Something To Feel

tree-90059_1280 Something to feel

Drunkard stumbling on the corner

Brown-bag bottle in his hand

Preacher man on the other side

Shouting out God’s commandments

A high-profile lawyer struts by

To the courthouse to cut a deal

A hooker unzips a congressman’s pants

Everybody’s looking for something to feel

Copyright 2014 by Dan Erickson & Missouri-Bound Music

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What I’ve Learned From Juggling Too Many Balls

I’ve been working too hard. I’ve been scattered too thin. I’ve been racing too fast. I’ve been juggling too many balls. But I’ve learned some valuable lessons from juggling too many balls. I’m going to share those lessons with you.

juggle-213181_1280 Juggling Balls

For the past four years I’ve been trying to get noticed in the writing and blogging world. I’ve been trying so hard that I’ve bordered on burning myself out. I’ve sacrificed my own happiness at times. I’ve been foolish. At times my work has lacked quality and professionalism. That’s going to change. 

I’ve come to realize it’s not how hard or fast you work, but rather how much care you give to your work that makes the difference.

I’ve owned and operated nearly a dozen blogs in the past five years. Most of them have failed. I’ve written several books. I’ve sold a few. I was pumping out books, blog posts, poems, and songs like a juggling madman. Here’s what I learned from juggling too many balls.

  1. Too much, too fast, leads to lower quality work: I pay close attention to the quality of my work. But when I’m trying to keep up with four blogs, it’s easy to slack. Lately, I’ve slacked on this blog. I put so much time into simplwrtr.com and simplblogger.com that my core blog has suffered. I’ve written posts quickly and less critically.      
  2. Too many ideas kill niche: I’ll admit that I’ve always struggled to find a niche for this blog. I’ve finally found a niche I love: simple living. But it’s not here. It’s at Hip Diggs. I’m proud of my hipdiggs.com blog. Simple Writer and Simple Blogger also have valuable niches, but in order to succeed at something, you must focus. Juggling too many blogs will only lead to dropped blogs. That’s why I’ll be dropping the Simple blogs in the future.
  3. When you slow down, you do your best work: When I first started writing books, I raced through my first two novels, A Train Called Forgiveness and At The Crossing Of Justice And MercyThey’re both good books, but they could be better. My editor just completed editing my third book, The Track To Redemption. He said it’s my best work yet. Why? Because I slowed down. I spent 18 months instead of 6 months working on the story.
  4. Failure is only for quitters: Earlier in this post I said that most of my blogs have failed. That’s not really true. They’ve all been experiments. They’ve all taught me valuable lessons about writing, networking, and social media. They all have lead me to change, but change is not failure. 

I’ll be honest. I’m not 100% sure where this is all heading. I know two things: I’ll be keeping hipdiggs.com and developing it further. I’ll be keeping danerickson.net, but it will go through a rebirth. 

Later this year, I’ll be shutting this blog down for a couple of months while I work toward a complete redesign. I’ll restart with fresh content. The topic is still a mystery, not only to you, but to myself. Chances are it will be more personal. It will also keep its artistic edge. Most of all, I’ll simplify the structure of the entire site and pay closer attention to the quality of each page and post.

I won’t be in hurry. Heck, I may only post a couple times per month. Only time will tell. For now, keep checking in every Monday for more news, poems, and songs. 

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The Status Of Multiple Projects

It’s not easy working on several projects simultaneously. I’ve learned a couple of things in the last few years. First, don’t take on too much. Second, don’t push too hard. Today’s post is a quick update of the status of my projects, including what will be kept, and what will be thrown away.

building-768815_1280 Status of Projects: Photo of construction

Minimalists tell you how you need to get rid of stuff. But most the minimalists I follow never speak of getting rid of projects. I believe that a true minimalist is willing to let go of the things closest to them: their writing, their music, their blogs, their speaking engagements.

Once or twice a year I evaluate my projects. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been inspired to start many projects, stacking my plate too full. That’s why I regularly study the status of projects and make changes.

Books, blogs, and music:

The Cult Trilogy: The third book to the trilogy, The Track To Redemption, was a bit longer with my editor than expected. That’s okay. I just got the first edited version back a few weeks ago. This summer I’ll be working on the first rewrite. I’m not going to hurry. The book may be published later this year, or it may be early 2016.

Poetry: I’ll be working on a second book of poetry and hope to publish sometime in 2016

Blogs: I have been guilty of creating more blogs than I can handle. So the status of my blogs will be changing. Here’s what’s going on:

Dan Erickson will be undergoing a complete transformation within the next six to eight months. Since I started blogging five years ago, I’ve learned much about designing blogs. The infrastructure of this blog has been changed many times. That compromises the blog. I’ll be wiping danerickson.net clean and restarting. I’ll save some poetry and perhaps a few posts, but yes, I’m going to throw away much of the content here. A true artists isn’t afraid to let go of old work to reach a higher level of quality.

Hip Diggs will keep operating as it is. I recently cleaned some old posts from Hip Diggs. I also removed all links to Simple Writer, Simple Blogger, and Dan Erickson until I redesign. I still hope to develop a membership program at hipdiggs.com, but that will likely not happen as soon as 2016 as I originally planned. I want to build a larger audience in 2016 and then begin the membership program.

Simple Writer and Simple Blogger are scheduled to post weekly through most of 2015. I will no longer post on either of these blogs in 2016. When the blogs’ domains expire in October, 2016, I’ll let them go. If you or anyone you know may be interested in taking either of these blogs over, please contact me at danerickson@danerickson.net

Sometime in 2016, I’ll be changing web-hosting providers. I’ve been with Fat Cow, but am not completely satisfied with their performance and practices. I’m leaning toward switching to Bluehost. If you have any thoughts on host providers, let me know in the comments. 

Music: I started a music project called, The Leviticus Project, over the winter. I wrote 11 songs all on the iPad. The songs are very electronic/pop in nature. This is not my regular style, but I like to experiment. I put the project on hold because the vocals did not record at the same quality as the music on the iPad. This summer I might see if we can transfer the music tracks from the iPad onto Mike’s system and record vocals in his studio. If it doesn’t work the project may not be completed.

That’s okay, because I have other music projects going on. I recently bought a new guitar and will spend part of this summer working on some new songs and recordings. I’m also slowly gearing up to return to playing music live in the next year.

That’s it. The status of my projects. What are you working on? Get creative!

Join The Clan

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Contemplation

water-drop-384649_1280 Contemplation: Photo of a ripple

Don’t ask me what I’m thinking.

I’m in deep contemplation.

Don’t rush me into anything.

I’m in deep contemplation.

I’m letting go of worry, dreams,

for they only bring me down.

I’d rather stare at the endless

ripples across the lazy lake

through clouds in my eyes,

after skipping a perfect stone

into the presence of infinity,

no yesterday or tomorrow,

just here, now, forever.

Don’t ask me what I’m thinking.

I remain in deep contemplation.

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Rethinking Blogging

Recently, my blogs were suspended by my host for malware. Wait a minute? Why didn’t my host deal with that? I’m rethinking blogging. In the past few months I’ve found blogging to be more time-consuming and problematic than it’s ever been. It’s time for a change.

seaside-371229_1280 Rethinking blogging: Photo of man by ocean thinkiing

I’ve been blogging for more than four years. I’ve had a half dozen or more blogs. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve played the game. I’ve tried to attract followers and gain traffic. I’ve had creative blogs and I’ve blogged about creativity. I’ve blogged about practical topics such as blogging and writing. I’ve decided that I’m done blogging as you know it.

I’m rethinking blogging. Who? What? Why? When? Where?

These are the critical questions: Who am I? What is my blog about? Why do I blog? Where do I blog? When do I blog?  Let’s take a crack at ’em:

Who? From time to time we need to ask ourselves who we are. Let’s start with who I’m not. I’m not a salesperson. I’m not slick. I’m not greedy. Now onto who I am. I’m creative. I’m a writer. I’m a songwriter. I’m a poet. I’m a believer. I’m a minimalist, or at least a pragmatist.

What? This has been my constant struggle. What is my blog about? I’ve changed my topic several times. Last fall, I split my blog up into four blogs in an attempt to have more refined niches. That’s what I was told to do to gain more traffic. Create a niche. Guess what? It didn’t do any good. Now I have four blogs with low traffic instead of one with decent traffic. Currently, this blog is about… well, I’m not exactly sure. But does it really have to be about any one thing? Frankly, I think that’s dull and boring. 

Why? I’ve blogged for two reasons. The right one and the wrong one. The right reason is simple: I’ve blogged as a personal space to reflect on my own life through creative writing. The wrong reason: I’ve blogged to try to gain a following and create a future source of income.

When? I’ve blogged all the time. I’ve spent too many hours stuck on the computer in an attempt to gain more traffic. I’ve sometimes let my family and personal life slide for the sake of a vain dream of becoming a well-known blogger. I’ve stayed up too late and got up too early to work on my blogs. 

Where? I’ve blogged on a WordPress platform through Fat Cow Web Hosting. This has come with a steep learning curve, lots of technical frustrations, and most recently, a cyber attack on my files. This attack has led me to where I am: rethinking blogging.

So here’s where this is heading. I’m in the process of making some major decisions about blogging. I’m rethinking blogging from the ground up, starting with my platform and host. I’m thinking about leaving WordPress and Fat Cow. Later this year, or early in 2016, I’ll be creating one new blog and slowly letting go of most or all of my existing blogs. 

I’ll be keeping you posted…

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