If you look at my LinkedIn profile, you’ll see I have 93 endorsements for “blogging.” The most out of any of my ludicrous set of “skills” on that quasi-professional social media site. Now look at the date of the last blog I posted here. That was three months ago. And it was simply a self-promotional post, just like most of the ones before it, touting another published article or comic book or illustration or CD or whatever the hell I’m shilling at the time. The truth is, my lack of posting isn’t what makes me a bad blogger. My lack of writing about anything but myself, however, is. But before I remedy that, here’s why I haven’t posted since July 25, 2013:
Unbeknownst to many people–most of my friends included–for about five-and-a-half years, I actually held down a full-time office job ASIDE from all my freelance writing/comic publishing/general busybody-ing. I did a lot of web content-related things in this job, not dissimilar to what I did at VEGAS.com back in the day, but a lot less sexy. What I primarily did, though, was internet marketing/content/social media for the Springs Preserve, a pretty awesome cultural attraction here in Las Vegas. Yep, every time you were retweeted or followed by or interacted with the Springs Preserve on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. for a good chunk of the last half-decade, it was me. THE CURTAIN HAS BEEN PARTED.
However, that was only a part of what I did working for The Man, and I spent 11 hours a day, four days a week inside a cubicle doing it, cramming everything else I do into the few hours in between and on my off days. It was a cushy gig that afforded me a certain lifestyle, but also one that I never intended to do for long, despite the increased benefits of doing so year after year. It became increasingly obvious to me that my other interests and ventures–specifically in writing and comics publishing–were competing for time with my “day job,” and that eventually, I’d have to give up one or the other in order to save my sanity (and not completely alienate my new bride). So I made a decision to give up things like financial security, sick days, vacations, health insurance and a full pension in order to go all-in as a freelancing entrepreneur.
I jumped ship in July–not coincidentally when my blogging dried up. See, I had this notion that I’d have MORE time to do things like finish screenplays, write blogs, film documentaries, etc. I knew I’d have to hustle to make up the income differential before my safety net dried up, but I figured, hey, that hustling will be done on my time, maybe in my pajamas, maybe at a coffee shop, maybe at 4 a.m. The thing I didn’t count on was my over-ambition. Or on a changing lifestyle situation.
Simultaneously–and really, I mean all at once over the course of about 45 days–I quit my job, Sara and I sold our house, I launched a new company with my partner Daniel Lowber, rented a new office, moved into a new (rental) house, moved into said office, and started taking on new contract clients. I found myself in a constant treadmill of deadlines and obligations, working essentially nonstop, seven days a week, eventually screwing up my sleep schedule, weakening my body (no time for the gym!) and straining relations with Sara, who herself has been caught up in the always-on workload between her job and school.
When you work for someone else, for the most part, you get paid to show up. Sure, you’re technically getting paid to produce, but you are compensated for your time. When you freelance, you only get paid for the work you do, no matter how long it takes. The concept of “billable hours” works in theory, but not necessarily in practice. Not that any of this was a surprise to ME, mind you. I’m just explaining why “working for yourself” actually means “working for a lot of different people at once.”
Of course, now, I am basically now living a double life again, just not getting paid as well for the “day job”: That venture Daniel and I started is Creation Forge Studios, which was born out of the desire to expand Pop! Goes the Icon‘s scope beyond merely publishing comics and into printing them, as well. Creation Forge is its own entity, a digital printing studio in downtown Las Vegas, from which I’m currently writing this blog post. And it’s also the in-house print provider for PGTI. Confusing? It’s OK, all you need to know is that now, in addition to publisher/writer/communications specialist/editor, you can add “creative director” to my feather-stuffed hat. And that if you need short-run or on-demand printing (and related services such as layout, design, copy editing, proofreading, etc.), you can call us.
So what does this have to do with blogging? The best bloggers–aside from actually writing about something other than themselves–connect with people because they’re honest about themselves. Because people can relate when you have the same problems and issues they do, when your printer is jammed or boss is mean or rent is late or dog is sick. And I feel like I’ve been glossing over the realness for the sake of painting a superficial picture of the “brand” that’s Pj Perez as opposed to the actual guy who isn’t always doing fabulous things and interviewing interesting people or whatever it is I normally talk about.
I’m going to change this site back into being all about the blog. And stick my portfolio stuff, my professional whatever, somewhere in the corner for whoever needs it. And in the age of 140 character status updates and Vine mini-videos and who knows what else is out there, I’m gonna try like hell to kick it old school and write out things I feel like need to be said. And give you the realness behind the scenes over here. If you think you can handle it.