My embarrassing admission is that I got out of rhythm.
Let me start off by saying I'm sorry. I study business and Internet marketing all the time and the first rule is to have regular and consistent updates. I've been trying to identify the one dominant reason why my regular post schedule got interrupted. The thing I can pinpoint is that I got out of rhythm. I think that is it. I could point to so many individual things that have been going on around me, preparing for a new job, working hard to complete two books before said job begins, end of Summer prep for Fall with household tasks and kid-related fun and finally technological challenges of a broken domain name. It has been a whirlwind! But I'm often working in a whirlwind. Delivery dates and time-sensitive needs are always compounding themselves, but I had still been putting in my time on this blog.
Writing a book is a lot of work!
I think another reason why I strayed from the beat of three posts per week was that I was writing a book and it took a lot of creative and cognitive energy. I've heard in several interviews with authors and bloggers that the respective writing is very different. The skill of writing can transfer, but the kind of writing is very different. The one-time burst of focused thought that is required of a blog post makes it easier to produce. One thought, stay focused, write it all out, edit it... and you're done! But a book is more like a marathon combined with wandering in the wilderness. You know generally what the book is to be about, but collecting and organizing topics for a non-fiction book is a lot of work. Every time I stop a writing session, the book keeps nagging me in the back of my mind. The topic order doesn't feel right. "Oh! I just thought of another thing to add." Then I realize I need to do more clarification on something I just wrote. Oh, I look at the calendar and realize that my seasonal topic is slipping by. Will it ever be done? The struggle is a lot like when I was deciding to launch this blog to the public. "Is there enough content now?"
The beauty of that lesson launching the blog is that it will always be far from perfect. You can always update and edit as you go forward. But if you haven't shipped, your effort is wasted. The same applies here to my book. In a few days, I'm launching an ebook guide filled with tips on our local amusement park King's Island. As I finish writing our the remaining chapters, I'm trying to decide if I should post it for pre-sale. I'm also debating if I should open the dialogue with the public, inviting them to share their tips. There is no single right answer. Hopefully by the end of this weekend I'll have it up for pre-sale and I'll be sure to let you know here. Incidentally, if you have a tip that you want to share post it in the comments of send it to me at my working email mike at creativity.show.
Manage your creative energy
Another problem that I had gotten myself into, was that I was pulling too much content from one place, between my own ears. Some wise counsel I received before launching this blog was to get collaborators. I've mentioned to many friends and colleagues this idea. I'm coming! If anyone would like to go first in a short interview, feel free to contact me as mentioned a moment ago. Everyone else, be ready for my call. I'm planning a new cadence of production, so I may just ask you for some good schedule options and we'll make it happen very quickly.
I've mentioned before that I love to read. One of the household tasks I alluded to earlier was preparing for, and holding, a garage sale. I had to go through all my books. That was a formidable task. If you know me well, another embarrassing admission, you may know that around books I have some hoarding tendencies. But you can be proud of me, I reduced my collection by probably fifty pounds of books! I pruned out many that just weren't within the scope of my interest and time. But the act of reviewing my collection also was an opportunity to group and sort. I moved my best gems to a single pile. I collected the hot books that I want to read as soon as I can get to them. The topics are more inviting when grouped together. Even though there are many topics, being collected and presented among like topics makes them more approachable. If I want to turn my thinking to the topic on this shelf, that is far easier than observing a shelf with many different topics.
Other decluttering activities provided similar benefits. I collected all my neglected art supplies, sketchbooks and paper into one place. It made me realize how much I let technology get in the way of producing art. I used to draw all the time. I've purchased several electronic drawing tools. Some have helped with things like photo retouching and manipulation. But none have given me a satisfying drawing workflow. It is embarrassing to quantify how much, or how little, this guy with a degree in illustration actually draws. I realized, the old-school tools that I used to use pencil, colored pencil and paper are all right there. They are waiting to be turned into something great.
I like drawing lines
I mentioned I'm skilled at drawing. Even though I'm an excellent draftsman, that's not what I'm referring to this time. You know those lines that leaders or bullies draw on the ground and then challenge you to step across them? I draw lines like those, for myself, all the time. Most often I set a new goal or rule during times when I get to stop and assess where I am. This is the end of the Summer. This is when my birthday falls on the calendar. It is often a time of the year when I take vacation. All these things align this time of year to inspire extra contemplation. I look back, then I look ahead. I try to set good objectives and consider things to prune away. You can't do everything! Even if it is all good stuff. Not all the lines are for stepping across, some are boundaries. "I'm now going to concentrate on this!" That statement may seem like less, but actually it is the first step toward MORE.
Now is a good time for me to get back into rhythm. I'd mentioned pivoting, that was alluding to the books that are almost ready. Once those are done, I have a long-term fiction piece I'd like to try. That and this blog will fill much of my time. But these are my high priorities. The luxury of a new full-time job is that I can stop being a hunter for a while and plant some "crops". I can be a hunter, but it is a consuming activity. A farmer can plan, learn, cultivate the soil, sow seed and reap a harvest. If I make a good plan, I should be able to produce a lot in the coming months. Some of that production, I hope is collaborative.
I haven't gone anywhere. I'm like that scene in The Jerk when Steve Martin starts to hear his kind of music. Once he has the beat, he's off! Thanks for listening to my embarrassing admission. Thanks for being patient while I work out the next chapter and find my new rhythm!
Photo credit: water blue smooth wave - CC0 License