Last Monday night I flew back to the US from the UK after 3 weeks away from commitments.
A lot of people requested feedback about how it went. "I've heard doing that is good, let me know how it goes."
I'll spoil the surprise: it didn't go anything like I thought it might and instead of leaving me refreshed and recharged I came back more burnt out than I've felt in a long time. To the point where I didn't even post an article last Thursday, which I believe is the first time that has happened since I started this site.
Part of the burn out may be due to the illness I contracted that still hasn't fully gone away. (The cold that just won't quit.)
But a lot of it was due to sensory overload. I seem to have forgotten that tour is not a particularly relaxing experience. It's a lot of fun, but it's go, go, go. Privacy (of the creative variety) and quiet time (again, of the creative variety) are virtually non-existent, so expecting any sort of creative recharge was short-sighted on my part.
What Happened and What I Learned1) I didn't want to check e-mail often while on tour. After a couple days I checked (as I said I would, in case there were emergencies back home) and I had hundreds of messages in my inbox. I immediately archived everything, but the thought of coming home to thousands of messages a few weeks later didn't leave me with a sense of joy. So I checked e-mail more than once/day just so I could archive it. I responded to a handful of e-mails in 3 weeks and I used Boomerang to send a few messages back to me 3 weeks later, but for the most part I archived everything without reading.
2) I didn't want to check facebook at all while on tour. I got a message from a friend in London that I needed to respond to, so I logged in for that. Then I logged in randomly otherwise. On one hand I think facebook is useless, but now I'm moving towards the thinking that it can be useful, and definitely more useful than twitter. I also think I'm going to begin actually accepting facebook requests from people I meet, even if we only met once. For years I've used facebook as a private "friends/family only" type of thing. But as a traveler there is a lot of benefit in having even superficial relationships with people all over the world. It goes like this: meet someone once for a brief period of time. Add them on facebook. Keep in touch superficially. Maybe visit them at some point in the near or distant future. While going solo is fun, it's also a lot of fun exploring places with friends. From now on I'll try to keep this in mind and maybe even seek people out on facebook who I've met in person.
3) I didn't want to use twitter while on tour. I did log in, especially towards the end of tour, but I didn't actually "use" twitter.
All in all, I feel like these were mostly failures. I didn't step away as much as I could have.
4) Traffic, engagement, and new e-mail subscribers to this site were below average and RSS subscribers were flat while I was away. I'm actually surprised by this since I still had articles being posted. Lack of engagement makes sense since I didn't have comments turned on for my articles, but I was expecting much more engagement with the guest posts. I also had the articles tweeted out and posted to facebook, so I'm surprised that there wasn't more traffic/engagement from those two sources. I don't know what to make of it except maybe what I wrote didn't resonate with you.
RevelationsI didn't expect to have any huge revelations, but I did have a few moments of clarity about Ridiculously Extraordinary and life in general. Here they are:
1) I'm not a blogger.
I'm an entrepreneur who simply uses a blog as an outlet. While my income comes as a result of things that happen or people I meet through this blog, a lot of it comes from endeavors that would make money without the blog. What I mean is, when you have a product for sale most of your sales don't come from your own audience. If you're blogging just to make sales you're blogging for the wrong reason. Hour for dollar it's more profitable to create products and find joint venture partners (people who will review and write about your product) than to simply blog to get traffic. You don't need a blog to build an online lifestyle business. Read that again, get it ingrained into your skull. That shit's the truth.
2) I'm unsure of the direction of RE.
But I've always been unsure. This is nothing new. The reason I love writing here so much is because I can write about whatever the hell I want. And I know that absolutely kills me as far as any kind of branding is concerned. I'm OK with that.
3) Doing what I want is not only desirable, it's necessary.
I can't run this site if I'm sitting in one place twiddling my thumbs and not coming up with fun events, such as the roller coaster tour. In that regard, this site is branded. The point is, you wouldn't read these same words if they were coming from somebody who was living a normal life. I probably wouldn't even have much to write about if I was living a normal life.
4) Schedules Are Necessary, But Not
My Monday/Thursday and sometimes Saturday posting schedule isn't necessary, but I need to do it anyway. If for no other reason than I enjoy it. That said, I realize that the world doesn't end if I skip a day, or a week, or whatever arbitrary time frame. This revelation makes me feel great, because I used to put a lot of pressure on myself to post even if it was incredibly inconvenient. While I will still put a lot of pressure on myself, I'll be at peace if I have to skip a posting here and there. If I decide to do another X-week break from commitments (highly likely) I will probably not schedule anything new to be posted.
5) Chasing Money Is Not Of Any Interest To Me, But ...
I've always wanted to start and sell a company for a significant sum of money. I'm in no great hurry to do this and I know something like what I'm doing here could never be sold. (Not that I'd want to sell anyway.) I've considered documenting the process from idea to execution, but this isn't a top priority. When or if it becomes a top priority is when I'll begin focusing on this goal. And rest assured, once I focus on it, it will happen. But my current priorities are doing exactly what I'm doing.
Questions/comments/want to play Slappy Fruit Hands? You know what to do ...