A NEW OUTLET

I’ve been sitting on this post for almost a month now. For some reason I haven’t hit publish. And the reason is unknown to me.

Even with all the free time I’ve had on my hands, I still find myself having to choose what to do. You’d surely think I’d have time to do everything I wanted to with this new quarantine lifestyle. But maybe I’ve bitten off more than I can chew? See here’s the thing: they say splitting your focus into too many different lanes is counterproductive. But I would disagree. I think things that are new and fresh are going to require more focus until you hone them to the level of expertise similar to other activities. So since trying new things, I’ve devoted more time to these activities I am far less familiar with. As usual, every morning consists of a surf. Just to get it out of the way. Not that it is a chore, but getting up early and striking before winds and crowds has definitely been my wavelength as of late. Even though it might be one of the things I am most an expert in (don’t take that the wrong way), I still love to give it the time and attention it deserves. Sure, I’ve woken up at 6 for the past xxx mornings, but I’ve fully gotten used to it and even when I don’t surf I still rise fairly early. If it’s a work day, I am preoccupied until around 5 or 6. Those days are a little more boring. I can pick 1 of the things I like to do after work. I have that 2 hour window to do whatever. Then it’s eat around 8 and watch a TV show with my roommates. In bed at 10. The TV show might be looked at as wasted time, but it’s time all of us sit on the couch and shoot the shit. Sometimes we pass on it but most of the time it’s our bonding (aside from our daily sunset bike cruise). So maybe I’ll fish. Or maybe I’ll read.  Maybe I’ll cook up a beat. Maybe I’ll go on a run. Maybe I’ll work out. Maybe I’ll surf. Maybe I’ll write. Do you see where I am going with this?

It seems like I keep writing these posts saying the same thing: writing has taken the backseat. But no longer! I had mentioned in an earlier piece about a side project I have quietly been working on, and I think it’s about time to let it rip. They say you have to fail a ton of times to succeed. And this might be a shot in the dark that amounts to nothing. But the cool aspect of it is that things are cemented on the internet, and I’ll always be able to look back on it and smile. And maybe learn from the mistakes. If you don’t put yourself out there, you’ll never know what the outcome could be. So here’s a quick synopsis on my new site.

Yes, it’s another website. Why? Because why not! I love this site, and it seems like (very few) others do too! Love is a strong word, but just work with me. It’s a snapshot of my professional career and me flexing my writing chops (if I even have any to flex). If you know me, you know I really don’t like things to be about me. If it doesn’t pertain to any but me, I usually don’t talk about it. I try not to gloat or boast. I (typically) am humble and quiet. As it should be. So it only made sense to make something that wasn’t all about me. Enter: Welcome Progress. I grew up glued to some surf media outlets. What Youth, Stab, SURFING (RIP), etc. Things have surely changed as far as paper magazines and how these sites are ran, but I loved reading interviews and pieces penned about things in the surf world I was enamored by. I still read articles off sites like GQ, Pitchfork, Stab, Inherent Bummer, etc. The shift from pure surf media started happening as I grew older and also more found of writing and styles. I am definitely a surf turkey by nature, but at this point in life I like to think I am a lot more. I think just being labeled a surfer got so stale. So let’s spin from that into what Welcome Progress will be about. It’s going to have some elements of surf. That’d go under the realm of “Activity”. There is also Mindset and Everyday. It’ll just be cheeky little pieces that fit into each one of those bins (or the trash bin if it sucks). Opinionated or fabricated pieces, made easily digestible. 

But it’ll be more than just my writing. I will reach out to others and post their shit. I want to talk to some of my friends and get their opinion, because I like to think I have a pretty diverse group of friends. With varying degrees of notoriety, hustle, and intellect. Some I talk to way more than others. Some tell me a lot more than others. But that’s not the point. I only know so much. Other people know a lot more. It would be strange to let other people in on a website that was named after me, so peer work will live here. Just a whole bunch of random shit! I also tried decently hard to make it look good. I think the layout is cool and a more complete site in comparison to my current site. The homepage is a mood board, linked to @welcomeprogress. It will be embedded with art, design, surf, and anything I think is cool or fits the brand. It’s still me at the helm, so you could probably guess the vibe (if you know me). Well, that’s it. Let’s see what happens!! If you are keen to give it a look, click HERE. If you want in on it, text me or reach out on the contact page. Come one come all! There’s not much currently, but if you want give the Instagram a follow and check out the little pieces I wrote under each category. 

 

A Year in the Review: 54 Posts Later

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I’ve done a couple of these introspective and reflective pieces since the inception of this site. It might have been on New Years, my birthday, or just a time where I’ve been able to think a lot. With our current situation, everyone has a lot of time to think. And it’s not the worst thing. Sure, sometimes you get lost in a rabbit hole of reminiscing (for both positive and negative events). But overall it’s a great time to work on yourself and really get to know yourself if you are at the proper age to do so (not saying there IS a definite age in which this is attainable, but you’ll know if you are at this point in your life). On with the show.

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I started this site in the first place down and out. Unemployed and looking for jobs, I kept seeing a portfolio of work as an alternative to years of working for a copywriting firm for a lot of writing positions. That was the birth of the site. I added a work history/resume section and the writing section where all the posts would live. I wrote a handful of posts and then found myself at a promising retail position for a company I believed in (Catch Surf). Writing had then taken the backseat. Here are the quick stats: from the birth of the site to my full-time employment at Hurley (OCT18-JAN19) I wrote three posts. I clearly had just forgotten about the site and was just wrapped up enjoying the lack of stress for finally being partially employed to then fully employed. 

As I got more and more accustomed to my position at Hurley, I started taking on writing tasks to help out a coworker in the building. Writing global product copy and email marketing copy meant I was writing a lot during my typical 40 hour work week. I knew the only way to sharpen the pencil was to use a pencil sharpener. So I started writing again. Even though writing copy for NIKE and then blabbing on about going out on the town and surfing are completely different, it’s still writing.

Hell-bent on grinding out work, Sundays would be the day I decided. I would work Mon-Fri at Hurley, Saturdays at Catch Surf, and write on Sundays. But this took a little while to stick. My next post, post-employment, was February 3rd (before that was January 8th) and then radio silence until March 11th. A lot of things most likely stood in the way: laziness, hangovers, travels, good surf, you get the picture by now. 

So on April 10th, 2019, I wrote the excerpt “Return to Form.” Here’s a little blurb from it 

“I will be jotting down words and phrases on Sunday and will try to keep it as consistent as possible. I woke up before the sun came up to pen this peasant piece, sipping a nice cup of joe on my left with a bowl of oats on my right. It feels good to be back.”

Did it feel good to be back to writing? In the moment probably not. If it was a Sunday, there’s a good chance I was nursing a hangover with a coffee or had just gotten back from an AM surf. I hadn’t really found the joy back then in putting pen to paper (in reality fingers to keys). I still sometimes go in and out of it now, with just about everything I like to do. But this was the oath. I was going to write a piece a week. Of course I warned my large audience (lol) there would be no post next week because of Coachella (in the most cringy way possible [No post 4/21- I will be in the desert dancing.] I want to barf). But the roadmap was there: post something every week for a year straight.

There were mishaps. I could have told you that early on Actually just forgetting to write something (mostly due to travel or an event). Not having an idea by Sunday. Surfing all day and then just being so fried that no amount of coffee could get my brain working. That just meant 2 next week. Have no clue what to write about? Find something to draw inspo out of. Sometimes this was a hell of a lot easier than others. I won’t lie, I had some help along the way. Sometimes if a friend suggested a good idea, I ran with it. I even used some old academic papers and recycled them onto this blog. I don’t feel bad about this since if I was ever going to use this portfolio to try and score a gig, I’d want some of my Chapman Writing minor classes present (some I was actually quite proud of upon re-read). But you get the jist at this point. 52 posts in a year span. I actually ended on 54 (bonus points).

In coming full circle, there definitely were a couple of takeaways from this yearlong hajj. Obviously there’s the dedication factor. Too many Sundays I found myself either toasted from a long work week and weekend or just didn’t have the creative juices flowing. But I had to write something! That’s when I started writing when it felt right. From there I got even more lazy and just posted whenever, as long as it was in the right week window, although a handful of times I found myself posting two in one week to make up for a missed week. There’s also the styles I tried to emulate and the topics I tried to cover. While some things flowed smoothly, others were a lot more jarring and required more focus (something most times I lack a ton of). I learned what I like to write about, and how I like to write about it. Hopefully you liked it too! 

Do I think my writing has improved? Of course! You can only get better at something by practicing. Ironically enough, by the time my writing duties had waned off at work, I was more excited and fired up to write that I just kept going as a side project. I spent a little more time working on my weekly posts, drafting them and then editing them. As life always seems to work in weird ways, I find myself full circle again, with a new job title that requires quite a bit of wordsmithing. While this style of writing is far from what I write at work, writing is writing. And I find myself with more creative reigns than ever before. The only way to sharpen the pencil is with the pencil sharpener. My pencil as of late is feeling extra sharp. But now I find myself at a crossroads.

I’ve always wanted a creative platform to express different things. This site has really gone all sorts of angles and directions as far as topic and execution. One week I could be talking about how to cure a hangover and the next I could be personally reflecting on (somewhat) serious topics. From surfing to coffee to recommending music and everywhere in between, it’s a little too scattered for my liking. While I never really wanted to hone in on one single idea or style (since I wanted to flex all areas of my writing), I think now is the time to get it dialed and figure out what’s next. While I don’t see myself completely stopping writing on this platform,  I know it’s not going to be as frequent. And that’s fine. If you’ve kept up, you know probably more about me than I’d like. I tried to let people in but not expose too much. I do like to use this as a place to vent sometimes, but it’s boring when it’s all about me. So moving forward, I am going to take a stab and go and sit on the ledge, looking down at the future. Next post on this site is going to expand upon that.