Running to Stay Right Here

Tonight’s run was interrupted by a phone call from a dear friend. I was already out and about when I got the call, which I expected, and it was a good chat.

After about an hour on the phone, I got up and set off. I felt awful at first, since I had been sitting, but each mile was faster than the previous mile. I ran some unfamiliar streets, and it got dark, so I got to experience the first bit of running by street lights. I’m looking forward to more of that.

As I neared the end of my run ‘Here to Stay’ by Korn was playing, and that bridge part at the end got me stoked.

That final “GONNA BREAK IT” got me again. That got me running a little faster. Then ease it back, running down a hill, knowing another incline is coming.

I bolt up the first incline and have to rest at the next intersection. Heart screaming. I’m not out of breath, my legs aren’t shot, it’s just that my engine is at max RPMs and there’s no way to keep that effort.

Heart rate drops a bit, then I attack the next hill, because why not? I flame out 2/3rds of the way to the top, which is fine. I laugh to myself a bit. Grate at 45 to be doing this at all.

Finally reach the top and I see it. The big red mood, coming up over the horizon to the east. By this time it’s pretty dark. I dart down a side street with a lone street light. I see the moon. Just 12 or so hours earlier I watched the sun rise over that hill in the distance, from the same grave yard.

Something clicks, and I peel off another few quick bursts. Feels good, feels solid, and I keep it under control. Now I’m darting through the darkness. Now this is dangerous.

I round a corner towards my place, a nice 2.5% grade and just punch it. I cruise past a small crowd, a blur to my right. I just look up the hill, grateful I’m not running the entire thing.

I hit my parking lot and tap out.

There’s something about hitting your max. Hitting the limit.

Yeah, we hit limits with emails, with work, with bills, taxes… ahh, just gotta walk away!

But a physical limit. A point where there’s just nothing left. Where you taste the effort in your mouth.

Been talking a lot about mortality lately, with a lot of different people. And fuck, tomorrow ain’t a promise.

I ain’t got much, but I know tonights run was special, and that’ll stay with me.

Heavy Metal Email

About a year ago I messed around with Circle for Metal Bandcamp Gift Club, but it was a bit much for what I needed. I’ve since moved the community side of that lovely group of people into Discord, where we have a nice 16 people hanging out throughout the day. It’s chill, and it sure beats hanging out on Twitter all day.

I’ve since started using Circle again, but now for something brand new: HEAVY METAL EMAIL.

It’s a community for heavy metal folks to learn how to use email newsletters to break free from the social media rat race.

Very niche, I know. By design.

It’s for people in the loud but lovable metal music community – the musicians, the artists, the designers, the photographers, the producers, the makers, the story tellers, and everyone else who loves the power of the riff.

We’re gonna use social media to drive fans to your email list.

And we’re gonna make your email newsletter great, too. It won’t be for “updates.” Our lives are too varied and rich to sell as “content.”

We’re gonna figure out ways to take everything we’ve been shoveling into the social media empires, and re-purpose it for our newsletters.

No more fighting algorithms. No more figuring out what the social media networks want this week. Nah. Fans first. Art first.

If this sounds like something you’re interested, join this just-launched community here:

Food Courts Aren’t Where You Sleep

It feels like our stories are like handbills, lying all over the floor after a show.

We post random photos on Instagram, tell stories on Twitter, post “behind the scenes” looks on IG Stories, post a little on Facebook, dabble on TikTok and / or Snapchat.

We’re absolutely stuffing our handbills (or flyers, whatever you want to call them) into the hands of anyone walking by, and then heading to the next corner to repeat the process.

And along the way, we look back and maybe we picked up a follower or two, had some fun interactions. But when we come back to our home base, our website, there’s cobwebs and no one to welcome you.

It feels productive to be on the social media treadmill all day, and when we’re not it’s easy to feel like we’re being lazy. But those are lies.

Social media is where you hand out flyers, but at a certain point you gotta head back to the venue and play a show.

From Stop Handing Out Flyers

Bolster your website everyday. It’s all you got.

Make your music, put it on the website.

Make your videos, put it on your website.

Make your art, your poems, your photos, you wares – put it on your website.

Your website is your home.

Social media is the food court.

Skateboard Moves Me

My buddy Dino sent me this. This video is good.

Skateboard is magic. Voodoo. Nothing has captivated me more over the years than skateboarding.

Yeah, I grew up with BMX and freestyle and all that, but skateboarding? Every skater is a wizard.

I will pick up a skateboard magazine before a BMX magazine. I can watch skateboard videos forever. BMX videos just don’t grip me the same way.

Skateboards are magic. And a video like this makes me wanna skateboard.

Not just for some cool factor, or whatever. Fuck, I’m 45. I’m good where I’m at. But man… I want to feel the magic. The forward energy.

Absolutely powerful video, talking about depression, mental health, the tragedy of losing anyone in this way. And the images of those lost, towards the end… gut wrenching.

Fuck it. Just watch the video.

November Challenge

Each week in November, starting on Halloween, I’m going to run 30 miles.
Each week I don’t, I owe my sister an ice cream sundae, payable via gift card to a local place in her area.

If I complete all four weeks, she’ll get me a $20 gift card to a local food place.

As we got talking about accountability and habits, we somehow started about books, and how she has so many and doesn’t read them.

So now my challenge to her is to read five chapters a week, starting on Halloween.

Yeah, shouting to the internet that I’m going to do something is one thing. Posting it on social media is one thing, sure, seen by 30% of my followers because of algrorithims and such.

But a person to person accountability… I don’t know. Something feels more solid about that to me.

Like texting or a calling a friend, instead of just posting something to the internet.

Saving my cute joke, or cat photo with someone whose number I have in my phone.

Anyways – that’s my challenge for next month, I guess. And the biggest part of it will now be daily check ins with my sister. I’m going to run more. She’s going to read more.

I like this.

Just Starting with The Copy Workshop

I signed up for the Copy Workshop, sort of at the last minute. It’s a “cohort based learning” set up, meaning most of the magic comes from the other people involved in the class. My first foray into this was the Freelancers Workshop, back in 2019, and that seriously changed everything for me (and continues to have an impact two years later).

It’s a nice mix of message board back and forth, with the guide posts being a weekly lesson which is mostly text, some videos, and som links for reference. Then it’s sort of like, okay, GO. And everyone runs off and writes their answers for everyone to see, and then a bunch of people chime in and offer suggestions, make comments. It’s very chill, but puts some focus on really writing in a space where that takes place.

If you sometimes feel like you’re hitting your head against the wall, you should check it out.

Keep Taking Shots

From @fortelabs:

My advice to almost every creator: you’re being way, WAY too strategic

Until you’re making a million dollars on the internet you’re in beta

Take all the time & energy you’re spending strategizing and iterate as fast as you possibly can

Every piece of content is a shot on goal

You can practice your jump shot everyday, but until you get into some pick up games every day, you’re missing out on valuable lessons.

That’s something I’m going to stress in my HEAVY METAL EMAIL community – make a plan, and send an email every week to your fans.

Ship something every month. Send that newsletter. If you want to write music, you don’t pick up your guitar once a month. You spend time with it everyday. You don’t get better at taking photographs by spending all your time on camera sites and forums – you’ve got to get out there and make some photos!

There’s a time for book learning, but there’s also a time for rolling up the sleeves and getting your hands dirty.

Giving Yourself a Chance

Found this from Twitter today, from @djboothEIC:

At random, I picked 10 artists who released a song last week, and I checked their Twitter accounts to see who promoted their release and how often.

• 4 of the 10 didn’t share at all
• Of the 6 who did share, 5 have posted only once

Why are you afraid to promote your work?

As someone who works with a lot of bands and creative individuals, I can say I see the same thing, week after week, year after year.

Most sad is when a band releases a music video. They’ll tweet about it once, maybe again a day later, then never again. As if it no longer exists.

You don’t need to post a link 18 times a day, but set a reminder to post about it every few days. Like, tell your phone to remind you, or set a recurring task in Google Calendar, to repeat every five or six days: post about video.

It’s not spammy when social media algorithms limit your reach anyhow! Each Tweet is probably only being seen by 20-30% of your followers – think of everyone else! And some people don’t check socials every day, either.

So post about your stuff often. Remind people about your work, your art, your magic. And if they’re tired of it? Oh well, this is your life. Don’t hold back. If you’re really cluttering up their “feed” that bad, they’ll unfollow.