Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category
Fantastic! – Ira Glass (This American Life) on the secret of success in creative work (video)
LOVE! New York Times slideshow of Gerhard Richter’s art on display at the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin.
Random, but interesting… – Photos of Congolese wrestlers.
I’m a nerd, but I like this. The Best Picture Nominees….as Infographics.
Love this. Jay-Z, Ed Ruscha and Thom Yorke to Design Water Tanks in New York.
Looks pretty good! Trailer for Donald Miller’s new film, Blue Like Jazz.
Michael Hyatt had a great post this week, How To Change Organizational Culture.
Needed: New York Times on How To Wear A Tux.
So…yes, it’s true. I am (finally) writing a book. (Yes, like the kind you actually read!!)
Getting to this place has been quite a journey over these past couple of years. Actually, struggle is probably a better word to use. (There’s another word in particular I could use, but won’t.) Just like almost everything else I have felt “called” to do over the years, I have fought and fought and fought (and still fight once in a while, especially this past week). But I’ve finally decided….I’m in. The ball is rolling, and I’m fully committed.
What’s the book about? Well, that’s a good question. I mean, I know what it’s about, but I don’t know. Know what I mean? (That’s right, go ahead and re-read that sentence a couple times and then try to get excited about buying a book written by that author.)
But in all seriousness, I know what the book is about, but I still feel like I need to get a better grasp on defining A) What it is I’m actually saying and B) Who exactly I’m saying it to. (I’m telling you….this can be a greater challenge to define than most people would imagine.)
So I feel like I’m still at the very beginning stages of this thing, but I’m working at it quite aggressively now. I’m thankful for the opportunity I have this summer to turn a lot more of my focus on this project while I’m on my summer study break in July/August.
But with all that said, here are a few more thoughts…
- This is not going to be a book about leading change and transition.
- This is a book that up until about 18 months ago I would have never imagined writing, but now can’t imagine not writing.
- I’ve had to work through a tremendous amount of fear to get to this point. And I’m still working through it – almost daily. But now, instead of barfing….I’m trying to allow that fear to point me in the direction I need to go. It seems that fear tends to do that well. My goal is to try and help the fear sabotage itself.
- I’m considering all types of publishing avenues right now. While I have been approached by a handful of publishers, I have not signed on with anyone at this point.
- I’m very intrigued by and even considering looking into self-publishing.
- I don’t know if numbers 4 & 5 were appropriate to share or not. (This might be why my friends tell me I that I need an agent.)
- I’ve got tremendous amount of support behind me on this project. I’m serious. It’s pretty amazing actually. I feel very, very humbled and fortunate about that.
- I feel like I need to share this journey with you. And so I’m going to do my best to do that as openly and honestly as possible…as long as in the process you don’t classify me as being schizophrenic.
- Lastly, I think you’re going to really, really dig this project. I can’t wait to share more about it soon!
First of all, let me officially say, “Happy New Year!” I truly hope this is a great year for you and yours.
One of the most valuable things I do each year is to take time on the first day or two of January reflecting back on the previous year. It’s something I’ve been doing now for about four or five years and although it is a bit time consuming, slowing down and being intentional about this has been one of the most beneficial things I do all year. Here’s what it looks like for me.
SPACE & TIME - I set aside about 5-6 hours (preferably uninterrupted) in a quiet space. This year, I ended up having to break the time up over three days, which was not ideal.
RECORDS – I put in front of me: my journals from the year, my blog, and my personal calendar.
DOCUMENTING – The next thing I do is open up a fresh journal and record key moments and events that I felt had any sort of meaningful impact on me over that year. I begin with January and browse through my records – creating bullet points and a brief description of key “earmarks”. Sometimes they will be quotes from my journal, a mention of a trip taken, a key conversation that impacted my thinking, things I prayed about, felt God speaking to me about, etc…
THEMES/BIG IDEAS – After documenting the entire year, I begin to go back through to start looking for and identifying themes, key ideas, patterns, changes in thinking, answers to prayer, areas that have improved, and in some cases areas that haven’t…
POSITIVES/NEGATIVES – This year I started doing something I’ve never done before. As I went through and looked at the major themes and ideas, I put a “+” or “-” symbol next to each one, indicating which of those seemed to have had an overall negative or positive impact on my soul at the time. (Ultimately, there is no real way to judge this since over time we often end up seeing negatives as positives and vice versa… But it does help me see and understand why there may have been seasons I felt depleted, depressed, or discouraged….or others where I felt energized and strengthened. Identifying patterns or rhythms is important!)
GRATITUDE – Through this process, there almost always comes a point where my heart swells with an immense amount of gratitude and thanksgiving for what God has done in my life and in the lives of those I love and lead. So I take time in the midst of this reflection to offer thanksgiving and gratitude to God.
QUESTIONS – At the very end, I’ll take some time to journal and write my response to a handful of questions that I’ve borrowed from Michael Hyatt:
If the last year were a movie of your life, what would the genre be?
What were the two or three major themes that kept recurring?
What did you accomplish this past year that you are the most proud of?
What disappointments or regrets did you experience this past year?
What was missing from last year as you look back?
What were the major life-lessons you learned this past year?
LOOKING AHEAD – By the time I’m done with all of the above, I’m usually pretty overwhelmed and just need time to digest and process it all. So my first week or two of January is spent praying, thinking, and setting goals for the year ahead. Then comes the personal adjustments and changes that are needed to help me move towards those goals.
That’s pretty much it! Tweaking and improving on this process seems to be on-going, so this is certainly not a formula. It’s just what seems to work for me at this juncture.
What about you? Do you take time to reflect back on each year? If so, I’d love to hear what your process currently looks like. Please share!
Collide Magazine recently asked me to contribute to their “Weapons of Choice” feature for a recent issue. Other contributors included Carlos Whittaker, Barton Damer, DJ Chuang, Michael Buckingham, and others. You can read the entire feature here.
Thought I’d share my weapon list in this post, but would also love for you to share yours in the comment section. Here’s mine:
This is the Getting Things Done system for creatives. Action Method is flexible and allows you to organize based on you rather than a “set” system.
Adobe Connect makes my online coaching community run smoothly. It’s expensive, but the consistency and features are amazing. My likes: consistent video quality, voice via phone (which saves bandwidth), multimedia capabilities, and a great iPhone app.
TUL Black Retractable Gel Pen
I love a good pen. I have a small collection of Mont Blancs that either belonged to my dad or were gifts. But I also lose things, so I no longer travel with them. I’ve found a good alternative in the TUL pen (only available at OfficeMax).
It’s the Scott Hodge Brain Collection Agency. Evernote is a great place to store things such as articles, documents, spreadsheets, quotes, photos, emails, screenshots, voice memos, design ideas, etc. And the best part? It’s free.
15-inch i7 MacBook Pro
I’m going into my fifth year using a Mac. I love it, and I can’t imagine my life without it.
Sprint Overdrive 3G/4G
I move around a lot, and there’s nothing worse than paying a gazillion dollars for airport or hotel Internet access. The Sprint Overdrive works great and allows you to share the signal via WiFi with up to five users.
Mindmapping has forever changed my life. I use it to prepare teachings, organize projects, jot down ideas, and prepare articles like this one. There are also some great (and free) online alternatives.
I love me some Google. Our entire team uses it for everything from docs to email to calendars. It’s easy to share and Google even offers the business edition free to non-profits.
I’ve been using the black, hard cover, ruled notebook for more than five years. I use it every day for everything from journaling to sketching creative designs and ideas.
I love great food! Yelp has a great iPhone app for finding the sweet eateries in whatever city you’re visiting.
Skype is still the best and most consistent call and video quality I can find. It’s the way I stay connected to my family when I’m out of the country.
Most read books. Some write them.
Most attend conferences. Some create them.
Most fake intimacy. Some live intimately.
Most love great design. Some design.
Most listen to great music. Some write great music.
Most point out problems. Some solve them.
Most admire beautiful art. Some create it.
Most receive generously. Some give generously.
Most imagine what should’ve been. Some imagine what can be.
Most criticize. Some create.
Are you a “MOST” or a “SOME”?
Let’s stop being afraid of those blank canvases that stare us down and scare the hell out of us…….and let’s create.