I’ve been paying particular attention to Todd Henry lately. Not only because of the fact we both are enduring Cincinnati Bengals fans, but because he’s the man behind Accidental Creative — and a book based on his work there, The Accidental Creative. I’m glad I’ve been reading up on his work because while I know why I write, now I know how I’m going to write going forward. I only wish I’d been paying attention sooner, because I’ve been a prime example of someone who hasn’t been hitting the sweet spot in the matrix he discusses in his work.
Todd suggests (and rightfully so) that those who do any form of creative work — accidentally or otherwise — tend to fall short in any one of the three areas of this matrix — he asserts (again, rightfully so) that it’s very difficult to put all three of them together. The areas are:
- Brilliance: You create really great work.
- Prolific: You are consistent in creating work.
- Healthy: You are creating in a sustainable manner.
I manage to at least pull off two of them regularly, but fall short with the third. That said, I seem to shift between all of them — meaning that:
- I write a ton while maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but it’s not great work that comes out of me.
- I write a ton of great stuff, but I do so while not eating right, sleeping well or neglecting other aspects of my life.
- I write great stuff over the long haul because I’m mindful about my health, but I don’t create it consistently.
Anyone who has followed my work online (or offline, for that matter) would probably agree with this assessment. More often than not, I do the first two things more often than the latter…but it’s because of the times I do those first two things that I wind up doing the latter. You’d think that after a full year of making a living as a professional creative — and considering what I write about — that I’d have this down.
But I don’t.
So I’ve decided that I’m going to make a concerted effort to hit all three marks going forward. I’ll create a lot of work and it will be great work. And I’ll do it without risking other areas of my life. I’ll spend more time with my family when we’re all at home. I’ll take time to invest in my new hobbies — or explore new ones — since writing is now my work and not a pastime.
Basically, I’ll do better. And it starts with the writing. It always starts with the writing.
You’ll notice that I will post here regularly…and I’ll continue to do that. Four days a week you’ll get content exclusive to this site…and it’ll be great stuff. Three days a week, you’ll get posts that remind you of what I’ve got going on in the podcasting world — I categorize these as “interstitial” posts.
Essentially, the posting schedule looks like this…starting today:
- Sunday: Fresh, grade A material.
- Monday: More great new written work.
- Tuesday: Teaser quote and brief summary from the latest episode of ProductiVardy.
- Wednesday: Shiny words, straight from the presses…of my mind.
- Thursday: A teaser from the latest episode of Dyscultured, which I return to this coming week.
- Friday: Newness to start your weekend.
- Saturday: A quote to whet your appetite from Talking is Dead’s weekly exchange, a podcast where Anthony Marco and I simply…talk.
Putting together a schedule like this allows me to work towards hitting the sweet spot in that matrix Todd speaks of. With all of the writing I do elsewhere and the fact I want to work on my talks and books, setting this up was crucial.
And, yes…I do start my workweek on a Sunday, because Monday and Friday are the days where I take care of “life stuff” and Saturdays are the days where it is all about the family. As for Tuesdays through Thursdays? That’s when the “heavy lifting” gets done.
I’d like those days to be less “heavy lifting” and more like “moving days”, where I don’t just do the stuff that requires a ton of effort but I do the stuff that moves me forward to where I really want to be.
How to do that? Simply stated: Do less stuff so I can move forward easier and with less distraction.
How to get to do that? Simply stated (and less simple to commit to): Let go of the weighty stuff that only serves to slow me down/take me off course in the grand scheme of things.
I’m moving toward that second “how to” this week. I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes — by writing a really great piece about it.
Image credit: Joan M. Mas (CC BY-NC 2.0)