For the Love of the Game

IntoTheWilderness-draft2I’ve hit a wall with the podcast.
A wall I anticipated.
Everything at one point loses its shininess; allure; newness…
In the past week or so, every time I look at my evernote podcast notes, I sigh. In this current season, it feels more like work than a hobby.

It’s important to remember you’re doing something because you love it.
Your love for the project has to be the driving force. If it’s not passion that’s the main motivation, it’ll never last.

I’ve been writing this particular blog for almost 10 years.
I wrote it as an extension of my private journaling. I’ve always had an outlet to write. And I simply started this blog to have an outlet — to write out my thoughts; to find sanity; to escape; to share; to explore; to dream; to pray. I’ve been blessed (and lucky, really) that this blog has opened doors for me.

And this blog will always be a nice getaway from all the other writing I have to do.

I’ve seen people start blogs for different reasons, other than the pure joy of writing. When they hit a wall — whether it’s a writer’s block; the chore of updating; etc — their blog slowly fades into Internet abyss.
I see some people start blogs because they want the recognition; they want the traffic; they want to make a splash.
Others start one in hopes that it’ll lead to some financial gain.
Some start to defend or attack someone or some organization.

All good reasons to start. But that joy will fade away soon and you’ll be left with another thing to write on your to-do list.

We’re all seduced by instant success. We want something of ours to go viral.
I remember a student wanting to start a blog and they asked me how long did it take me to get connected with other, bigger, websites.
I told him I spent 6 years in complete anonymity. And the last 3 or so years, I’m swimming in anonymity. I told him that the traffic from my blog went to 3 views daily and in 10 years, I got it to go to 50 daily. Sometimes, it’ll get to 100 on a day I posted something. My biggest day, I hit 440 views. But that was because I wrote this post which I tagged a picture of Robert Pattinson (funnily enough, that picture doesn’t even show up anymore) and people who googled “Robert Pattinson” that month and ventured to go to the 2nd page of results found my blog.

But I reminded them that that’s not what I write on this blog for.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m absolutely grateful for the doors it opened.
We’re going to put too much stress, pressure, and burden on ourselves if we get into this game for anything other than the love of blogging/writing.
If you want traffic, you’re going to get obsessed with the stat sites and quickly discouraged to realize that you ideas, thoughts, and writing isn’t the epicenter of blogging.
If you want money, you’re going to go crazy because no one is offering you money to write for them. They want writers with a good social media following. Then that’s going to get you obsessing over stats again.
And believe me, it gets tiring. And boring. And discouraging. Not getting the stats you think you deserve has a very quick way of sucking out the joy of what you’re doing.

You have to want to do this because you love it. And let that passion drive you and sustain you. If other doors open because you’re pursuing what you love, awesome! If it doesn’t, it’s okay because you’re doing something you love!

Which leads me to the podcast.
I started the podcast for a reason I can’t quite share.
But I’ve always wanted to do one.
I’m enjoying it. My favorite part is doing those interviews.
Of course, it all comes down to time management — which I’m not good at it.
So because I’m behind on certain things, I look at the podcast notes and, like I said, I sigh. It feels like work. And I’m only 18 episodes in.

Of course, like a normal human being, I want the recognition. On they tell you how many people listened to your podcast and also how many listeners the podcasts you subscribe to have.
Rob Bell consistently gets over 30k listeners and I wrote to my friend — how the heck does Rob Bell can get over 30k followers every episode and I barely break 60?
His response?
“Dude. You’re aren’t 34,000 level. Remember me when you are.”
I had a good laugh. Being obsessed with stats (numbers) will only make things worse.

I realized it was time to take a step back and reassess why I’m doing this. If I no longer find passion and joy in doing so, then I need to call it quits. But I don’t think that’s the case. I really think I just need to manage my time better and be disciplined in recording episodes.
I also need to find more people to reach out to and interview, because those are the episodes that are consumed the most.

So in the mean time, I gave up the pretense of uploading an episode every week. I’m going to go easy on myself and get an episode up every other week. If I can’t manage that, then I need to quit altogether.

When this post goes live, they’ll be an episode (how appropriate…) about people who give up never change the world. (Not saying that I’m going to change the world…)
After that, we’ll go on an every other week basis. I feel good about that. And I’m excited because on the day I’m writing this, I had a great interview with a fellow pastor and can’t wait to share that with you.

Anyway, sincerely, thank you for reading and listening. My hope is that you never feel that I’ve wasted your time by stopping by on this blog or listening to a podcast.

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