because that groove is hard to find

If you’ve ever been in the business of content production, then you know that you can get on a bit of a roll after a while. Sometimes those rolls can last for a few days, and other times, they only last for a couple of hours.

For me, they’ve been elusive lately, but I have to figure that’s because I haven’t specifically focused on them. I wrote about Zen-like creative workflows over on Pearsonified, and I truly believe that you can trigger a higher level of productivity by performing simple mental exercises that force your brain into activities that you would otherwise suppress.

Take this very post, for instance. I only sat down to write it because I feel this incredible need to find focus in my life right now, and I’ve watched over the last few weeks as my inability to concentrate has caused my productivity to plummet.

I guess I have a love/hate relationship with the work that I’ve produced of late. I almost feel as though I received more credit in the past for work that was sub-par in so many ways, yet flashier on the outside. These days, though, the bulk of my work is characterized by an understated level of detail that extends well beyond that which can be digested upon a first look.

I haven’t resisted the temptation to produce anything different because I am more proud of my recent offerings than I’ve ever been of anything else I’ve produced to date. That said, it’s always nice to have that “wow” factor attached to something that you push out to market.

On one hand, I desperately want to people to understand why I choose to do things the way I do, but on the other hand, I don’t feel this overwhelming need to justify myself to anyone. It is what it is; I have my reasons; maybe you’ll like it; maybe you won’t.

For whatever reason, I cannot escape the stuffy confines of ubiquitous design—that which can be used by anyone, at any time, for any type of site that utilizes a CMS to handle content. As far as themes go, I hate to make design decisions that will preclude certain types of people from using my frameworks, and as a result, I end up producing what appears to be very minimalist designs.

Once you get under the hood, though, I’d argue that nothing could be further from the truth. But here I am again, shouting into the wind for no one’s benefit other than my own.

I suppose that’s ok in some cases, but it still feels lame nonetheless.


I’ve been depressed and weird lately, and for someone as analytical as I tend to be, it’s really strange because I can’t really explain what’s going on. I feel like I’m ambivalent about everything, and it almost seems to have crippling effects on my work, my personal life, and my general ability to achieve the things that I want.

In March of this year, I ended a 22-month relationship with someone who enriched me in some ways and tore me down in many others. I remember the man I was before I met her, and I certainly understand how I am different now. I think there’s probably a happy medium between the two that I need to find in order to make peace with myself over all the things that have gone wrong over the last couple of years…

When I was kid, I had this unwavering, blind confidence about damn near everything. I was good at things because I believed I was good, and I excelled because I believed that I could tackle every challenge that could be thrown at me.

When I got out of college, I still had this confidence, but it was somewhat throttled by the fact that I was so confused about corporate life, work, making money, and getting by in a non-scholastic realm. Four years later, I realize that I was confused because I was a square peg in a round hole corporate world, and no matter what, I was never going to fit.

In real time, these things are so hard to see, especially for a young person. I admire anyone with the clairvoyance and understanding to grasp that at such a young age, embrace it, and parlay that autonomy into success in their early to mid twenties. It’s remarkable, but in those instances where it does happen, I have to believe that those folks received some pretty sage advice from people who truly understand the path.

I wasn’t lucky enough to have a candid, experienced mentor during that stage of my life, and although I’m basically whining about it now, I hope that some day I will be able to help a young person avoid the pitfalls that I had to endure in my early twenties.

I may never be truly satisfied with my life or my work until I am able to do something like this, but I suppose that is both the ultimate blessing and the curse for people like me—fulfillment is always just one project away.

1 comment… add one
  • Ryan Jun 26, 2007 @ 19:54

    I just turned 31 and can relate to some of what you describe here. Having just “left” my 20s and entered the full blown family deal (wife and a year and a half daughter) I have a bit of advice for you. Don’t take your 20s too seriously. If you are passionate about something chase it with complete devotion. If you’re not sure what your passion is then keep exploring new things…and don’t freak out if it takes you a while (I’m still trying not to freak out myself to be honest).

    Don’t wait to mentor someone else. Despite having very little time outside of work, I just started participating in a Big Brother program. Amazing what you find out about yourself when you get hooked up with a 13 yo kid that has so much less than you do in his life.

    Finally, I think your copyblogger theme (please make this a link to your site as I’m not quite sure how) kicks ass. I am completely new to the web game and have learned a lot from just cruising your code/comments.

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