I am very, very excited about my writing plans for this blog in the year ahead. The excitement for this coming year began more than twelve months ago when I set a plan for my 2022 posts.
I thoroughly enjoyed blogging in 2022. For the first time, my writing was guided by a year-long plan and divided into four series, each with a unique focus and goal.
My 1THING: New Build series gave me an opportunity to think small: if I could only recommend one light for a new build, what would it be? The exercise helped me discover what was most important in each space, making it easier to choose going forward.
The 1THING: Plug In series was, in a way, thinking even smaller: what would I recommend if hiring an electrician was out of the question? This series allowed me the time to explore solutions that might work for rentals, apartments, dorm rooms, or lower budget spaces.
My THINK LIGHT series was an unabashed vehicle to explore geeky lighting topics from color temperature to winter solstice, and I learned while writing each post.
In my GEAR TALK series I rambled on the equipment we use in lighting design, from smart bulbs to disc lights, attempting to make sense of some technologies and advocate for the use of others.
As I wrapped up the 2022 series and pondered the coming year, I wondered “how can I possibly have anything left to say?” There are nearly 200 posts on this blog, starting five years ago when I moved from a previous blogging site. In other words, I’ve written a lot of posts on lighting, and at first coming up with a plan for 52 more posts was intimidating.
But then I realized that, like the proverbial painting of the Golden Gate Bridge, it may be time to start over. I have learned a sometimes overwhelming amount of new things over the past five years. I’ve designed projects, spoken at conferences, developed new services, built client conversation decks, and more. I’ve gotten older, too: my eyes have aged, my youthful exuberance is now tempered by more midlife experience.
And I am more in love with light than ever before. In many ways, today feels like the beginning of my lighting career, not the middle. That means I am excited to re-examine my theory, strategy, and concepts, first penned years ago, to look for that which is worthy of preserving and for that which is ready to retire.
In 2023 I have three series in mind. They may change as I write and continue to learn; often in writing the final destination is a surprise to me. For now, at least, I am plugging in these coordinates to the blog’s GPS:
LIGHT CAN HELP US
Roughly the first and third weeks of each month I will revisit, revise, and clarify why light is important, how we are missing out on its benefits, and what language we might use to transform our experience. I will begin the series with darkness, examine the fundamental nature of light, look again at the five (or are there six?) promises of light, and perhaps end with a walk through of the ideal day in the light. This will be a “why” series, not so much a how-to but an in-depth exploration of why light is critical to human existence.
DO’S & DON’TS
A long while back I did a series of Do’s and Don’ts for Houzz.com, each article a simplistic look at a specific space with some of the more common blunders and solutions (example above). I intend this new series to expand on the concept and be very practical, even actionable. It is not a “why”why” series, but rather a “what” series. What would you do in a kitchen? In a master bedroom? Unencumbered by the 1THING construct of my 2022 series, each space will receive a more in-depth and comprehensive exploration and typically fill the second week of the month. I’ve already started to sketch the first post in this series and I am having a blast!
FINDING THE GIFT
My story, my lifelong relationship with light, is not particularly noteworthy and would not make for a good novel. There have been a few twists and turns along the way, a few surprises, and more than a few hard lessons learned. I began writing a few of my stories back in 2018 but there seemed to be no real purpose and I lost steam around the fifth post. So why try again now?
My life is substantially different than it was when I began this blog, as is my relationship with light. I want to spend a little time exploring my own story, hopefully a kind of benign navel-gazing that may deliver a few laughs, a handful of insights, and some new discoveries I have yet to unearth. I intend to post these around the fourth week of the month. Don’t look for great lighting advice in this series; look for stories of a human making their way through the profession and practice of light through different stages of life.
There you have it, three new series for 2023. I may occasionally add to the series I enjoyed so much in 2022, and I always appreciate suggestions that lead me to an unexpected post.
Let me leave you with the elevator pitch for the Light Can Help Us series:
After a century of living under the unwavering glow of Edison’s light bulbs, is it time to do better for our bodies, our communities, our wallets, and our planet?
Light is a phenomenal gift of the universe, a foundational element of the human experience. Yet over a century ago we set aside many of light’s benefits in exchange for the convenience of electric light. Today light is ubiquitous, saving lives at night while simultaneously disrupting our own wellbeing along with the health of our planet. Modern light is cheap enough to carry on a keychain, yet most of us spend our evenings underneath light that disturbs our sleep, contributes to headaches, and may accelerate the diseases of aging. Light today is costly enough to contribute to climate change, but most of us still waste half of what we make.
We can do better, and it does not need to be expensive or difficult. We can change our light to help us live better lives from sunrise to sunset- and even while we sleep.
Light can help us, if we know what to do with it.