Friday, January 13, 2017

The Law of Diminishing Intent

The Law of Diminishing Intent says. . . .

The longer you wait to do something, 
the less likely you are to ever actually do it.

An alternative?

1. Define your goal
2. Get a plan together
3. Take the first, most manageable step

In other words:

1. Write a Book
2. Write 500 words a day for 100 days
3. Sit down and write your first 500 words

Be Brilliant!


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Passing Through the Imperfection

So it goes without saying that I'm a Seth Godin fan. I like to pass along his blog posts and insights, and while most of his musings are related to business or entrepreneurship, I find that many can be applied more broadly to the writing and/or creative processes.

For instance, in "The Road to Imperfection," he closed with this little gem:

We get to the work we seek by passing through imperfection.

As much as I wanted the first book I ever wrote (in college!) to become a bestseller, the truth was that it was utter crap. 

Fifteen to twenty full-length novels later (I don't know! I've lost count!), I still want the first draft of the book I'm working on to immediately go to auction.

But the fact is the first book is rarely sellable, and the first draft is never submission-ready.

We get to the work we seek by passing through imperfection.

We have to slog through the hard part--again and again (and again and again).

The slogging seems never-ending, but if we want to create works that matter:

we have to be willing to fail, and we have to work hard to close that gap between the creator we are and the creator we want to be.

Be Brilliant!


Sunday, January 1, 2017

On Setting Goals


It's that time again! 

I know I've posted this the last few years in a row, but since it's the "goal-setting" season, I thought it would be helpful to re-post.

So, without further ado, five things to remember when setting your goals for the new year:

1. Write the Goals Down

It's proven that just in writing your goals down, you're more likely to accomplish them. Make a list and keep it handy. (But don't overload yourself. Limit your list to the three to ten things you MOST want to accomplish.)

2. Make them Specific

Don't just say you want to "read more" or "write more." Write down how many books you want to read a week. Determine how many words you want to write a day, and which story (or stories) you want to write.

3. Create a Plan and Set Deadlines

What will it take to read a certain number of books in a year? Trips to the library? Penciling "reading time" into your schedule? If I wanted to read six books a month, that's one book every five days. With due dates, that's two individual trips to the library. The first and fifteenth could be designated library days. I could find a quiet place and read for thirty minutes after dinner every evening....

Get an action plan together.

4. Get Out of the Way

I fully believe that we are in control of our own destiny. I'm not a fan of assigning blame, or even letting past events or situations affect our today and tomorrow. Don't sabotage your goals with a negative mindset. 

Believe in yourself.

And that voice in your head that says you can't? He's a liar. Tell him to shut the hell up. 

5. Remember WHY These Goals Were Set

Maybe it's to become more well-rounded. Maybe it's to step outside of a comfort zone. The "why" is just as important as the "what" and "how." This is what you will return to when the road gets tough. 

So . . . what do you want to accomplish in 2017?

Your goals don't have to be reading or writing-related, either. Make this the year you get healthy--both physically and spiritually. Make this the year you save for that trip. Learn that language. Work for that promotion. Make that career change. Go back to school.

Step into your "discomfort" zone. 

Live intentionally.

Figure out what matters most to you and make those tough decisions (if necessary). 

Get moving.

And, as always: Be Brilliant!


Friday, December 23, 2016

Holiday Season

Wishing you and yours a safe and happy holiday season!

Monday, December 19, 2016

On . . . Bob Ross?

Last week my daughter and I sat down with two white canvases, three tubes of paint (Titanium White, Mars Black, and Prussian Blue) and Bob Ross queued up on Netflix.

The goal?

To paint a simple winter scene--a pond, some mountains looming in the distance, some trees and snow and "happy clouds."

Should be simple, right? The episode was only 25 minutes long. We're both fairly creative, artistic people. We could handle Bob.

About three hours later, we'd banned the word "happy" from our vocabularies. There were no happy trees or mountains or clouds, and Bob was public enemy number one.

Bob made the creative process look effortless: beautiful shading and blending.... The dude just couldn't make a mistake. My daughter swore he was using magic brushes.

That's the way I feel reading my favorite authors, sometimes--closing their books lamenting the fact that I will never be able to write a scene or develop a character or craft a sentence as beautifully as they do.

What I forget about is all the man hours and feedback it took for them to become that amazing.

What my daughter and I forgot was that Bob Ross had been painting for years. I mean, there's a reason he landed his own show.

Put into perspective, our end results--a first attempt--were pretty damn okay, even if my daughter said "screw the pond" and painted a blanket of snow over it and I eventually went abstract. 

At the end of the day we had something to show for our effort, and we picked up a few tips and tricks along the way. We were willing to step out of our comfort zones (and straight into Bob's), tried something new and difficult, and learned some things that will make the process easier next time. 

And that's really all we can hope for, isn't it? 

Be Brilliant! :)


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

On Meaning

"It did not really matter what we expected from life, 
but rather what life expected from us." 

~Viktor Frankl~

If you know anything about Frankl, you know he's a Holocaust survivor. In his book, Man's Search for Meaning, he discusses life inside concentration camps and how sometimes surviving came down to the "will to meaning." 

Nietzsche and I don't agree on everything, but I like the idea that: 

"He who has a why can endure any how." 

Frankl learned this inside those camp walls. So did thousands of others.

The odds aren't stacked quite so against us today. 

I know I've spoken of this on the blog before, but one of the best ways to find meaning in life (to find our "why" or "will to meaning") is to use our creative gifts and talents in service to others. 

Every so often it would do us good to step back and ask:

What have I accomplished in life so far? 

What do I have left to accomplish? 

This is the gap that needs closing: 

who we are today vs. who we have the potential to become.

What is life expecting from us, and what will it take from us to make it happen?

Be Brilliant!


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

On "The Silence"

I'm *so* sorry for the radio silence, you guys! 

It's honestly been a crazy few months (see previous post).

In addition to moving from country house to city apartment, we had a lovely jack@ss living above that required an additional move (to another building, higher floor, which turned out to be very cool, actually), and getting settled again.

(not my city, but a beautiful metaphor)

There was also the teaching and the family unit and the day to day juggling of life of which I'm certain you're familiar.

Then there was this election nonsense, and, to be honest, on some days it felt good not logging on to the computer and checking FB/Twitter.

I was also editing a project, so even though I wasn't posting, I was hard at work. :D

But I did want to check back in and let you know I'm still alive and kickin'.

Hopefully I've reached a place in this project where I can start posting more consistently. 

*fingers crossed*