This post is about the changes in my work and this blog starting in 2022, including two new books.

Time to reexamine my work

Historically, I’ve remade my career every seven to ten years. Things change in your life and your work; it’s best to be thinking about it before it gets stale.

I’ve remade myself from mathematician to startup guy to analyst to author to writing expert.

The last time I reinvented myself was in 2015. I wrote a book on writing and focused my business on helping authors and conducting corporate writing workshops. That work was rewarding and continues to be rewarding. But my priorities are shifting.

That shift is inevitable. I’m older. Some things that were new and exciting to me are now less thrilling.

And there are shifts that are out of my control. My children were 19 and 15 at the start of 2015; now they are 26 and 22 and far more self-sufficient. At age 63, I’ve developed health problems that demand more of my time; my family’s health problems also need more of my attention. I want to spend more time on making my new home the way I want it to be.

There is also a shift my own desires. I am far less focused on financial gain; because I’ve kept my spending under control for the 40 years of my career, I am financially secure. I am not as driven as I once was to become more well-known and famous; as a bestselling author and popular blogger, I’ve already accomplished those goals. And I want to spend more of my life with my wife enjoying ourselves. If the pandemic recedes, I’d like to go back to traveling for fun.

Some people in my situation would just retire and relax. But that seems boring to me. I still want to accomplish great things. I am just no longer driven to do that at the expense of time spent on my health and my family.

What makes me happy? Pure creation.

If you are in a situation like this, where you are reexamining your life and your work, you should focus not only on what is making you unhappy, but on where your happiness and fulfillment comes from.

After all this time working, I know what makes me happy: writing. Writing combines two activities that give me sublime enjoyment.

One is solving problems; all writing is at its base problem solving, since the act of writing is intended to accomplish some sort of goal, and accomplishing that goal requires breaking it down into smaller problems and solving those.

The second thing I like about writing is the act of creation. I start with a blank page and just create. There is art there where there was previously nothing. That is profoundly fulfilling.

It is not enough to write. I need readers. The readers are the people for whom I am solving the problems. And they are the reason I am creating the art.

It has taken me a long time to recognize this focus. All work involves a variety of activities, from setting up personal technology to speaking with clients and customers to collaborating with others to promoting your work to sending invoices and paying taxes. Unless you are so rich that you can outsource everything, there is no such thing as pure creation.

But I intend to focus on pure creation to the greatest extent possible.

Less blogging

The purveyors of hustle porn will tell you to just keep adding things and doing more, somehow becoming more and more productive. If that was ever a good idea (and it probably wasn’t), it’s certainly not a good idea for me at my age and current situation. So if I want to add things, I have to subtract things.

As it turns out, I spend 90 to 120 minutes every weekday — that’s at least eight hours a week — on this blog. It has driven me to stay intellectually engaged and has built an audience for me. And helped me try out new ideas and develop my thinking. And it was writing for an audience, which, as I described, was fulfilling.

But the quality of the work I generate here has decreased. I’ve written an awful lot about writing; there is just not that much insight left for me to share. Another source of my insights is my work with clients, but that work is tapering down. It’s harder to write about current events in a way that’s differentiated from all the other analysis out there. And people’s appetite for hearing about my personal struggles is limited.

For seven years, it was a good idea for me to blog every weekday, but that no longer makes sense. Rather than make this blog ordinary (for readers) and a chore (for me), the right answer is to decrease the frequency. So starting today, this blog will not post every weekday.

Instead, I will post when I have something original to say, or some idea I want to try out. I think the average quality will increase even as the frequency decreases.

This is a big change for me, because my days were structured around that blog post, but I mostly feel a sense of relief making this decision. The answer to the question “Why do you blog every weekday?” was, to be honest, “I don’t know how to stop.” Well, now I know how to stop.

Less client work

I have decided to spend less time on client work. That means I will only work on projects that excite me, with people I want to work with.

I have two book clients I’m actively engaged with. I will continue to pour significant effort into those projects, since they’re exciting to me and I don’t want to let those clients down. But they will end at some point in 2022.

I have five author clients who have paused their book projects with me due to challenges in their own schedules. I have sent all of them a note at the start of this year to see what’s going on with them. If they come back, I’ll help them out, but I won’t be bugging them any further.

Two very large and well known companies are asking for writing workshops with me. At this point, writing workshops are low effort and high enjoyment for me (and they also pay well). So I will deliver those workshops at a high level of quality.

I will be very selective about future projects with authors and companies. I will not pursue any projects just for the money. And I will ramp down my marketing activities (such as daily blogging and social media promotion).

Any businessperson would tell you that these are poor choices. But that’s true only from the point of view of money and growing a business. I have a finite amount of time left to do useful work, and money is pretty far down the list of motivations for me right now. I admit I am fortunate to be able to make that choice, but a combination of luck and good planning means I can, so why should I stay on the financial treadmill?

Two new books

I have a book of my own that is half done. It’s about how to write a business book that matters. I intend to complete it and publish it in 2022. Originally, the motivation was to drive business for me. Now, the motivation is different: I have something unique to say based on my experience and I just want to say it.

I also have a second book idea. It is a very big idea about business success and business strategy. It has been rattling around in my brain for at least a decade. There is no guarantee that I can complete it successfully. It is my Moby-Dick. I know what I have to do to start it, to do the research about it, to write it, to pitch it, and to sell it. It will be a fitting capstone to my career, if I can do it.

I’m sorry to be vague about the topic of the second book, but since its publication is at least two years off, there’s no point in my spilling the beans yet. It’s just an unformed idea, without research behind it, and there’s not much to tell yet.

But if you keep reading this blog, you’ll get to see it as a work in progress. And two or three years from now, you’ll have taken the journey along with me and get to see what I hope will be a major book about a big idea.

Thanks for taking this journey with me so far. It’s been a blast. Talk to you soon . . . but not tomorrow.

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  1. Good luck with your new focus. I will look forward to your blog posts. While a daily discipline is great, writing only when you have something to say that’s worth reading is a great model

  2. So happy you’ll still be blogging sometimes! I think it’s wonderful you won’t be doing it every day anymore… not for the readers, but for your personal freedom. Go Josh!

  3. I’ll be keeping an eye on my email for your latest “creation”… Myself?…Thursday of this week is my last day of doing anything to earn a buck… Retiring at 72… It’s time.

  4. Thanks for all you’ve so generously given us and will give in the future, Josh. As a regular reader of your blog, a fan of your book, WWBS, and a happy former client, I have enjoyed and benefitted from your expertise, humor, and inimitable style. Even today’s post was written with deep insight and an ability to share that is always valued. Wishing you all the best on your new journey.

  5. Congrats on the decision, Josh. I am with you. At age 70 I am still learning and enjoying what I do. Will take on only clients that I know I will love to work with and I know will value my time as much as I do. Like you, were have spent less than we made over the years and desire more time with friends, family and other interests. But I still get a rush from helping a business owner move closer to their goals and look forward to next! May God richly bless all you do.

  6. I applaud and appreciate how thoughtfully you’ve made these life-changing decisions and shared them with us. I am in the midst of articulating my own shifts and focus areas for this year and the years to come. Your blog comes at the perfect time for me. Thank you for sharing and kudos to you for being so intentional in setting your family, your health and your greatest joys as your priorities.

  7. Thanks Josh. Thanks for your writing over the last 7 years. Thanks in advance for any blog posts you do in the future. And also thanks for carefully and clearly articulating the steps involved in your change of work life, and the reasoning and feelings behind that change. Even though it’s personal to you, I also feel I have something to learn from this post. Perhaps other readers do as well.

  8. A fantastic decision I think and I’m grateful for the advice, insights, and analysis you’ve shared here over the years. And, I’m excited to witness and learn about the new book as it coalesces!

  9. Allow me to pile on. Thank you for what you’ve given us and I look forward to your not-quite-so-frequent posts and your books. Onward!

  10. Congrats on focusing on what gives you the most joy, Josh. I’m with you on the pressure you can feel about needing to contribute every day. A while back, I made the decision to scale back and am very happy that I did.

  11. Thank you Josh. You have given generously of your insights with this blog. Best of luck with the creation of both books, especially Moby Dick.

  12. You have one life, live it to the fullest :-).
    I will definitely check out your posts when they come, but I will re-read others, there are a lot of good ideas in this page already.
    Keep well.

  13. Thank you for the years of reading your writing. I always found you to be bright as well as witty. You often made me think a bit harder on a topic. Glad you are putting you and your family first. Until the next time you post, know that there will be many of here to read your words. Happy 2022.

  14. Thank you for all the wonderful stuff you have written about. I look forward to reading about whatever is next.

  15. Smart and timely. You’ve thought through and made good choices for yourself and your family. The ability to scale back, and yet remain engaged, is a gift. I look forward to whatever you continue to share knowing you are balancing your insights with more time for family and your other interests. Thanks!

  16. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and walking the talk. I’ve shared your book and blog with so many coworkers who were wrestling with a writing challenge or needed to read something smart (and funny or maybe a bit cutting). It’s been a joy to share your work with them and always served as a reminder to me that you were my primary go-to for a good reason.

    So thank you again for your time and contributing to so many.

  17. Bravo, Josh. I’m pleased to have had a front-row seat to your evolution as both a family man and professional writer. I remain a wisdom seeker and continue to delight in your perspectives.

  18. I get a lot out of what you write, and I’m sure I still will when you do. The ability to say No when you need to is a wonderful skill. Enjoy your extra time to take care of yourself and your family.

  19. Belated comment on your ambitions and goals: as I (69) and those around me get older — and some have died — I have decided on two guidelines going forward. (1) Take time each day, however brief, to do something you love simply because you love it. (2) Working towards a goal is important, but remember to enjoy the journey. Life is fragile. You may never reach the goal, but that should not mean you have failed to live a meaningful life. Many wonderful things happen along the way, every day.
    Enjoy your life, whatever you are doing. I certainly enjoy your blogs.

  20. Good for you! Can’t wait to see what you have to say! I can only imagine how fatiguing it was to do a topic every day, and I often wondered how you did it!