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I’ve been having an internal struggle lately, which I’ve been semi-public about.
The question has been, what am I doing here?
Not “Why was I born?” but rather an internal discussion on, “Why the hell am I doing all that I’m doing online?” from running communities to blogging to YouTubing, to TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, IG, and more…
In the lack of an answer, I’ve found my problem - I never had to ask that before.
I’ve always known my why and the problem here is that the original why has left, and it’s been on me to find the new one. And that is something I’ve started doing, and if we’re being honest here, Substack is partially to blame for all this.
When I started The Daily Draft, I approached it as a solution to address my lack of content being created on the blog I’d created in 2015, The Family Alpha.
I couldn’t write there; it’d been months of nothing or 1-2 articles published here/there with zero building up in the drafts and “to be released” list.
It got to the point where I thought I was done writing as I’d run out of words.
Something happened when I started to write on Substack. Something changed, and the words started to fly again; I’ll be blunt, it felt fucking awesome as writing is a passion, therapy, and great release for connection and self-analysis. But here entered a new problem, I was writing here and now forcing myself to write on TFA. To this moment, I find myself saying, “Don’t publish that on the Stack; save it for the blog.” but it never gets posted on the blog…
I’ve had my head torn in two for a while now (this is just one of the issues I’ve had to address, social media will be next), and today I reached a conclusion, and in that clarity of mind, I’ve felt the weight lifted.
The Family Alpha is done.
I’m not deleting it; in fact, I’m going to go through and drop a final post as well as clean up all of the articles to leave them in a “winterized” condition that will keep them properly edited, formatted, and in working order for all who find the posts for years to come - but I’m done writing there.
I’ve said all I had to say, and beyond that, I’ve changed.
The Family Alpha was created when I was going through relationship issues that hurt me deeply and pushed me to the edge. Anyone who has been hurt knows that edge can offer some unique opportunities for positive growth. While I had to work through some things with my wife, I discovered that I was a damn good writer and had a lot to say.
In tragedy, a new voice was born.
I made it through the struggles, and my wife and I carried on to the point where today, I can say with full honesty we’re better than we’ve ever been, and the pain we’d inflicted on each other has healed. With that recognition of healing, the driving energy to create TFA died.
I don’t want to use that energy to motivate me anymore; those halls offered great resources to those who needed them, and more than anyone else, writing there helped me. I am proud of my work and will leave it as is for eternity; I’ll happily pay for that website subscription when I’m 80+ years old.
But, I’m not there anymore; as I said, I’ve grown, evolved, matured, insert whatever word to capture the change you’d like as a man.
Now, this is no small declaration as TFA has been my springboard for opportunities and connection for eight years now; I’ve been writing for 11 and using Substack for less than one - but it was here, on this “Instagram for Writers” platform that I found the reason I joined the internet in the first place. It’s also where I learned to love the craft again and not “go through the motions” to put something out to remain relevant.
I started writing on Reddit in 2011 to help men; I didn’t join for Twitter threads, money, notifications, and influencer flexes - it was to connect and grow with others while sharing my thoughts with the world and, in doing so, getting to know myself a little better than I did the day before. I was online for me, and eventually, that shifted, without my awareness, to me being online to keep up with what I’d built. I became a slave to the monster of my creation.
That ends today, I’m online for me again and for all who can see themselves in my journey, stories, and observations - I’m the master.
On reclaiming control, I’ve also removed Twitter, Reddit, and Facebook from my phone as I was tired of the “calling” to check them. I’ll use Substack 100% for all future long-form content, my podcast for the discussions I enjoy having with others, and Hypefury to schedule all of my tweets and IG posts.
But that’s not the only change that has occurred;
In this evaluation of internet use, I’ve given a lot up, social media and running two writing platforms primarily. In doing so, I’ve found my way back to the art I’d lost years ago - photography. If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been learning and posting more about photography in the past two weeks than in the past two years.
I created an IG account specifically for my photography work (You can follow it here: @SmallFamilyPhotography) and have also been writing pieces about it on the Stack.
I’m done with checking socials on my phone and writing on the Family Alpha Blog.
I’ve committed to writing full-time here and engaging with the Substack community of content creators; in fact, two people have started their own Substack through my link and if you’re looking to join this place, >click here to get started<.
It’s one of the best decisions I’ve made, not because Substack is the perfect platform; it has room to grow (and it is growing), but because it was what I needed to get me down the path to figuring out what was going on in my head.
I’ve shed some electronic weight and now have a clearer vision of who I am and where I want to go, no longer beholden to those I felt I was responsible to or the person I was supposed to be.
I’m free to be me, and I’m someone who wants to write here, as the vibes are positive.
I’ve changed, and change isn’t always a bad thing; in fact, more people may find freedom in looking into the recesses of their minds, brushing the cobwebs off their old selves - looking to ensure that the path that’s been taken is in align with the original desires.
Thing change, people change, life is always moving, and we need to recognize when it’s time to get off what worked because the thing that kept you alive ten years ago may be what’s killing you today.
The Family Alpha served a purpose, and that purpose has come full circle; now, this is where you will find me, continuing to be open, honest, and sharing my stories (and photographs) with the world.
- Zachary Small