Thanks for the Motivation Justin

This morning, I read an interesting post from Justin Tadlock on what he regrets the most about blogging.

What I regret the most is that I didn’t write enough about my life.

During my college years, I wrote extensively about my day-to-day existence. There were numerous experiences that I left out.

My blog painted a picture of who I was.

Going forward, I want to record more about me. Or, at the very least, record my thoughts on things. That may include writings on social issues, politics, or pop culture. I’m not entirely sure.

I feel the same way about my blog. It mostly sits here dormant while I submit things to Facebook and Twitter. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to publish more things here but rather, I’ve been keeping a lot of stuff inside and haven’t been able to channel what’s in my head to virtual paper. I’m also scared about what might happen if I open up about some of the things I want to discuss.

I need to recommit to this space of mine. A space where I can write and publish practically about anything I want. I need to get back to a daily writing grind and just let the words flow like the good ole days.

Thanks for the motivation Justin. Now all I gotta do is follow through.

 

Struggling Hard to Get My Groove Back

photo credit: rthakrar - cc

photo credit: rthakrarcc

I don’t know if it’s one thing or a combination of factors, but when it comes to writing about WordPress, I’m really struggling to get my groove back. Things felt so much easier back in 2009-2011 when I  was publishing multiple stories per day without breaking a sweat. Today, it’s tough for me to get 1-2 articles written let alone three or four.

If I think back to the environment I was in during that time, I worked the late night shift at the store. I would come home, maybe write an article or two or get up late, and write some more. I was in tune with most of what was going on in the WordPress ecosystem. I’d read my FeedReader and interact with people throughout the day via Twitter. Each day felt like I was one step closer to accomplishing something which at the time, was turning the site into my full-time job.

I was focused, lived with my parents, and spent most of my time in my room and just wrote about whatever interested me regarding WordPress. I’m trying to figure out what happened to that Jeffro. If you find him, can you tell him to go home as he’s late for dinner?

Today, I spend a lot of time sitting in this chair, TRYING to write about whatever interests me in WordPress and it’s not working. My reading to writing ratio is way off. I spend a lot more time writing than I do reading, I’m almost certain it’s one of the factors plaguing me. I rarely look at my FeedReader and when I do read, I’m skimming to hurry up and write a post. Posts which have in my opinion, been total crap. I feel like that guy who had a good thing going, retired, came out of retirement and could never repeat the success that made him who he is.

Here are a couple of instances where I’ve had good days.

  • I wake up with post ideas already in mind, I have my day set and all I need to do is write about those topics instead of finding things to write about.
  • I work remotely at my favorite spot. When I work from the MacbookPro, I’m forced to stay focused on the task at hand since I only have one screen. It takes longer to write the content but I’m generally more focused.
  • I’m able to get my work done and spend time with my wife.
  • Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays are my best days

Things I definitely need to change.

  • I need to get a membership to the local rec center and actually perform physical activity. I keep telling myself that not only will this give me the opportunity to work out, but I’ll be able to listen to podcasts again, something I’ve missed since quitting my previous job.
  • I need to lose weight. The pounds keep piling on and I’ve done little to stop the madness.
  • I need to cut down my beer and pop intake, two things which I know are significant contributors to the decline of my health.

Things I’m still struggling with being a full-time distributed worker.

  • Knowing how or when to end the work day. I’m spending a lot of time on the computer but not having a lot to show for it. It doesn’t help that on days where I’ve had a hard time producing content, it almost forces me to keep working until I do.
  • Discipline.
  • The quality of the output I’m producing needs to be better.
  • Getting at least one if not two good posts published every day. WHY IS THIS SO HARD NOW?
  • Thursdays and Fridays are my worst days of the week. I’m almost certain I know why and I’m going to change it.

No one needs to tell me I’m doing a bad job, I’m pretty good at discovering that on my own. Besides, as a distributed employee, I’m my own boss and my own worst critic. What I need is encouragement for when I’ve done a good job. Hell, I don’t even know what constitutes a good job. It’s something I’ve made up rarely achieve.

Just like iteration is the continuous improvement of something, I need to keep iterating my process, routine, and attitude. Changes need to happen because I certainly don’t have the winning combination right now.

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.

The Frustrations Of Not Being An English Major

English is my native language but I’ll be damned if I know the intricacies of writing it, let alone speaking it. I’ve learned a few things along the way but there is a part of me that avoids trying to learn the proper way of writing the English language. Knowing verbs, adjectives, possessive this and that. All the stuff I’ve forgotten from the days of school. I’ve relied on the spell checker in the browser and occasionally, I’ll Google the definition of a word before I use it.

In the past few years of publishing content, I’ve been able to avoid people intent on making sure every grammatical mistake on the web is fixed. Sure, I’ve had the comments where people suggest other words or corrected a typo or two and I’m thankful for those. The thing is, if you can understand the point I’m trying to get across, what’s with all this other crap surrounding the point.

In certain situations, I can see how punctuation, grammar, and the like are important for people to understand points I’m making. The ability to publish things I write the way I speak is fulfilling. But correcting this mistake, that mistake, and seemingly never being able to write something that doesn’t require at least one correction, sucks. Why do I have to subject myself to those rules? I’d like to tell the English language to kiss my ass and let me do things my way.

I guess I should just hunker down and read English for dummies and try to at least obtain some semblance of writing skills. After all, if I can stop making those writing mistakes, that’s less I have to bitch about! By the way, style guides are books used to put people to sleep.

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?

Adjusting Has Been A Pain

This is the first week in where I begin working weekends only at the grocery store while doing freelancing Mon-Fri. One of the reasons I was looking forward to this type of work schedule was the simple fact that I would finally be able to develop a sleeping schedule that normal people use. Well, in my first week, sleeping schedules have been anything but normal. I’ve been trying to get to bed at an early time but after a year and a half of working 9PM – 5AM, it’s just not that easy. Coupled with the fact that here in northern Ohio, we have been flirting with 70 degrees all week long but thanks to my insane sleep schedule along with the time change, I haven’t been able to take advantage of it.

My writing this week has also suffered. I haven’t published as much content at Performancing this week nor have I written anything for this blog in a little while. I’ve been thinking about using some sleeping aid pills to help me out but my girlfriend is strongly against me using those. The only real choice I have now is to pull an all nighter where I stay up for most of the day and then try to go to sleep at a decent time. Pretty poor for my health but I am sick of waking up in the middle of the afternoon.

Describe Your Groove

My Blogging GrooveThe other night, I was listening to my favorite talk radio program, Coast 2 Coast AM and George Noory took a phone call from a guy that was a professional bowler. During the phone call, the caller described a famous bowler who described the feeling of being in the groove, also known as being in the zone. This famous bowler described the feeling of being in the groove as a warm, fuzzy feeling in his chest.

Anytime this bowler would experience this feeling, he would bowel a perfect game. I have noticed myself during a few blogging sessions of feeling like being in the zone. During those times of feeling like I’m on top of the world has produced some of my best writing. It’s almost a natural high feeling, making me think I am invincible or something.

At any rate, what I would like to know from you is what it feels like when you catch yourself in the groove. What sort of emotions or physical feelings do you attribute to this feeling and what were the results of your work after the feeling goes away?

Time To Go Old School

Over the past two weeks, I’ve been thinking about how great it was when this blog covered everything of interest to me. Sure, WordPress is fun to write about but when I considered the fact that I get paid to write about WordPress for WeblogToolscollection.com and I have guest blog accounts on HackWordPress.com, WPCandy.com, RAProject.com and on top of all that, I have tried to turn this blog into a WordPress only domain, I am starting to run out of steam.

I’m not running out of blogging steam, but I hate being in this blogging cycle where there is so much to write about yet, I’m not sure whether to publish the post on my own blog, one of the other blogs, or for WLTC. It’s become a constant battle within myself as to who to write for. I also hate the fact that as I monitor Twitter and the RSS feed, I constantly get this feeling of OMFG I have to write about that, I have to write about this, OMG I can’t miss any of this. At the end of the day, I end up not writing anything. The constant weight on my shoulders of trying to play catchup sucks! If you have no idea what I mean, please read this excellent post written by the NYTimes which goes into some detail as to what it’s like to be part of the blogging Elite. It’s become increasingly apparent that blogging is a game of FIRSTIES. As the NYTimes article points out:

Speed can be of the essence. If a blogger is beaten by a millisecond, someone else’s post on the subject will bring in the audience, the links and the bigger share of the ad revenue.

But before I go on any more of a rant considering the state of blogging for big bucks, I want to get back on topic. I have decided that I am no longer going to continue to make this blog a WordPress centric site. I will continue to write about WordPress on occasion. However, I plan on getting back to my roots where I published opinions, share things I discovered, shared my personal experiences, or write up reviews or articles of things that I find interesting. The writing, discovery and the entire aspect of blogging just seemed to be better for me when that was my method of getting through the day. So then, I’m going back to what made this blog successful.

If you enjoyed what I have written on this blog concerning WordPress, I highly suggest you subscribe to my WordPress tag feed so that if I post something about WordPress in the future, you’ll be notified in your favorite RSS reader.

Jeffro2pt0 Invading Your WordPress Dashboard

Weblogtoolscollectionlogo

For those wondering, if you were wondering at all, I am the same Jeffro2pt0 that wrote the post, “Technorati Lacks Authority” which is published on the WeblogToolsCollection Website. This website is one of the premiere WordPress material related blogs that show up in a WordPress user’s administration panel. We are talking about a big audience here.

Let me say that, writing this first post on WLTC has been an eye opening experience. I’ve already learned that first, since it’s not my blog I’m publishing on, it’s Mark Ghosh’s, I have to ensure that the post I write makes complete sense and is backed up by factual statements or statistics. Secondly, dealing with a big audience is a task all of it’s own. When I wrote the post, I tried to make it come across as the way I was thinking about it. Undoubtedly, it didn’t come across with the same meaning to everyone. Some people took the post one way, while others took it in another. I’ve had to go in and correct things in the article and I’ve also had to defend or re-explain my stance on the issue. As you know, I’m one of those people who has to respond back to just about everyone who comments. Unlike many other blog authors, I can’t let the conversation die, I have to keep it going!

I’m not a journalist, I’m not a reporter, I don’t know how you would classify citizen journalism or citizen media but if someone asks, I tell them that I’m just a blogger. I write things how I see them. If I’m wrong, I’m hoping that someone will step up and correct me in the form of a polite comment. That way I learn what I did wrong, and the article is that much more accurate.

At any rate, the post on WeblogToolsCollection.com is one of what I think might be many posts, depending upon how many fires I start. I have to thank Mark Ghosh for giving me the opportunity to blog in front of a WIDE audience. I’d appreciate it if you guys would send me an email sometime or leave a comment letting me know what you think of the articles I write over there. I don’t know how you would feel in my position, but I look at it as an honor to write for an established site such as WeblogToolsCollection.com You just don’t get those sort of opportunities every day.