I guess I'll blame Michael Hyatt. After all, he wrote the best selling book Platform-Get Noticed In A Noisy World. Formerly the CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, Hyatt reinvented himself as a successful blogger and author. When I discovered his book, I was new to blogging. His message of building a personal platform and brand made sense. So I started posting articles, crafted a newsletter and experimented. And that's when the long distraction began.
My first website was Policetoons.com. Just a bunch of cop cartoons that I hoped to sell. Then I created my fine art website, JohnPWeiss.com. Next I created JohnPatrickWeiss.com to share some stories and "cop wisdom" from my law enforcement career. I also created an anonymous satire website.
I was all over the place. Cartoons, paintings, inspirational writing. My dive into blogging introduced me to other disciplines like copywriting, website design, social media and list building. I began experimenting with pop-ups, headline teasers, opt-in "magnets" like free eBooks and more. It was interesting, challenging and ultimately, exhausting.
The late Stephen Covey advised people to "begin with the end in mind." In other words, where do you want to go? What's the endgame? Your primary goal? Eventually, after dabbling, experimenting, checking analytics and more, I asked myself what the heck was I doing?
I realized that the things that gave me the most joy were painting, cartooning and writing. Further, I liked to write about art and creativity. My efforts to emulate Michael Hyatt and others, while educational, distracted me from my passions.
So, I shut down everything and pointed all my domains to JohnPatrickWeiss.com. I put my art there, started to paint again and narrow my writing to art, creativity, minimalism and some inspirational articles.
I stopped worrying about how many people subscribed to my newsletter. I quit trying to build my Facebook likes. Sure, I still apply some good practices to insure value for my readers. But I went back to my passions and realized that people appreciate authenticity. They don't need an artist/police chief trying to mimic Michael Hyatt. They want what John Patrick Weiss has to offer.
The way to return from a long distraction is to ask yourself "what brings me joy?" Because if you're fighting the good fight but not having fun, what's the point?
There is a silver lining. My year of blogging immersion taught me a great deal, and I am more technically proficient now. As a result, it's easier to present a better website and my writing is more polished. I've learned that there is an art to creating newsletters and blog content, and that can be enjoyable. But first and foremost, I need to focus on painting and writing.
Have you been distracted? Did you fall off course a bit and wonder why you're not happy? Maybe you got distracted too. If so, embrace the thing that brought you joy in the first place. Come home to that, and I'll bet the rest will take care of itself.