Thursday, September 19, 2013

Now Seems Like a Perfect Time for Another State of the Blog Address

It's time once again that I admit my blog content output has been about as rare as a Facebook status praising the latest Nickelback song.  Then of course I follow the drought by writing an intricate and wordy essay about how things were out of my control but I've now mastered my obstacles and will be serving up some hot and tasty new content.

Then you wait a few months until I do it all over again.  Are you bored yet with this game?

Me too.

The blog hasn't been a complete dead zone, but instead, it has essentially been my friend Scott's blog with my occasional one line introduction to his posts and my weekly, "Hey look at my latest Collective Publishing" write-up.  Not really a place that I can claim is the home of all my thoughts and writings.

But that will change now.

Hopefully.

Though I can understand if you have some doubts, since as I already admitted, we've played this game before.  I'm sure you'd rather check out the latest Grand Theft Auto instead, because I hear it is quite popular.

Now, I could have just skipped this State of the Blog address, and got to original content creation, and maybe that is what you'd have preferred, but I didn't want to just jump into posting articles and ignore the fact my actual own posts have been on hiatus for most of 2013. It has been the sparsest year on the blog since I relaunched it back in 2010.  I thought I should at least be open about things.

Well, first there is this.   I'm not cowering in the fetal position and only sustaining myself on the crumbs I can wrestle away from ants.  But I'd also have a 14 inch nose if I tried to get away claiming that there hasn't been some high anxiety and near emotional breakdowns.  I already explained in the past post that I believe part of it comes with the territory of being a creative type, and I just need some helpful kicks to the side of the head to remind me that doing creative work usually does a decent job of keeping me out of such ruts.  So, I should do things like write on this blog.  But there have been a few other causes for the party bag of anxiety and self-doubt.

Emily's work situation has changed this fall, which means I'm home with Everett far more.  This means more time pushing toy cars and watching building block tumble than getting actual writing work done for clients during the day.  My writing times have been limited to early morning, evening, Everett's nap, and when he is distracted by shiny objects (I'm lucky he has largely adopted his father's traits).  It has led to a constant game of beat-the-clock with deadlines, but also a feeling of being buried deep into the mountain of client and editor requests.

But I'm not really complaining about the situation, because it means I get to spend my days with this guy.


Seriously, I can't whine too hard when one of my top priorities is having fun with. . .


Okay, have I posted enough cute Everett pictures to make up for my much extended absences?

Besides you may have noticed that Emily's return to work hasn't even been a month yet, and my sporadic appearances on the blog have been much longer.  So, I can't blame it all on the new work situation.

A large portion of the stress has come from major changes and issues I've had with a few long term clients.  There was one specific client I've been producing content for over a year now, but when it came to renewing the contract we hit a few snags.  Mainly, I thought it was time to discuss a few changes, and they didn't.  It led to far too many talks and discussions over the summer, and it has left me now with a very different relationship with them.  It isn't over, but they aren't going to be a main source of income going forward, most likely.

For some reason, this type of thing happened a lot this summer.  It partly came from some businesses taking huge financial hits and so they didn't have the cash flow like when I first signed a contract with them.  There also was the issue that I thought it was time for things to be a bit different, and some were far less receptive than I had hoped.

I'm being vague here, but I'm sure most of you can guess I'm largely talking about money.  My time has become far more valuable in the past year, and mortgages and bills have remained, so I've put a higher value on what I do.  As I think I should, because most of my work has generated positive results for the companies that I write for. 

It isn't all about money.  Part of it also has to do with creative control, and my desires to work on new projects and take on different challenges.  In some cases, these clients just weren't ready to go in that direction.  I was once the guy who wrote an essay on medieval history as if I was a knight ready to go on a journey, so doing things the traditional way tires me quickly.   I'm in a spot where I either want some great challenge or have flexibility in my content and style.  This would be one of the major reasons that Collective Publishing is a great place to write, because they pay decent and I've got almost complete creative control over my content.

So, I've lost a few clients and I've had some drastically altered relationships with others, and that stuff is stressful, since a lot of it was out of my control too.  In the case of the one client I mentioned, they also were trying it implement some changes that just would have made for some really bad career moves for me (like sign a no-compete clause that would have made it so I have to write exclusively for them in their given field).  My time has been eaten up trying to salvage things, but also create plans to avoid this type of thing in the future.

I like writing for clients and getting my stuff published in magazine and online sites.  Part of my enjoyment is ego, because it is always a warm fuzzy to be accepted and know someone paid to have my writings in their publication.  I like my ego getting pampered, since he can be quite needy.  But as I've been doing this for a few years now, I'm starting to care less about placating my ego, and more about paying bills and my mortgage.

I do plan to write for clients my whole life.  I continue to want to be published in magazines.  I also hope to eventually get a book and novel published the traditional way.  But not all these things are my top priority.  Instead, it is to be able to continually make a living through what I love -- writing.

This means I've started to plan and formulate strategies for some projects that allow me to have more creative control but also generate an income.  A few of things will be directly linked to the blog, which means I really need to start writing on here on a regular basis.  I don't want to reveal too much at this point, because many of these super secret projects are quite a ways away.  I'm hoping for them to be launched between 6 to 12 months, even that may be overly optimistic.

I also don't want to keep on teasing things like books and short stories and super secret projects and then not deliver on anything.  I'll try not to mention anything more about them until there is actually something to say.

On top of all that stuff that has been occupying my time, I have a family life that I'm trying to be engaged in.  There is actually some events swirling around in that department too, but I'll talk about that in another post (and no, Everett isn't getting a sibling).  My wife is incredible, and has been an amazing support, but the sad fact is we haven't got to spend a lot of time together.  This is still something I'm trying to master while dealing with all the other things I've spent several paragraphs ranting about.

I did get to spend almost two weeks in Vancouver and Vancouver Island with my family back in August.  Something I had planned to blog about and show pictures and all the other things, and then I successfully didn't.  But it kind of looked like this.


I've thrown the trip into the pile of things that were most definitely blog-worthy, but my hiding away from the International House of Spicer caused it to be sabotaged.  Maybe I'll write something about it later, but at this point, I would rather just try to concentrate on moving forward. 

There has been a good deal of news and pop culture over the last several months that could have used my rantings.  Maybe there will be a time when I feel like talking about them, but for now, they'll be lost in the abyss of things that could have been.

My point is that I'm now declaring a relaunch again.  I'm hoping to at least be creating daily content and sometimes more than that.  I want to get the traffic back up to 2012 levels, because as I said, I've got projects and plans to launch.  But I also said I wouldn't talk about those until I have more to say.

Speaking of things to say, I don't have anything else.  So, I'll leave you with this pilot.



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