The Ebb & The Flow

Has it really been 12 days since I posted something here?

(omgtheworldisgoingtoend)

Excuse me while I don’t apologize. As I’ve said before I’m a proponent of not blogging unless you have something valuable to say.

But there’s more to it than that sometimes…

There are mornings you wake up and you just don’t feel productive, inspired, enthusiastic, etc. Ask yourself, how much do you really get done when these feelings (or lack thereof) overwhelm you?

And I get that as a professional it’s your responsibility, your job even, to trudge through the items on your to-do list anyway. But there’s a big difference in doing what it takes to get an “A,” and being excited about what you’re doing to the point that you know you’re going to do your absolute best regardless of the end critique. Isn’t it these projects, tasks, posts that turn out the best anyway?

Lately I haven’t felt the itch to blog. And so I haven’t.

Instead I have:

  • Read a book
  • Worked out more
  • Tried some new restaurants
  • Visited Friends
  • Danced
  • Had important conversations
  • Fought for something I believe in
  • Played a lot of basketball
  • Researched some new projects
  • Tried some new recipes
  • Wrote some posts in other genres you’ll probably never see

Could I have made time for blogging? Without a doubt, but here’s the truth: Blogging can’t feel like a chore, and I do it as much for me as I do it to provide value for my community. I’m selfish sometimes, and that’s okayAndrew Norcross told me he feels like he only writes when he needs to rant.

Well I write when I’m ranting, but I also write when I’m learning, and I need to get my thoughts on paper in order to diagnose the jumbled assortment of thoughts running rampart in my head. I write when I read something that compels me to respond, but I never write when I don’t feel like it, or just because I haven’t written in a long time.

It comes back to the ebb and the flow. It’s the way your productivity mirrors your mood throughout your work day and it’s the way you crave a certain food until you don’t, or the way you always read Writer X until you finally burn out of their content. Chances are you’ll come back, but you can’t force yourself or you’ll end up with lackluster results.

At SxSW I asked where Andy Drish had been lately, and Monica said he’d been too busy making money. (Congrats by the way Andy!)

Rest assured I haven’t been too busy making money, but I have been busy doing things that at the time were more important to me than writing here. That’s really the moral of this story: Write when you’re passionate about getting something down, something out, but don’t do it because you feel like you’re falling behind, losing influence, or because it says so on some schedule.

Write when you can’t keep it from spilling out all over the page.

Do you sometimes write a post because you’re trying to stick to a schedule? Because you haven’t written anything in a while and you feel obligated? What about the ebb and the flow in your workplace? Are you uber productive sometimes and not-so-much others?

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  • Haven’t blogged in almost a month. No rush to get back at it either. There are more important things at stake right now.
    .-= Carlos Miceli´s last blog ..Over-Dreaming =-.

    [Reply]

    Ryan Stephens Reply:

    I’m just glad you didn’t call me out for stating the obvious, but when measuring it against the Carlos “shit test” I decided that it was a conversation worth having because so many people tell you that you need to be consistent, and stick to a schedule, etc.

    While there’s merit to that argument, like you said, often times you get in the trenches and realize there are more important things at stake.

    [Reply]

  • Amen. I only blog/write for Buffalo Futsal now because it’s what’s important to me, and it’s what is going towards my goals. If I had the time I would write more on the other sites, but right now, I don’t.

    But if my grandmother had balls, she’d also be my grandfather.
    .-= Ryan´s last blog ..Preview: BNCC Friday Night Men’s – Matchweek 5 =-.

    [Reply]

    Ryan Stephens Reply:

    Hahaha. I think we’re all glad you’re grandmother doesn’t have balls Ryan. And I thanks for reinforcing my logic that at the end of the day it’s what is important, most gratifying, most beneficial for US. Certainly we hope that our communities can benefit from the work we put out there, and there are times I do stuff JUST for my community. But right now the ebb (or maybe it’s the flow) has averted my focus to other projects that can really impact “what’s next” for me. Thanks for the comment!

    [Reply]

  • Great post, Ryan. What I love about this one is two-fold.

    1) “Write when you can’t keep it from spilling out all over the page.”

    That’s what writing really is all about — having something to say and the passion as the driving force behind it that makes you want to put it into words. I don’t think you can force something like that — you can always write, but sometimes you can’t always write.

    2) Not posting on your blog isn’t the be-all, end-all and I’m really glad to hear someone acknowledge that. What I read when you listed those things you’ve been doing is you doing exactly what you should be doing — living your life. Enjoying your life. Experiencing this life. I think the greatest moments come from the things that bring us most joy, and it sounds like you’re enjoying the hell out of the things you’re doing.

    A blog will still be here and your readers will still be here. Besides — maybe these things will offer some new inspiration and subject matter — everything has its lesson, right?

    [Reply]

    Ryan Stephens Reply:

    1.) I want to carry a mini Susan around in my pocket every time I need awesome prospective because you -always- have it, even for other people.

    2.) You’re spot on… Sometimes my posts are inspired by something I found in my reader, but most of the time they come from experiencing something offline whether it’s in the workplace, or having a conversation with someone, or even enjoying another hobby.

    Thanks so much for your thoughtful contributions here! Please know they’re held in high regard.

    [Reply]

  • Tony

    Ryan, everything you did “instead” of blogging is NORMAL SHIT. As Chris Rock would say, “What do you want, a cookie?” This was a hugely egofantastic post. Why do we care?

    [Reply]

    Ryan Stephens Reply:

    Hi Tony,

    Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. I wish you would’ve left some contact information so that I could respond elsewhere as well, and potentially make up for the fact that I wasted your time by reading this post.

    You’re right. It is NORMAL, and that’s the point I was trying to convey. It’s okay to enjoy everyday life and not get so caught up in all the hoopala surrounding the blogosphere and social media. You don’t have to post all the time or stick to some intense schedule to grow, learn, influence, etc.

    If the way I wrote this particular post came across egotistical than that’s unfortunate for me as it certainly wasn’t my intention.

    Again, my apologies for wasting your time. I know that’s frustrating, but I also know we can’t please everyone. Nonetheless I appreciate your candor, and it will certainly help me think through my approach next time I deviate from the norm here.

    Cheers.

    [Reply]

    Carlos Miceli Reply:

    Why do you even reply to that guy? And worse, why do you say you are sorry? It’s your blog bro.

    Hey Tony, you know what’s not normal? Commenting if you don’t care.
    .-= Carlos Miceli´s last blog ..Over-Dreaming =-.

    [Reply]

    Ryan Stephens Reply:

    In this instance I didn’t think his criticism was all that constructive, but you never know who is reading and I always want my audience to know that I DO listen and I DO value their opinions (even if I disagree after re-evaluating the situation).

    Hell, I’m glad he had the rocks to call me out, but I’m even more glad I have awesome people like you coming to my defense. Cheers!

  • Amen, Ryan! We definitely think very much alike. And we both have great taste in men. (Kidding, but it just wouldn’t be a proper comment if I didn’t mention our mancrush.)

    I said goodbye to blogging about a month ago and since then, I haven’t written a thing! No guest blog posts, no letters, not even personal notes in my Moleskine. I’ll reply to e-mails and leave a comment on someone else’s blog every now and then…but that is about the extent of my “writing.” My ink has run dry. And in a way, I don’t care.

    Like you said, everyone harps on the fact that you should write everyday to improve your writing. And I’ve heard plenty of people tell me that I shouldn’t quit blogging – that I have talent, blah, blah. But if someone has a talent for something, but no passion to pursue it, then what’s the point? Forced creativity just blows. So does faked interest and enjoyment.

    I think you really need to feel inspired to write something compelling. And I don’t feel inspired. Fuck what everyone else says. When blogging doesn’t feel enjoyable for YOU, that’s when you quit…or at least take as much time as you need away for awhile.
    .-= David´s last blog ..Saying Goodbye To Blogging 1 Post Shy Of 1,000 =-.

    [Reply]

    Ryan Stephens Reply:

    There’s certainly merit to both sides of the argument, and I think it boils down to what your goals are. If you’re trying to build a sustainable web-based business, then yeah, you should probably write more frequently.

    I’m not. Not yet. I have a day job that is my first priority, and I do projects that interest me on the side when time allots. I NEED that balance of doing those “everyday” things as well to remain passionate and not get burned out trying to keep up with likes of online rockstars.

    [Reply]

  • Ash

    Hi Ryan, another nice post!

    I keep telling myself I need to try and post more on my blog, at the moment I get new posts up every 1-2 weeks.

    I think some people are to focussed on putting content out all the time, I believe if you haven’t got something worth saying, don’t say it!

    I’ve had times where I’ve almost forced myself to sit and think of something to write about and when I do that I never write anything worth publishing and end up wasting time. Time that I could be spending doing something else I’m passionate about!

    Keep up the good work!
    Ash.
    .-= Ash´s last blog ..Grassroots Sports Sponsorship Seminar =-.

    [Reply]

    Ryan Stephens Reply:

    I’m the EXACT same way Ash. If it’s been awhile sometimes I sit down and go through my notebook and try to connect ideas and force something out, and I ALWAYS end up erasing it.

    My best pieces come from when I’m thinking about an issue while I’m working out, in the shower, and laying awake in bed at night. They essentially write themselves!

    Thanks for the comment!

    [Reply]

  • Kat

    Yeah this is sort of the exact reason why I started over with a new blog, at least for the time being. The one I used to have always felt like a chore and like I “should” write something, because I had an expectation of the kinds of things I would write about which ended up not matching what I was actually thinking about. If that makes sense? Now I’ve been doing more stream-of-consciousness, unedited blogging, and I have a lot more drive to actually write on it.
    So yeah I don’t think bloggers should feel beholden to some standard or schedule or whatever when it conflicts with what they actually want. Hope you had a nice 12 days!

    [Reply]

    Ryan Stephens Reply:

    @Kat – Because I’ve spent nearly 2.5 five years building the content for this blog I’ve elected to stay put, but I’ve changed my approach many times in an effort to remain inspired and keep the content fresh.

    It’s always exciting though, to break out something new that you’re excited about – and really let the ideas flow. I think some of the best pieces start out (and maybe remain) stream-of-consciousness.

    When you can’t keep it off of the page – I think your readers can tell.

    [Reply]

  • No apologies needed man – you are getting things done and making things happen – the blog will always be around when you’re ready for her. The worst writing is the stuff that’s manufactured – sometimes it takes us a bit that we don’t HAVE to write, that it’s OK to step away and go do other, as Tony would say, “normal” things. Focus on making waves, and when the blog comes into play, the blog comes into play. A good reminder for all of us.

    Cheers my friend.
    .-= Matt Cheuvront´s last blog ..How Much Do You Care About the Truth? =-.

    [Reply]

  • Spot on, Ryan. If we blog because we feel like we have to or we should, then maybe we’re doing it for the wrong reasons. My feeling is write when you have something to say, when you feel like your words are going to have meaning to others. Sure, we all love blogging, but we also have lives. Sometimes there are more important things going on, and sometimes we’re just uninspired. There’s nothing wrong with that at all. It sounds like you’ve been doing some awesome stuff in the meanwhile, and that’s a great thing.
    .-= Sam Karol´s last blog ..Up In The Air =-.

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