Categories
Blog

THIRTY-SIX: Trying to Learn a New Bag of Tricks!

Today I’m thirty-six. I’m thirty-six, and I blog in a world that doesn’t read blogs anymore.

And who can blame it? The written word only does so well at telling a story, with podcasts, videos and photos doing a far better job of filling the details between the lines than we could’ve ever imagined. The world’s changed aplenty from what it was when I started this a decade ago, and the one thing it continually asks me to do is something I still struggle with no matter how many times I work to figure out my ideas—

It’s time to re-think how I deliver my content.

The Biggish Blogger Problem.

I had coffee with a good friend from TELUS the other day, and he gave me some proper perspective on the current lay of the land.

The blog is dead. It’s long past the point of accepting the fact—though long-form content still does remarkably well on Google, we should be rethinking the way that content works in 2019 instead of looking to game the system with the stuff we’ve already got.

We’re in an age where smart assistants are popping up in homes across the country, with preference given to short answers that get to the point rather than meander about like the thousand-word treatises we’ve grown so used to. Stellar video’s not limited to big studios; music’s made at kitchen tables. There’s so much content out there, and the bar’s so high that everyone’s looking for stuff that’ll blow their minds… and that’s what I need to work on next.

Categories
Blog

THIRTY-FIVE: Just Trying to Thrive!

Thirty-five—it doesn’t feel like a big deal, but it sure sounds like one.

THIRTY-FIVE — Just Trying to Thrive! — Baby Casey

I’ve made birthdays a bit of a non-event for myself since having kids. It isn’t me being “emo” about it as Sarah surmised last year when she planned out a wonderful surprise dinner with my family, but the exact opposite.

I’m not who I thought I’d be at 35, living a regular life and working a regular job. Somehow I’ve managed to build this world around me that has excitement at every turn, and though it takes a lot to keep it going, I never question whether I’m living life to the fullest. I feel like I’m fulfilling my purpose every day, getting more done some days than others.

And that’s why I didn’t make a big deal about my birthday—because it was just another day celebrating my life like I do every day.

But 35 isn’t just about turning 35—there’s an entire year ahead looking to see what I can do!

Categories
Blog

The Life and Times of Casey Palmer — Thirty-Four: Becoming the Man I’ve Been Looking For

And all of a sudden, the blog came to a standstill. I can’t blame it on anything in particular—I had more than enough to write about with nearly a dozen posts sitting around at about 90% complete—but things felt different. Some stories felt false. Deadlines didn’t feel as urgent anymore. 2017’s been my strongest year yet without question, but there I was finding myself rather aimless at a time where my lifestyle demanded I be anything but.

My friends—allow me to tell the tale of a man who’d obtained the very world, but soon realised he needed to become a different man altogether to deal with it all.

Thirty-Four: So Long, Thirty-Three — It’s Been a Slice.

“You last updated your profile 2 weeks ago.”

— Facebook

Other than the ‘grams, this past month hasn’t seen me up to much of anything anywhere. Things have been plenty busy behind the scenes with a heap of things I can’t yet talk about, but all that effort left me with little energy to do my day-to-day the justice it deserved. Perhaps I was uninspired. Or maybe depressed. I hate it when things aren’t logical, and these feelings welling up inside were throwing me for a loop. I needed to get over this so I could get back to doing the things I do best.

Let’s be real—2017’s been ridiculous. Media appearances galore from Tales from the 2.9. Travel. More partnerships, bigger numbers… it’s the first year I honestly feel like I’m doing this hustle justice and not just falling in line with whatever comes my way… but who knows? Maybe it was too much of a good thing.

Thirty-Four: The Best Gifts Don’t Come in Boxes.

Thirty-Four - Becoming the Man I've Been Looking For — Casey and the Wee One at a Condo

I sat pensively on my latest birthday—as one does when they grow another year older—thinking on what I really wanted. I had more than enough stuff accumulated in my house—my desk is quite literally trapped under a pile of product I need to review—but what I could really use was some renewal. Not an entirely fresh start—one shouldn’t ignore the experiences and lessons that make them who they are—but I wanted to feel what I felt when I started this all those years ago. Excitement from meeting new peers. That first time I won something big and realised how much bigger the world was from the one I already knew. I’d lost sight of the magic that drew me to blogging in the first place, but just as everything changed in the blogosphere around me, I too needed to become a new me.

It’s one thing to learn that you can’t do everything—anyone who’s bitten off more than they can chew can tell you that. But it’s another entirely to understand you don’t want to do everything, and at 34, I’m putting the pieces in place to make sure I don’t have to.

Thirty-Four — I’m Ready.

Thirty-Four - Becoming the Man I've Been Looking For — Casey Sitting on a Giant Muskoka Chair

I think I’ve spent more than enough time trying to get my act together—it’s time I get back on track… get back to creating work that gives me hope for the future! There’re some very exciting things afoot in my life—I can’t wait to share them with you… but for now, it’s just good to be back, and I hope you enjoy everything stashed up my sleeves!

Thanks for reading and until the next,

–case p.

Categories
Blog

Thirty-Three: A Year Spent Looking Hard Trying to Find ME.

I feel like we do this every year—I get a little older, grow a little wiser, but somehow miss the mark on accomplishing the countless items left sitting on my to-do list with each passing birthday. Call it being unrealistic or being too hard on myself, but there’s a genuinely great feeling I get from lightening my load by even one item, and it’s that high I keep chasing—especially when I know I’ve done it right.

It’s not something I expect anyone else to get—it’s always proven difficult to articulate the jumbled thoughts inside my cranium, though Lord knows I’ve tried as this blog’s continued to grow. What it comes down to is this—I know myself: I know myself well, and if I ever want to move on to handle some of the bigger challenges in my life, there’s a tome of writing I’m going to have to do first.

Thirty-Three- A Year Spent Looking Hard Trying to Find ME — I Got 99 Problems... and Somehow They've All Got Something to do With Blogging.

Categories
Blog

Thirty-Two: Happy Birthday, Casey Palmer — Here’s to the Hustle!

July 2015 — I’ve just turned 32 years old, and I’m trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

I’ve built this #BloggerLife for myself — a little digital space with promise, letting me share thoughts and ideas with thousands, evolving around me as I learn to massage them into something more… spectacular.

Happy Birthday, Casey Palmer — Here's to the Hustle! — Am I a Blogger-I don’t know whether I’d call myself a blogger anymore — things have grown much bigger than that. My site’s more than a blog template, my stories more than a handful of images and subtitles… I look at my #BloggerLife and my other lives running alongside it, knowing what I have to offer is far more than I could achieve by sticking to expectations set by other people.

Don’t get me wrong — so much has happened: a surprise press trip to one of my favourite cities so I could explore; a fantastic Twitter chat that helped open my eyes to other opportunities… 2015’s hit me with so much that’s asked me to step my game up, grinding away at the things I believe in if I want to grow them into anything real. I’ve walked so many paths to this point. I’ve tried collaborating with others to create written works of art. Tried following blogging rules and best practices to catch as many eyeballs as possible. But the journey’s taught me that I can’t accomplish everything I’m going for if I just stay one thing.

I can’t do things like everyone else does and expect to find my answers — I need to carve a path from the bedrock of my life; one that’ll let me do everything I must as a husband and father, but still let me create what I want to without sacrificing precious sleep and sanity.

And for that, a little over three decades deep into my life, I look at everything I’ve built so far and ask myself the simplest of questions:

What now?

Categories
Blog The Great Social Media Story

THE GREAT SOCIAL MEDIA STORY: Don’t Call it a Comeback!!!

Another birthday in the bag and I’m long overdue for a solid blog post. Admittedly, part of my recent absence involved my two-week vacation from work and my choice to spend more time with my family, time stolen away by the 9-5 I work to keep him well.

But though all else seemed secondary for a while, with my gaze transfixed on the small adventures we’d have in Ottawa and Toronto, I’d never stay gone forever, the blog too much a part of me to abandon it without good reason.

Don't Call It A Comeback — Casey and Son at Hanlan's Point
I expected many moments like this in 2014, but maybe didn’t appreciate all the work that comes with ’em.

I entered 2014 thinking I knew exactly where my blog was going next. I’d just had a kid less than two months before, eagerly writing on the brand-new fatherhood experience and everything I was learning from it. I’d written up The 2014 100, my annual list of 100 things I’d like to try doing through the year, looking more optimistic than my list did for The 2013 100 as I better understood who I was and what I wanted. Through either dumb luck or all the years of hard work paying off, I was lining up paid opportunities and access to plenty of product reviews — it felt like the year I could finally say I “made it”, one of Toronto’s bloggers making money for their craft, with the potential of calling blogging a “job”.

But the truth isn’t nearly as simple as that. Six months later, my posts are infrequent, my mind’s tired, and I feel like my #BloggerLife’s more confused now than it was when the year began.

It might be time to take a look at my blogging and figure out what it is I’m trying to accomplish.

Categories
Blog The Great Social Media Story

THE GREAT SOCIAL MEDIA STORY: NEVER Forget the Fun!!!

I’d been lying to myself all along.

I’ve been stuck in a rut for who knows how long, and it’s been getting harder to hide. My blogs grow increasingly critical of the blogging industry around me; I find it harder to put a solid post together now than in times past; and I just feel like I’m dragging my heels, lethargic and unable to keep up with my peers that are doing some fantastic things. I even spoke with a friend about whether I’d already peaked and now faced what looked to be a life of utter normalcy.

Turns out I was just looking at my life all wrong.

The Missing Ingredient

July 15th marked my 30th birthday, and I was happy to mark it with a few changes:

  • After years of badgering by family and friends, I finally got my driver’s licence — and in style, behind the wheel of a 2011 Ford Edge Select, which I’ve enjoyed taking for spins around Toronto so far
  • I held my second annual DoomzDay birthday party on the 19th, and while the night ended less than optimally by losing my wallet and testing my tolerance for tequila (yet again), I was surrounded by family and friends as I prepared to take one of the most significant leaps of my life in only a handful of months
  • I heard the stories of other 30-year-olds still living with their parents and working minimum-wage jobs, feeling blessed to have a steady job, be in a healthy marriage, own property and readying myself for the magical challenge journey of fatherhood

I’m known for my luck, and there’s a lot of good in my life — so why did I feel like I was all out of steam with nothing left to give?

It wouldn’t come to me until I started reading Gary Vaynerchuk’s Crush It!, which Sarah gave me as part of my birthday gift. It was nothing new — it was a simple point that we’ve all known since forever, but dutifully ignore it to fit in. And that point is this: we do best when we do what we’re supposed to be doing. We’re all coded differently — we all have things we enjoy and things we dread; things we’re fantastic at and others we’ll suck at no matter how hard we try. And when you find the thing you’re born to do, and you pour your blood, sweat and tears into it — they say no matter how much you work at it, it doesn’t feel like work at all.

It feels like fun.

Everyone. Stop the presses! We’ve forgotten how to have FUN!!!

Why We Do Social Media Wrong. So Very, Very Wrong.

I remember being sad the day after DoomzDay that I didn’t have quite the turnout that I did last year. With a storm watch afoot following in the heels of Stormageddon 2013 and three-hour delay, it was enough to slice the attendance to half of what I’d anticipated. I’d put months into promotion, planning, developing a playlist, scouting locations — I wanted it to come off just right.

Does any of this sound fun to you? It’s supposed to be a celebration — how’s stressing over every little detail going to make me enjoy my party any more?

And that’s only the beginning — let’s take a look at social media in general.

These past few years, I’ve been privy to numerous opportunities because of social media and my blogging. I’ve been to Vegas. Twice. I got a press pass to Toronto Pride, snapping pics of people like Keisha Chanté and Corey Hart up close and personal. I’ve stood on the court of the Air Canada Centre and eaten at more places than I can remember.

So much happened, and all people asked of me was to write about it. Take photos. Spread the word on social media. Which all works… for a while.

It doesn’t take long before you start figuring out who the “big names” are in the industry and start getting a taste of the green-eyed monster as you look at their lives:

“They got a free trip to where?”

“They got to drive what?”

Who gave them a free which?!”

And it’s not long before that envy turns ugly, with those feelings showing up in the conversations you have with your peers:

They don’t deserve that. They don’t even fit the image of what that brand should be looking for!”

I’m good at what I do — why don’t they pick me?”

“I heard they had to do this and this to get that and that!”

The lessons we learned about envy, gossip, grudges and spite as kids are the same ones we learned as teens and the same ones that apply to us now:

  • When we wish ill on others, it only hurts ourselves
  • You never get ahead when you use all your energy worrying about someone else, and
  • When you spend so much time welling all that negativity up in yourself, you leave so little room for positivity and actually enjoying everything that life has to offer you.

So what does this all mean?

I’m 30. I’ve been building websites half my life and blogging for a third of it. I know the importance of SEO, promotion, good writing and robust multimedia. I know that you need to stay authentic to stay relevant.

But I also know how easy it is to lose your way. To forget why it is you do what you do. To get so caught up in the minutiae of what others say you need for a great blog, and forget that your blog is simply the best representation of you and what you offer to the world!

Happy Birthday, Mr. Palmer

I am not my content — my content is part of my story.

I’ll still look at things to review, read the books, try the food and go to all the places. I’ll try new things and find new ways to integrate all of them into my life.

But if I don’t remember to have fun while doing it, I haven’t learned a damn thing.

I’m going to worry less about the page views and more about the stories. Less about the Klout scores and more about the feelings. Less about how many comments I get, and more about whether the blogs I write energise me enough to write more. Because I haven’t peaked. I haven’t quit. This isn’t the end of my life’s road — I’m only just merging onto the highway.

Happy belated, Casey Palmer — welcome to the rest of your life.

HYFR and YOLO,

–case p.