State of the Paulion Address 2014: Looking Ahead

nerdamerica

In my last post I recapped the journey we went on throughout 2013. In this post, I will be looking ahead at 2014.

One of the most personally impacting decisions Leah and I made last year was in regard to becoming parents. For years, we’ve waffled as to whether or not we saw kids in our future. Despite having become mouth pieces for the child-free movement, we were never certain. Slowly but surely, we found ourselves swaying from the “No kids, ever” side of the pendulum to, “We could be really great parents if we only had one kid”. As the year drew to a close, the strange ethereal idea of having a child had begun to morph into a reality I can almost see. We’re going to have a kid.

But not just yet. We both have a lot of things we’d like to do before we start heading down that road, but the clock has begun ticking. We’re bound and determined to get the most out of this year as it’s possible it could be the last before we have a child to contend with. Leah has an exciting new project she’s in the process of fleshing out that could drastically alter what life post-child looks like. I’ve (still) got a smattering of books I’d really like to see concluded.

Actually, there are a lot of things I’d like to see by the end of 2014. 2013 was a difficult year for me, creatively. At some point I internalized the “10,000 hour rule” popularized by Malcolm Gladwell in his book, “Outliers”. In it, he quotes a study that found the average length of time for someone to become a world-class expert at something was 10,000 hours. For some people, this might help them establish a goal. For me, it began to feel like a death sentence.

I have a tendency to hop from hobby to hobby, gleaning what I can and making whatever I’m capable of. Different styles of art, different types of writing, soap making, building computers, whatever… It all comes and goes. It always has. When I lose interest in something, I know there’s a good chance I’ll become interested in it again a little later. For years, I was fine with that. Then I heard the 10,000 hour rule, and suddenly everything changed. What the hell was I doing with my life? 10,000 hours? Who has that much time? That’s enough time to choose one or maybe two things to get good at. All of those other things I used to do from time to time? Distractions. Wasted time. You’ve only got one life to live, so get good at whatever it is you do and get paid for it.

I spent a very significant part of 2013 not wanting to write, but forcing myself to anyway. And not in the healthy, “let’s build discipline” way, in the “stare at the computer screen and berate yourself” way. I just wasn’t as interested as I used to be. I wanted to draw or paint, but I felt guilty for not focusing on writing every time I tried. Then I felt guilty for not wanting to write more often. The 10,000 hour rule wrecked me.

But you know what? Maybe the 10,000 hour rule isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

How you go about learning something can drastically impact the length of time it takes to get good at it. And, come to think of it, I’m not necessarily looking to become an expert in anything. I just want to get good enough to share my thoughts and ideas over different mediums and see how people are affected by them.

That’s how this blog started out. It was just a means to an end. A few posts back, I said that I had begun to resent the act of writing. The phrase stuck with me, because I had never used language that strong to voice my discontent with the thing (I think) I love. Days later, I was listening to a podcast and one of the speakers said that we resent things when we feel we’re putting more into it than we’re getting out of it. I was struck by the simplicity of the comment, and how accurate it was in regards to both writing, and this blog in particular.

For the last year or two, I’ve been hoping to become one of those blogging superstars you read about. Tony Jones, Rachel Held Evans, anyone that is able to actually scrape together a living doing this. I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time, effort and energy on trying to make this blog resound with people. I’ve got SEO plugins, bookmarked articles on driving traffic through your site, and books on monetizing your blog. And it’s not happening.

I’m just not interested enough in the marketing side to push it as hard as I would need to. And, if I’m honest, I’ve still probably got some growing to do on the writing front as well. “Fake it till you make it” just isn’t working for me. I’m tired and exhausted. Originally, I began posting two times a week to build discipline. Now, years later, I’ve gotten the discipline part down as it relates to the blog, but I feel like there are a finite amount of words in my fingertips each week, and the blog is taking up most of them. I want to write screenplays and finish my books, and by the time I finish writing my posts I feel utterly drained.

 

That’s why until I feel like I can swing it again, I’m only going to be updating the blog once a week on Fridays. I’ll still post work from our contributors, and nothing else about the content or structure of the blog will change. I just feel like I need a bit of a break to let my creative side run wild and see where it ends up.

To that end, 2014 has already started off with some interesting developments. It appears I will be writing reviews for independent video games on a new website headed up by Massively’s old Editor-In-Chief, Shawn Schuster. Writing game reviews is something I’ve wondered if I could do for a while, and this appears to be a great way to get my foot in the door.

Also, in November of last year I sent out my résumé and a query letter to a number of local production companies to see if they had any room for an intern. One of them wrote back! I have an interview Monday with Red Arrow Industries. Seeing as I’m a grown ass man with bills to pay, I’m hoping I’ll be able to work something out where I can intern in the morning and continue working my current job in the afternoon/evening.

I’m excited to see where things go in 2014. If I can get the creative stuff back on track, I feel like I could have a lot of interesting work to show for it. Until next week, friends, happy hunting.

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