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Cutting through the B.S. (A Blogging/Content Experiment)

Throughout my life, I’ve studied a number of cultures, and most recently I’ve become a member of the blogging community. It’s been about a month, and I’ve gained a grand total of about ten followers, but I think I’ve hit a pivotal milestone. It’s happened with every culture I’ve been emerged in, and evidently this one is no different – it even took around the same amount of time in the cyber world that it takes during foreign travel.

After a month of immersion and study, I’ve gained confidence that I know how to navigate this place! It just so happens that I’m also scheduled for a rare and exciting opportunity – a two week hiatus from my “real job.” So, I’m going to use that time to conduct a content/blog growth experiment which you are more than welcomed to join in on.

My two weeks away from work will be spent hiking and camping in the Southwest with little signal, so I’ve scheduled some posts in advance. Let me set the scene for you by sharing a couple of lessons I’ve learned, along with my predictions going forward:

  1. It seems to me that the way this blogging thing works is that people who are passionate about writing attempt to use their craft to influence or inspire others. In their efforts to gain a readership (and often, to genuinely contribute to the community of other writers) they slave away and get down into the weeds with their feelings, giving 100% of their honest effort to provide quality content.
  2. It also seems to me that, as someone endeavoring to contribute to the community of others while growing my own, I set the bar pretty low for who I’m going to follow. It’s like, if they have decent grammar and their blog is basically professional, I hit them with a follow and hope that they will be marginally inspired by my work like I am by theirs. I also make a note of the blogs that I REALLY want to read, so I can stay up to speed with their content. This guy is presently at the top of that list. (Note that it isn’t dishonest when I follow blogs I’m marginally interested in, I just have faith in their ability to grow over time and want to help them do so.)
  3. Another important lesson I’ve learned is that “branding” is evidently important. However, as a freelance writer whose “brand” is simply using the written word to provoke and inspire contemplation, I think I largely get a free pass on this one. All I want to do is write impactful shit – so that gives me a pretty wide range to work with.
  4. While I thrive on persuasive writing (particularly, articles on idealism and leadership), I’ve also been a poet for as long as I can remember. I have hundreds and hundreds of poems already written, but breaking into articles and content is new for me.

All that said, I’ve scheduled some of my favorite (self-healing/self-help) poems to be posted once per day at 0800AM until my return on May 28th. Cristian Mihai said in one of his articles that consistency is more important than almost anything when it comes to blogging, and I believe the guy! Your content is the most visible during the first few hours that you post it, so posting something new consistently is bound to yield more followers.

I guess the ultimate goal of a blogger is to first build your network using whatever strategies (authentic or otherwise) you can, and THEN once that community has been built, try to maintain it by inspiring them, hoping that you’ll be able to hone it down to people who are honestly impacted by your work. And strangely, I’m okay with that. If I get a thousand followers, and then 80% decide that my work isn’t for them, then I have gained 200 followers that I can honestly engage with and learn from.

My prediction is based on two factors:

  1. That, in general, the poems I’ve scheduled over the next couple of weeks will attract an audience that is genuinely interested in all of the things I write (I observe life’s subtleties and draw larger lessons from them – that’s essentially poetry).
  2. That I will be able to gain more of an audience by not being so attached to the idea of growing one. The things I’ve written have impacted me – there’s no reason I need to check a hundred times per day to see if they impact others.

I’m betting I’ll be able to at least double my number of followers during this experiment. And if I don’t, I promise to be straight forward about my lessons-learned and redirection of course when I get back. Click follow to see how it goes, and know that I’m genuinely thrilled by the idea of building my organic, honest community, and learning from your contemplation as you learn from mine.

If you stayed with me this far, you must be intrigued. Here’s an example of what to expect each morning.

Much Love,

Dustin Stitt (The Quiet Visionary)

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We’re Launched!

Hey folks – welcome to our new site and thank you for visiting! I’m a lifelong overthinker who got his “sea legs” for writing as a Navy Intelligence Specialist, where detail and clarity were consequential attributes. It was also in that pursuit that I learned of my passion for studying leadership and team-building philosophies, and how introverts have a lot to add to those endeavors that might not naturally be apparent. 

I believe that self-betterment is best achieved through a learning mentality, and my goal is to explore the concepts of culture, leadership, self-help, and character growth in my blog, while providing writing services to like-minded and people-first leaders and businesses. 

Below is a list of services I can provide:

  • Content Writing
  • Articles and Essays
  • Policy Review
  • How-to Guides
  • Research Projects
  • Interviews and Biographies
  • Editing (Content, Books, Essays, Articles, Etc.)
  • Business Advertisements
  • Constructive critique/coaching for aspiring authors
  • Open-source threat assessments/POLMIL overviews and country briefs
  • Training guides
  • Scenario Development 
  • Lyrical Writing and Poetry
  • Discounted/Free advertising for charitable organizations

My hope is that the blog will serve as a portfolio for my writing style. My particular strengths are in persuasive writing and memoir, but as I mentioned – I’m well-versed in more technical topics, have been awarded at the collegiate level, and will eventually dedicate myself to writing exclusively as a profession. In the meantime, this is a way for me to pursue that dream and grow the network, and I appreciate any business and networking opportunities from other world-changers.

Once well established, I plan to use my platform to help other aspiring authors and to advertise for people and organizations who are having a positive impact in their communities but are too “quiet” to self-promote. I understand the plight of being too humble or considerate to advertise on your own behalf – everyone needs an advocate! The site is a work in progress, and I appreciate your patience as I get this thing up and running! 

Much Love and Respect, 

Dustin Stitt (Founder)

EKG

There was a moment, when I thought I’d lost it all…

That’s when I realized, just how far that I could fall

A slowing rhythm, followed by the flattest tone…

That replays in your mind

In the moment when you know you’re all alone

My soul cries out, but no one hears a thing …

No point trying to be strong, no point in trying to be so fake

and I know now, that it won’t ever be the same

And I know that somehow

I need to try to keep myself sane

So many people ask me why I’m pushing so hard

And I say I know how it feels to be so far gone

And I’d rather be gone for the right reasons

Cause we’re only alive for a short season

And I see blood, and I see hate

And I’m falling in the black

Into the blackest place

And I give up, I can’t find love

I’m living on the edge Am I alive or am I dead?

This place is sweet seduction.

And I’d rather be here for the right reasons. 

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Valhalla

The streets are paved in gold

Diamonds and rubies are all I see

But if you wait for heaven

Maybe you’re chasing the wrong things

The gold is fools’ ya know,

And I’ll never see the gemstones

Just look around you and you’ll see

A heaven you can take

Chaos breeds progress

That can’t be made in a comfort zone

So take on the problems

Even if you take them on alone

The Flames of Tadjourah

The world had become a flaming hell – impossible to tame

Yet, every man sought to quell the fire in the village that day

Children screaming, women crying, explosions from inside

As alcohol and powder spilled into flames that only thrived

Goats ran wild, bulls thrashed, a man impaled upon a horn

With no water to fight our flaming hell, we were mercy to God’s scorn

We threw dirt into the fire that day, praying for reprieve

When water finally did arrive, it fell boiling at our feet

I didn’t need to speak her language to know what she had said

In a desperate voice “He’s still inside!” but I knew he was long-since dead

Dark pale men lay all around me, passed out from smoke in lung

Shoes melted from our feet by then, but still we all fought on

Heroes of Tadjourah, every villager – one and all

That fire burning ocean-side, raging ever on…

Men would wake from smoke-filled sleep, and into battle once again

Some fought from roof above the flames, in my mind’s eye they fell in…

I realized it wasn’t flames I fought, but demons of the mind

For no matter how much time I bought, I’d soon leave that place behind

I shared a name with a village there, half-day’s journey up the road

Where for months, I sought to help its children with water, food, and clothes

This strange family all around me, we fought yet hand in hand

Me, the welcomed intruder to their magical foreign land

Neither primitive, nor heathen did I find the people there…

A desert tribe, yet still they thrived, despite the land so bare

And never once did hesitate to share what Allah gave them

With open hearts, they welcomed men sent by governments to enslave them

Eventually we, together, prevailed against the flame

The man who died, I realized, was my old self gone away

I learned many lessons there, this but one amongst the pile:

You may think God sent you to teach lesser men, but instead you’re learning all the while!

Reincarnation (Though I can’t Recall Your Name)

In the day that was a night, I had a dream that was no dream.

And through a child’s heart, into my own, came the stinging blade of a memory I was never supposed to recall.

But I’d chosen to break the barriers of the mortal mind – my soul had screamed for truth above all else, and now would bear its burden.

The pain which had long resided in my chest absent explanation was at once understood, and even cherished. I saw a past life – a failed attempt to save an innocent.

…from the hands of a man “guided by God” came the boy’s death, and my own.

Dreams were not enough – I sought understanding. For how many lifetimes have I mourned your death? How many centuries have I held fast to my vengeance? How much resentment can yet remain in my hardened heart?

More than words can ever express.

You, who kill for Gods you don’t understand. You, who send young men to their deaths over words and names which mean nothing.

Blinded, retched, vile, decrepit, poisonous men who serve only your own hearts.

All motivated by greed, lust, and power. Yet it is not the scapegoat of original sin, but your own sin! Your own choice!

And so I live the same life – the same struggle – for the thousandth time. Aware, but unwilling to accept the Master’s lesson.

A solemn sage, ready but unable to rest, though the child in my mind long ago found his place in the warming light.

Still, I see hatred in the eyes of the pale horse’s rider.

And I hear the voices of his masters crying “He needs but time!”

My conscious cries out contrarily – “He needs but time in cleansing flame.”

Each night I tame my thoughts, and awaken once more in the day for those in need of comfort or friend.

My only purpose – to help another.

My only happiness – to help another. And to slay the man who slew the child, for fear that I may yet become him!

For even as human nature is so depraved, do I not stand a human?

The one lesson so long refused – to forgive the hearts of lesser men: those who rape, murder, thieve, and lie for naught but their own amusement. A lesson I refuse even still, needing no master to guide my heart. And in each life, there is more pain – and in each pain, a greater resolution – a solemn vow – to endure, but never forget.

Mistress Tarantella: A Dance with Fate

The first demand she made of me

was to be awakened by fire and pain;

Speaking only in her whispered tones,

Fate seduced me.

She spoke to me of honor then,

and of finding my own way;

Of all the paths less traveled by

which lead into the fray.

Her eyes were fired by my own passions –

my own thoughts fell from her tongue;

On her pale skin I tasted then

the man I had become.

She spoke to me of redemption then,

and finally, of regret…

And with her kiss a brokenness

fell like hair upon my chest.

In a dark room lit by candle light

her silken dress fell to the floor;

Her veil of lies no more disguised

that Fate wanted more.

The last demand she made of me

was my death by my own hand;

Still in that room, her sweet perfume

is almost more than I can stand.

And so, we dance the Tarantella

She beckons, and I refrain…

Only able to deny her charms

because she taught me first to love the pain.

Cancer Makes Us Whole

Cancer brings people together.

Support networks seem to materialize from nothing for the sake of patients who are poked, prodded, and otherwise violated by medical equipment.

Diagnosis is the start of a noble journey to find peace with one’s mortality. With luck, it is a great obstacle overcome.

Without it, a death which should be saved for only the vilest of creatures. Often, I wonder if that’s how I’ll go.

It’s taken so many of the ones I’ve loved – it’s challenged people who deserve only happiness.

Sometimes, I imagine an acidic tumor burning its way into my lungs, or my brain, or my heart.

I only smirk at the poetic justice and bide my time.

Cancer tears people apart.

The Good Wife

The good wife stood beside her husband, watching him battle demons that no one else could see.

She watched him yell at invisible men, and finally subdue them. Each day, she watched him DECIDE to be okay, and sometimes, she watched him lose himself. But still, the good wife loved him.

She watched him hate, and crave to kill.

She watched him force back his demented nature as if trying not to retch.

She watched him tempt himself at times, with the quiet of death, but still the good wife loved him.

The good wife watched blood and tears drip from his eyes, as his thoughts overcame him. She saw his spirit rip in two, one half struggling to overtake the other. She saw her husband tear out his own still beating heart, blackened and rotting and putrid, but still the good wife loved him.

She watched her husband battle humanity, authority, and even God…she watched him convulse and sweat in the night. Sometimes, she watched him look at her as if she was a maze that he was lost inside. Other times, as if she were a lamb and he a lion. Other times still, as if she was his only source of comfort – his only hope for peace. And still, the good wife loved her husband.

She saw him speak to himself in foreign tongues, retreat to places that were on no map, and roll his eyes backward into his head completely.

She watched his mouth foam as he contorted and growled as no man should. She watched him stand completely still, gazing into the night as if terrors would soon approach. She watched him drink, lose himself to music, and write poems in blood trying but failing to overcome himself. But still the good wife loved him.

She watched me trembling there, dressed in white, and watched still when I finally found my peace. A white dove descended from heaven and healed the wounds of my very soul. Excitedly, I ran toward her loving arms, keen to repay my many debts.

But it had been too long, she’d endured too much. She stood but a shadow that I could not touch. My greatest fear, I’d tainted the very spirit of my good wife.

And though this hasn’t happened yet – though it’s still just thought in wretched head – a demon that should ne’er be fed, it’s the reason for my strife.

But never fear, and always fear; for I still have comfort – she’s drawing near…a moment’s peace and silence here, in the arms of my good wife.

And for another day, she comforts me, knowing not the true extent of what I am.