taking a break on the boat to look at the mountains

See You In 2021: A Year-Long Blogging & Book-Writing Break

“If you get tired, learn to rest, not to quit.” ― Banksy

I can hardly believe it, but I’ve been blogging since January 2014 (My first published post was on Crab Mentality). That’s six years of blogging while freelancing full-time and also publishing my first two books (for freelancers and small business owners).

In 2018, I finished a total article count of 400, and this blog post makes it 461. Since I began blogging, I’ve posted as seldom as once per month and as often as every weekday. This year, I’ve averaged about one new post per week (although they were not as evenly distributed as that average implies). 

I've written a great deal over these past six years, and now it's time to take a temporary step back. In 2020, I’m taking a break from writing and side projects and will abstain from sustaining any publishing cadence.

This site will stay up, but it will not receive updates and new posts until I resume writing activities in 2021. So, if you want to continue hearing my stories and insights, you’ll have to contract my consulting services (you can also buy a book, email me, get lunch together, or read the archives).

Since my writing and side projects income is negligible, it allows me the low-risk opportunity to step back and focus on what does earn revenue while also reevaluating this writing work. By removing it from my life for a season, it also gives me visibility to see what this outlet provides for me personally. What is it’s value to me (and others)? This insight will inform how I move forward in the years to come.

For 2020, I’ll focus solely on my freelancing clients, and I'll use the margin gained from not writing or working on side projects for my relationship with God, family, and community. While I've got some directional ideas of where to direct this newfound time, it's a bit open-ended as to how this will unfold.

As part of this process, I'll evaluate directionally where I want to grow in 2020, but I will not get caught up on specific goals (as I’ve done in previous years).

Here are the percolating ideas and experiments I’m exploring in 2020.

Strategic Aim

What’s my ideal day (week/month) look like? And not just one that satisfies my desires and interests, but that allows us to fulfill my obligations, enjoy life, and live meaningfully (individually, as part of a family, and within our community) during this upcoming season. How I answer this question will direct my time and year forward in 2020.

Ordering My Day Better

There are numerous activities I plan to be doing in the new year (like prayer, reading, exercise, family time, community outreach, work, etc...) but I’d like to structure it in a way that’s advantageous.

To help me do this, I’ve read When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Dan Pink (affiliate link). In the book, Pink explores the timing of things we do, and how to optimally order and prioritize them. The book includes a guide on how to apply the concepts into our life and work and I've been experimenting with them. This will continue throughout next year. 

Book Reading List

Since I won’t be writing publicly in 2020 here, I’d like to turn that activity around and do a good amount of book reading (as opposed to web and article reading). While I do have a large number of books I want to read, I don’t have a specific goal for how many books I read by the end of 2020. I’ll simply read a book and start the next when finished (two at a time). I suspect I’ll end up reading between 20-30 books.

Here are the most recent books I've finished (or in the middle of) reading (affiliate links below) as part of starting this journey early.

  1. Permanent Record by Edward Snowden
  2. Faith for Exiles by David Kinnaman
  3. Unlocking Leadership Mindtraps by Jennifer Garvey Berger
  4. Irresistible by Andy Stanley
  5. How The Mighty Fall by Jim Collins
  6. A Secret History of Christianity by Mark Vernon
  7. The Cure by John Lynch, Bruce McNicol, & Bill Thrall
Here are other books slated to read next year. 
  1. Can We Trust the Gospels by Peter J. Williams
  2. Hold Me Tight by Sue Johnson
  3. Defeating Dictators by George B.N. Ayittey
  4. The Coddling of the American Mind by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt
  5. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
  6. The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek
  7. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  8. Maps of Meaning by Jordan Peterson
  9. Immunity to Change by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey
  10. Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson
  11. Salvation and Sovereignty by Kenneth D. Keathley
  12. Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
  13. How Christianity Changed the World by J. Alvin Schmidt
  14. Exodus: How Migration is Changing our World
  15. Managing Right for the First Time by David C. Baker
  16. The Food Lab by Kenji J. Lopez-Alt
  17. Reading Romans Backwards by Scot McKnight
  18. Our Ultimate Refuge by Oswald Chambers

You can check out the rest of my want-to-read list on GoodReads.com here. 

Deleting Twitter and Facebook Apps From My iPhone

To proactively prevent me from simply using my gained time (and beginning and end of day time) on distractions and time sucks, I’ve deleted Facebook and Twitter from my phone.

The problem with these social apps is how they have a never-ending feed that regularly leads to pockets of time lost. I’ll solely interact on these two apps through my computer only, allowing me to continue their use while also minimizing the amount of time I'm on them.

Options, Opportunities, & Openness

Ultimately, what’s ahead is an opportunity for me to listen to God and be open to directions and pathways I may not otherwise seek or choose on my own accord (or while I'm focused on knocking out goals).

The year could very well lead to a dramatic pivot or simply a small adjustment to the route we’re already traveling. The options are endless, but I'm open to where God may lead.

Here’s to future clarity in 2020 and the excitement of the unexpected opportunities to come.

See you around.

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