Notes from WordCamp Buffalo 2014

10665415_584908078286248_1001668234_nThis past weekend (September 13th, to be exact) I spoke at WordCamp Buffalo again. I have a special relationship with Buffalo, and WordCamp Buffalo—I went to school at UB and helped organise the first WordCamp Buffalo—so it’s always a delight to revisit WNY and revisit my old haunts.

This year, I spoke about outsourcing your content marketing, and shared lessons from the content marketing process I’ve been building for Van Patten Media and BlastOff. I gave another version of this talk at WordCamp Maine, but this version should be considered the canonical version (the Maine version was hastily modified at the last minute to avoid replicating content that Elisa Doucette had shared in her content marketing talk, which you should also check out because it was great).

Without further ado… my slides are available on SpeakerDeck.

A few resources I mentioned:

Content Calendars

Hiring

Documenting your processes

Monitoring your processes

Analytics

On Birthdays

Looks like I’ve successfully completed another trip around the sun.

Birthdays are hardly my favourite days. They’re a yearly reminder of just how little I’ve gotten done—or at least how little I think I’ve gotten done.

I have a habit of holding myself to very high standards—impossibly high, some might say. I look at Jobs, Welles, and Zuckerbergs of the world, and see people who achieved creative and/or entrepreneurial success younger than me, and can’t help but stack up my short list of achievements next to their lengthy ones at the same time.

Earlier tonight, I attended a screening of the premiere of the new series of Doctor Who, starring Peter Capaldi. Although he could hardly be considered unsuccessful before this point, his role as the new Doctor is easily his highest profile role so far, and has catapulted him to a new level of stardom. And, oh right, he’s 56.

It’s easy to forget that success is like a mountain. Some people might scale it faster, but no matter what, if you don’t look back and don’t turn around, you’ll make it to the top too. It might take a while—56 years, perhaps—but you’ll make it.

Instead of lamenting that I haven’t reached the top quite as quickly as I’d like, I need to stop and enjoy the journey. It’s easy to forget that the sights below the summit can be just as beautiful as the view from the top… if you pause and look.

August thoughts

August has been a busy month. Between client work, the launch of BlastOff, travel, and the strains of everyday life, I am officially wiped out.

I’ve been spending the past week in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, visiting a friend. The town (village, perhaps?) is beautiful—if you’ve ever tried to imagine what a seaside Maine town is like, you’ve probably imagined something like Boothbay Harbor. I spend my mornings in the small local coffee shop, my afternoons visiting the sights and enjoying the weather, and my evenings lost in thought.

As wonderful as this week has been, it’s not quite hitting the level of restoration I was hoping for. Don’t get me wrong: I’m in a much better place than I was a week or two ago. The fresh air and sun have done me good, and I’ve had plenty of time to socialise away from the laptop.

But there’s still something missing. As usual, it’s time: a week is nice, but hardly enough to develop a consistent routine that allows for ample relaxation time. And because of the pressures of client work, I can’t disconnect completely. Frankly, even if I could I’m not sure I would want to. Crazy as it may seem, I really do enjoy what I do. When I’m not working I’m often thinking about work: solutions to client problems, phrasing for proposals I’m working on, feature ideas for BlastOff, etc.

I think these issues—the inability to disconnect, the lack of time for a routine, etc.—are central issues that most digital nomads face. When you’re bouncing from place to place, it’s hard to find consistency. When you barely stop, you barely breathe.

It’s hard to recharge a battery that’s constantly being drained.

Adding to the madness are changes and challenges in my personal life. To be frank, the dating scene in New York City has been maddening, leading to frequent frustration. And while I’m incredibly fortunate to have wonderful friends, I still spend more of my time alone than not (again, the challenges of being a nomade sans bureau surface). There are some nights that are wonderful, but many others push me to very depressive lows.

As I move forward over the next few months—as we make our way into autumn—I know I need to make improvements. I need to spend more time with more people. I need to take up yoga, or work out more, or commit to running, and make physical fitness a real priority. I need to allow myself to experience happiness without guilt, and sadness without letting it take over—I need to give my emotions the weight they deserve.

Above all, I need to slow down. Life passes by whether we notice it or not; may as well make the effort to notice—and relish in—everything it has to offer.

Addendum: after publishing this post, I noticed this quote on a website: “Time is very slow for those who wait.” I’m not sure I fully understand the quote—it’s simplistic yet enigmatic, like a finely-honed koan—but it feels relevant, and I wanted to share it here.

The quote is from a poem by Henry van Dyke, and the full poem is at his Wikipedia entry.