Saturday, December 31, 2011

What Will You Leave in 2011?

At the beginning of my adult life, I was all about accumulation. I was going through my journey grabbing up experiences and things like a squirrel hording nuts against winter.  Then came the day I realized some of the things I was dragging along were holding me back, and an important person in my life pointed out the obvious yet profound truth that it's both OK and possible to leave some baggage behind.

So now this is part of my New Year's process: choosing a burden to abandon.  Of course, deciding to lighten the load is only the first step - implementation can take the whole year, maybe a lot longer.  Nonetheless, it has worked well so far.  Two years ago I left behind fear of not having a traditional job.  Last year I dropped some internally-imposed boundaries of who and what I could be. 

I think it's not coincidental that I also shed a great volume of physical objects from my possession in each of these years.

As for this year, well, I'm still deciding.  What about you?  Is there something you can go into 2012 without?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

3 Interesting Facts from Techland

Here are a few things of interest to writing professionals:

Thing 1:  Businesses, especially online businesses, are constantly trying to claw their way up Google rankings.  The single most direct and effective way to do this is to constantly add fresh content to their website. 

Thing 2: Lots of businesses do not have the vision or the budget to generate new content or edit existing content, especially if they don't see themselves as being in the content business.

Thing 3: There are now companies writing software that automatically generates content.  For example, input sport scores and output game recap stories.  Input stock tickers and output market stories.  Input #whatevertopic twitter feed and output article on whatevertopic.  No human writer involved.

Does anyone else find this a little creepy and uncool?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Getting a Little Closer

Helloooooooo!  I'm hooooooooome! 

Boy, the dust is pretty thick around here, but at least there are no critter droppings.

So.  I've been away awhile.  Things got a leetle bit crazy this past year.  Where to begin?  Well, as documented in prior posts, I left my job at Major Well-Known Internet Company a bit less than two years ago and started a little consulting firm.  This has gone extremely well, better than I could have hoped, and yet has turned out to not be quite the fresh start I was looking for.  I am still me, after all, and before I knew it, my path veered sharply away from anything to do with writing and all the way back into my old stomping grounds of data management.  Suddenly I find myself in essentially the same job at a tech startup that I had left at Major Well-Known Internet Company - with all the same frustrations and far less time to write.


Time to refocus.  Let's start with Lessons Learned:
  1. I really enjoy this tech stuff, especially the part about being good at it.
  2. I'm not too chicken to give up a good income to run my own business, but I am too chicken to give up a good income to write.
  3. I enjoy all the stuff that goes with writing - talking with authors, learning about the craft, and following the industry - at least as much as I enjoy writing itself.
So, I'm course-correcting.  I'm not ready to dedicate time to writing, but I am leaving the new/old job to focus on a new project that has everything to do with writing minus actually writing.  Baby steps, right?