Site Update: May 2020

Update from the Pocono Mountains

Live from a lake in the Northern Pennsylvania woods

Greetings from my own version of Walden, where I’ve spent most of my time during the COVID-19 era.

Each month, I’ll be looking back at what’s happened with JoeBalcom.com over the previous month. If you’ve missed any articles, I’ve included links to the most popular ones further down in this post.

In May, I’ve been busy getting the site online for my small set of beta readers before I branch out in July. I’ve tested different writing styles, different promotion strategies, different content formats, and I’m beginning to zero in on what works and what doesn’t.

The theme of the site has been a bit nebulous so far and it is something I’m okay with for the time being. It can be an instinctive reflex to want to rush—to make everything perfect and get everything to make sense right away. But I’ve found that forcing things tends to cause more problems than not, so I’ll just be riding the wave and learning lessons during these first two months.

Patience with results, impatience with action.

The first month has been a practice in perspective and awareness. I’ve been failing miserably on the social media front, making progress on the organizational front, and crushing it in the areas of consistency, productivity, and sheer passion for what I’m building (which I’ll soon post about.)

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    Being aware of (not consumed by) my weaknesses and mistakes, and learning how to fix them, has proved to work wonders for my motivation and self-discipline. If you want to build something with durability and purpose, it is crucial to A) train yourself to look at things with the proper perspective each step of the way and B) act swiftly and accordingly.

    With nearly 1,500 unique readers in the month of May, I feel like things have gotten off to a great start. The wonderful thing about operating (relatively) under the radar in these first few months is that I can test freely and often.

    I’ve also pre-written a lot of my content for the first two months, but I do plan on providing real-time updates during my upcoming cross-country travels this month.

    Writing

    I’ve been playing around with some different topics so far, and everything I’ve written seems to be revolving around three themes: Expanding the Mind, Meaningful Work, and Seeking Adventure. Here are the most popular pieces I put out in May.

    MIND: I wrote about The Magic of an Orthogonal Mind, Writing Makes You Creative, Creativity Makes You Happy, and Learn Your ABCs: The Agony and Beauty of Creation.

    WORK: I wrote Make Room for Work that Matters, and Why I Quit a Six-Figure Existence to Create My Own Destiny, which was an introduction to my mindset and approach to fulfilling work. I’ll continue to expand on the ideas within this post as we move forward.

    ADVENTURE: I wrote about The Power of a Forcing Function: How a Plane Ticket Transformed My Life (There are a lot of travels unwritten about, and a lot of travels soon to come, so stay tuned.)

    Gratefulness

    I’m grateful to my girlfriend for supporting me through the beginning stages of this project. It is no easy task to build and design a website from scratch, create content of unprecedented (in my life) proportions, stay organized, establish a roadmap, and stick to it every single day. She has kept me centered and focused through it all.

    I’m grateful to all of my family and friends who have been there for me and with me, no matter which crazy and unorthodox paths I’ve taken in my life. This is the latest of those paths, and I hope to make it the most worthwhile.

    I’m grateful to all of my early readers, who have no doubt endured a bumpy road in some of my experimental early writing while I find my authentic voice. Thank you for your feedback and I encourage you to continue sending your thoughts!

    What’s Coming Next

    For much of the month of June, I’ll be on the road throughout the great expanses of the American West. I’ll be settling into a M/W/F posting schedule from here on out, so look forward to some travel-inspired writing.

    At the end of June I’ll head back into quarantine for a few weeks and roll out the next phase(s) of this project, which I am very excited about!

    Audience Participation

    You can participate in the development of this project in several ways:

    Leave a comment at the bottom of any essay. Feel free to share your thoughts and include a link back to your own site if you have one.

    Contact me on Twitter or Facebook. Tell me what you think so far. Tell me what you love. Tell me what sucks. I can use all the feedback you can provide, so don’t be shy!

    Tell your friends, tell anyone who might resonate with a particular piece, or tell the world by sharing your favorite post.

    Thank You

    I understand there are a lot of other things you could be doing during the time you spend on this site, so I thank you from the bottom of my heart for spending it here.

    Look forward to some exciting changes/additions, and more thought-provoking and action-provoking content to come!

    -JB

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