I just made a big decision and I feel as though a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders: I gave myself permission to not write the two dozen posts I had in various stages of draft because I just wasn’t feeling them.
Understand that these were all sitting there, either as ideas half-mapped out in Evernote, as links and headlines in Wunderlist or even just saved links in Pocket, and were creating immense pressure. “When am I going to be able to write them? What am I going to say that is unique and interesting? Has too much time passed for this to be interesting? Should I still write it anyway?” All these and other questions were pressing on me each day, days that only brought something interesting to write about.
Pulling the cord and clearing out the baffles (yes, I’m mixing my metaphors. My blog, my rules) was tough though. I consider myself to be, first and foremost, a writer. That despite how most of what I do each day is manage editorial calendars and answer emails. So saying “I’m not going to write about X” was a hard – HARD – decision to make that involved no little amour of internal debate and self-loathing.
I realized, though, in looking at all the potential topics to write about that I wasn’t feeling passionate about any of them. And, more importantly, that there *were* things I was feeling passionate about writing.
Mostly I was feeling the need to keep writing about social media industry topics because…and that’s where the question hit me. Why was I feeling the need to compete in a race I had no interest in winning? It’s 2014. I’m 40 and I’ve been doing this social media thing for well over 10 years now. My reputation is what it is, whatever that might be. Writing 15 blog posts over the course of the next two weeks with my opinions on the latest news out of Snapchat, Facebook and so on probably isn’t going to move the needle much or do anything further to position me as a “thought leader,” whatever that term means these days.
There are all sorts of ancillary questions that are coming up along with this that I may go into later. But for now I’m deciding that I’m going to take a bit of a break from commenting on the news of the day (aside from my regular contributions to PNConnect) and stick with what I feel most called to write. That’s going to push me well outside my comfort zone, but if I’m not going to take the opportunity to do so that a new year, coupled with turning 40, affords me to do so then I may as well stop doing all this soul-searching and settle into mediocrity. That’s somewhere I’ve been hanging out far too long. It’s time for a change.
More to come.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt from WordPress’ recap of my activity last year:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
Click here to see the complete report.
It’s resolution time, isn’t it. That time of the year where, because of what is essentially an arbitrary turning of calendar pages we decide that this is the moment we’re all going to say “I’m going to do this/not do this/do this differently.”
I get it – I always love a fresh set of downs and the opportunities to start fresh with some new idea at the beginning of a defined time period. But I’m not really a big resolution guy, mostly because I forget to write them down and then it’s not that I lose my momentum but I just forget about them.
One change that I’m going to make in 2013, though, is own more of my online activity. I’m increasingly frustrated by the plethora of networks on the web (and my phone) that don’t allow me to A) Export my activity into some sort of globally useful format and B) That don’t include a “Share on WordPress” feature, something that’s missing from almost every social network out there right now.
I want this site to be the hub of *everything* I do online. It should not only be the home of the short, medium or long-form material I write (aside from that which I write for Voce Nation) that then gets distributed elsewhere but also the repository for my activity elsewhere. But right now there’s such a strong movement by most every social company to be the one place people spend their online time that I’m increasingly irked by the speed-bumps I run into regularly.
So what does all this look like in terms of day to day execution? The initial direction I’m headed in is this:
- I’m kind of done with GetGlue and other activity check-in apps, at least for the time being. If I’m watching a movie I’ll post about it here and if I’m listening to some good music I’ll post about it here, likely with a trailer or video from said movie or album.
- I’ll likely get more into Instagram, which I’ve taken a bit of a break from recently, but I’ll link it up with my Foursquare account so I can check in using the Photo Map. Then instead of sharing on Twitter or elsewhere I’ll post the photo here on CT.WP with a note about where I am and why I’m there.
- My activity on those other social networks will likely consist of 1) Distribution of links to posts here and on VN and 2) Engagement with other people. So I’ll still have Twitter conversations, I’ll share stuff on Google+ and so on. But I’m not going to be publishing my own original stuff to those networks directly.
All this should add up to this site being a lot more consistently active in 2013 than it has been. It also means it’s going to be even more of a hodgepodge of topics than it has been, with my bouncing from media analysis to movie trailers to rants about the Cubs and so on.
That’s the plan. I think it’s incredibly important – and getting more so with each passing day – that publishers own their material and these moves are guided in large part by that philosophy. I want to be able to download and own what I’ve done regardless of anything else and WordPress allows me to do that while many other platforms don’t.
Here’s to 2013.
That link goes to my Tribeca Future of Film Blog post on how independent filmmakers need to get out there and sell their movies themselves instead of hoping it someone magically finds an audience. Considering the piece was partly inspired by Burns’ work on promoting Nice Guy Johnny I’d say it reached the intended audience, which is nice.