The Avicii: True Stories documentary on Netflix is an emotional expose of the life of a creative genius who tried hard to run from the spotlight, but it found him anyway. Avicii loved creating music, but he didn’t want all the extra attention and the lifestyle that came along with it.
He performed some 800 shows over his far too short 7 year career, and all of them were a struggle.
His friend, David Guetta, perfectly summed up what Avicii, and many creators go through.
“When you start, you just want to make cool beats and have fun, yknow?
You’re not thinking like “oh, I need to have a hit record.” You make those cool beats, you have fun, you want to play those cool beats and then it’s just positivity, it’s just fun, it’s just entertainment and and sharing your love.
But then after, when say you’ve had 3 massive global hits, everybody expects you to come every time with a global hit and this is really hard.”
– David Guetta in Avicii: True Stories
I’m not saying I’m Avicii, but I do understand that cycle that you can get sucked into where the joy of what you do disappears a little bit.
It’s something many of my colleagues in the dad blogging community are going through. As our kids get older, we realize their stories are their stories, and it’s not fair for us to air their childhood laundry as part of our parenting adventure (some mom bloggers disagree).
This is the 10th year of DadCAMP. While I had hopes of creating a career for myself online in the wake of having just lost my job in radio, I really did start writing blogs as a way of keeping a diary. But then attention found me, and opportunities came and well, the focus drifted and I started to chase “hit records.”
The life cycle of a dad blogger / influencer / creator kind of goes like this:
- You start doing something for yourself because it makes you feel good.
- Then someone notices and the attention feels good.
- Then you start to get paid and the money feels good.
- Then you start doing things that generate attention and money.
- Then you feel dirty, because you’re doing things for money and attention instead of yourself.
- So you go back to the beginning of why you started in the first place.
If any social creator can stick to step 1 and have steps 2-5 just roll off their back and have them never become a factor, well that’s a special kind of person. The only way social is good is if you really don’t care about the attention and just make content you want because you want to make content and don’t care if anyone ever notices.
I did start my blog hoping for a job. I was out of work and thought it could be a career, but along the way I realized the thing I love most about my blog is not the sponsored posts, its the stories I wrote about random days with my kids.
And while my kids are getting older and their stories are their own, I still have things I want to save and share and remember. The diary aspect of blogging, about just getting memories down is the most valuable thing I’ve pulled from the past decade of DadCAMP. I’m not burning down “the business” of this blog, but I am refocussing back on creating the things that bring me joy.
This weekend, the Dad 2.0 Summit will be in Austin, Texas, where a few hundred fantastic men will gather to celebrate engaged fatherhood, reunite with friends, and spend some time learning how to be better at their business of dad blogging.
After a four year run of the conference, this will be the second year I’ve missed it, choosing family vacation time over blog business building time.
I hope the guys who attend learn a lot about “the business,” but I hope they also walk away with a greater appreciation of what the real joy in being a dad blogger is: it’s about saving the stories. It’s about building positive relationships and finding support among other dads.
So wake me up when it’s all over
When I’m wiser and I’m older
All this time I was finding myself
And I didn’t know I was lost
Wake Me Up – Avicii