I’ve never really been the type of person who writes “year in review” posts. Mostly this is because I don’t have any ventures that would be interesting to report yearly results on. What I have done in the past was to set some personal goals for the coming year, which I managed to do for 2016 and 2017. For some reason, I skipped setting goals for 2018 but picked it up again for 2019. I also didn’t do any goal setting for 2020, which turns out might not have been the worst idea, given how the year ended up turning out!
If I think about it, one of the possible reasons I skipped out on public goal setting for 2018 and 2020 was the fact that both 2017 and 2019 were quite busy, so I didn’t really have time to set any specific plans for the year to come.
This year I do have some very specific goals for things I want to achieve in 2021, so this post serves as a record for those goals.
It’s worth noting that these are very much personal goals, and fall outside of what I want to achieve professionally in my career as a developer. That’s a whole other blog post…
Write a book
I’ve had the idea to write a book for about 2 years now. My initial attempts to start a book on working with freelance developers didn’t make it past chapter 1. That was partly because, over the course of the last two years, I’ve moved away from freelancing. I think my best option here is to focus on a technical book, something which I’m very comfortable with, and something that I think people will actually pay money for.
I already have one idea, based on a talk I gave at a conference a few years ago. It won’t be the longest book in the world, so I’m not expecting it to make millions, but if it goes well it should inspire me to create more technical content. I’ll probably look at writing it “in public” so to speak, using this blog. What I may do is write the outline and introductory chapter(s) as a couple of publicly published blog posts, and then invite folks to pre-purchase access to the rest of the content, as it’s being written. I’m not entirely sure if this will work but I have a feeling that knowing folks have prepaid for the final book, meaning they want to read it, will help me focus my efforts towards finishing it.
Plugin Testing Course
Earlier this year I came up with the idea of creating a WordPress plugin testing course. I even got as far as creating the outline for the course, but that’s as far as I got, for two reasons. Firstly, I discovered a fellow WordPress developer has already released a similar course (he kindly invited me to take his course and give him my feedback, which I’ve embarrassingly not had the chance to do yet, sorry Fränk). Secondly, the global pandemic had an effect on the amount of time I could spend on non-income-generating activities.
This is still something I would like to look into, perhaps from a different perspective, in the new year.
Open Sourcery Podcast
I initially launched the WP Hacker Cast on a whim, with no real plan other than trying to connect with fellow WordPress folks. Last year I didn’t really have much success with it, but I did at least manage to interview someone I’ve been dying to talk to since it began.
In 2021 I plan to rebrand the podcast and move the focus away from just being about people in WordPress, to being about all folks involved in open source projects. I have some very interesting people I follow on social media, and I’ve never been able to invite them to the podcast, because of it’s WordPress slant. By switching to a more general focus on open source, I hope that I’ll not only be able to interview interesting WordPress folks but folks from all walks of life in our wider open source community.
Speaking of open source, this year I am looking forward to being able to put more time into WP Notify, the WordPress notifications feature project I’ve been working on for almost a year and a half. Over the course of last year, I struggled to find a way to put regular, scheduled time into it, so for 2021 I plan to dedicate at least one hour per week to make sure the project is moving forward.
In 2020 my blogging efforts suffered. A large part of this is that I didn’t really have a lot of solid ideas to talk about. I tend to prefer to blog about things that might be interesting to my handful of readers, be it general tech content, development tutorials, or personal updates that might interest folks. My hope is that with the goals I’m setting this year, I’ll be doing more interesting things, and therefore have more to blog about.