Reflections on the Thirty Day Writing Challenge

Rembrandt’s Philosopher in Meditation, 1632 I think. I think and I think, think and think some more, think about it a little more, then a little less, then a little more to make up for thinking about it a little less. I over think and under do. I don’t get my hands dirty, I just…

Day 30 – Learn To Enjoy Discomfort and Watch Your Talents Grow

It was becoming a lot of work. Sorry, I should say that he was becoming a lot of work. It felt like the amount of work that was needing to go into raising my son was just growing at an alarming rate. Felt like? Hmm, pardon my cuteness. It was absolutely, without a doubt, growing…

Day 29 – Keep Your Hands Moving

I’ve fallen into this trap so many times and for so many years that it’s simply embarrassing. I call it the theory trap. When reading anything relating to your craft, it’s easy to assume that your skills are developing. You know how to balance two elements or how to highlight an item, so you must…

Day 28 – Design What You Know

“Write what you know.” Budding writers are regularly thrown this bone. It’s a suggestion borne of fear. “Write what you know” is a succinct way of saying that writing isn’t too hard; just take what’s already in your head and put it onto paper. What’s so hard about that? Everything you need is already rolling…

Day 27 – What’s In It For Them?

What’s in it for them? That’s the audience, that’s who ‘them’ is. What’s in it for the audience? What’s in it for the one person who you will be stopping? What’s in it for the person whose day you are interrupting? They might be looking for information, but we’re not part of the search. That’s…

Day 26 – Five Lists Worth Keeping

We love lists. They help us organise our day, our books, our experiences, our folios, our clients, and a thousand other little, and not so little, things. I’ve always found that keeping lists helps me feel as if I have some control over the chaos of life. There’s been a few that I’ve been either…

Day 25 – Aesthetic is a Given. Effectiveness is a Must.

It might be because of where I work – in-house at a University. Both these things, the kind of studio it is and where it is, bring with them an awful lot of baggage. There’s politics, fiefdoms, acronyms and a thousand other pieces of tape that get in the way of doing work. But one…

Day 24 – Informal Mentors

I’ve been thinking about deliberate practice a lot lately. In The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle, he tells the story of a girl learning to play an instrument. She’s an average student, right in the middle of the pack. Her class was asked to video themselves practicing as part of an experiment, and what they…

Day 23 – Embracing Embarrassing Curiosities

“We all love things that other people think are garbage. You have to have the courage to keep loving your garbage, because what makes us unique is the diversity and breadth of our influences, the unique ways in which we mi up the parts of culture others have deemed ‘high’ and the ‘low.’” — Austin…

Day 22 – Jealousy.

It’s a horribly nasty trait to have, one I’ve gone to battle with for years. Jealousy. I’m sure it’s just another tool from the kit that Resistance carries around in the back of our skull. I know I’m not alone – you can see it in the eyes of your friends and coworkers when you…