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Three powerful ways to break down a year's worth of effort

Don't overthink, just reflect in each

I got a response from you…

So here’s the deal.

The rest of the year is going to be a lot of tinkering and changes to everything that I do based on what happens this week.

The 39 of you who are still here get to see exactly what happens…

Since you are the core mining team that has been with me so far, I’m also going to be reaching out to each of you individually (at least the ones who have been consistently opening them…and yes, I can actually see who does).

Mind you, this is NOT how I usually approach newsletters.

So here we…go.

What the heck did I get myself into??

Disclaimer: My life is NOT like this!

How the heck was I forty years old now?

I was sitting in the family kitchen staring at my laptop as I idly played “Vampire Survivors” and “Loop Hero” to unwind from the marathon cooking event that was Thanksgiving.

For you international readers, Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday of November every year…

So every few years, my birthday coincides with it.

That was today.

My mind was wandering back to Dan Koe and his message as I plowed through legions of monsters and zombies on the screen. Could I really become a better writer? It certainly would help me with my gaming channel. At this point in time, I had recently completed my 3-year journey on YouTube by creating over 200 long-form videos and streams that mainly centered around one survival strategy game.

The strategy guides I had produced for the vanilla version were doing well, but my engagement and retention were lacking in personality.

I wasn’t good at writing stories. I was good at instruction and execution.

I decided I didn’t have anything to lose…

A few weeks later, I fired up my nascent Twitter account and posted this:

Yes, this was my very first post for this account since its creation…the day after Christmas. I had decided to stick to this a year for my New Year’s Resolution.

I can hear you now: “But Vince, it’s still another month before you fulfill the resolution!”

Yes…but my decision to start this kicked off when I reached said milestone.

This is where it all started.

What follows is how it’s going.

Look at this stuff…isn’t it neat?

Fun external metrics:

  • over 40 calls

  • over 18000 posts

  • over 900 followers

  • over 200 short videos

  • over 25 newsletter issues

It took all of these for me to really figure out that my life onstage as a performer across multiple disciplines is my superpower.

  • musician

  • martial artist

  • actor and stagehand

  • dancer and choreographer

  • professor and public speaker

Before I got married and started a family, I was involved in the performing arts in some way, shape, or form at least two or three times a year.

Whether it was being in a competition or being involved as an instructor or leadership role in an artistic event, I was there.

It was terrifying for an introvert, but it was also a rush.

The process of preparing, rehearsing, reviewing, revising, and polishing until there was virtually no room for failure was the driving force behind each attempt.

As a 9-5 parent, I missed that patient process.

Content creation was the closest answer to simulating the experience.

At this point, I know it’s the foundation of every single event I grew up doing.

This was always in the background, and none of what I had done would have been possible without the written word or the underlying editing process involved. It was all invisible to the performer.

This was the dark side of the coin that I had never tossed…only looking once it was on the ground.

Ok, so the volume clarified my identity…but what did I get out of it?

The good…the bad…and the ugly.

The good:

  • I had an awesome time meeting some of the coolest people across the world from all walks of life (those of you reading this right now!)

  • I learned a great deal about copywriting, storytelling, psychology, business, and entrepreneurship

  • I saw just how vast the marketing and business stack was as a person who was trained only in the technical aspects of the world.

The bad:

  • I was pitched many times with some pretty awful giveaways that accompanied them…gimmicky and unprofessional materials for the sake of a follow

  • I experienced a near-miss from a pig butcher…someone who tries to hook in unsuspecting men with their charms and pitch them in schemes requiring ever increasing amounts of money to “fatten the pig” before they ghost them “the slaughter”

  • I came close to losing my way in getting caught up in chasing external metrics rather than finding my own path

The ugly:

  • I saw drama…not as much as I thought I’d see on Money X/Twitter but certainly more than I care to admit

  • I went through many cycles of “rebranding” as my clarity improved (ugly layouts and bio rewrites so this falls in this category)

  • The attrition rate of people coming and going as a result of the relentless grind was sad to see…most of the people I started with are no longer active on the platform (there are maybe five that are still here).

I remember the first person that I paid to do my Twitter banner in February…a kid who talked a big game and had pretty decent Canva skills.

I used the banner for a little while and watched as he quickly grew a following and made a few hundred dollars for a few weeks…

He made an announcement after a month or so that he was leaving to learn video editing. He felt he could make a lot more money from that endeavor using the same approach.

I saw countless more go through the same process:

  • pick a skill

  • promote it to the skies

  • get testimonials on some work

  • scale up as fast as they could to get money

  • pack up and leave with the next shiny new opportunity

There’s no shame in the hustle…it just wasn’t why I started writing.

Here’s the final part…

That’s what I like…

In this last section of today’s reflections, I want to share my favorite parts of writing along with a few things I didn’t enjoy as much.

Favorite things to do AKA fun stuff that didn’t drain me:

  • using gifs

  • using analogies

  • being in a community

  • making posts that had variety

  • meeting really cool people on DMs and calls

Commenting and engaging…like really engaging with genuine input is where it’s at, and where I felt the most enjoyment was when I was helping others or encouraging them to take action.

Here’s one of my favorites (that he actually used on me later on when he helped me with my work):

Sharing your thoughts with those that you like and respect and have built a rapport with is one of the best things about writing on X…and it’s becoming something I really enjoy on Medium as well.

If there’s one thing I would encourage anyone to do when starting to write is to join a community of like-minded people. The support and feedback are lots of fun to watch and be involved in when you can. Most of these are on Discord and Telegram and are pretty easy to find these days.

That being said, here are some of the less enjoyable things I experienced:

  • pushy DMs

  • engagement groups

  • guilt-tripping posts and flexes

  • cheap giveaway gurus and flexes

  • paid retweet accounts and engagement farmers

While the algorithm has shifted over the past few months, the vast majority of the first portion of the year were saturated with these types of posts. Slogging through them wasn’t exactly a fun experience and did dampen the experience as I saw newer accounts hop on and instantly gain hundreds of followers and likes on a regular basis.

The playing field has since leveled out…and I suspect most of the people who were involved in groups like that disappeared in a matter of weeks.

I definitely saw a huge difference before, during and after my experience in being a part of a community that is unfortunately inactive at the moment (IYKYK).

So there it is. I will say that fun eclipses the less enjoyable aspects!

At the end of the day…

This year has been one of the most illuminating for me as it has been a journey that has helped me put my life in perspective and rediscover the underlying theme that has been there all along. More than anything else, this is what writing with discipline has yielded.

There were days when I didn’t have a single thought that I was excited to capture but did anyway.

There were others where I couldn’t capture them fast enough.

There were still others where I didn’t know if I would be able to squeeze out an issue of this newsletter or article on Medium only to come out of a flow state an hour later (kinda like these past two).

I’m much more hopeful now for what the next year brings…now for the hard part tomorrow…

Prime your presence.

This was long…and it should be if you’re doing this for yourself.

In summary, today I thought about:

  • external metrics

  • what I got out of the effort

  • the challenges and lessons I learned

I hope this serves you in your own review when your time comes…and I will attempt to structure this and make some prompts to aid you in your own session!

Vince

P.S. Every heading was a reference…how many did you recognize?