Leaving Work Behind

My Thoughts on the Future of Leaving Work Behind (And Blogging in General)

Written by Tom Ewer on July 25, 2013. 83 Comments
Photo Credit: Cillian Storm

Photo Credit: Cillian Storm

You can’t beat the rush of an epiphany.

I seem to have them periodically. The first in this chapter of my life (i.e. the “Leaving Work Behind” chapter) was back in May 2011, where I seemingly came to a decision overnight that I needed to quit my job and launch an online business.

The second was in in May 2012 when I decided that I was no longer in a rush to get rich, which was quite a revelation for someone who had grown up thinking that working your ass off and getting rich was the whole point of life.

The third was just a few weeks ago while on vacation in Turkey, where I realized that my business wasn’t performing anywhere near to its potential and that I had to implement some big changes.

That final epiphany leads me to this post. I have spent the past several days putting some serious thought into the future of Leaving Work Behind and how I can make it a more valuable resource for you, my readers.

I have concluded as follows: the conventional model of blogging is not for me and I am going to make some big changes.

The State of Blogging

The other day I stumbled across an engrossing article by a photography enthusiast named Chuq Von Rospach (spectacular name by the way Chuq). Rarely have I encountered something that was so timely and so fitting to my frame of mind — I thoroughly recommend that you read it.

In the article Chuq refers to what he considers the problem (or in fact, problems) with blogging:

  • Too many keyboards chasing too few ideas.
  • Too many people following “the rules” rather than the material.
  • Too many short, shallow, forgettable, thin pieces of crap.
  • Lots of opinions without backing facts or expertise.

I can’t help but agree with Chuq.

That may come as a shock from someone who writes blog posts for a living and has just launched a content marketing agency, but bear with me.

It’s not that “conventional” blogging in itself is redundant — it is in fact a highly effective means of attracting prospective prospects, customers and/or clients. It works. But what is effective may not be what is rewarding to write, nor is it something that I feel brings something new and unique to readers that often.

As a writer working to a schedule you cannot always be at your best. Sometimes you write something that you are truly proud of and that gets a great reception. Other times you write something not so good, or even worse, something while under the influence of ulterior motives (generally financial).

My Involvement in the State of Blogging

I have been as guilty of these shortcomings and sins as any other blogger in the past, but it stops here.

Leaving Work Behind is more than just the little accountability journal on the web that it once was. It is a source of inspiration and perhaps even a beacon of hope for a loyal group of people, either still in their jobs and working to find a way out or already in business and looking to build upon their success to date.

I will not take advantage of the trust and goodwill that I have developed over the past twenty-five months by following the established rules of conventional blogging and online marketing. No more.

Chuq puts it better than I can:

When you boil it all down, blogging today, at least as the so-called experts preach how it ought to be done, has been turned into a big marketing engine. It’s more important that it SEO well than if it’s actually well written. Or interesting.  Short and punchy, and break it up into pieces posted over days, so you can get more hits and pageviews out of it. Blogging has been turned into writing daily press releases in hopes of gaining attention. It’s now a PR function, not a creative one. And frankly, most of the time, it fails miserably at that, too.

Writing stuff every day that someone comes and looks at — for 30 seconds — is pretty easy, actually. But not very fulfilling. I don’t want to write stuff that causes people to come to the site and bounce off to the next site two paragraphs later. I want them to stop and finish the piece and then pass it along to their friends to read. That kind of writing — not so easy. What I want to do doesn’t segment out well into 500 word chunks posted five times a week. I’ve tried in the past to build that cadence into my writing, and what I find it does is it pushes you into writing simple, forgettable, easily created chunks of shallow and not terribly useful words.

The other reason I’ve been wandering photography blogs like a hobo the last few months is I’ve been trying to understand how I could add to the conversation about photography out on the net and not merely repeat it. Lets be honest: nobody, anywhere, under any circumstances needs to write another blog post that tries to explain Aperture mode to a new user. There are dozens, probably hundreds, of people who’ve written about that, so if that’s your idea of useful content to write for your blog, just stop and go get your camera and go take pictures instead.  The universe does not need another blog full of generic 500 word tutorials on basic camera concepts — except that if you follow the best practices experts, that’s the kind of material they tend to push you at, because it’s easy, it’ll SEO well, and it’ll drive PAGEVIEWS. Quality? Good writing? Interesting topics? Kiddo, that stuff doesn’t SEO, why waste your time?

I’m not talking about blogging as a business model; this is about blogging for self-fulfilment and for the greater good of the LWB community. I’m talking about creating a blog based upon the principles of altruism; not focused on how to get more fans, followers and subscribers.

I won’t lie to you — it is my hope that by taking this approach to my blog, it will continue to grow (both in terms of subscribers and revenue). But I am not going to sell my soul to the devil in the hope that I can make an extra few bucks.

Where Has This Come From?

I guess the issue about trust and value has been on my mind since the very first day I started work on this blog.

It has raised its head at times — such as when I first monetized LWB, when I did a couple of webinars that fell flat and most recently when I published an article on email marketing best practices.

It is a search engine optimized post that was written in an attempt to generate affiliate sales. Don’t get me wrong — I feel like I have created something of value — but it’s not the kind of piece that I get excited about producing.

That post has produced just nine comments (including my own) and zero affiliate sales. I didn’t really enjoy creating it and the lack of interest left me feeling pretty dejected.

The truth is this: I never felt “right” about publishing that post, and my gut feeling was validated by its failure both in terms of financial goals and engagement.

Is doing something unrewarding that I do not feel best serves my audience worth the potential affiliate earnings? I’ve decided that the clear answer is no. It’s the same reason why I’ve never written a post on my affiliate strategy despite having been asked a few times — my heart’s not in it. I don’t feel like a deliberate affiliate marketing strategy is “me.” It’s not how I like to operate.

The only way in which I find affiliate marketing truly rewarding is when it ties in perfectly with a topic that I want to write about — a topic in which I feel I can add value and help my readers. An example of that would be this post: How I Attracted 10,000 Twitter Followers in a Year (My 5 Step Process).

Guess what — that post was shared a load of times, received over fifty comments and resulted in a healthy number of affiliate sales. Take from that what you will.

So What Next?

I’m following Chuq’s lead:

So what I’m going to do is this. I’m going to stop blogging. Any pretense of it. I’m going to write.

I am setting out to create the world’s greatest resource for those who are interested in quitting their jobs and building successful online businesses that afford them the freedom to live as they please. I intend to do that in a manner that I am 100% comfortable with and at no point will I compromise my principles, nor will I do anything to divert my attention from that goal.

No more set blogging schedule. No more sheer volume of content in the hope of attracting more search engine referrals. No more cookie cutter blog posts. No more picking topics on the basis of what I think might rank in Google. No more writing posts in the hope of generating affiliate earnings.

Instead, I will only produce content when I believe it is truly unique and/or adds value to my readers in a way that they could not easily find elsewhere. I will be driven by a perpetual desire to help as many of you as possible to leave work behind.

In a nutshell, this means that you will be seeing less content on the blog — probably just one post per week on average or perhaps even less. But when I do hit publish on something, you will know that it is the best possible content that I can produce.

But What About Making Money?

The last thing I want to do is mislead you and make it seem like I’m presenting myself as some kind of philanthropist. Don’t get me wrong — I want to help you, but I want to make a living too. That’s where the element choice comes in for you.

Here’s the deal: the vast majority of the content on this site is free. There is over two years worth of content packaged into well over two hundred blog posts available at your fingertips right now. That number will only continue to grow. But if I create something I deem valuable enough, I will charge for it (such as I did with my freelance writing guide). I believe that to be an utterly transparent model of creating and providing value.

That won’t stop me from writing free content on the same topic (as I have done to a great extent with my considerable collection of articles on freelance writing), but if you decide that you want to pay for premium content organized and presented in a logical structure, you have the option to do so.

As a brief aside, that brings me onto the great irony of the affiliate marketing system: A system that many claim is far more “transparent” than the “salesy” techniques that so many bloggers pursue in trying to sell their products. But ask yourself this: What is potentially more insidious — someone who says, “Hey, buy my product if you want!” or someone who says, “You should buy this product — I’ll get money if you do so, but don’t worry — my recommendation isn’t biased at all.” As far as I am concerned, you should only trust someone’s affiliate recommendation if they demonstrate that they still use it and have gained positive effects from its use.

Why Blogging is a Terrible Medium for Information Consumption

I’ve got a little secret to tell: I’m not subscribed to a single blog right now.

I am on an “information diet” — I don’t read or watch the news, I don’t engage in personal social media (although I am of course still on Facebook and Twitter in my LWB capacity) and I don’t read blogs. While I still share links to blog posts from those handful of blogs that I love the most, I’m not reading them.

Why? Because when you read a blog you are taking part in the world’s greatest ever exercise of random information consumption.

The reality is this: anyone can blog and there is a lot of crap out there. Even the “best” bloggers publish a high ratio of poor to good content, because there is no real editorial oversight (after all, today’s terrible article is history by tomorrow).

Furthermore, the consumption of blog articles is largely a random act. What your favorite bloggers decide to write about, you read, leading you down paths you never chose. It’s a recipe for paralysis by analysis – one of the most dangerous conditions you can suffer from as a budding entrepreneur.

This may seem pretty crazy coming from a blogger, but I intend to be the exception to the blogging rule.

I encourage you to keep reading Leaving Work Behind, but if you feel that a post isn’t applicable to what you are trying to achieve, don’t read it. Carry on with what you’re doing. That post will still be there in the Archives if you need it in the future. I’ll be waiting if you need help with anything.

So How Am I Supposed to Leave Work Behind?

As a reader of my blog, that is the key question for you. How am I going to the promise of my tagline: “Quit Your Job and Build Your Best Life”?

All I’ll say for now is that I have a plan. A big plan. Something that I am extremely excited about. This plan will come into fruition within the next few months, at which point we could see this blog go in an extraordinary new direction.

I hope to see you there along for the ride. But in the meantime, take a mental note: Leaving Work Behind is about to change.

Who’s with me?

This Isn't Just Another "Make Money Online" Blog.

I'm sure you've had enough of hollow promises and get-rich-quick schemes.

I don't buy into that stuff; it's never worked for me. Instead, I create profitable online businesses through nothing other than hard work and persistence.

Here on Leaving Work Behind I share it all: both my successes and my failures.

Enter your email address below and hit "Sign Me Up!" to join us.

83 Responses to “My Thoughts on the Future of Leaving Work Behind (And Blogging in General)”

  1. Bon Crowder (@mathfour)
    July 25, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    Strangely I’ve taken a small (unintended) hiatus from blogging over the past 2 months. I’m excited to read this and know that it’s okay. I’ve been having ideas but nothing has gotten online.

    I’m excited to see what you’re up to.

    Now I gotta go read that guy’s full article.

  2. Deacon Bradley
    July 25, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    I’m with you Tom! Ironically, I’ve been on a blog/information diet as well and this is the only post I’ve read in a few weeks (other than work related stuff). I’ve also taken a break from writing because I felt like I was blogging to blog lately.

    I expect to get back to writing soon, but my writing will be about something much bigger OFF the blog I’m working on rather than an end in itself.

  3. Jamie Anderson
    July 25, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    Well this explains why you never had the time to read my new tutorial Tom haha! :P

    On a serious note though, I’ve been reading your blog for a long time now and have always enjoyed the content. I’ll definitely be sticking around to see what you’ve got in store for the future. Hope it works out the way you want it to.

  4. Paul Kridakorn
    July 25, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    Great post and your thought and goals are also reflected in your blog.

    There are so many blogs and many of them are short ‘n quick basic information and news. I can see that there are just too many news blogs and I wouldn’t follow any of them, too.

    Your goal is very clear and I agree:

    “…the world’s greatest resource for those who are interested in quitting their jobs and building successful online businesses…”

    If we are making a blog, lets aim it to be the greatest of something that people would be regret if they ain’t following!

  5. Helen
    July 25, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    Interesting what you say about SEOd blog posts and blogging by rules. I don’t update my blog weekly- just when I feel I have really something valuable to post – I treat my posts mostly as articles and don’t really give a hoot about SEO and keywords as you can overthink things. My blog is not a money making machine but an ad on to my business. I think a good blog post has to be readable and offers some sort of value. My posts are therefore rarely very short. Thanks for sharing and good luck with your next phase of LWB.

  6. Rico
    July 25, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    I think you always have a lot to say. And thats what blogging should be about. It is nice to have a post that adds value to the discussion. But its like in Business. 99 pct of all businesses are not based on a new idea – they copy and idea and improve it gradually.

    • Tom Ewer
      July 26, 2013 at 5:16 pm

      Hey Rico,

      You make a good point, but I don’t think a successful business simply copies ideas — they take inspiration from existing products and services and innovate.

      Obviously the “quit your job” subject is as old as capitalism itself, but that is not to say that you can’t innovate in the field.

      Cheers,

      Tom

      • Rico
        July 30, 2013 at 4:12 pm

        Yeah, but why inventing something different from a wheel? You can take the wooden wheel and put metal around it. You can add feathers to make it less hard. You can make it small or big. You can make it full or thick or thin. If everybody thought that “there is already a wheel” we would not be where we are today.

        The truth is: We learn through copying. We copy from our mums and dads. We copy from friends. We copy from strangers. And then we start to apply our own enhancements. But the copy is always the start of every innovation. :)

  7. Jeffrey Trull
    July 25, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    When I read your email marketing post, I didn’t have a great feeling about it either. To me, it came off as a poorly disguised attempt to generate affiliate sales. I’ve been around since before you added any affiliate links, and I definitely know you’re capable of doing much better.

    Now, I’m glad to hear you’ve taken this new approach, and I’m excited to see where it goes. Out of the hundreds of blogs I’ve read over the years, yours is one of a handful that I can point to and definitively say that I’ve gotten real, measurable benefit from. Thank you, Tom!

    • Tom Ewer
      July 26, 2013 at 5:18 pm

      Thanks for your honesty Jeff — I really appreciate it.

      I pretty much felt the same way to be honest, but after spending 4 hours on it I felt like I had to publish it. I’m never putting myself in that position again!

  8. Kaya Ismail
    July 25, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    This is an excellent post Tom. One of the best you’ve written in a while.

    I’m totally with you.

  9. Betsy
    July 25, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    Congratulations for coming to this conclusion. We reached it ourselves a couple years ago. I’ve often thought that there would be far less “block” if writers would acknowledge their best work comes when there is actually something to say.

    And the gazillions of aspiring bloggers breathlessly following the rules that self-appointed, self-promoting online content gurus change up regularly is a horrifying cyclical aspect that those of us who’ve been around a while encounter with distressing regularity. Good on you!

  10. Steven Fabian (@eBizGuidance)
    July 25, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    Hi there Tom. While I totally understand your thoughts on “the dark side of blogging” and why you want to be different from the masses, I think what you said “But I am not going to sell my soul to the devil in the hope that I can make an extra few bucks.” was never the case with you, or at least I never noticed it in the past few months at all. Sure, you may have written that Email Marketing post with the intention to get affiliate sales, but it still may help a lot of people who need that type of info, besides you weren’t pushy at all. Also, we understand that you need to make money to keep building this blog, so we understand it even if we don’t need info on email marketing. Anyway, I understand why you decided to change paths and I can only wish best of luck to you! I’ll surely stick around no matter what type of content you publish! :)

    • Tom Ewer
      July 26, 2013 at 5:21 pm

      Hey Steven,

      Thank you for your support — if only everyone had the same attitude as you! Just looking at some of the feedback on Pat Flynn’s recent post on the course he’s selling (http://www.smartpassiveincome.com/breakthrough-blogging-course/) shows that you just can’t win sometimes.

      I do agree that the post is certainly useful for many people, but I suppose my point is that it’s been done before. People have published plenty of posts about using AWeber before — I’m not adding anything new to the mix. I need to hold myself to higher standards.

      Cheers,

      Tom

  11. Jeff
    July 25, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    Well said Tom, even though you’re off P90X at the moment, going to throw a Tony’ism at you – Bring it. This also gave me encouragement that I’m heading down the right path with the new blog I just setup. I’m just writing, not selling, as a creative outlet for me and whomever wanders past.

    Looking forward to what comes next!

  12. Jamie Alexander
    July 25, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    I quite like how Sean Ogle positions his membership site. The fact people have to build skills and become a freelancer before starting to build a passive income.

    I always wondered why you didn’t position your blog this way because it would throw all your new visitors onto your writing product. Even your last post about mistakes people make writing was a hit, so it’s obviously something people love.

    Let’s face it: most people will have much more success leaving work behind if they become a freelance writer.

    I don’t know what your new posts are going to be about, but could it be stuff related to building up writing skills? Then obviously you could talk about your paid product a lot. You could even build up a huge email sales funnel going through all the writing skills with random plugs for the product. You could even start a membership site with recurring revenue.

    Anyway, good luck whatever you do. I can see your new blogging website becoming huge, so I don’t think you’ll need to worry about writing posts for random affiliate sales.

    • Tom Ewer
      July 26, 2013 at 5:31 pm

      Hi Jamie,

      Interesting thoughts — thanks for sharing.

      Leaving Work Behind isn’t just about writing; I’ve never wanted to limit it to that. It happens that I make good money as a freelancer, but I don’t want people who may lack writing skills to feel like they can gain no value from the blog. That’s something I’ll be working on in the future.

      However, I write about writing quite a lot because it’s an area in which I can offer quite a lot of value. But this blog isn’t a freelance writing blog — it’s just one piece of the puzzle. And writing posts specifically with the aim of boosting sales to my information product goes against the “natural” approach to blogging that I’m going to be taking from now on in.

      Cheers,

      Tom

  13. Lis
    July 26, 2013 at 4:54 am

    Fantastic post Tom and you echo a lot of what is playing around in my mind constantly. I’ve also been on a blog diet for quite a while now and it’s one of the best things I’ve done. The internet – and ‘popular bloggers’ – can inundate you with the same information, spun a different way in a different content type. It’s exhausting. This post also showed quite some level of vulnerability – really impressed :)

    I also feel similarly about creating products. I love what I do precisely because I get to be so creative and create something that’s totally unique. I’ve been thinking about courses and products and I keep making the time to write them only to then have arguments in my head for hours (oh those little voices!) because I absolutely do not want to put things out there that already exist 1000x over just to make a few little dollars. I refuse! So my brain is having a vacation on this area of business until it has an epiphany like yours of what will be super helpful that hasn’t been done to death.

    Looking forward to seeing where you take this. Imagine if we all just created – in whatever capacity that may be – from the absence of rules or expectations? Very excited for you!!

  14. Jackson Davies at Blogprefect
    July 26, 2013 at 7:32 am

    This Melancholia is not like you Tom! Did someone beat you with an unhappy stick recently? I think crap is a big word, tripe is more like it and there is a lot of internet tripe. In order to have to time to produce content you’ve got to step back from reading it, I understand that. I’ve been quite buried in Google+ recently but I’ve opted to step back because most of the conversations seem to go full circle or you get an underhand dissin’. I’ve been accused of being a Geek Hipster Policeman, Sheldon from the big bang theory and I’ve also had to claim I was a an honorary American so that I could plead the 5th all in the space of one week.

    Back to leaving work behind. I read the email post, didn’t think it was badly written but it didn’t really stick with me like an axe in the back. Don’t beat yourself up! I’ve written some articles with a lot of passion myself (even though I’m a newbie) and afterwards have had a look back and thought, what was I thinking? I’m glad that a pro like you has wobbles, it doesn’t make a newbie like me feel so bad. I always enjoy your less SEO targeted posts. I look forward to your future installments! Chin up buddy!

    • Tom Ewer
      July 26, 2013 at 5:34 pm

      Hey Jackson,

      Don’t worry — this is all very positive! I’m not feeling melancholic at all; more inspired. Epiphanies are a good thing!

      It’s less about beating myself up and more about holding myself to high standards. That post was fine, it wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t good enough. I know I can do much better!

      Cheers,

      Tom

      • Jackson Davies at Blogprefect
        July 31, 2013 at 4:43 pm

        As long you are feeling positive that is all grand in my book. It is good to have a spell of reflective reasoning! You’ve got to love what you sell. :)

  15. Steve
    July 26, 2013 at 8:06 am

    I totally get the sentiment. With my own entrepreneurial ideas I’ve always thought more in terms of a “website” than a blog – I’ve always seen a blog as more of a business tool – something you might choose to *add* to a site.

    Having said that – as a brand new visitor to this site (and being interested in the freelance blogging guide)…I’m surprised at the “move away” from blogging comments, given the point of the guide etc!

    • Tom Ewer
      July 26, 2013 at 5:37 pm

      Hey Steve,

      I’m not moving away from blogging — I’m just re-shaping my approach for this blog. That changes nothing about my blogging in a professional capacity — as I said above, blogging is a highly effective means of attracting prospective prospects, customers and/or clients. But this blog is more than just a part of my “business” — I want it to be something truly meaningful.

      Cheers,

      Tom

  16. Suhail
    July 26, 2013 at 9:27 am

    Brilliant post, I have been following LWB for quite a long time and its been motivating many a times for an independent blogger like me and now i am a full time Editor at an online Tech Blog for startups. I am with you Tom, completely respect your decision and if there’s something i can help you with do let me know.

    One Thing, you mentioned “Blogging is a Terrible Medium for Information Consumption” i don’t agree with that, i think if you select the right blogs then it can be one of the best sources for information consumption, its a place where inidie writers like me share thoughts, reports, HowTos and opinions which helps us grow.

    I encourage more and more people to search and read blogs on topics of their interest or profession.

    • Tom Ewer
      July 26, 2013 at 5:40 pm

      Hey Suhail,

      I can appreciate why you might disagree with my statement — in retrospect, it was far too general.

      What I meant was this: If you want to learn how to do something, you’re far better off buying a well-reviewed book by someone who has already done it than Googling it. You’ll get quality information from a qualified author. That’s not to say that this kind of content isn’t available in blogs, but it is well hidden and haphazardly organized.

      Cheers,

      Tom

  17. Jon Patrick
    July 26, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    Really good post Tom, and oh so timely. Seems your thought into this is about a week ahead of mine.
    My main blog, about 2 weeks ago I just stopped. The grind to post for the sake of daily posting was wearing me down and I didn’t feel I was contributing as much as I could – so during a planned vacation I just stopped for a while. Rethinking my approach, brand, over-all goals and how to proceed to add *real* value.
    The result here from you, a fantastic post and with an emphatic ‘yes!’ while reading. Thanks.

  18. sbold
    July 26, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    I thought this post was very insightful, but at the same time it is a difficult one to digest. Some of Chuq’s thinking is flawed. There’s more to a piece of writing then just, “has this been covered before”. If people stopped writing because something has already been written, we would never see the gradual evolution of ideas. Also, just because it was written before, doesn’t me that it’s not important. It doesn’t mean that you can’t add you own voice to a message, communicate it in a better way, and reach even more people.

    The fact of the matter is that most things that haven’t been written about, haven’t been written about for a reason: nobody cares. There are exceptions to this, but they are just that, exceptions.

    Now I know the goal of this post wasn’t to discourage people from blogging, and I didn’t take it that way. I think it’s an insight that gets people thinking more about powerful, compelling content and less about keywords, seo, links, followers, subscribers, etc. And I agree. At the end of the content is what makes people share and follow you.

    • Tom Ewer
      July 26, 2013 at 5:44 pm

      Hi Scott,

      I completely agree with what you’re saying and I think that you may have taken Chuq’s article too literally (I could be wrong). I didn’t take the same message from it.

      I encourage people to write about things that have been written before (after all, there’s not much new stuff to write about!), but as you allude to, I encourage them to do it in a unique way — in a way that adds value. I think Chuq would agree with that approach.

      Cheers,

      Tomw

  19. fluentkerstin (@fluentlanguage)
    July 26, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    I’ll add to what a lot of other commenters said, first of all by thanking you for this post. A look behind the scenes of blogs that have been around for a while is always so helpful! I must say that I have been really pushing myself to write 3 times a week, and yes on the one hand it does mean that you don’t always produce the world’s greatest content.

    But on the other hand, doesn’t it give you some routine and create a bit of expertise? I definitely know now how to go about structuring an article for my blog, how long they usually are and what kind of consistency I’m aiming for. I don’t really write for SEO – you look at the keywords for my kind of topic and it’s all rather uninspiring stuff. If you write on a topic, you suddenly become this authority figure and that’s a huge responsibility – just because I say people should make themselves SMART goals and stop aiming for vague words like fluency, who says that’s true?

    But like sbold said before me, just because a topic has been covered before that doesn’t mean I’ll shy away from it. There’s plenty of reason to add and share. The internet is FULL of noise, I don’t propose to become a huge voice, but I hope to bring out the best every time I do post and not become a Huffpost.

    • Tom Ewer
      July 26, 2013 at 5:47 pm

      Hello,

      Fair point about blogging often improving your blogging skills — that’s not something I’m personally concerned about this stage though. I blogged three times a week for around a year or so before going down to twice a week and now more likely just once, so I’m not going to tell you to slow down if you feel you’re getting value out of a regular posting schedule. But I’m now at the stage where I don’t want to compromise on the quality of my writing.

      Cheers,

      Tom

      • fluentkerstin (@fluentlanguage)
        July 26, 2013 at 6:00 pm

        Thanks for your reply! I don’t do any other writing, which might make a difference too because I believe you write for magazines and other blogs too? I am a language teacher most of the time, so a lot of what I write is generated by how stuff works for students or what I think about language education – I think I posted an affiliate post once and that was entirely because I wanted to tell people how great this grammar book was. (This one. Seriously it’s very nice. And that was an affiliate link. Hah.)

        Your case is a great summary of how the writing skills might develop – maybe in 6 months I’ll drop down to fewer. In principle that’s not something I’d worry about, but my question is though: I started 3 times a week on set days because that was what I had read about. Well, I’d read that it’s important to have regular updates, tell people when to check back and so on. It does feel a bit much, but will I disappoint if I cut it down? Am I just being paranoid?

        (Kind of answered my own question, but being self-employed means having no colleagues sometimes, which is why I appreciate your blog as a mingle place as well!)

  20. Carol Tice (@TiceWrites)
    July 26, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    I’ll be fascinated to see what you do next, Tom!

    I so agree on the gut feeling being your guide. I have also presented events and posted about products that earned zero, and all along a little feeling was telling me they were wrong moves. Trying to listen to that more in future!

    Me, I always thought I was writing on my site, not slapping up quickie blog posts. My goal was to write each post like it was a $1 a word magazine article. Which most people would think is really crazy (and when I started I sort of did too! But couldn’t bring myself to slap up short garbage posts, so I didn’t). Think that’s paid off.

    I do like having a schedule. I think only the already-hugely-successful bloggers are able to just blog occasionally and have it still work to build an audience. People like to count on your posts coming on a regular basis.

    Can’t wait to see the next phase here!

    • Tom Ewer
      July 26, 2013 at 5:49 pm

      Hey Carol,

      Continuing to build an audience is certainly a concern when it comes to creating less content — you do of course always get a burst of traffic when you publish a post, whether it is good or bad!

      I’m taking the approach that less is more — that a higher quality of blog posts in fewer numbers will still allow this blog to grow. Only time will tell!

      Cheers,

      Tom

  21. Kay Fudala
    July 28, 2013 at 6:58 am

    Tom,

    You have reinforced my convictions. As a neophytes blogger I have been thinking about testing the waters of freelance writing. But having found that my strength lies in well researched blog posts (perhaps eventually articles), I am glad I didn’t take the leap. As always I will continue to look forward to your posts.

    Best wishes on your continued success!
    Kay

  22. Dan Netting
    July 28, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    I think this is a great direction to go in Tom. Knowing that you are a guy who is intent on creating wealth in life (not just monetary) you have to consider other benefits that come from this approach.

    I know first hand, as I am certain you do, of the feelings you get when you are contacted by a reader that can’t thank you enough for providing content that has helped them such a great deal.

    Making money is great, it’s what we’re all here for, but receiving these emails (as is becoming more and more frequent as I plough ahead) makes me physically smile and feel incredibly good inside, something that should not be removed from the “what am I getting out of this” equation.

  23. James Denyer
    July 30, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    A bold statement, Tom. This has been bothering me to the point of paralysis. I’ve realised that I didn’t want to admit it because the ‘experts’ weren’t talking about it and I must be thinking the wrong things. You’ve just changed that :)

  24. Cyrus
    July 30, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    I believe 95% of bloggers would not be blogging if there was no adsense or affiliate revenue attached to it. Once web writing became monetized it attracted everyone and the game changed. To make money you have to follow the rules. SEO rules. This is not just for writing. During dotcom bubble hundreds of thousands of people changed careers only for money. Before that programming was more of a niche field. When there is such a rush to ANY activity for money you eventually end up with a lemon market. The base level of market moves down to the lemon level since it is really hard to differentiate between the real and the counterfeit. The only way to fight this is to constantly build trust. With so many players in the field trust factor is shot to pieces.

  25. June
    July 30, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    I love this post and it’s so timely for me. I’ve subscribed to your blog and enjoy reading your post. This is one of your best that you’ve written because of your honesty. I dislike pretence. And you’re right, bloggers are supposed to offer value to their readers.

    I’ve been thinking long and hard for a while about changing the future of my blog as well. I know that it doesn’t offer anything that my readers can benefit from, apart from reading articles that I think they’ll enjoy. That’s selfish! So I’ve made a decision to turn it into a self development blog where women can get relevant information that will help change their lives.

    Your article has inspired me to put my plan into action. Thanks Tim! :-)

  26. Michal Szafranski
    July 30, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    Hi Tom,

    I’m with you! Actually this is the only post I’ve read on my vacations. 5 weeks off after… leaving my work behind! Yeah, you and Pat Flynn have inspired me so much I’ve decided to go full time with my blogging and other activities. I’m so scared and excited at the same time. I’m working on the details of my big plan right now.

    Can’t wait to see what you are “cooking”. All the best!

    Cheers!

    • Tom Ewer
      July 31, 2013 at 11:55 am

      Hey Michal,

      Congratulations! And also congratulations on “un-plugging” and giving yourself room to breathe — I always find that fantastically empowering.

      Best of luck with your endeavour — please let me know if there is anything I can do to help!

      Cheers,

      Tom

  27. Mariana
    July 30, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    This is something I’ve been thinking about lately as I’ve been debating whether or not to start blogging again. I’ve come to a similar conclusion and have decided I’d rather ‘write vs. blog’. Good for you, can’t wait to see what your big idea entails! I’m sure something great as usual :)

  28. Tiare
    July 30, 2013 at 11:09 pm

    Again, another well-timed post. Wonderful work.

    For me, it’s always been about the content, as a reader and writer. Just as I wouldn’t waste my time reading drivel, I try not to spend my time writing it. I don’t want deadlines on an editorial calendar taking precedence over my integrity as a writer who wants to put forth the best she can.

    The problem with “too much information” isn’t so much ‘information overload’ as it is ‘filter failure’. Being inundated with blog post after video after comment section after forum of opinions is like walking into a very loud, crowded room at a party. Most people are talking just to make conversation. And, of course, there’s always a couple obnoxious loudmouths in the bunch. If you’re lucky, you’ll make a connection with one or two people who seem to have it together and offer some sort of gravitas. But eventually, you can’t hear yourself think and just need to find the door.

    I haven’t checked my personal email or Facebook since May (except for twice because I’m helping to organize my alma mater’s Relay For Life). I confine my random web surfing to maybe an hour or two each week. I don’t Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Farmville or whatever else there is. My husband doesn’t even know what any of those things are. But don’t worry, we’re perfectly fine.

    While some “thin content” sites might offer occasional escape, just as I sometimes want to watch an Adam Sandler comedy instead of a heavy-hitting documentary, the truly important and profound content will always win the day. But it’s up to us as readers (and writers) to demand, provide, and champion it.

    • Tom Ewer
      July 31, 2013 at 11:48 am

      Awesome thoughts Tiare, thank you for sharing! I loved this especially: “Just as I wouldn’t waste my time reading drivel, I try not to spend my time writing it.” That should be the motto for any blogger.

  29. Lisa Byrne
    July 31, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    Well done Tom and an “amen” to it.

    I loved what Chuq wrote “I’ve been trying to understand how I could add to the conversation about photography out on the net and not merely repeat it.”

    Substitute the word “photography” for anything out there that is beaten dead 1,000 times a day.
    The industry I’m a part of ‘health & fitness’ is disgusting in the actual content that is out there, what people read, believe and try.
    Skinny jeans, 6 pack abs, buns of steel, torch, blast, core, & even Prancercise (Google that one!) to name a few.
    Most of the stuff is ptewy: old info chewed up, spit out and picked up by desperate dieters and whacky wanderers seeking a solution to distract them from the reality that is staring at them head on.

    Meanwhile every day I awake and meet the world it begins with the inquiry ‘what can i teach to add to their immediate learn’? I don’t want to even add to the conversation. There’s too much talk going on out there and inside people’s heads.

    Thanks for your divulgence of your epiphanies. LWBis always a refreshing read!

    Lisa

    • Tom Ewer
      August 1, 2013 at 3:38 pm

      Hey Lisa,

      You’re exactly the kind of person who should rise to the top of the blogging world. Someone who actually cares. You’re a rare beast (and I mean that in the nicest possible way ;-)) — keep it up!

      Cheers,

      Tom

  30. Bree Brouwer
    July 31, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    I feel like Jon Morrow and Derek Halpern would agree with you on a lot of this.

    The whole fact that blogging’s become a marketing tool (and yes, I called that a fact) is why I refused to blog every day as many other geek bloggers do (’cause honestly they don’t write anything useful and tend to rant and rave). It’s why I don’t read many people’s blogs. It’s why I felt a tinge of guilt when a friend of mine said I should write my blog as I wanted and didn’t make it look so much like a typical, marketing blog.

    It’s also why I’m finding it very hard to strike a balance between writing honestly in my blog and also using it as a client attraction. I need some of myself in there, and my passion for helping other geeks have better lives and businesses. But I also need some way to show clients, “Yeah, I can blog, and it does well.”

    So how do I find that? I’m not sure. I have a feeling LWB’s changes might be aligning with some on Geek My Life, as well.

    • Tom Ewer
      August 1, 2013 at 3:48 pm

      Hey Bree,

      My advice: Don’t feel like speaking your mind will put clients off. I landed my first couple of clients off the back of this blog, where I love to rant and rave (as you know too well ;-)). Once you have a good selection of bylines and samples, your blog will become less relevant anyway.

      Cheers,

      Tom

  31. Sophie Lizard (@sophielizard)
    July 31, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    This is AWESOME news, Tom. Your epiphanies are always exciting. And you know, you sound different –or read different, whatever– when your heart’s not in it. I’d rather read 3 genuinely enthusiastic posts a month than 30 slightly bland ones. ;)

    Huge best wishes for everything you do next. I’m watching. Shout if I can help!

  32. Mike
    August 14, 2013 at 2:44 am

    You’re still new to blogging Tom.

    Many blogs make $10,000 -$30,000 a month passively. Freelance work is blue collar work that bloggers don’t want to do.

    • Tom Ewer
      August 14, 2013 at 10:45 am

      Interesting…when is one no longer “new” to blogging?

      Also, care to name a single blog that is making tens of thousands of dollars per month “passively”? If you can, they are an exception rather than a rule. Trying to sell people on the idea that they can make that kind of money, quickly and easily, is exactly what is wrong with so much of the advice in the “make money online” niche.

      You’re right about many bloggers not wanting to freelance. That’s why so many of them languish earning next to nothing, stay in their jobs, and ultimately give up. It’s a shame.

  33. asrai
    August 25, 2013 at 8:01 am

    A lot of people are coming to similar conclusions it seems. I came to the same idea last week. I’m a fiction author who tries to blog to connect with people, except I hate writing non-fiction. I decided to start writing flash fiction and shot stories in the fictional “world” my writing takes place in. It will connect with readers, bring them to my blog, and keep them in their minds. It does go against advice most fiction writers are given.

    Just nice to have some validation.

    • Tom Ewer
      August 25, 2013 at 12:21 pm

      That sounds interesting Asrai. Books are often serialized and short stories used to be all the rage in publications back in the day (perhaps they still are), so who’s to say you can’t do something similar on a blog?

  34. Kristen
    September 2, 2013 at 6:55 am

    I’m intrigued, Tom. This is my first visit to your site, as I have spent this evening poking around online, in search of an alternative profession that would allow me to have more time at home with my son and cancer-survivor daughter. I’ll be back.

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