I’ve been writing on this blog for over half a decade. From my short, almost Twitter-like, posts about what I think people should think to my longer articles about friends, family, and those I admire, this domain and blog have been my online home since I first recognized writing was a real career path available to me.
So when I first heard about Jeff Goins and his ideas on starting over, I scoffed. Start over? Psh. I had 230-ish subscribers! Sure, that may not be a lot and half of them were probably bots, but I had people that actually took the time to read what I had written.
And I had page views! 300+ a day! More when I wrote about something controversial or tried to newsjack other coverage (oh Crazy Amy, you were good for my ego)! This obviously means I had a successful blog, right?
Well, I guess so. But then I got married, and then I moved, and then because of some weird fear of not being taken seriously (good call, Corey Nagle), I just stopped writing. And then Google Reader died. And then, unbeknownst to me, Feedburner, the service that sends these posts to subscribers, was killed, too.
Did those subscribers miss me? I’m sure they did, I always miss blogs that I subscribe to but don’t receive updates from. But was I going to keep writing, if only to listen to myself talk in my head?
Of course not! I’d be starting over, and that would be a waste. I wanted to be taken seriously, and to do that, I had to publish something serious. So I published a book. It…was something I could do better now (though the pictures are fantastic).
Am I digressing too much? I feel like I’m rambling. Did I just type that? I guess I did. In my defense, I just spent eight days on painkillers 5x a day after a ‘routine’ double-toenail removal went not so routine.
Yes, I wrote a book in seven weeks, which was a great first attempt at such a project. Not everyone will get a or take the chance to do that, and while I’m not saying I’d do it the same way again, it was a fantastic experience.
But as an almost full-time writer, I know that in order to tell better stories and understand people enough to tailor such tales, I needed to start living a helluva lot more involved life than the one I left in AZ. That means volunteering, doing things that made me uncomfortable, and giving up control where I previously refused to.
Skora Running was my first stab at that. The growing company is still growing, and I’m excited for what 2014 will bring. I’m working on a new cider book as I edit Mostly True Tales From My Somewhat Fictional Life, handling marketing for a cider company, and I recently became involved with a group I would have laughed out of the room two years ago, Chris Guillebeau’s World Domination Summit.
The name weirded me out at first. World domination? Unless it was full of scientists and engineers building information mining software and smart bombs, please. It was exactly what I assumed it would be: a bunch of freelancer or freelancer-minded people looking to be “inspired” by “life coaches” and “emotional” stories that I’ve already read, heard about, and likely experienced. Dorks, I tell you. Dorks.
Except that wasn’t the point of the conference. It wasn’t geared toward improving yourself, that was a side effect. It wasn’t life coaches life coaching, it was experienced professionals sharing their faults and successes. It was people, a lot like me, that were a little further ahead in life.
The entire weekend wasn’t easy. From helping with the record float to riding my bike across bridges to lift heavy globes and patrolling the stage entrance to seeing that the line of people asking Guillebeau to sign his books was in disarray and then fixing it, it was a weekend were people just wanted to be around others that could say “I know how you feel. Want to talk about it/have a drink/walk around town/share our fears/learn to brew coffee?” It was weird and lame and awesome and surprising.
Thanks to our efforts, the main WDS staff asked my wife and I to help plan next year’s event. Katie, with her Gangplank and non-profit background, was asked to help with a foundation they’re looking to get off the ground. I’m proud that she’s found something worthwhile to do outside of work. Me? Well, I don’t have a role just yet, but I’m assuming I’ll do what I always do and what I’ve become good at: helping people fix things when they need it.
Speaking of fixing things, there’s a new co-working space, Hatch, full of social entrepreneurs offering co-work space, offices, an incubator and programming opening up in Portland on Thursday, January 30. Somewhat similar to Gangplank in AZ, Hatch looks to be a place for freelancers like me. As with WDS, I’m not totally sure what I’ll be doing, but I assume I’ll do what I always do: help people fix things. And I get to work from there, which will be a nice break from my long hours, with only Layla the dog as company, here at my home office.
Anyway, starting over. I’m starting this blog over. I’m starting over running after being off for almost a month because of my toenails. I’m starting over with the HipCider book. I’m starting over so I can get rid of the fear that’s plagued me for almost two years.
I’m tired of being scared to do something. Cheers to everyone who’s already figured it out, and cheers to those still striving to.