A Life Without Numbers

For the past few years, it’s obvious that I’ve struggled with my identity online. Recently I’ve been writing a lot about authenticity, and living the minimalist lifestyle. But I feel like I haven’t been doing either particularly well.

It’s no secret that I sometimes hate filters, and have come to the conclusion that I need to make a few changes in my life.

I’ve written about the pain of losing subscribers and have continually wrestled with the uncertainty of direction on my personal site. It’s extremely hard for me to do this, but I feel like the best option for me is to start fresh.

And that is what I’m doing here.

I won’t delete any of the content on my personal site at the moment, and will leave everything intact for now. But I feel like it’s time to push the pause button and refocus what I want to do and where I want to do it.

Yesterday I tweeted beneath every person online, is another person, and to be honest that was more of an admission than anything else. I no longer want to hold back because of things I fear.

I want a distraction-free website, without the things that typically prevent me from being real. In an attempt to be genuine and completely true to myself and my goals, I’ve chosen to go with a minimalist design and deliberately left a few things out — specifically share buttons and comment links.

It seems counterintuitive to remove the very metrics that supposedly show how great we are, but I feel in most cases it’s not as accurate as we think.

I want to live a life without numbers, it’s that simple.

So I’m starting a new blog. If you are looking for more explanation of who I am and what I’m doing, you can read about that here. I’m also creating a new email list, so if you’re interested in getting updates, you can subscribe here.

Comments

  1. says

    I can relate, I have almost completely stopped blogging because I’ve felt I needed to be a certain something to be interesting , to be followed, to get comments. I stopped sharing my heart because of “other” people. I miss it and it feels like a void that I’m not sure how to fill. I’ve pondered starting over, but I honestly love my URL. So each day I think about what to write about and wonder if anyone cares, or if that slightly crazy stalker from the past is still watching. Sigh.

    • says

      I’ve been going through this for what seems like forever. While I’ve been able to change direction on my site, I needed something different. Something that could redefine my intentions and would be more representative of who I am.

  2. says

    Hi Brian,

    Interesting (bold?) move, sir. It definitely makes sense, given the direction you’ve been moving and the questions you’ve been asking of yourself (and, to a degree, us) these last few months.

    Looking forward to seeing where you head next.

    • says

      The fact that I resisted abandoning my personal domain was proof that it needed to happen. I was clinging to something that just wasn’t. I also wanted to go with something more inline with the possibility of opening it up to multiple authors down the road.

      Like creating a movement or something.

  3. says

    Bookmarked. Saved. And still a subscriber for as long as the Good Lord keeps my feet on the planet. Now, I am going to subscribe unless I already am…

    Great site Brian, better yet, GREAT YOU!

  4. Greg Taylor says

    I applaud your move and look forward to more posts. Numbers and metrics are only appropriate when measuring and comparing A to B.

    A mans success, legacy or influence can’t be measured by numbers, but rather by the quality of life he surrounds himself with. Best wishes with this journey.

    • says

      Thanks Greg, really appreciate it. I will admit that it’s really tough to go this route, but as my friend Robert Frost once said “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

  5. says

    Love how you keep pushing the envelope in your effort to be authentic. Love the idea of this becoming a movement. Think it could be a great antidote to the obsessions social can foster. Also love the domain and theming choices!

  6. says

    Love this Brian. I had an extremely successful blogging friend do the same thing about a year ago – he posts and doesn’t even have a comment section. He just writes and that’s all. There’s something freeing in that concept. Writing without caring where it goes or who reads. It’s very organic. Old-fashioned. Real. I wondered about your comment yesterday. Now it makes sense. I look forward to following your new posts!

    • says

      While I understand why some folks choose to remove comments, I find way too much value in the conversations that take place when I write stuff.

      And yes, I’ve been known to tweet cryptically.

  7. says

    I’ve almost completely stopped blogging because of this exact thing. The feeling that you need to be a certain way or a certain someone. That drive to write only for comments or shares. I used to write much more openly and honestly…and in truth, I think I got a lot more readership that way. It’s a never ending struggle to remain genuine in a world that operates behind a screen.

  8. says

    Hey Brian,

    Love the minimalist design and completely respect the authentic intent behind the new blog.

    It’s easy to spend too much time thinking about exactly how we present ourselves online and being totally unfiltered might just be the answer.

    I’m sensing it’s giving you a sense of freedom as a writer and that can only be a good thing.

    Best of luck with unfiltered.me

    • says

      Yeah, there’s definitely a sense of freedom involved here. It was really tough to finally come to the conclusion that leaving my other blog was the way to go, but I really did feel that a clean break was needed.

      Come to think of it, that just gave me an idea for another blog post. Thanks.

  9. says

    I don’t have an unfiltered blog, but I definitely see the appeal in splitting up your posts into separate blogs. I have one for my personal stuff, mostly a life blog, plus a geeky blog where all my WordPress stuff goes and another “random” blog, where I file the stuff which doesn’t fit elsewhere.

    The random blog has turned out to be really useful. I debated whether I should create it for a long time, but it was definitely a good idea. I usually didn’t blog certain things in the past, as they didn’t fit my regular audience, but by building a new unconnected blog, I’ve created a spot for all of the content I didn’t have a home for previously.

    • says

      I don’t know how much I’m going to be posting on my other blog blog now that I launched this one. I don’t want to send mixed signals at varying audiences, and really feel a cleanness about what’s going to take place here.

  10. says

    Wow. Reading this was eerily similar to a recent decision I made to cut all social media. My reasons were to drive genuine traffic and stop the “noise” of the rest of social media voices.

    This is a great post an I’m adding this to my feedly! Looking forward to future posts.

    • says

      I’ve considered social media black outs, but for the same reason I chose to allow comments here, I didn’t want to miss out on the engagement and conversation that it allows. The key, though, is making sure that I’m deliberate with my time and that I don’t lose focus.

      • says

        The reason I made the decision to shut down social media was because I was seeing people divide who I was into different things between different social media platforms. For example, my blog became known as “Christian Article” Jeremy where my FB page became known as “Family Pictures” Jeremy. The twitter feed became “Liberterian Politics” Jeremy.

        Those examples are just illustrations. As I was sitting and thinking about it, I found myself interacting with a ton of people who were only interested in one aspect of “jeremy.” They weren’t really genuine about who I was… just one aspect of me.

        I am all of my content. Not just an article, or a family picture. I decided that in order to flush out genuine conversation, I had to move the entire conversation to one place so people could see and interact with all of me (and I, with all of them).

        I’ve only been off for a week, but I have been pleasantly surprised by the folks who have joined the conversation. Some people I never would have expected appeared; while some people I expected, never came to the party. (so to speak)

        In fact, one of the people I didn’t expect, shared your post with me today, and that’s how I found it! Kind of interesting.

        • says

          I completely understand why you did what you did, especially now that you’ve put it in context. Makes total sense.

          Out of curiosity, if you don’t mind sharing, who sent you over here?

          • says

            Carrie Koens. She’s A friend of mine who did some editing on a manuscript I’m working on. She’s been realizing the importance of wisely managed social media as well. Thats the best way I can describe it because different people are doing things just like this for very different reasons.

            The main reason seems to be the same though… Having genuine and meaningful interaction.

  11. says

    I feel as though I always say it, but your journey in this area has paralleled mine so much. And I dare say many many others. You will resonate with a lot of people.

    I’ve been dying to write ‘more real’.

      • says

        Two of my biggest posts on my site are about starting a minimalist lifestyle and the hows and whys. Every single day for the last two years, people have come and read those posts — people are HUNGRY for this information, and encouragement and help are being sought.

  12. says

    Brian, I’ll be very interested to see how you go about removing the filters that are, in my opinion, continually at work – both online and off. I’m not sure any of us watching from outside your brain, outside of your “real life,” will be able to discern if you’ve really turned off all of the filters. I’m not even sure it’s truly possible. That said, I’ll watch with interest.

    • says

      Sounds like a challenge, Jeff — one that I embrace openly. I can’t guarantee that I’ll be able to shed the filters completely, but moving towards 100% is better than not, right?

  13. says

    It’s nice to start fresh. I can’t tell you how often I’ve thought about that … just wanting to disconnect from everything online. The trails do that for me.

    Anyway, I like the new start (and the new look).

    • says

      I wish I had scenic trials to get lost in, Ricardo. Music is pretty much my outlet, when I want to decompress and get away. Fortunately I can do that while I run!

  14. says

    Brian, we are on the same frequency, Sir. This year has been a whirl wind of change for me also, spiritually, professionally, what I think and expect of myself, my dreams, what I think success really is, what I want out of this life… I feel that you are also going through this time of growth, and it is terrifying, and only the brave make this kind of shift. Evolution is not an option, but it takes guts to welcome change with welcome arms, even if it takes us a bit of time to get to that point. I think you are on an amazing journey, and I am really looking forward to seeing your authentic self shine through. :)

    • says

      Thanks so much Alysia — and yes, it’s definitely an evolution journey that I’m on. While it’s terrifying, there’s also a tremendous amount of relief in the choice I’ve made, which makes it less terrifying.

  15. says

    You know I am always so looking forward to what you do ‘next’. I have never for a moment doubted either your intent or your ability to live and work with intention – you do both beautifully and continuously offer such incredible inspiration and support to this space and community. Looking forward to watching this new space evolve.

    • says

      Danielle, you have no idea how happy it makes me to see you comment here. I know how busy of a person you are, and appreciate you taking the time to encourage me. Check back soon, as I’ve got a post idea based on something I’ve read in your Instagram bio.

  16. says

    I feel like I just keep going in circles when it comes to simplifying. And by simplifying, I think I really mean separating myself from the online world.

    As much as I want to “start fresh”, I don’t believe I can really do that online.

    Maybe you can help me understand a bit as to how this is possible. How can you really start over and still be online?

    I don’t really even know what I’m asking, haha. But one thing’s for sure, I like where you’re headed, and even though I might not be following it very closely, I truly wish you the best in your journey.

    • says

      I felt the same way, Calvin — which is why I knew I needed a much different approach than what I was trying “over there.”

      Hopefully a clear separation was what I needed, and I look forward to pushing ahead.

      In terms of “starting over” for me it’s about the location, rather than the person. Like I’ve said in a few places, I feel like my other blog has a certain expectation attached to it, and one that has been shed by coming here. There’s over 100 posts of varying content there, and unless I was willing to completely nuke it, I ran the danger of falling into the same habits.

  17. says

    It’s hard to find your voice. I remember a really important paper I was struggling to write years ago. Once I hit upon the right “voice,” the writing almost flowed. That was so cool! And I think it’s a metaphor for something larger in life.

    And about numbers, I’m a data blogger so I love numbers. I love searching for the truth buried in a pile of numbers. But it sounds like the numbers you were following somehow became your enemies.

    Anyway, I’m enjoying trying to find my voice in my blog. For me, doing videos for the blog has really helped me find my voice. It’s pretty easy for me to tell when I’m weird and unnatural in a video. I’m slowing becoming more natural on my little webcam videos and it’s fun to watch myself improve baby step by baby step.

    I started making real progress when I recently decided to do a lot of videos, whether good or bad. I wanted a safe place to be bad while I learned. When I do a bad video now it’s no problem, because I know I’ll do another one soon. I can improve the next one. I don’t have to make this one perfect.

    The point is, it’s funny how finding a bit of my authentic voice on webcam videos is helping me find my writing voice as well. Writing is flowing more easily for me now and I’m looking forward to seeing how it improves over the next year.

    • says

      But it sounds like the numbers you were following somehow became your enemies.

      Yes, this was completely the case, no matter how much I recognized and tried to avoid it. Great to hear you’ve been able to hone in on the authentic side of you. It’s a great place to be, that’s for sure!

  18. Lizzie Williams says

    Good for you, Brian!

    To heck with metrics and numbers. Enjoy your freedom. Just breathe and enjoy the journey.

    (Looking forward to enjoying the ride.)

  19. says

    Love the authenticity! I’m really glad you made this decision, sometimes you just need a fresh canvas to be yourself. Look forward to reading.
    God Bless

    • says

      Yes, a fresh canvas is definitely what I needed. I have learned a lesson that I should have seen a long time ago — you can’t fit a square peg into a round hole.

  20. says

    Hey man,

    Hang in there. Burnout happens… time to step back but know that we support you no matter where you go.

    You’re good people.

    :-)

  21. says

    Like so many others, I’ve been struggling with my online identity as well. It seems if you use a personal domain, automatically your work becomes your identity. As a wannabe polymath, it’s extremely frustrating to be boxed in the way “conventional wisdom” advises. I admire the move you’ve made. Looking forward to following along. You’re an inspiration!

    • says

      I’ve written and spoken many times about the sad reality that I felt prisoner on my own site and under my own domain — not sure why I allowed that to happen, but there’s a freshness about doing something away from it.

  22. Sylvia Lima says

    Brian,
    I’ve had a very similar “tapping on my heart” if you will for quite some time. Living “authentically” is almost an oxymoron when it comes to social media for the most part. Measuring our worth or seeking validation from others simply by following or subscribing will ultimately disappoint us.

    I will confess that when I “lose” a Twitter follower, I sometimes go back to see what it was I may have posted that prompted the unfollow. But I don’t want that to change who I am and I need to remind myself that people are just people.

    I applaud your bravery and conviction. Not because of what others may say but because you had the courage to face your demons.

    • says

      I finally was able to figure out how to remove the option to get unsubscribe emails from Mailchimp, and I have a feeling that alone is going to make a world of difference in my journey.

      We all have demons, and not many of us choose to face them. I’m in no way perfect, and I run from mine more times than I care to admit — but this time around, the pull was strong enough for me to do what I wanted.

  23. says

    As someone who’s relatively new to the blogging world, I have no experience with the filters and identity struggles that appear to be common when you’ve been at it for a while and have had a certain degree of success.

    But I love reading your personal thoughts, and many of them have inspired me to think differently about several aspects in my own life. I look forward to following your journey!

    • says

      Laura, you’re one of the most gracious people I’ve encountered on the internet — and someone who I owe more to than I’ve given. What I need to do is finish this comment and take care of things for you, so thanks a ton for being patient.

  24. says

    So, so with you here, bro. I think there are SO MANY of us feeling this same tug to just unplug from it all—not from the Internet or from connecting with each other, but from one-upping each other, from the loud echo chamber that screams, “Look at me!” “No, now look at me!”

    It’s crazy. Love to see where you take this. And I love this design.

    • says

      Tsh, so great to see your face in my comments — as I know that we live parallel lives at times. Appreciate your friendship, and really hope that you come to Chicago on the Blue Bike tour!

  25. Jean Galea says

    It’s a long-time struggle of mine as well, I think I’ll take your decision as inspiration. Subscribing to your new blog right away :)

  26. Ethan says

    Brian,

    I’ve been a long time fan and reader of yours and I feel like I get where you’re coming from.

    It’s quite a a coincidence that I read this tonight. Just two weeks ago I basically gave up my old blog altogether and started a new one. No subscribers, no list, no anyone.

    I’m even in the process of changing my legal name (taking my wife’s surname – rather than the other way around).

    So far I’m sticking with Genesis and I’m trying out Synthesis.

    I need(ed) a new start. I get it.

    I hardly have any content up yet, but about a dozen draft posts. A few of them were inspired by your writing.

    So, I’ll click publish soon, and maybe you’ll see some trackbacks/ping backs or whichever when I mention your posts. And if those posts still have comments enabled, I’ll comment there too.

    And remember, if you’re feeling down or confused, there are thousands of us out here (many like me who you’ve never met) who get great inspiration for your words, designs and spirit.

    I hadn’t toyed with the idea of disabling comments. [/one more thing to think about]

    I’ll be a subscriber here, for sure. Thanks for your openness and authenticity.

    • says

      And remember, if you’re feeling down or confused, there are thousands of us out here (many like me who you’ve never met) who get great inspiration for your words, designs and spirit.

      The humble part of me still can’t comprehend the truth in what you say, mainly because at times I feel as though there are crickets in my audience. Make no mistake, however, that I do realize how many people have resonated with things that I’ve written about.

      That doesn’t make me right, it just means we’re all in this together.

  27. says

    Hi Brian,
    I read you regularly (excuse my english, I speak french).
    I resonate with what you write here. I’m a nomad for four years now. I have no appartment of my own and I don’t sleep in the street. I do house sitting and it’s fun!
    I do web design and maintain my blog VieConsciente.com – so I can live anywhere. I’m free.
    I think you are courageous to choose to change your life and more because you’re public (if i can say that).
    Thank you!
    Mado

  28. says

    Hey Brian –

    I really appreciate what you’ve done here. I can relate to your feelings about authenticity. Social pressure does just that – guides us to decisions and actions that really aren’t us. Some situations make it worse than others.

    If you’re anything like me, achievement is closely related. Whenever I achieve something it is quickly minimized in my mind. We can’t help it in such a numbers-driven field. It comes with the territory.

    Screw it though. We only live once and there are millions of people who vibrate in sync with a true voices. Keep doing what you’re doing and I look forward to reading your upcoming posts.

    -Liston

  29. says

    Hi Brian,

    Good stuff. So take us through the domain search process. Did it hit you on Monday or have you been thinking about it for some time? Cool that unfiltered.me was available.

    I’m in that start from scratch mode, but in a different sense – going to finally start a blog that has been years overdue at http://www.timothymevans.com, later this month, but might need to do a .org eventually to post my thoughts on faith, family, football … Life, etc. like you are doing with unfiltered.me.

    Subscribed to your new blog and look forward to following along in your new venture.

    The blog conference you are doing in Denver in May; will you be doing anything similar in the Midwest/Chicagoland in 2014?

    Blessings and thoughts/prayers for an awesome new brand in Unfiltered.me!!!

    Tim

    • says

      There wasn’t much the domain name hunt other than a conception of what I wanted. The first two domains that I looked up were “unedited” and “authentic” .me’s — and both were obviously taken. About that time, I was rereading my post about filters and Instagram, and it just popped in my head. I was fairly convinced that it wouldn’t be available and had to do a double-take when it said it was. I figured I had mistyped it or something!

      As for a conference, no — unfortunately the Authority Intensive Conference in Denver is our one big thing this year, and I doubt anything Midwest will be done by us at Copyblogger. I am planning on attending WordCamp Chicago in June, so there’s always that.

      • says

        I’ll probably be at WordCamp Chicago this year too. Went in 2009 and 2011.

        Are there spots open (cut off date?) for the Denver conference?

        Thanks for the background of the domain. Always interesting to hear how a brand was formed.

        • says

          I believe that the AI conference is sold out, though if you’re really interested in going I can see what I can do. As for Chicago, more than likely I’ll only be attending the Friday stuff, as my son has a baseball tournament on Saturday and it’s Father’s Day on Sunday.

  30. Somone says

    Wishing you the best of life in your new direction. I think changing your former blog from business to personal was only a half-hearted attempt to do something different. Certainly needed to take it in stages. I reckon this time you’ve got it right. Just subscribed again with no expectation other than reading what you feel like and hoping you are happier doing so.

    • says

      I completely think you’re onto me, Somone — and agree wholeheartedly that what happened over on my other site wasn’t good enough. It needed a new address, and what I’ve come up with is just what I was looking for.

  31. says

    I don’t know if you’d remember, but I’m that girl you gave a free copy of Revolution to a long time ago because you found a comment I posted at the old WPdesigner blog about salivating over Revolution. I love the product (Genesis now) but the transition of Studiopress to a partnership bothered me in an inexplicable way. Genesis was no longer something crafted by a passionate person but something that was, like a million other things, just a commodity subject to the usual marketing hard-sell (you partnered with marketers, after all). Part of the charm was lost. Revolution/Genesis was beautiful because it was created with love and passion like any genuine piece of art. It was people’s belief in you, as an artist, that made Revolution/Genesis a success. It was you.

    Then Studiopress became what it is today and it turned cold, like an artwork that was less like art and more, well… think instant ramen versus a bowl of noodles lovingly prepared by some street hawker who carefully chose every ingredient and painstakingly did every step of the cooking. And, as that coldness continued to creep into Studiopress, you transformed the focus of your blog.

    I’ve always looked at you as an artist, Brian, someone that inspires with how he transforms ideas into creations. I’m glad we’re seeing more of that artist today. And I’ll be following the adventures of that artist for far longer than I’ll probably be a customer of Studiopress.

    • says

      Connie, I appreciate your comment here on so many different levels. While I enjoy hearing positive feedback about my decisions, I’m more intrigued with your honesty about the business decisions I’ve made. I understand what you are saying, and there’s probably some truth in it.

      When I made the decision to merge StudioPress into Copyblogger it was primarily because I saw the vision that Brian Clark painted. I was proud of what I had built, but I also wanted to take it a step further in the business world. I don’t regret any decisions I’ve made, and really am proud of where we are today.

      It’s true, that when you grow something, you run the risk of it becoming less personal. Over the past few years I lost a sense of “me” along the way, and this whole website is dedicated to the journey of getting it back.

      While I certainly don’t intend on leaving my job, I do intend on balancing work and life much better than I have.

  32. says

    I have wrestled with feeling like I was a failure as a blogger because I couldn’t fit in blogging daily or sticking to a schedule. But after flipping back and forth for a while I am so happy to admit that I just really enjoy the process of blogging. I moved back to my first blog name from 6 years ago last week. I don’t have a facebook page, I’m don’t have a social media strategy and I choose not to whore myself out to try to appear more cool/relevant/popular/worthy.

    Never have I been one of those girls to hold back on their opinion or someone who glides through life in a chic and elegant way. Regularly I am a goofball and get overwhelmed with social awkwardness followed by saying ‘the wrong thing’ because of a temporary lapse in verbal filter {which is only there because I have spent the last 10 years developing it}.

    Thank you for reminding me to be proud of that instead of thinking I need to apologise for it.

    Amy x

    p.s. you might recognise the ‘new’ blog name. Many moons ago, when studiopress ‘pretty young things’ first went over to wordpress.com a very kind guy helped me out with installing it and even made me a personalised header to match the demo despite an annoying ‘hobby blogger girl’s’ requests for tweaks. I have followed that kind guy’s journey ever since. Look forward to reading more from you :)

    • says

      I think more of us need to embrace the “goofball” within us and stop being so tight about who we are online. While I don’t let down the guard as much as I’d like, I do try to put myself out there as much as possible. We’re all weird, just most people can’t admit it.

  33. says

    I am one of the guys who will follow you online wherever you go, so count me in.

    I also have a similar issue and at some point I am going to move all the “business” content from my blog and keep eugenoprea.com only for more personal opinions.

    But I need to figure out the direction of that new blog where my exiting content is going to reside.

    Additionally, on a different note, a while ago I read a thing someone mentioned about life. It was something about why striving to live a life some day when you will have more resources? Instead, try to live that live with the resources you have now and then move towards your goals.

    I think at this every time I get stuck with a thought like: “when I will make that amount of money…”

    • says

      Yeah, I hear you Eugen, and thank you for this:

      I am one of the guys who will follow you online wherever you go, so count me in.

      I try my best not to let comments like this get to my head, but more than anything it helps affirm my efforts in times when I doubt it.

  34. Henk van den Bor says

    Thanks for sharing this quest… I love the theme domain name/whitespace/typography/content, all works to create a superb readability.
    Food for thought and a feast for the eyes.

  35. says

    Totally understand you. I’ve started several blogs myself, only to find out I was not the same person than the one writing. Trying to be yourself and having a public persona is complex and sometimes contradictory. Hard to find, hard to reach the point or the balance. Too many “what ifs”. Trying to make a change and ending up changing yourself…
    My best wishes Brian, you are truly an inspiration as a designer and as a person.
    Bosco

    • says

      Trying to be yourself and having a public persona is complex and sometimes contradictory.

      This is most certainly true, and something I think more people struggle with than those who admit it.

  36. Lisa says

    I’m fairly new to your world and not entirely sure where you’re going, but I understand the need to be unfiltered, to be real in a a sense that’s not hackneyed. Having spent almost 16 years as a pastor’s wife, I have had to sometimes fight to keep it real. But it gets easier as I go along, and especially as I look to the one who makes it possible.

    I wish you all the best and look forward to your coming posts.

    • says

      and not entirely sure where you’re going…

      Well that makes two of us, so you’re in good company. Being a preacher’s wife truly must be a difficult thing — and I commend you on that. I’m sure you were held up to the very highest (almost to an unfair point) standards, and cannot imagine what you went through.

  37. says

    Hi Brian, first I’m already signed up on your new email list. Second I can totally understand how you feel about everything relating to numbers and making this change is a good move.

    I felt like that about a year ago since then I no longer worry what my numbers look like as long as I’m happy with what I do.

    It’s a known fact it will never change so that means we have to focus on what’s important, us.

    Can’t wait to see the new site I’m sure it will be a killer. Best of luck your web friend RobG

    • says

      Rob, I’ve always appreciated how much you support and encourage me, and it’s great to hear you’ve gotten to a place where numbers no long worry you. Great job!

      • says

        You bet I do Brian I will always be one of those supporters no mattet what path you take. If I were In your place I wouldn’t even worry about any numbers because when looking closely you at the top of your game in every way.

        It’s always good to take in to consideration what others think and feel about what we do here on line but no when it starts intruding on out creative side.

        I think breaking away from numbers is like being disconnected from the network which will do you some good and allow you to focus on more important things.

        I’m sure all of your supporters will still be here for you. Well I know I will. I wish you much luck Brian keep me informed.

  38. says

    Brian,

    I love the new theme and the new direction of this blog. I think most of us by now have bought into you (not any one blog or concept) and will follow your content wherever it may go. So write on! Looking forward to more posts!

    That being said, I can’t help wondering if some of the frustration you feel comes from bumping into the ceiling of what can be done online. I wonder if the deepest authenticity will always live over a cup of coffee, not over the internet. Of course, that’s not to say we can’t pursue greater sincerity online, but is there a limit? Is there a ceiling?

    What do you think?

    • says

      Those are really great questions, Derek — that’s for certain.

      I agree that authenticity has a ceiling on the internet, and I don’t expect to make 100 deep friendships online. Those are reserved for folks who live nearby, go to my Church and ones I can share a Starbucks trip with.

      For me and my plans with this site, it’s to encourage folks to consider authenticity in their own life — whether that’s online, or more importantly making it a priority to have their own deeper conversations at coffee shops.

  39. Monica T. Smith says

    Brian;
    I think starting over may be the new mantra for 2014. It is mine and I am excited to see others be bold and courageous in doing and being authentic. I pray that you will enjoy every bit of this journey no matter the cost. May God bless and surprise you along the way.

    Take care,
    Monica

    P.S. I did subscribe to your new blog and am looking forward to reading your thoughts, etc.

    • says

      It’s crazy how much “minimalism” and “packing light” has become a way of life for folks. In all reality, I think it’s our own response to binging on every type of stimulus we can think of — social media, the internet and other forms of communication.

      I’m all for being around people and engaging in conversation. But there comes a point where even I, as an extrovert, need some time along and to decompress.

  40. says

    Brian, thanks for your honesty and transparency. It’s inspiring. I’ve already signed up for your new email list. I absolutely resonate with what you’ve been struggling through with your online identity, only I haven’t been active in blogging — mainly because I feel paralyzed by the same things you’ve struggled through. So thanks for just being honest and open. It encourages me (and I’m sure many others) to step out, write from the heart, and not be solely driven by the numbers or what we think will improve them.

    • says

      Paralyzed is a great and accurate word to use, at least it is for me. If I’m being totally honest, emotionally I’ve been crippled — and have already experienced as much freedom and joy within the past 24 hours than I did in the previous months on my other blog.

  41. Lindsey says

    This. is. awesome. You know what I want to hear your unfiltered opinion on? Politics. You’re one of the most level headed, honest dudes I know so I’m curious what your opinion is on current events. Also, huge fist bump on taking this unfiltered leap!

    • says

      It’s a shame that you suggest Politics — because it’s the one thing that I typically pay very little attention to. Almost to a fault, might I add.

      (fist bumps you back!)

  42. says

    Brian,

    Thanks for taking the time to talk to me yesterday. My wife and I have been looking at living a simpler life for the past two years. We read a couple of your recommended readings yesterday and we decided we are tired of being on the hamster wheel as well. I wish you well in your new endeavor. Our prayers will be with you. I will be following your lead.

    Mike

    • says

      You’re than welcome Mike, and I wish I could have taken more time with you on the call. I appreciate your support, and glad that you were able to go through some of the things I recommended!

  43. says

    Brian:

    Great post. It illustrates the authenticity and openness that is so needed online today. I’m sure it’s not easy to “put yourself out there,” but I’m sure that there will be many people who will benefit.

    On a purely selfish note, will you be putting the theme (or a derivative of it) out there? I love it and, as I’m transitioning my own site, It’s exactly the type of thing I’m looking for!

    Kevin

    • says

      Yes, authenticity is definitely needed across the internet, and I’m making it a personal crusade to do as much as I can to push the movement.

      As for the theme, yes — I’ve thought quite a bit on making this available, but not sure if it’ll be “as is” on GitHub, or if I’ll turn it into something more comprehensive that we sell on StudioPress.

  44. says

    Hey Brian, just wanted to let you know that I hope this is what you’re looking for. I know you’ve been struggling to decide which way to take your personal website. It’s good that you have a courage to follow your heart and make what you really want and not what people expect from you.

    • says

      I know you’ve struggled a bit at times with the direction (more from the design side) of your own site, so I take comfort in knowing that I’m not alone. Aside from knowing you have my back in what I choose to write about, it’s equally important to me that you approve of the design. #grins

  45. Daren says

    I would venture to guess that a good number of your followers found you because of your work with StudioPress. I am numbered among them.

    I stick around and continue to follow because you are real. You engage. And, although I’ve never met you, you seem like a pretty nice guy.

    I was one of the winners of your Wintersong theme giveaway a few months back and I had full intentions of opening up and writing. Although I’ve setup the blog, I have yet to publish my first post. Probably because I resonate with many people here who wonder if anyone really cares what I write or if I actually want to open up – I hope I can.

    I look forward to learning more about the person you are no matter how trivial the topic. Thanks for being real.

    • says

      If I had to illustrate the biggest different between my other site and this one, it’s simple — here I’m writing for me, and letting others respond. There I was writing for others, and I’d respond.

      With that said, I fortunately don’t have to worry about the question “will anyone care what I write” — and I’ve disclosed on my Subscribe page, this is more of a personal journal, than a letter to the public.

      The question you should be asking yourself in regards to your own blog is “do I care what I’m writing about?”

      If the answer is yes, then have at it, and the audience will follow.

  46. says

    I know exactly what you’re talking about Brian, and by reading some of the comments above, so do a lot of other folks.

    Nearly two years ago I had what you could call a spiritual awakening. I won’t go into details here suffice it to say that event now defines both who I am and my outlook on life.

    However my online persona is something else entirely. I’m a throwback to the old Usenet days and have had an online presence in some form since the late 90s. But I’ve always struggled with that persona. I’ve never truly been able to figure out exactly what I want to do or how I want to present myself. I can’t even remember the number of sites I’ve nuked or re-booted over the years in my quest to find the “online me” or at the very least how I wish to present the “online me” to the world. Perhaps I never will. :)

    I think it’s simply part of the learning process, evolution. It never ends. It’s a process that continuously evolves as we do.

    Anyway, thanks for your honesty. BTW, love this design!

    • says

      Great comment Len. We might be peas of the same pod. If some one has watched my blog they would think I must have some form of identity crisis! hahaha

      In fact I just restored and old version of my blog deleting post I had written…

      It is crazy. Sometimes I feel like a dog circling to just lay down already.

  47. Liz Dugger says

    Brian, Bold moves are admirable. Especially when aiming toward authenticity. I recently subscribed to the “old” blog & have signed up for the new one. When I read your explanation for change I immediately thought of the icon, Moses, cutting ties to his “adoptive” identity to align with his “true self” (purpose/heritage). Walking away from wealth & royalty toward wilderness …. must’ve been a tough choice. But he realized, he wasn’t “that guy.” Maybe he read Frost’s poem :) Looking forward to your new territory. Stay strong!

    • says

      That’s a great analogy (the Moses one) Liz, as it feels a lot like it. I have to admit that it is pretty weird to say that I’m leaving my personal domain name so I can write personally somewhere else. But a lot of things in life don’t make sense, so why should this be any different?

  48. says

    I think people who love to write and/or creative in any way applauded the opportunities given us by the web. At First. And I also think that’s why many of us, at first, jumped on the web. We’d love it if everyone loved us, but that’s not the real world. Why is it we seem to have this need for relevancy, or self identification? It’s as if it’s imprinted on our very souls. At First. Eventually we always come back to find we continually chase after the wind, and we take a second look at how we spend so much time and energy.

    It’s as if we’ve all gotten (unknowingly) sucked into this vortex of the web, social media and perceived “coolness” because we rock technology, or think we do. I too have found myself lately wanting to pull back and reduce my own digital imprint, which by the way I spent years building up. Why does it suddenly bother me that it’s all gotten so much like a runaway train? It’s strange how things evolve, but Brian I believe in this you are somewhat of a pioneer, and I commend you.

    Keep it real. Those who “really” want to hear what you, I or anyone have to say will always be around.

  49. says

    Brian, congrats on following your true passion. I wrote a blog then because of outward pressures abruptly stopped a couple of years ago. When I began my new blog it was totally different. More what I was truly passionate about.

    Mine did not have the following of yours so the risk was not as great. But the decision seemed as momentous.

    So I applaud your decision to go where your passion leads you.

    Blessings in your new venture.

  50. says

    Just when I started to wonder if I “should” be blogging to gain followers or be on other social media…to gain followers, I see that folks are moving nicely into authenticity and writing what they want to express, and fostering quality conversations. Just what I was looking for as a reader/consumer and writer all along! Yay!

    I’ve already ditched the social media sharing buttons and whatnot on my blog sites (yes, I have more than one–I know, I need to rethink that now), but I feel so free now to just write the way I love best, which is by reflecting and refracting off of other people’s writing.

    What a wondrous community you are gathering. This is a very cool thing. :) Thanks!

    • says

      Hey Joanne — so great to see you here and thanks for the comment. Kudos to you for taking steps towards change. While it’s sometimes a scary thing, it’s also quite refreshing!

  51. says

    Brian,

    I think this a great move. I admire bold people that make their own path.

    Honestly, I think that it would be nice to read some thought-provoking posts without instantly trying to figure out how to “respond” to such personal and good content.

    I also think it shows great humility to express such personal things (without) hearing anyone’s feedback.

    You would be without a doubt setting a new trend that others would surely follow.

    Wish you the best Brian. :)

    • says

      Thanks Patrick, really appreciate it. I think the biggest challenge I face here is to stay true to my intentions and not get knocked off track. That’s what I continually allowed to happen “over there”, and why I’m not “over here.”

  52. says

    YES. yes, to all of this. I wrestled with the SAME things with my last blog. I’d get all personal and stuff (what feels personal to me anyway) and then I’d have these depressing emails about people unsubscribing. I love the minimalist, number free way you are approaching your new blog. I might actually be stealing this idea. Thank you for your courage to start over and for sharing it with me too. And the best of luck on your new journey. From the looks of it here alone, I think your new journey might be the best one yet. When I saw your name pop up on my IG a few hours ago I was like “I know him! He’s the WP guru!!” (I used to design websites and used Genesis studiopress themes a lot). Anyway, thank you.

    • says

      I might actually be stealing this idea.

      That would be completely ok with me, considering it’s not really my idea to begin with!

      As for Genesis and our themes, I do know that — in fact I believe I found you originally when I was on Sarah Markely’s blog.

      I look forward to following your new journey as well, as it’ll be fun to see how our paths will run alongside one another. I hope you are experiencing the same freedom and joy that I am!

    • says

      Not sure if it was done on purpose, but the email address on your comment didn’t pull up a Gravatar. I see that you have one from comments on your own blog so let me know if by chance you made a typo on this comment. If not, no worries.

  53. says

    There definitely is a movement happening Brian. I made the same decision about a month back to take Ghost for a spin for the very same reason.

    I feel liberated knowing there is absolutely no way I will make any money from my new blog. It is just authentic me.

    Thanks for continuing to inspire.

    If you’re interested, it’s here.

    http://www.geekymonkey.com.au/

    • says

      Exactly same point as mine.
      But let me remind you, you may not make money from your blog but you will have regular visitors like me instead of SEO and google bots.

  54. says

    I have been having the same feeling for quite some time. I didn’t blog for so much time.
    I realised tha this is not what I wanted to do. This is so strange. I am the one who would not sleep because I wanted to write. But that feeling is slowly going. I love blogging… No doubt. I just wanted to write and not care.
    It’s more than just writing.. Domain.. Etc.
    Good to find you are heading to some place nice. Hope you find it.

  55. says

    I like it Brian. I have not started blogging because of the fear of success, whatever that really is. For a blog it’s subscribers, comments etc…we all know the numbers.

    My wife is substance abuse counselor and says that addicts are driven by fear. Mostly these:
    -Fear they will lose what they have
    -Fear the will lose what they will get
    -Fear others will find out what they really think about them
    -The worst: Fear they will find out what people really think about them

    People are creatures of habit so I think we are all addicts to some degree. I know the last one really applies to me when thinking about what to blog.

    With blogging I feel the same way I did at my junior high dance, afraid to dance and look uncool, and trying to look at what I think others find to be cool and reverse engineer it to apply to myself.

    I look forward to new posts here. Glad I had time to read this.

  56. Jordan Emery says

    Brian,

    One of the reasons that I read your content is because you post what your heart is telling you. It’s real. Somehow, you take the words right out of my mouth and share them with others. Sometimes, you tell me exactly what I need to hear to brighten my day or even make changes in other aspects of life. I could not thank you enough for your indirect help. I have personally never noticed a “censor” in your writing, but rather see honestly and a true inspirational writer.

    If someones goal is to make a difference in one persons life through writing, then who needs numbers? They should merely be something extra for curiosity. In my opinion, if a persons primary concern is said to be about the content and they care more about website ranking, shares, visitors, subscribers, etc. more than they do about how their content, then chances are their priorities for the website are in the wrong place.

    I think you are an amazing person (from what I can tell through your content) that influences many and especially myself. If anything, allow the tools to share your content with others easily (which many need to read IMO). Simply remove the ability to track the numbers. :)

    • says

      Thank you so much Jordan for this comments. I really means a lot to me when folks write such encouraging words to me, as it keeps me going. Making a difference is definitely at the forefront of my online presence, so I’m glad to know that my efforts are (somewhat) successful.

    • says

      I’d like to second all of Jordan’s comments. And add that I love your site designs. Not sure I could bear to become this minimalist with it, but I’m trying to get cleaner and closer, given my parameters (not a coder but know HTML, no funds for paid themes).

      Thanks for the inspiration, as always. :)

      • says

        Yeah, it’s tough to sit still with this minimalist on my site, but I think the absence of (even though minimalism is itself one) a design actually makes it easier to bare.

  57. says

    Hello, just to tell you i love your sixteen nine theme, which i have in my blog … i am an absolute newby in blogging (6 weeks) and i just found your blog here when searching for information about the sixteen nine theme. I will come back here to read more, thank you for writing!

  58. says

    First, I love this simple and clean design. Awesome.

    Second, I think everyone feels the need, on occasion, to start over. I recently merged one blog with my current blog, simply because I was tired of having two. I have a third blog that gets decent traffic, but I haven’t touched it in a year. I’m debating what to do with it. Less is more……..which I am learning is very attractive.

    Starting over isn’t failing. It is simply making a right turn in order to get back on track.

    That’s how I see it.

  59. says

    Wow. What a refreshing blog. Thank you for your comments on struggling with your identity online. (We should talk . . .) I really enjoy the voice you’ve developed in your writing because it seems incredibly candid. So thank you for that. I look forward to reading more of your stuff . . .

    At the risk of over-sharing, I recently made the decision to integrate the different parts of my life online, when a traditional PR person would have counseled me to stay “on message” and stick to the straight and narrow corporate (yawn) message of the company I founded and run. Well, sticking to the corporate line is freakin’ boring . . . While I’m excited about what we do and actually think we have a shot at transforming recruiting as we know it, it isn’t all there is to life.

    Up until now, I found it hard to integrate my former crusading reporter/investigative reporter self that still fights the good fight (google my name with the term “WSJ” to find my latest investigation.) I struggled with where to put that investigative/greater good piece. In the retained search industry, my caped crusading would likely be deemed a little a little unseemly. Certainly my calling out an unethical business might be deemed unwise because it could frighten off a prospective client or two. They might very well be right. I have made the calculation that the kind of clients it will attract will more than makes up the difference.

    If that weren’t enough, there’s the recent cause I’ve taken up advocating for giving adult adoptees access to their original birth certificates. I decided after my adopted family imploded this past year, that the only constructive thing I could do was to pay it forward, to help change the law to reduce some of adoption’s damaging effects on families. Adult adoptees are the only class of Americans denied access to their original birth certificates and, in turn, current medical histories. That’s pretty important life-or-death information that we need to have.

    As an adult adopted person I realized just this year that I have lived a bifurcated life — make that trifurcated. My birth father and his family and birth mother and her family have never met my adoptive family. Each lived in separate silos and no one really got to know, well, all of me.

    Well, I’ve decided that’s not my problem anymore. Henceforth, you get the whole enchilada.

    The non-business-y parts of my life speak to who I am in business. Besides, there really isn’t a way to keep one’s life in silos if you want to communicate about these things online. So now if you look you’ll find a video I made to help non-adoptees understand what it is like to be adopted dealing with all that secrecy (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NcL-p7zMXgA). If you look, you’ll find the fruits of my investigation into predatory practices by D&B/D&B Credibility. Letting these other sides come out to play seems the right thing to do. It takes too much energy to keep them bottled up. Of course, it is too early to tell if sharing all of this is folly. But even if the truth does not set me free, at least it makes me us a little interesting and, I hope, memorable. Life is much to short do otherwise.

  60. says

    I’m glad you brought this to my attention. I have the same problem for many years. Struggling with what is right for me, who i am. I think it’s part of being human.
    I’m going to follow your new blog now because frankly i think it will be more interesting if you don’t mind saying me so.
    All the best to you Brian. For me you are an inspiration for many years. I would be so cool to meet you in person but i live in Belgium.
    Your designs are always top notch but I see many same things the last months. I hope you get through this struggle. I know how difficult it can be.
    We love you man, never forget that:)

  61. Alicia says

    I just a few minutes ago subscribed to your blog. The word “authenticity” is what grabbed me. I am a seeker, very well versed in Christianity, and I am discovering that authenticity as you call it, is the only way to God. The only way to peace. The only way to discover why you (we) are here. I have thought just in this past week that we humans seem to be the only of the “creation” that is clueless. Trees know how to grow new leaves and grow taller, butterflies know how to migrate from Mexico to the north and mammals instinctively know what to do while giving birth and after. What’s the deal with the humans? What is our problem? We don’t know how to do ANYTHING, without an instructor or a class or a book. We have to unlearn all of the crap that our civilized world has given us, and trust that the enormous, powerful, loving Creator of The Universe, is able to lead and guide each and every one of us. So, to you Brian my new friend….be who He created you to be. Be authentic. If you do, I will look forward to seeing where it takes you. Peace be your journey my friend. xo

    • says

      Alicia — thanks for the comment and the huge encouragement. Great to see you here, and happy to hear you subscribed to my blog. Out of curiosity, can I ask how you found it?

      • Alicia says

        Brian, I found you on the “Becoming Minimalist” site. Keep being authentic. Looking forward to reading more of your journey.

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