Let’s be real — when you start worrying over your reputation more than whether you actually like what you’re doing, you’ve got a problem.
Overcommitting myself — as I often do — I was hustling away, preparing validation test cases and user grant templates for the 9-5, where I’m rolling out a major project management tool with my understaffed team; and toiling through my 5-9, editing photos, writing thoughts and scraping my metaphorical nails against the looming writer’s block you face when you’ve got too much on your plate.
So when I got an invite to a major event that would see me out-of-town for a bit, I was honoured. Validated that someone was noticing all the work I was putting into my craft, wanting more of what I could offer on something bigger than the things I was already doing.
I remember proudly telling family and friends how impressed I was that despite major life changes, hard work and grind could win out against being at every event, sharing every hashtag or any of the various things we bloggers do in excess to get noticed.
Which is why when the offer got pulled from the table without follow-up, explanation or any further communication whatsoever, I decided it was time to make a change.
On That Grind
2014’s been a good year — I’ve been settling into my fatherhood role; I’ve written my ass off like I used to back in the day; and despite the moments of self-doubt, feeling like I’ve given all I can and that my best days are possibly behind me, things sometimes happen that slap me in the face, reminding me I’ve a ways to go before the world can understand what I’m really capable of.
Since I started taking blogging seriously, I’ve worked hard at it, investing countless nights making it better. My closer friends see the data I analyze and the notebooks filled with blog ideas as I work to pour my passion into the words filling your screen. I read on Web technologies voraciously, always wondering what more I can do to make my blog as excellent as possible. A week doesn’t go by where I haven’t swapped ideas and strategies with others, thinking that when we improve as a whole, everyone wins.
But perhaps all that isn’t good enough. Perhaps the world’s a little too “what have you done for me lately”, and if you’re not shoving content down your audience’s gullet every time they come up for air, you’re doing blogging wrong. Perhaps we delude ourselves into thinking our audiences will appreciate the time and scrutiny that goes into a piece, preferring to see a great post weekly rather than mediocre ones hourly.
And if that’s the way it works, I’ve been barking up the tree too loudly for too long.
It’s time to make a change.
It’s Okay, I Still Love Me.
This is where I make a stand. This is where I remember I already have a 9-5, and should always remember who owns this space, using it for the things that make me tick — not to fit someone else’s agenda. This is where I realize that one day I’ll need to tell my son what I really stand for, and if I let a brand decree how I should feel about myself, then I’m living my life completely wrong.
So it’s okay if you have better things to do than tell me I didn’t make the cut — I get it; we’re all busy people. It’s cool if you’re looking for bigger numbers, someone without children who’s omnipresent and juggling three events a night. It’s even cool if you want someone with a certain “look” who’ll pull in audiences from across the globe.
I get it — I really do — but while it’s not the straw that broke the camel’s back, this experience has been my introduction to the uglier side of blogging, and what it feels like to be discarded like I don’t matter. I learned it’s not always about who works hardest or even who you know — sometimes, for reasons outside of your control, you’re just not the person they’re looking for.
But you know what you do when you can’t win no matter what you do?
You play a different game.
You can only get so far by blogging in 2014 — blogging’s the crawl before you learn to walk, and I’ve waddled around for far too long.
It’s time for me to take my next steps — thank you for giving me the courage to do so.