A surprising thing happened this past year that came into focus in early January.
I discovered I couldn’t do it all.
This revelation arrived on the heels of an abscessed tooth requiring surgical removal.
So how did I get from having a tooth removed to not being able to do it all? Easy.
You sit, mouth looking and feeling like you went 10 rounds with somebody fifty years younger, and you consider how lucky you are it’s only the mouth. This is a temporary issue and one that (as I write) is getting better.
I’ve reached that age when friends aren’t so lucky. At my age many folks are slowing down (and I’m surrounded by them in our Southern cottage.) But I’m not mentally built to “slow down”.
Sitting on a couch, ice pack in one hand, pen in the other and notebook on my lap, I thought about many of the things I do with my life and working day.
To begin with, I still have a “working day.” I write almost every day. Or, I was until I got sidetracked with the tooth. What I did while recovering was reread a series of Tim Ferriss’s books concluding with his new one Tools For Titans. I also reviewed Roger James Hamilton’s Entrepreneur sites getting myself focused even more.
Refocusing meant I had to pay attention to the strengths (and weaknesses of Creative personalities because I surely qualify.
And that meant changes.
The short form is I want to write. I don’t want to do tech or deal with Internet trolls.
I’m writing. Dealing with real people and real issues but on my terms
The biggest change was resetting my writing business. I ran the numbers and evaluated every part of the site statistics. What worked and what didn’t work came slowly into focus for impact and cost. The four sites above survive.
How Do I Communicate With Readers?
My biggest surprise was the cost and impact of the garden newsletter. Either I was writing it wrong (although a 55%+ open rate would suggest otherwise). It wasn’t bringing paying readers to my site. On the surface, it appeared subscribers simply wanted “free” and not something they had to pay for. Whatever the reason, I decided I wasn’t interested in continuing it and losing money every month.
Yes, it raised Adsense advertising for 2 days (Saturday and Sunday by about 30%) and it sold Premium subscriptions (but not enough of either to justify the costs and time involved).
I cancelled the newsletter and for the first time since the early 1980’s I’m not sending one out. Frankly, I won’t miss doing the work nor paying the bill for it. And while some readers may be disappointed, less than 2% of them were making me any money. I can only afford to help so far… The time I save goes into the Premium membership group.
This meant a large change in attitude on my part. It was a business decision rather than a helping one.
Commenting Comes Back
I thought a great deal about interacting with readers, and after chatting with fellow Internet folks, enabled commenting on my garden blog. The second comment was a sermon from a “true believer” of one kind of gardening telling me why I was dead wrong to use XX style of gardening. That kind of person doesn’t want a conversation, they want to pontificate. So I didn’t approve the comment. (Yes, all comments have to be approved on the gardening site) I don’t have the time, interest or energy to deal with that crap.
Commenting is being evaluated month by month and if it becomes more of a spam/crap collector than it’s worth, I’ll simply disable it again
I also raised the rates for the Premium membership. There was about as much interest in this higher price as the lower prices so that’s fine. They remain below those of similar websites such as Craftsy.
The garden site will be reviewed again at the half-way point of the year and I’ll see how things are working then. Future changes will be determined by that analysis.
What About This Blog?
I’m about to revitalize this blog to add things I’m interested in – like dieting, fitness, sex, lifestyle, and publishing. I’m using it as a research tool to delve into areas that intrigue me. My names on the heading so it will reflect my current interests in the here and now.
I’ll use the research to write both blog posts and ebooks.
It’s really a work in progress and I’ll have to see how it all turns out.
Reader communication? This blog has a subscribe/newsletter function built into it via WordPress itself so I’ve enabled it. It’s free so I’m using this.
The garden site doesn’t have that function (yet) so I’m not able to automate it there.
DFrankGreen.com is my fiction, future blog and I’ll continue writing fiction and enjoying myself. I’ll report on things I find about the future, artificial intelligence, etc. Who knows where it will go.
Tooth infection battled back, word processor greased and tuned up, I’m ready for a new year of writing.
I’ll let you know how it all goes.