And so the blog reaches a natural conclusion today. The plan was to write about U2 every day for 365 days, and that is where we are. This was intended as a writing project and to help me organize my thoughts about the band and their music. Plus a kind of log of the year, not quite a diary, although if I go through there are many moments where things pop in like that. And of course there was the whole tour to follow, and a record of the four shows I attended in Chicago.
So I completed the initial goal which was to write a post every day for 365 days, and to write at least 500 words each day. I had a couple of minor stumbles - the day the blog went a little crazy, and I ended up manually posting a few minutes after midnight, and then there was a day I really didn’t want to write (the night of the Paris terror attacks). So if you want to be strict about it, I missed the goal, but I am not counting either of those as a miss.
The thing I am happiest about is getting that goal of writing so much. As I said the other day, I passed 200,000 words in the blog this year, and that’s the equivalent of a couple of novels. Now that I have forced myself into the habit of continuing the writing, I am going to continue it next year. I don’t know where or how just yet, but I will. I have a couple of sites in mind, although they won’t be daily sites, and nothing to do with the band so I’m not even going to link to them here. I also have a novel that I have worked on this year, which I think I will turn into my daily writing project. Taking those 15 or 30 minutes to write each day and putting it into that will be very useful. But definitely something.
Organizing my thoughts on the band was greatly interesting. As I thought about it, as I went through the year and opinions changed on a few things, I had some songs bubble up here and there, and sneak themselves into my more regular rotation. One of the more interesting items was just a couple of days ago, writing my top ten and finally setting them in an order. It was quite challenging to get that order the way I thought it should be, debating over songs being a spot above or below where they were. I suspect if I did it again a year from now, it might be different still.
How has my writing changed over the year? I think things are a little more organized now than they were at the start. My own opinion is that I loosened up later in the year, there were times when I was trying to force songs into a particular religious or sexual theme, and that didn’t always work. Once I moved away from those themes (although they were always there in the background) I think the blog improved. I also think that the best months for the blog were January and December, the first because of the newness of the blog, and the last because it was coming to and end and I was relaxing more. There were times - especially around October and November - when it became a bit of a slog to get things done. If you were to check the timestamps, you’d see that to be the case because there were nights when I was writing and immediately posting, just to get that day done in time. It worked much better at the times when I was a day or two ahead of things (which may be the biggest lesson from the year).
One other thing I must mention is errors. I know there have been a few places during the year where I have said one song and meant another. My memory is as good as yours, and by that I mean that every one of us mixes things up in our memory now and then. So I’ve written something about one song meaning another, and maybe repeated that same thing later in the year about a different song. That’s just the way it works. Unintentional errors, obviously, but I will say that I regret them.
I don’t think I’m the greatest U2 fan in the world, but surely I’m up there somewhere. Top 1%? Top 10,000? I don’t know. I know a heck of a lot more about U2 than the vast majority of people, but over this year I have surely learned that there are many people who know a lot more about U2 than me. I have learned a lot about the band, and about individual songs. I hope that I have reflected some of that in the blog; I hope that you maybe learned something somewhere along the way from me.
I do not plan to write any more on this blog, but I expect that one day I will. Once the band gets back on the road, or releases the new album, you will probably see some posts from me here. So, if you’re following me in RSS (and I have been pleased to see some growth in the stats of people reading my writing), keep me there, and you may one day see a post or two.
As for the band themselves, I have had a great year with them. I saw four shows in Chicago (and took my son to his first), and dozens more online thanks to many U2 fans around the world. I got up close with the band at the shows, within 20 feet of each of them when they were on the catwalk, and I shook the hand of Paul McGuinness, perhaps the highlight of the year. A great U2 year, all in all. Thanks for reading.