Greetings from Denver! Weeks II and III of the Born for This tour are coming to an end, and it’s been a great experience overall.For the most part, it’s been a non-stop experience. At one point I did 14 days in a row with only one day off from events or travel or both (usually both, since I typically do an event in the evening and then travel to the next city the following day). Oddly enough, I only felt tired on the rare days of rest or during periods of lesser intensity. Maybe the lesson is: when you’re going non-stop, don’t stop. 😃 Read More
- Hack the job of your dreams within a company or organization by making it work for you
- Find your ideal work and your ideal working conditions
- Create plans that will allow you to take smarter career risks and “beat the house” every time
- Start a profitable “side hustle” and earn extra cash on top of your primary stream of income
- Escape the prison of working for someone else and build a mini-empire as an entrepreneur
- Become a rock star at any creative endeavor by creating a loyal base of fans and followers
Dear Self,Your problem is that you think everything matters. The things that you do every day, the tasks that occupy your mind and draw on your energy—you think they are helping you make linear progress towards a significant destination. And maybe you are making progress. But what if you’re just making linear progress on something that is ultimately inconsequential? Read More
For the past eight years I’ve made a good living through online publishing. I’ve shared much of the journey along the way, but I first documented the overall process in a manifesto, 279 Days to Overnight Success.This manifesto went on to have a life of its own, thanks to the generous sharing of readers. Every single day—seven years later!—I hear from people who have found it online and enjoyed it. And guess what? I think at least some of the lessons I taught so fervently back then are wrong. Read More
"I think the message in the book is that we all have flaws we can’t resolve." -Amazon reviewerI recently read Mrs. Bridge, a lesser-known novel from 1959 in which nothing really happens. A boring and largely unsympathetic character ambles though normal life events, rarely seeing her equally boring husband. Their three children have normal childhood problems, and eventually grow up. Sounds thrilling, right? But underneath the surface, there’s a lot more going on. The novel is essentially about discontent and regret, or about encountering the panic and quiet desperation of an ordinary life. Read More
From Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher:
I am always taken aback when students confide in me that beneath their desire to write lies a quest for permanence. It’s odd but touching, I think, that even during this disposable age, while consigning great mountains of refuse to landfills and to atolls of plastic in the Pacific, these young would-be novelists and poets believe that art is eternal. Au contraire: we are in the business of ephemera, the era of floating islands of trash, and most of the things we feel deeply and inscribe on the page will disappear.Read More
I’ve been attempting to find “true north” in a lot of things lately. This new series explores what I believe in different areas of work and life. Your answers may differ; the point is to find what’s true for you.
Today’s topic is writing books. Here are three things I know are true.
1. The basic process is easier than most people think.
As I’ve explained before, it’s not that hard to write a book. A book is composed of a number of chapters and words. If you break down the process in a logical manner, you can see approximately how many words are required on a daily or weekly basis to achieve the goal in whatever time period you set.Read More
When you encounter a setback and need to regroup, think back to a time when you won. You mastered a skill, navigated a tricky negotiation, or otherwise came out on top.
Can you use the same skill or strategy now? Can you adapt that skill or strategy to a new situation?
Sure, circumstances may have changed. But you haven’t always lost or struggled, so think about that time when you got it right.Read More
Some inspiring insight from Laura Vanderkam:
"I have never believed that book writing needs to be all-consuming. It wasn’t for Toni Morrison writing The Bluest Eye at night after her kids went to bed and let’s face it, we’re not likely to produce anything like The Bluest Eye no matter how much time we spend writing. Books are projects like any other. Incidentally, you can make time for the rest of your life too. I’m always amused by the lines in book acknowledgements in which authors (generally, male authors) thank their families for putting up with all their missed dinners. Not only am I not missing dinner, I’m generally cooking it."Read More
If you liked the Japanese tradition, here's another one from this side of the Pacific:
“Older people often draw as much happiness from ordinary experiences — like a day in the library — as they do from extraordinary ones.
Personally I'm still a fan of jetsetting about on international trips, so I don't think you have to choose between travel and "ordinary experiences"—but yes, a day at the library can bring a lot of joy.Read More
I’m a big fan of 99U, an offshoot of Behance that exists to help people implement their great ideas instead of just brainstorming more and more ideas. Last week they published have a new book of collected essays, and I contributed one about “Recruiting an Army of Allies.” You can check out my essay below,…Read More
From my own 193-country journey to the stories of many other people who were kindly willing to share, The Happiness of Pursuit attempts to extract and convey the lessons of modern-day quests. This series explores some of these lessons. Lesson: As you make progress toward a small goal, the bigger vision expands. Many people featured…Read More
Every Friday is giveaway day. Comment to win! Our good friend Gavin Aung of Zen Pencils has built an unconventional business doing something he loves—making art and inspiring the world. A compilation of his work will be offered in his first book that debuts worldwide on November 11th (i.e. next week!). He also offers free…Read More
From my own 193-country journey to the stories of many other people who were kindly willing to share, The Happiness of Pursuit attempts to extract and convey the lessons of modern-day quests. This series explores some of these lessons. Lesson: “All you have to do is put one foot in front of the other.” Most…Read More