The Century Mark

This is my 100th blog post!  To celebrate the occasion I’m going to stray from my regular format to reflect a bit…

I feel quite accomplished by this.  Many bloggers never reach this mark, some have surpassed it – even quicker than I did.  Certainly many have a bigger following than I do, but mine has steadily grown through these months (thank you!).  While I’ve not blogged every day (it’s been about a week since my last post), there were some days when I posted two or even three times.  If you are a regular reader, you know that most of my posts revolve around emergency management and homeland security topics and some discuss training and presentations.  I enjoy sharing what I find and what I have learned.  Sometimes it’s a quick post, linking to an article of interest or reblogging someone else’s post that I found fascinating.  Other times it’s something more in-depth.  I’m proud to be one of WordPress‘s top emergency management bloggers and I’m humbled by the company I keep.

Gold TrophyIn my time, WordPress’s ‘Freshly Pressed’ designation has eluded me, but I’m confident I’ll reach it some day (how is that determined, by the way?  I want to know!!!).  For my readers who aren’t familiar, the high gurus of WordPress select a few posts each day to be highlighted on their Freshly Pressed (commonly ‘FP’) page, which brings in literally hundreds of readers.  It’s a great way for a blog to gain long-term visibility.  It’s pretty much the Oscar of blogging… the Bloggy… is that a thing?  Wait… OK, just looked into that and it actually is!  Who knew?  Obviously not me!

My path to blogging started on May 19th of last year with Reinvention 101.  This first post was about an article in of that same name.  The article reflected on Robert Downey, Jr‘s rise to a greater level of success than he previously had before making some poor choices in life.  In the article, they outline his progress through five important life lessons as he picked himself up, dusted off, and moved on to greater things:

1) Concentrate on getting ahead one step at a time;

2) Don’t be too proud to accept help;

3) Believe that in the end, your talent will enable people to overlook your past mistakes;

4) It’s never too late to develop self-discipline;

5) Don’t be afraid to play in an ensemble.

In my post I mentioned that I had learned these lessons.  Looking back I suppose I was right – I had learned them – but they weren’t all necessarily in practice to the best of my ability at that time.  I don’t think they are now, either, but it’s certainly gotten better, more focused, and more intentional.  Take a look at these lessons for yourself.  I think everyone can apply them to different times in their lives.  Businesses and organizations can apply them as well.  Greater success is ahead – believe it and believe in yourself!

So there you have it – a brief retrospective on my past 99 blog posts.  I greatly appreciate all my readers – the occasional drop-ins, those that wander by for a glance, and those who regularly follow me.  I’m hopeful that I share some quality content, some valid points of view, and some relevant lessons learned.  If you like my blog, please let me know.  Click the little ‘like’ button, follow me, and share posts with others.  I greatly welcome comments, so don’t be afraid to speak up.

Now back to your regularly scheduled program…

Thanks!  Tim Riecker




Improving your writing

A couple nights ago I was reading through a selection of articles and blogs by way of Zite, which is one of my favorite ways to get topical articles.  One of the posts that was selected for me was Improving Your Academic Writing: My top 10 tips, a blog post by Raul Pacheco-Vega, PhD.  Dr. Pacheco-Vega’s post is filled with common sense but very important tips on writing.  While the title of his post specified academic writing, his principles really apply across the board to any writer and any type of writing – be it technical, fiction, blogging, etc.

Good writing skills are something I think are lacking more and more in the professional world.  Through my professional career I’ve found myself coaching college graduates on foundational professional writing technique.  Clearly I enjoy writing, otherwise I wouldn’t be blogging, writing emergency plans, and designing training courses and preparedness exercises.  I’ve found that blogging, even in the midst of those other writing projects, helps hone and improve my writing skills.

While I’ve listed his tips below, please be sure to visit Dr. Pacheco-Vega’s post for his full narrative.

1) Be disciplined and write every day.

2) Give yourself the best tools to write.

3) Write as you would speak.

4) Have other people read your pieces to provide you with feedback.

5) Read a lot, and across different disciplines.

6) Write for your audience.

7) Write without interruptions.

8) Take care of yourself.

9) Practice your writing – write a lot.

10) When stuck, write by hand.