich and Tom Seaver cards in my collection and get back to you.
Like my organization skills (or lack of), my scanning tactics weren't the greatest during the earlier days of this blog, either.
I have an excuse for that one, though.
I hadn't scanned a card for at least four or five years before I started this whole blogging thing. Much of my earlier scan jobs were processed on merely a trial-and-error basis.
Sometimes, I'd feature scans of cards with the edges cut off. Other times, I'd show scans of horribly crooked cardboard.
You can look at some of my earlier posts for evidence of that.
As I got to know my scanner a little better, though, I started to develop a few "scanning policies" for my readers' viewing pleasure.
For one thing, it took me a few months to learn that I could manually straighten and crop my scans on our computer. Given my stickler-like attitude towards alignment, that has been a huge time-saver.
With a few exceptions, I limit my scans to a two-card maximum. Any more than that just seems a bit crowded to me.
And, lately, I've limited my horizontal scans to one-per. For whatever reason, I just don't find two horizontal pieces in the same scan to be all that aesthetically pleasing.
But, perhaps more than that, horizontal cards deserve to stand alone most of the time.
Wouldn't you agree?
Perhaps the biggest change of my blogging experience has been my way with words.
Again, if you go back and read some of my earlier posts, you'll see a lot of simple mistakes and incoherent sentences. I also had an apparent fascination with parentheses during my "rookie" blogging days.
However, while I still think my current writing is far, far from perfection, I do believe that I've gotten much better at it during my time around here.
I put a good deal of thought into each and every post I compose, something that I try to convey in all of my daily write-ups.
As it turns out, this change on the "spectrum" has begun to extend past the blogosphere.
Interestingly, I've found my recent fascination with writing to be beneficial in other areas as well. I still have yet to receive any grade lower than an "A" on any papers I've had to write for school over the past year. I like to think this blog is responsible for at least a part of that.
I really hope I didn't just jinx it, though.
If I had to, I'm sure I could write a whole post about J.R. Richard's 1982 Topps "sunset" card. An interesting one, considering he pitched his last game in 1980 due to complications from the on-field stroke he suffered that year.
Given that actual, tangible writing seems to be falling by the wayside with the primitive "text message speak" of most people my age, I've found my interest in words to be a great source of pride over the past year or so.
I guess I have guys like J.R. Richard to thank for that.
When I first entered the blogosphere, it was on a fairly limited basis.
After reading the terrific writing of Dodger-ites like Night Owl and Mr. Spiegel, I decided to try my hand at this whole blogging thing.
At the time, I only knew of maybe a dozen different blogs. And, despite my interest in them, I didn't comment on many of their writings at first.
In the end, I think the furthest shift on my so-called "blogging spectrum" has to do with this very topic.
While many of those "original" dozen blogs are still among my favorites to read these days, I've widely expanded my sights in recent months. Heck, there are 187 different blogs in my blogroll right now.
And I'm sure that's still not even scratching the surface of all the terrific writing out there.
More importantly, I'm reading and commenting more now than I ever have before. I make it a point to comment on as many blogs as I can, an attitude that is almost the complete opposite of my initial days as a blogger.
It's pretty simple. I greatly appreciate all the readership and comments I've received on my posts thus far.
It only makes sense to return the favor.
That's a major aspect of being in a community, after all.
Needless to say, I have loved every single moment of blogging during my time around here. Not a day goes by where I don't appreciate this thing we call the "blogosphere".
I feel lucky to be a part of it.
Now, like my philosophy on collecting, I can't promise that I'll have the time to blog on a consistent rate down the road.
That'll probably get further out of my control as I grow older.
However, I can promise you one thing.
No matter what, I'll always be a part of this wonderful blogging community.
It's just too big a part of my life to give up.