It's time for a reboot.
If you've followed me at all in the last seven years, you know that blogging on any sort of a regular basis has been a struggle. I'm hardly new to this game and it often feels like I'm sitting here with a "Serra Angel" card (Magic the Gathering, anyone?) but keep playing the other low level cards like they'll eventually get me somewhere. We all know it takes actually throwing that card onto the table in order to get ahead and it's beyond past time to do that.
I feel like I've been staring at you all for a while. And it's starting to get to that creepy, awkward stage.
Veteran followers will also notice that, unlike my last attempt at a reboot, there is no archived content stashed in the new site. There will be some "evergreen content" posted to give new readers a chance to actually, you know, read while I work on getting more content churned out. With my previous reboot attempt it always felt like I was still tied to old patterns and the gaps I saw in the archives just reinforced that fear that I was never going to hit the goals I had set for myself. So, I am starting fresh and breaking bad patterns.
I moved to New York City in August 2013 and, with that giant step, started a whole new chapter in my life, allowing me to actually make good on the dreams I've had since high school. It's turned out to be one of the best things I've ever done for myself, second only to coming out. Radical change does that to people. If you haven't tried it, I highly recommend doing so. Like, yesterday. Making all of these big changes opens up lots of room to improve other areas of my life, something that I relish. Like so many other interesting men and women, I've always found working on myself to be a process that's never done and always worth the time I choose to invest in it. New York has a way of forcing you to take a hard look in the mirror and ask yourself really good questions, and the topic of "how serious are you about improving your ability to communicate?" is just one of many that's come up lately.
To help guide the growth and development of this site I am going to be implementing a lot of the ideas and principles I learn on a daily basis from the books, blogs, stories, and interactions I have with people far wiser than I am. I enjoy sharing and sometimes do too much of it. Learning to temper this and channel that enthusiasm into structured and creative forms of expression is one of my biggest points of focus today. It's going to be a fun, possibly irritating, and exhausting journey at times, but for every mistake there's an opportunity to learn. It's with that in mind that I am going to take this new venture one step at a time.
I mentioned goals, but I really am more a fan of implementing systems. I've set goals for most of my life and found that when I achieved them I was happy and satisfied and immediately lost as to what to do next. I was likely doing something wrong, I realize now. I started railing against goals last year and promoting the idea of using systems instead. That actually has worked better for me and I've seen myself adopt a lot of great new habits. But I also realize now that it's really more about finding a balance between systems and goals. Goals allow you to measure progress, something that is highly satisfying and validating. Systems establish something constant and are vital to changing unwanted patterns in favor of adopting new and potentially better ones. So some goals must be set and some systems must share the stage with them to get us all there happily.
I'll go into goals more in depth in future posts, but, to set the big picture up for now, I want to speak briefly about a couple. By the vernal equinox next year, my goal is to have maintained a consistent two posts every week for a year. A system I'm putting in place to assist in that goal is setting aside fifteen minutes every day, between two and six in the afternoon/early evening, to enter in topic ideas in my Evernote notebook for future reference. Doing this will give me plenty of juice to run on when the inspiration has run out and ideas don't come flocking to me.
I am also setting the goal of hitting 100 page views per day by this same time next year. Building an audience and keeping that audience engaged is something I've seen myself do with previous projects but, again, takes consistency. In order to meet this goal I will need to adhere to the system I mentioned in the previous paragraph as well as craft content that people want to read. In order to do that, I am holding myself to an attitude of positivity and a sense of purpose in everything I write or post to this site. It may take a multitude of different forms and I can guarantee you that there will be times I write on things that have me frustrated or confused, but each time I will transparently turn the idea around until I have found the positive in it. I find this very easy to do and it is possibly one of the main reasons why I call myself an optimist. The trick is not stopping that process before I've hit on the silver lining. This will help mold me into a better write, a better communicator, and a better friend.
This site is my portal to the world, the looking glass from which I attempt to reach out into the world to affect change and engage the human race. It's also a record of thoughts and ideas in all their ever-changing glory and easy markers for measuring personal growth. I will do the best I can and then some to keep the quality high as well as consistent.
If you've stuck with this piece this far, we'll get a long just fine. You really should get a cookie for being as patient as you are to come all this way. Just know that I appreciate you and your amazing eyeballs. Let's make some magic happen.
- by Shawn Carter