Being a freelance writer of diverse interests is a bit like being a dog in a yard full of squirrels. Focus is always going to be a challenge too often attacked with snacks.
My social media restrictions over Lent were designed to impose a bit of discipline. I’m cautiously optimistic that I’ve learned something.
But I still have a lot of choices to consider as I try to find the sweet spot between satisfying editors, satisfying readers and satisfying myself. I have the luxury of being self-indulgent if I want, but I don’t want to be in a cocoon writing only for myself. I’d like to make people (especially, but not limited to, my friends) laugh and think.
Professionally, I’ll certainly keep writing for The Guardian, and I plan to do more youth soccer for FourFourTwo. I’m intrigued with the new sports section at OZY, and I’d like to write more for Bloody Elbow/SB Nation after the last installment of my old Inside The Ultimate Fighter book.
Speaking of books, I’m on the verge of finishing How the Hell Did I End Up Cageside?, though it’s going to be a mini-book, circa 30,000 words. I’ll likely put it up at Amazon in the next month or so.
Then there’s the stuff I write for fun — the now-monthly “What’s THAT Supposed to Mean?” series at Popdose and what I write here at Mostly Modern Media. I don’t expect any money from any of that.
That said, the line between what I do for fun and what I do for work is blurry. When I’m talking sports on Twitter, it’s fun, but it also affects my writing. And that’s one reason I can’t give up Twitter entirely, as tempting as that seems at times.
So I have to sort through a lot of priorities, not the least of which is “stuff I can do with my kids.” You might think it’s a distraction to tinker with keyboards, drums and GarageBand, but it’s a fun way to spending creative time with a son who is quickly surpassing me in every musical skill except reading music, which he rarely needs to do because he picks up melodies so quickly by ear and practice.
I won’t go through every single thing I’m considering. That seems a little self-indulgent, and I’m trying to get away from that. But I have a couple of questions:
- Does anyone still use Flipboard? I hope so, because I’ve started using that as my medium for sharing global (mostly Olympic) sports news, and I’ve found I can toss a feed from it on SportsMyriad.
- Am I right in thinking Medium is essentially a new-wave Huffington Post without the strident political overtones and anti-vaccine nonsense? I’m thinking of using that the way I used to use HuffPo — writing medium-length pieces that promote what I’m doing.
- Does anyone have a Twitter-client alternative to Tweetdeck or Hootsuite?
- If I decide to open up a library for public viewing on Diigo, will anyone know what that means?
- SurveyMonkey or Google Forms?
- What’s the best way to do voiceovers on PowerPoint slideshows and turn the end result into an animated YouTube video?
- Is anyone doing good data journalism independently — say, on a one-person blog?
- Why the hell does Snapchat still exist now that Facebook and Instagram are also offering temporary “stories” so you can put stupid artwork over inappropriate photos and not have a potential employer dig it up a couple of years later?
Those are my questions for now. I’ll check back after I eat, get my teeth drilled, write two stories due to run Tuesday, and do the PTA newsletter. (Geez, for someone with no actual job, I have a lot to do.)