11.03.2020–11:58:28 AM EST
CNN is playing in the background, and as much as I want to focus on the news coming in, I have bigger fish to fry.
I gave myself two months to finally gain some traction with my blogging efforts, and at three days in, I’m feeling great. I set my goals, and I’m checking stuff off the list.
- Write at least one blog post or essay per day for November. Publish these on Medium and put them into a book at the end of the month. I am doing NaNoWriMo, so my goal is 30k to 50K words for the entire month. These pieces will mainly focus on blogging and my two-month experiment to close out in 2020.
- I’m entirely redesigning my personal and business branding on Medium, self-hosted blog, and social media.
- I need to redesign my self-hosted blog (JasonWeiland.blog) to match my branding. I will be republishing specific essays and articles from my Medium account to my blog. I still have to decide whether I want to focus on the blogging niche or leave my personal site broad. I could focus on the blogging niche more in a new blog (blogdifferently.com).
- Focus my December Medium efforts on the blogging industry niche, to bolster my book’s sales, which will be self-published in the second week of the month. I will publish a minimum of two essays or articles on Medium and my personal blog in December.
- Increase my social media presence after rebranding my channels on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
If it seems like a lot of work, it is, but the whole idea of the November/December experiment is to push harder and break through the barriers holding my writing efforts back. My income has plateaued at a low point after I made decent cash in July 2020.
While I wait to hear early polling numbers on CNN, my mind is ruminating on the steps I must take to start getting my footing to push me back up to a point where my efforts are profitable.
11.03.2020–12:31:20 PM EST — Why Don’t You Freelance?
Many people ask me why I don’t freelance or ghostwrite.
“Put a profile up on Upwork or Fiverr and write blog posts from $20 a pop?”
It’s a complicated answer. I had gone the freelancing route before and ran into some rather unique issues. I’ve mentioned my mental illness, but you have to understand the position it puts me in. Anything that involves a deadline or delivery is a no-go for me due to the unpredictability of my daily moods, focus, clarity, and anxiety/panic level.
My last diagnosis was of depressive-type schizoaffective disorder. But, I have seen an increase in psychotic episodes for the past few years, mainly hearing voices and an extreme amount of noise in my head. During the day, the voices are louder. The noise causes awful anxiety and panic attacks, so I try to schedule more physical work and family time during the morning and afternoon. I’m the primary caregiver during this time as my wife teaches online, and I also need more naps because I work overnight.
I schedule my work efforts for the hours between 11:00 PM to 6:00 AM, and it works out well for many reasons. One, because there is less stress and distraction, I can focus more and almost block out the voices and noise. A little relaxing music and I can write uninterrupted for hours. And since I’m in the Philippines, and most of the people I interact with are in the other hemisphere, the time difference works in my favor.
This schedule allows me some semblance of normal work life but also provides one other thing. Because I am self-publishing, I have no deadlines and answer to no clock. If I have a bad day, or a week, or fall into a psychotic spiral, I can take time off and come back when I can manage again. This non-schedule has been a lifesaver because my illness keeps me from freelancing or a real job.
One of the main reasons I’m pushing myself to work, despite the severity of my mental issues, is that I am still on disability after many years. I desperately want not to be. The precarious nature of our relationship with the Social Security Administration makes for anxiety when you are never sure when they will decide to cut your benefits. It has happened before when they decided I was cured, and it took me a year to get my benefits back.
It was the reason I missed the birth of my daughter in the Philippines. I was struggling with the paperwork and court dates in the States and trying to have some income coming in again.
And if you are also on SSDI, you have to admit to fear of what is happening in the government with the current administration. The Republicans want to cut Medicare and Social Security, leaving a lot of us in a bad position.
I must earn enough income soon to support my family. Since I live in the Philippines, the cost of living is much lower, and I can manage around $2K a month. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is a huge hurdle when you start at nothing.
So I have my reasons why I want to make more income without resorting to getting a job, freelancing, or ghostwriting. The stress and strain of trying to force myself to produce is too hard on my fragile psyche.
I’ve learned my lesson about pushing myself too much.
01.03:30 PM EST — What am I Trying to Do?
In October 2018, I published my first articles on Medium in the hopes that I could leverage my many years of blogging and writing experience to shoot up the top writer ranks and earn $10K a month.
I quickly found out that I was not a shooting star and had a lot of work to do on my writing. I needed to amplify my voice and find my stride. Two years later, I’m still trying to find my sweet-spot when it comes to Medium.
I wanted to focus on the platform for a few years, and I did, and only recently started considering new streams of income.
- Put more time and effort into my self-hosted blogs. Over the years, I’ve developed a different way to blog and a unique look at the business of blogging. I want to apply my learnings and knowledge to increase my income from blogs with memberships, subscriptions, affiliate marketing, digital products, and merchandise. I also want to expand my newsletter efforts.
- Writing for prominent publications — After rebuilding my brand, I will start pitching articles to major online magazines and blogs like Entrepreneur and Success. Building my reputation will be critical to be able to help others gain visibility with the larger publications.
- Break through the barrier on Medium and build my following to a level where I can realistically estimate my Partner Program income. I have 5.5K followers, so I would love to get that above 10K with the new changes to the Medium earning structure.
I focused much attention on my Medium publishing efforts, considering my mental health issues. It’s time to start expanding my blogging efforts to my self-hosted blogs and larger publications.
Not everything I do will earn income but will add to my reputation and brand, and you can do a lot when you have name recognition.
I will get there, and these next two months will lay the foundation.
01:45:02 PM EST — Have I taken On Too Much?
There are times before I close my eyes to get some much-needed rest, that I worry if I am trying to do too much. What if the extra stress and anxiety trigger my depression and psychosis? What if I have to take a week off and get behind on my goals?
Sadly, it’s happened before.
The plan this month is to try and relieve stress in other areas of my life. I will make sure I eat well, get plenty of sleep, and take my medication and supplements every day.
Controlling anxiety and depression are critical because they lead to psychotic episodes that are terrible to live through. I could manage my list of goals if I didn’t have health worries.
Writing, building my brand, and working on my blogs are all things I do anyway. Doing more with each passing day is the key to success in the next two months.
So I’m not going to let things like the election and the holidays stress me out. I will spend a lot of time with my family and try to keep the arguing to a minimum. I will stay home as much as I can because there is a damn pandemic going on after all.
I want to prove to everyone that if I can do it, with all my myriad of issues, anyone can if you are willing to work for it.
I have to keep the gears oiled, and my mind primed for action because I need to be able to react and get shit done and not worry if I’ll have a breakdown.
It’s time to get busy!