New Year, Same Me
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I have no New Years resolutions.
I want to keep doing what I've been doing this year: making cool shit with cool people.
Throughout my life, I've failed at 15+ internet projects. 2022 was the first time I had real success. Last January, I set a few major goals for myself:
Become full-time creator
Hit $10,000/mo in income
Hit 10,000 followers
I hit all of them by August.
What changed this year?
I found a system that works.
My time as a Staff Reporter from March to August taught me something very important about writing for a living. Professional writers write even when they don't feel like it.
There were days working as a journalist that I thought I couldn't write for the life of me. But "I'm too too tired" is fine when writing is your hobby but not when it's your job. You have to get it done or else you get fired. So I got it done.
I learned the hard adult truth that professional writers must say no to hanging with friends, going to the beach, and seeing their families when they have a deadline. Duty calls, there is no other option, rent must be paid.
I learned another hard truth that professional writers publish work even when they know it's mediocre because they have have to pay the bills. I learned that consistently pressing publish is both better and easier than trying to be perfect.
My system: publish Cyber Patterns at least 1x/week no matter what.
In April of 2022, I said I'd start publishing weekly blogs here and that's what I've done every Sunday since then. I've written in cars, in the park, on couches, on the subway, on planes, at friends' houses, in my parents' house, and on the beach in Costa Rica.
I don't give a shit if y'all are enjoying this. Because I'm having a great fucking time.
Choosing to publish a weekly newsletter changed my life. Forcing myself to publish a Cyber Patterns piece every week made me take my writing seriously. Like my job as a journalist, I have a deadline every week I need to hit.
Yes, I'm making the deadline, not my boss. So it's sorta imaginary. But it's the same thing as a diet. If you stick with the rules, it doesn't matter if it's imaginary. it works.
While you'd think that taking my writing seriously would zap the fun out of it, it's done the opposite. Writing a weekly newsletter catalyzed my love of writing. It's what I look forward to everyday. And if I don't get to write for at least a couple hours, I get in a bad mood.
This year, I also learned that writing online isn't just about how I feel.
Newsletters and Twitters aren't diaries. Every tweet and blog is a product. I thought readers would read my work because I'm Jason. But readers want value. Every reader is a consumer. No value, no readers.
It doesn't matter what I just like to write. It matters what people like to read.
At the end of the day, writers and readers have a transactional relationship. Professional writers don't idealize writing. Readers must get value out of a writers' writing otherwise they'll take their attention elsewhere.
So I couldn't just be selfish and write what I like to write how I like to write it.
I learned that if I figure out what people want and mesh it with what I like to write, then I can create a valuable product. I learned that if I kept consistently providing value on the internet, I'd see compound results:
We went from 94 readers to 2,992 this year. On top of Cyber Patterns' growth, publishing my thoughts consistently has led to compound results in financial and social capital.
Last month, I made over $25,000 writing online. Next week, I'm hosting an event in NYC for 100+ people in startups and venture capital. To put this in perspective, just 40 months ago, I was working at Home Depot. Started from the bottom, now we're here.
I don't say any of this to brag. I say it to show that you can do it too. You can leverage the internet to build a new career. It doesn't happen overnight, but if I can do it, you can do it too. If you take your creating seriously, it can seriously change your life.
So this year, there's no bs resolutions.
There's just more pressing publish.
New year, same me.
3 resources that helped me be a better creator this week:
🎶 You Can Do It Too by Pharrell Williams has been inspiring me for 5+ years. Whatever you see a wildly successful person do, you can do it too.
✉️ Recurring Emails for Gmail is a Google Chrome plug-in that allows you to schedule recurring emails. I send weekly email reminders to myself for different projects.
😂 The Borowitz Report is a really funny blog from Andy Borowitz at The New Yorker. Definitely been inspiring me to write more satire.