Mark Southard

Hello World

I've thought about building a new blog for the past several years. However, self doubt has always prevented me from launching one. In 2018, I finally launched my first side project, Moonlighter Delighter. While it won't allow me to retire anytime soon, it has given me a boost of confidence to ship on my personal brand. Enough confidence to finally launch a blog I've been thinking about building for years.

When I decided it was time to finally create a blog, I was faced with the immediate decision on what to use for the actual blog. I decided to get a little creative. I'm using Gatsby (partly because I want to learn React) and Ghost. What??!! Yeah, and it gets better, to keep costs down on this little blogging experiment, I'm running Ghost on my local machine and then building out a static site using Gatsby. That generated static site is then deployed to Netlify. Certainly, not the most traditional (or automated) route, but this approach affords me the ability to easily experiment and tinker with React while having a great blogging interface. This set up should provide a great place to tinker and play throughout 2019.

The 2019 plan

While 2018 was focused on site performance and optimizations, 2019 is all about experimentation. While I plan on experimenting quite a bit this year, I'd like to make sure that I'm progressing along the right path. Thus, I've outlined a several goals for 2019.

Personal goals:

  1. Read 18 books – This may not be lofty enough, as I've already read 2 books this year, but with a stack of fantasy novels in the mix, it could be a brutal goal to hit.
  2. Rubix Cube Mastery – Inspired by Mike Boyd I got a Rubix Cube several years ago. I've yet to master it, but 2019 is my year. I'm already well on the way.
  3. Learn to juggle – Similar to the Rubix Cube, I got juggling balls a couple years ago, but never got to a level of skill that I was proud of.

Professional goals:

  1. Learn React – Creating this blog was a first step in working with React. By year's end, I expect to be as comfortable working with React as I am with VueJS.
  2. Publish 20 blog posts – I plan on writing about my experimentations with building out this blog, promoting my side project, and general coding/tech tips. I hope to publish roughly once every two weeks.
  3. Grow the readership of this blog to XXXX readers – I'm not really sure what a good target is. What do you think? Maybe total number of page views is a better measure for a first time blogger?
  4. 100 happy, paying customers for Moonlighter Delighter – Since Moonlighter Delighter is in its infancy, I'm setting what I hope is an achievable target.

So, this is me putting myself out there. Hopefully, I'll look back at these goals with pride as to how much more I was able to accomplish because of them. Here's to an amazing 2019 🎉🎉

— Mark
@marksouthard