The Best Thing I’ve Done Yet

As a distributed worker, it’s been tough to figure out a proper work day. After nearly two years of working remotely, I’ve decided on an output level that I’m satisfied with. When you’re working remotely, it’s important to realize when you’ve had a good day.

In my business, it’s easy to write post after post because the news cycle never ends. However, after a year and a half of working this way, I’ve finally laid my feet down and have specified two published posts per day as a good work day.

This is a goal I can accomplish every day which is very important to me. If I gave myself goals I couldn’t accomplish, I’d probably end up going crazy, which is something I was doing as of late. So far, publishing two posts a day has not only decreased my stress level, but it’s increased the time I spend with my wife.

This is a win-win in my book and something I should strive towards. Once I can accomplish this goal on a routine basis, I’ll look into increasing my output.

The Personal Blog Sanctuary Doesn’t Exist

Some folks out there may be thinking that their personal blog is their sanctuary. I don’t think so. Once you’re employed, your personal blog becomes a weapon used for harm. Just as you can’t speak your mind in public for fear of being protested against, you can’t do the same on a digital medium.

Once folks find out who you work for, they’ll stop at nothing to get you unemployed. The easiest way to accomplish this is through protesting sponsors of the company the person works for. This is not happening to me but, I’ve seen it happen to a lot of other people.

Getting your thoughts from brain to digital paper is important but if you hit the publish button, make sure you have the toughest armor possible. It’s a rough world and it’s getting tougher every minute. I’m almost at the point of suggesting that personal blogging does more harm than good when you’re employed.

Mid Week Progress Report

It’s been a few days since I’ve received some advice and a good talking too from many friends about my job and opportunity that lies before me. Since those conversations, I’ve had a more positive approach and attitude which seems to have resulted in better output.

Over the course of this week, I’ve done a good job of being in the thick of things when it comes to WordPress. This is where I excel and do my best work. I’ve been flying solo but it hasn’t affected me as much as I thought it would. In many ways, my experience at work this week is reminiscent of years past. I’ve been in a great groove, I just hope I don’t get an email that derails the train.

What Is A Journalist Anyways?

Let me start off by saying I’ve never gone through a journalism class or have received training to become a journalist. I’ve used various sites within the past 10 years to write about things I’m interested in. It just so happens I took a big interest in WordPress when I discovered how easy it was to publish content and modify themes to make it look the way I wanted.

I started watching the project and would publish my thoughts on the direction WordPress was traveling. I published news articles, opinions, and linked to others in the WordPress community when I thought their article was something others should see. The way I write posts I consider to be common sense. I read a blog post, figure it out in my head and then write what I think, linking where possible. I’m a curious guy who doesn’t have all the answers so I ask questions when possible to those I thought would have the answers.

Somewhere along the way, people began to view me as a WordPress Journalist. I think of journalists as people who report on a story, with all the facts in hand, checking them 50 times to make sure they’re right. They write for the New York Times, Washington Post, and appear on CNN. Journalist is a serious word and I think it carries with it a lot of baggage or responsibilities. Baggage I’ve not trained myself to carry around. I don’t view myself as a journalist but rather, an enthusiast blogger fascinated with the WordPress open source project. That at least sounds a lot more fun than being a journalist, where everything seems to be so serious all the time.

In the age of blogging, it’s been discussed multiple times as to when blogging becomes journalism. When is that line crossed if the line exist at all? I don’t have the answer. I’m just some guy who lives in Ohio, that writes about WordPress because it’s something I’m interested in. I’m not trying to be a 60 Minutes kind of guy but rather, satisfy my own curiosity. If that’s what a journalist is, I guess I’ll add that to my list of fancy titles and live with it.

I Can't Stands No More

Those of you who have been following my progress as a writer know that at about this time last year, I had a great opportunity come my way thanks to a referral from a friend where I was offered to write for Performancing.com. The pay was great compared to anything I’ve ever seen before. However, it didn’t take long to realize what I had stepped into. After working with Performancing for two to three months, I started to come up with ideas and ways to reinvigorate the brand/community/site. What I proposed was a radical change to the way things were done. I was filled with ideas and motivation to turn things around. My ideas were noted and passed around but progress was slow. While a redesign for Performancing has taken place on a platform that at some point the site will be migrated to, the site is where it was a year ago.

I wish I could just publish the email I sent this morning which clearly illustrates my frustration with the site but I don’t feel that would be in my best interest. However, I feel I can post a quote from it.

Ultimately, Performancing.com in its current iteration is a bottomless pit. Or an empty auditorium. I’ve been waiting for someone to bust my ass for lack of production or lack of enthusiasm but I’d pay to see anyone get enthused about this site now adays. Then I’d have to wonder what kind of shrooms they ate.

In my mind, Performancing would turn into an awesome site if there was a team of people writing for the domain. Each one of these people were so called experts are at least, in the know for a particular CMS/publishing platform of their choice. So, I’d fit the bill with WordPress, someone could do MovableType, someone could do Joomla, etc. Sure, it sounds like CMS Wire, but they do newsy posts. Our goal would be to help bloggers succeed using these publishing systems and doing this as a team. Think about the mini competitions we could have with one platform versus another. I think their would be endless content creation opportunities and the audience I think would love it. Top it with a forum, a podcast, maybe some screencasts, and wow, what a helluva resource for bloggers of all types. That’s what I would turn Performancing into if I had the cash and know how.

There are plenty of lessons to be learned from Performancing.com, especially regarding managing a site. Because the site has exchanged hands at points in the past, has cared more about content generation versus all other aspects of the domain, and no continuous maintenance, we now have a site with a huge six year archive, a bunch of spam user accounts, comments, and blog posts, not to mention stuff on the built in forums all of which make it difficult to do anything with the site. It’s one of those situations where I’d like to just reformat and start over but you can’t because the archive is the only saving grace of the domain.

I know they are currently in the migration phases to move from Drupal to WordPress and that will most likely solve half or more of the problems associated with the site, just as long as most of the crap is not migrated over as well.

It doesn’t matter how much you pay me to write on your site. If 90% of comments are junk, I have no idea if someone links to the post or not, I’m stuck with a platform that sucks, there is little to no way to build community or loyalty around the site, eventually the writer is going to burn out and wonder what the hell is he doing wasting his time going upstream rather than with the flow. I’ll no doubt miss the $1,000.00 a month in pay but being able to bust my ass and reap the rewards which is more than just cash coming in is worth more to me in the long run.

Now can someone point me to the soup line?

Always Two Days Behind

What a difference it is to blog for yourself rather than for others. When I look back to when I started Jeffro2pt0.com, one thing that pops out immediately is the satisfaction I felt by writing about the things I was interested in without a deadline. Back then, I could (and did) take hours to write up a comprehensive review or I could spend 15 minutes writing about a news blurb. Getting comments on those articles and being able to move on to the next one is refreshing compared to what I do now. Granted, I didn’t have any blogging related income at the time, I think that being paid to blog is a restriction in and of itself. Although for the longest time, I felt that if someone could just pay me to write on my own blog, on the topics I find interesting with no restrictions, I would be in blogging heaven. That will never happen since understandably, it is a risky investment. Not that I would want that to happen anyways since the purpose of Jeffro2pt0 has changed since then.

I know David Peralty of BrandingDavid.com feels the same way I do and I’m sure many others do as well where we wake up each day feeling like we’re two days behind. A post needs to be written for this site, that site, our own site, and once those are written/published, you start over and do it again. This feeling of always being behind sucks as it takes its toll on the human mind/emotions. After awhile, blogging isn’t fun anymore at least blogging for others. Now, I should make the point that writing for others is not that bad when you are writing about your passion and working with great people but as an individual, when you are spread out amongst 3-5 websites, the quality of writing suffers, it’s not fun anymore, and I feel as if I gain nothing by subjecting myself to that kind of lifestyle on the web.

I made the decision a long time ago to write/work for others instead of myself because I have no interest in the advertising side of things. With WPTavern, that mindset has changed and now I am really looking forward to getting back to writing about my passion along with the things that interest me with the only restrictions being the ones I put on myself. I only hope that this can pay the bills or else I may find myself back at square one.

What about you? Do you ever get that feeling of always being two days behind? Even on days when you “catch up” and do things ahead of time, the feeling of accomplishment appears to be short lived. How do you handle that feeling? Better yet, how do you avoid feeling that way?

People Call Me WordPress Guru

Or, WordPress community superstar. At any rate, these are all names given to me, not names I have chosen. But, as long as its not derogatory, I’ll take them. Mayank of BlogDesignStudio.com has published an interview he conducted with yours truly. In it, I confess about my fear of roller coasters, provide insight into my blogging opportunities with BloggerTalks and Performancing, and at the end of the article, provide a number of tips in one paragraph related to blogging/freelance writing.

Go on over and check it out and let me know what you think.

What A Busy Week

I am pretty excited to know that I am almost finished with my 32 hour work weeks at the grocery store. At least, for the time being and everything continues to go well with freelancing. The grocery store will serve as a crutch in case things in the freelancing world cave in. This past week, I published an interview on BloggerTalks.com with Steve Hodson, published a great post that was welcomely received by the Performancing community called 7 Tips On Building Relationships Through Blogging, produced a fun open mic edition of Perfcast and to top it all off, produced an hour and a half WordPress Weekly with Jane Wells were we covered a ton of ground related to WordPress 2.7.

WordPress 2.7 Beta 1 is out and ready for the publics consumption. November 10th looks like the date for a release candidate while the end of November is aimed for the actual release of 2.7. I am going to bite the bullet and work on getting my content from my Jeffc.me domain and the content on Jeffro2pt0 back into one file and then import that into a new installation of WordPress, that being 2.7 beta 1. Then, I’m going to work on slimming down the theme and installing one plugin at a time and get back to the basics.

One of the subtle changes I am going to make is to remove the FeedBurner graphic. I was having a discussion with Andrew Rickmann on the WordPress Weekly after show and I was talking to him about going back to the basics and how I am getting to the point of doing things my way instead of the popular (what the rest of the blogosphere is doing) way.  So, I’ll remove the graphic because I don’t care to see it everyday. I’ll check in from time to time but it is not a priority for me anymore. My priority is to clean this place up, highlight my freelancing work and then publish content on a regular basis by treating this blog as if it was my Tumblr account. That means, publishing links to articles that interest me, sometimes I’ll write a long form article, opinionated pieces, bits of my personal life, random thoughts, etc.

I just feel that it is time for me to reclaim this blog as my own and no one else’s. While I enjoy writing content for people, I always enjoy writing content for myself and getting my thoughts from my head, out into the open. I want to get back to the point in time of where I can freely express myself without thinking about the boundaries I have placed on this blog by writing for others.

Will I still talk about WordPress and Web 2.0 and all that other stuff? Of course I will, as I see fit, but don’t expect this site to be an authoritative figure in any subject. I want to converse with people and discuss things, concepts, ideas, whatever. So, that will be the focus of the site after I have reformatted it. Along with the reformat, I plan on doing a redesign but it will not be anything drastic. I’m tired of spending 17 hours each time I redesign the site. I’ve always been a fan of forests and so, that is the theme I am going to head towards with the redesign.

For those that will continue to ride the train of life and blogging with me, its time to move on to the next stop. For everyone else, you can get off here. But don’t forget to send me a postcard :)