On the last nice day of Summer in Madison, I met up with local blogger Jesse Russell on the outdoor patio of the High Noon Saloon. We had a couple beers and talked Politics, Pop Culture and relationships, with a constant recurring theme of ‘despite all that’s wrong with the World right now, there’s so much that’s going right.’
It was discussion about coming to terms; fighting the good fight while prioritizing what was really important in day-to-day life. Jesse seemed to be in a really good place; he was dropping superficial anxieties in some areas while refining passion in others. There were goals, missions and final destinations. When something started getting him down, he’d stop to mention all the cool stuff he did that overshadowed the annoying minutiae. Perhaps this is the definition of Wisdom. I don’t know for sure, but I had a good time.
“So, what’s next for the CDP?” he sincerely asked. I like it when people are genuinely interested in my projects, even if it embarrasses me to talk about them in real life. Even after two books and seven years of essays, I would never think to introduce myself as an ‘author,’ or even ‘writer.’
“I’m quitting in February,” I said. “I want to focus on writing books full-time. Because of Social Networking and how we take in our information nowadays, nobody has time to read blogs anymore. I don’t even read blogs anymore. My traffic has slipped a bit, and it’s gotten to the point where it might actually be getting in the way of bigger and better things.”
My desire to take the next step towards full-time author was at a fever pitch this Summer. My second book was almost done, and I had a feeling that it was going to be a big deal (in a tangible sense). I had put a lot of effort, time and emotion into it, and it gave me a feeling of pride I don’t think I’ve ever really had with anything else I’ve ever created (even with the poop stories). It was a feeling that said “I want to do this for the rest of my life.” I’m assuming this is what Pride is; I don’t think I had ever felt it before.
And while the book didn’t exactly fly off the shelves like I wanted it to (‘politely dribbled’ might be the more appropriate term), the accolades have been universal and the kind words have been staggering. I make people laugh, I’m making a little money and I accomplished a goal that most do not. All in all, I was pleased with the outcome, and I’d like to do it again in a couple years. As far as blogging was concerned though, I felt that it had run its course.
“So yeah, I’m quitting,” I said.
“That’s what you say every year,” he smirked back. He was right. I think I’ve made this same threat for the last six years straight. I’m like the Mick Foley of Bloggers.
“Yeah, but I really mean it this time,” I said in an empty threat sort-of-way to convince myself more than anything.
“Give it one more year,” he said. “Think it over.“
Here’s the thing. Even when I started the CDP in 2004, just two weeks after turning 22, I knew I didn’t want to be blogging when I was 30. My aspiration was to accomplish certain writing goals within those eight years, challenge myself and have fun.
So I wrote.
I wrote books. I wrote essays. I wrote songs. I wrote poems. I wrote lists (and even more lists). I wrote more Pop Culture stuff than I could ever remember. I wrote letters and e-mails to hundreds of people. I wrote my first screenplay when I was 23. I wrote freelance essays. I wrote free essays. I wrote scripts for a web series. I even created a (somewhat regrettable) political cartoon and wrote over 70 strips. I wrote everything I possibly could, save for erotic Fan Fiction, but it’s still a real possibility I might whip something up along those lines. The Harry Potter franchise didn’t end the way I had envisioned, so I have a few ideas clanging around.
The point is, I’ve written a buttload of stuff, and while it was fun, I think I’ve more or less run my course in this kind of environment. It’s a decision I’ve mulled for a while. So here is what’s on tap for 2011:
1. 2011 is the last year of the CDP. I will not continue to do this into my 30’s. This isn’t any sort of disparaging remark towards anyone; it’s just my own personal benchmark and promise I need to keep. This is not a new revelation; it was always something I knew I was going to do.
2. While I currently have a 25-page outline for my next book, I have no intentions of doing any non-CDP writing in 2011. Like years past, I intend to make the CDP my top creative priority in 2011. In short, I want to make it as good and fun as it’s ever been. Revitalize the community, write quality over quantity and give you something you’ll want to come back for.
3. I have no format, schedule or plan for 2011. No lists, no recaps, no Mix-Trades and no deadlines. I will be writing funny stories I think you’d like to read, and that is all. I spent this entire year working feverishly towards a deadline I set for myself, and I have no intentions of doing anything of the sort for the CDP‘s last year. It’s more of a Victory Lap than a race to the finish.
That’s it. Let’s do this one more time. Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your week. I’ll be back in 2011 with the introduction to the CDP Victory Lap. Until then, thank you very much, and have a good one.
-Ryan J. Zeinert