Category: Writing

Productivity & Work Writing

Reacting Against Modernity? Wait.

Those that intentionally resist change sometimes end up going too backward, making them inefficient and even more stressed.

As creators, we need to balance the use of both contemporary and old-school tools. To focus on one over the other puts you at a severe disadvantage.

If you work with just pens and paper, you may struggle to envision the end product. If you use the computer only, you’ll miss out on connecting the dots between diverse parts. Drawing ideas out helps facilitate and organize thinking. The computer packages concepts and makes them feel real.

Always brainstorm on paper first if you can. This is the moment you need speed and imperfection, matching up the speed of your thoughts with your hand. The computer is more for output. As soon as you have a sketch, you’ll finally be able to synthesize it on the computer and give it a digital reality.

The right mix of digital and analog tools makes you more productive and more creative.

Productivity & Work Writing

Side projects

We all love side projects. They get us going creatively.

Side projects are typically things we take on because we’re actually interested in them. We enjoy putting in the playful work.

This blog is a side project

Side projects don’t necessarily change the world, have a deadline, or require perfection. We can even build side projects in a weekend and ship them for others to see.

Side projects can be simple and fun, reinvigorating to us and inspiring to others.

Nevertheless, don’t take on a side project that doesn’t come naturally or that’s dreadful. Forcing passion crimps creativity.

The side project may lead to something else such as the next big idea, but this isn’t the point of taking them on. The side project is an exercise in doing, remixing and recasting stuff that already exists and freshening it up.

We should try to create something for everything we consume.

Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work Writing

Pen & Paper, Still Useful

We’re much better at reading and editing on paper rather than a computer screen, even if it’s retina.  Words just make more sense on paper.  Here are some other benefits to using paper: #gif #writing
via giphy

Paper is about control, allowing for manipulation of the hands, eyes, and pen. If you’ve ever had to send or read an important email, you should print out hard copies first.  

We’re much better at reading and editing on paper rather than a computer screen, even if it’s retina.  Words just make more sense on paper.  Here are some other benefits of using paper:

  • Getting things done
  • Creating mind maps
  • Spilling/Connecting ideas
  • Thinking clearer
  • Editing
  • Scanning email threads
  • Presenting
  • Note-taking

I don’t know what I think until I try to write it down.

Joan Didion

Paper is also better for thinking. Sure, there’s apps for mind mapping and note-taking but pen and blank paper allows you to make a final dump of all your big ideas and then reconnect them to see the big picture.

It’s difficult to think when information is scattered in computer folders, emails, and in different apps. If it’s important enough, it should make it on paper. Below is my own recommendation for balancing digital and print worlds:

Here’s a holistic digital/paper 5-step approach:  

  1. Start with a digital device for idea acquisition.
  2. Snag the best thoughts and write them down on paper.
  3. Connect the thoughts with hand-drawn mind maps and notes.
  4. Return to writing application and begin writing what will be the final product.
  5. Make printouts throughout the writing process and reread/edit so you don’t miss any details.

Children today are already skipping steps 2, 3, and 5 and completing everything from thinking, brainstorming, writing, and editing all on screen. On the whole, businesses still depend on pen and paper to conduct business.

While using less paper means saving trees and reduced clutter, it also makes people susceptible to more grammatical errors and missed connections. Pen and paper will remain useful until digital can mimic or make writing easier.


Blogging tip: Write Every Day, Publicly

Seth Godin encourages everyone to write every day, publicly (i.e. blog):

Do it every day. Every single day. Not a diary, not fiction, but analysis. Clear, crisp, honest writing about what you see in the world. Or want to see. Or teach (in writing). Tell us how to do something.

Here’s my extra tip. Read one paper in the morning, all your Tweets and RSS feeds, and elaborate on an idea or story, you found interesting. Give your post context and link to the source of inspiration.

Don’t have a blog yet?

It seriously takes about a minute to set up a blog on WordPress. You can also sign up to Bluehost for 1-click WordPress installation.

The longer you wait, the more likely it’s never going to happen. Search for any domain name below to get started.


Seth Godin on Books, Marketing, Blogging, The Domino Project, and Some Advice

On writing books:  A book is a block of thought that is more likely to change a person’s thought, like hypnosis.

On marketing:  There are 2 main marketing strategies, (1) spreading a consistent and disciplined message like McDonald’s has for over 40 years and (2) creating an art form out of passion and then selling it to the passes, such as Howard Schultz obsession with the Italian espresso.

On blogging:  Blog for the long haul and don’t over-explain, leave some stuff open-ended to make readers think.

On Godin’s Domino Project:  A manifesto is a book as short as you can make it, that is shareable and revolutionary.  Let people steal and implement the ideas in it.

And some advice:  We’re in the midst of the death of the Industrial Revolution and the factory, the people that will be remembered are doing work that matters and clearing up the chaos we see today.

Listen/Download the entire interview by clicking here.