Browsing Category Creativity

How to Find Your Future (with the help of Google)

The internet is like a time capsule. When something is created and put on the internet, it’s there for everyone to see at any point in the future.

If I googled your name, what comes up? What’s the story that the internet tells about you, your work, and your life?

Maybe I’d see some blog posts you’ve written. Maybe I’d find some photos of you. Maybe I’d see your social media profiles.

Search engines show a snapshot of your past.

But imagine with me for a moment if you could google your future…

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My Four Best Writing Tips

I was a part of a forum of writers and bloggers.  It was one of the first times I’ve talked about the craft of writing and blogging in public.

Turns out I have a lot to say! (You may not be as surprised as I am about that 😉 )

I wanted to share my four best writing tips that I shared on that day.

A note to non-writers:

While this is about “writing”, it’s not only about writing.

It’s about making something that matters and dedicating yourself to making it.  Before you decide whether or not this is helpful for you, give it a read and think about how it may apply to you, your craft, and your life’s work.

1) Commit to A Process and Routine

A writer writes. So if you are a writer, or you want to be a writer, then you have to write.

As with any creative endeavor, you can’t only wait for inspiration to strike.  It’s not consistent or trustworthy.  You have to work at it.

We like to romanticize the creative endeavors.  I can fantasize all day about the perfect writing retreat or best tools and setup.  I also imagine my favorite writers working with ease, grace, and poise.

But the more I write and the more I hear others talk about writing, the more that image becomes a myth.

Creativity is usually a struggle.  Your favorite writers may spend more hours banging their heads against the wall or writing pages that go straight to the garbage than you can imagine.

So write often.  And put it in your schedule.  Block off time and don’t allow anything to interfere.  Treat it like a standing meeting that you can’t move.

I have three writing blocks a week that are immovable.  Those are my baseline.  I know if I sit down and work during those blocks of time, I’ll get it done.  I will usually write outside of those blocks as well.  It just depends on the week.

You will write a lot of bad stuff, but you will gradually find yourself getting better. You will also find yourself with many pieces and fragments that can be turned into something good down the road.

Right now I have over 100 unpublished blog posts. Why? Because I write a lot. That doesn’t mean that I’m going to use all of them. Some of them are really bad. But others are fantastic. And when I have time to write something having a bad piece to start with is easier than staring at a blank page.

The point is that you need to do your creative work, and you need to do it regularly (whether or not you feel up for it).

2) Your Identity Matters

The way you think of yourself affects what you do and how you do it. If you want to be a writer, but don’t see yourself as one, you’ll find it harder to write. You can substitute any word for writer here: athlete, entrepreneur, artist, teacher, pastor, good person, outgoing, etc.

So much of my work is about helping people see their work as part of their identity: aligning what they do with who they are. If you think of yourself as a writer, you’re going to find it easier to write.

When something is a part of your identity, it’s much easier to creates space for it and stick with it…

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Why You Shouldn’t Stop Making Bad Art

I make a lot of things that you will never see.

Take my writing for example. When I write I often begin on 750words.com, a private online journal. I write anything that comes. It’s a helpful starting place where I can get words out and forget about them. When I’m writing I don’t want the pressure to make sure every word counts and every idea is good. I need the space to just make. I need to make and make and make. Later I’ll come back and see if it’s any good.

Some will be good. Quite a bit will not be good. But I can’t know that until after I’ve begun.

The same thing happens in my photography. We’ll come back from the typical wedding with between 1200 and 3000 images on our memory cards. We immediately import and back up all of them. Then we begin the tedious task of culling: sorting out the bad, then sorting out the good, and finally choosing the great images.

The great ones are what gets edited, and eventually delivered to the client.

That’s around 400-600 images.

That’s between 13% and 40% of the images we make, depending on the wedding.

Of those images, we put a handful on our blog. Usually 20-30 images.

That’s between 0.6% and 2% of the original batch of images.

That’s a lot that no one will see…

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