Content Creation: How to Inspire Yourself When You’re Tired

Content Creation: How to Inspire Yourself When You're Tired

Content Creation: How to Inspire Yourself When You’re Tired

This tired feeling has been stealing all my creativity lately, and maybe it has been stealing yours, too. Writing sometimes feels like an obligation. Even though we know that blogging is good for our websites, sometimes our personal lives take precedence. Things like napping suddenly seem so much more important. Ever since I returned from a trip overseas, I’ve been wanting more and more naps. Darn that jet lag!

I’ll tell you what has worked for me to help with the tiredness.

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Write a Bunch of Headlines

I spent four hours creating headlines, so that when I go into my blog now, there are 26 topics (one for each remaining week of the year). That way, I don’t have to rack my brains trying to figure out what to write. And if you don’t think writing headlines is a lot of hard work, you haven’t read Headline Writing: Ten Reasons It’s a Pain in the Asterisk. Yes, it’s from 2015, but it’s still a pain in the asterisk in 2018.

Think Like Your Customer

Find four topics that your potential customer might like to hear about. Write those down on an index card. Now write about those things. Chris Lema suggested that at a WordCamp Orange County conference, and it was very helpful. By the way, if you don’t know Chris Lema, go and read his blog for some wonderful ideas.

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Take a Walk

This wakes up the little gray cells. And you could even take up the tradition that Aristotle began of taking a walking meeting, rather than sitting. After all, sitting is supposed to be as bad as smoking these days. Here’s an article and Ted Talk about walking meetings: Walking meetings? 5 surprising thinkers who swore by them. There are lots of ways that walking can boost your creativity, and I talked about those ways here: How to Unleash Your Creativity with One Simple Trick.

 

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Journaling

If you’ve never tried journaling, I highly recommend it. Now you might think that journaling is something that you’d only try for personal reasons, but it can be highly effective for business reasons as well. Free writing, doodling, and drawing are three ways that you can gain access to your creative side. For more about journaling, see: 7 Ways to Use Journaling for Creativity.

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How Do You Get Into a Creative Zone?

Do you have a secret for getting into a creative spirit? Let me know in the comments! And thank you!

How to Unleash Your Creativity with One Simple Trick

 

How to unleash your creativity with one simple trick

How to unleash your creativity with one simple trick

You’re probably thinking that there’s some incredible secret here. A lot of us believe that creativity is something we left behind when we stopped falling out of treehouses and breaking our arms testing gravity going downhill with no brakes. But creativity is a belief as much as anything. We are all wired to create.

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We Are Designed to Move

Similarly, we are all designed to move. A lot of us in the tech industry believe that we’re more or less heads on sticks, like mobile lollipops. But we have bodies for a reason, and if we don’t move a lot of bad things can happen. We’ve all heard those scare tactics by the people who want to sell standing desks: if you sit for too long, you’ll get diabetes and die. By contrast, when we move, a lot of good things happen. We become rich, famous, and sexy. Or at least we get in better shape and can write blog posts a lot faster!

Walking Helps Us Think

Ferris Jabr in his excellent New Yorker article Why Walking Helps Us Think, asks: “What is it about walking, in particular, that makes it so amenable to thinking and writing?” Moving the oxygen in gives the little gray cells the right kind of food to get the job done.

He also says this:

“When we stroll, the pace of our feet naturally vacillates with our moods and the cadence of our inner speech; at the same time, we can actively change the pace of our thoughts by deliberately walking more briskly or by slowing down.”

So to speed up our thoughts, all we need to do is run a brisk mile.

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Put One Foot in Front of Another

Walking or hiking changes our moods and our thoughts, as well as letting us change the pace of our thoughts. We’ve all had the experience of our outer pace changing our inner pace. Sometimes it starts with music. And knowing that merely putting one foot in front of the other can quicken our thoughts, well, it’s a refreshing idea.

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Daydream Believer

Whether you’re outside hiking, or inside walking on a treadmill, spacing out can lead to creative ideas. And all your need to get started is a pair of walking shoes.

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It’s Not Just Anecdotal Any More

In the good old days (ok, pre-2014), people thought walking helped their creativity, but there was no science to backup the idea that creativity was linked to walking. Then a study, from Stanford came along, in the Journal of Experimental Psychology. And this article from the New York Times: Want to Be More Creative? Take a Walk.

Dr. Oppezzo, who led the study says

“Again, walking markedly improved people’s ability to generate creative ideas, even when they sat down after the walk. In that case, the volunteers who had walked produced significantly more and subjectively better ideas than in their pre-exercise testing period.”

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How Does Walking Improve Your Life?

Do you walk to be more creative? Do you take advantage of the new ideas you generate right after a walk? Let me know by leaving a comment!

 

The Seven Social Media Creatures You’ll See in the Woods

The seven social media creatures you'll see in the woods.

The seven social media creatures you’ll see in the woods.

The woods are famous for tall trees and hiking. The woods are also famous for trolls. So although you may think it’s the hiking that makes you more creative, it’s actually all the running away from trolls and other creatures that gives your brain that creative edge.

 

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Photo by MiguelVieira

Mosquitoes

There you are in your idyllic spot, minding your own bees wax (more on bees later), when along comes a mosquito. But they’re never alone. They always have tens or hundreds of friends. You could say they’re the extroverts of small woodland creatures. In Social Media Land, mosquitoes steal your work, and leave you feeling anemic.

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Then There Are Ticks

Ticks are the multi-level marketing people of the woods to me. They will give you anything if only you’ll send your bank account number to a friendly Nigerian prince, separated from his family. He does not need all the money, just a small fee. Ticks are the same way. By the way, if you want to survive the Social Media Doldrums, here are some clues.

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Butterflies and Moths

There are butterfly people, and then there are moth people. Butterfly people flit around and you can never get them to commit. Moths are the ones who do all the work. Just bring a lightbulb and you’ll see what I mean. Be careful, though: invite a moth into your home and they’ll build a nest in your sweater drawer! In social media terms, butterflies will promise you anything but never deliver.

Bees

There are many kinds of bees. Bumblebees, honeybees, and miner bees. The solitary bees are the hard-workingest bees of the woods. They don’t sting because they don’t have honey to protect. And they don’t have big ol’ hives, either. Bees are different than WASPS. WASPS go to church (they are mostly Presbyterians). If you encounter a group of WASPS, make sure to sit in an empty pew.

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Birds

Although they are small, hummingbirds are *holes. They refuse to stop humming, even when they don’t know the tune. This is not acceptable, even in an election year. If you carry a tennis racquet around, though, you should be pretty safe. In social media, hummingbirds are those annoying people who don’t know when to quit.

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Deer

One time, I was at my dad’s house, and a deer came tearing down the street, jumped over his mailbox, and landed on a car. Therefore, because of logic, are deer all dangerous. Don’t let those big doe eyes fool you. In social media land, this is the person who spreads those bad rumors about “if you don’t share this with ten people, bad things will happen!” The best way to deal with these people? Send them to Snopes.

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Skunks

Of all the denizens of the woods, skunks are the most powerful. Pound for pound, skunks can outperform any parfumerie. A little skunk goes a long way. The skunk is the Kardashian of the Internet. Apologies to the skunks.

Can You Find Any Scientific Inaccuracies in This Post?

If you can, leave me a comment! Thanks!

 

 

 

Five Ways Moving is Like Working for a Startup

5 Ways Moving is Like Working for a Startup

5 Ways Moving is Like Working for a Startup

Recently, I moved. My boxes were carefully labeled, my days were carefully scheduled, and everything came unglued within half an hour. The movers didn’t speak English, none of my labeling meant anything to them, and there were lots of mini-emergencies and things that had to happen “right now.” So it got me to thinking about how moving is like working for a startup–chaotic and fast-paced.

The Tools Are Woefully Inadequate

For instance, making coffee that first day with nothing but a glass, a filter, and a knife. At a startup, you might have only a partial description of the app you need to build, and the tools you need to use are pre-pre-pre beta, but that’s all you’ve got, so you “get ‘er done.” Although some of the coffee grounds might slop over into the glass, you have to use the tools you have.

You’re Short on Time

The Tools Are Inadequate!

The Tools Are Inadequate!

Everything in a move has to happen by a certain date and time. At a startup, you have to get your product to beta, your social media launched, and everything needs to happen whether you’re ready or not. So you make do and focus on the most critical items. Speed is of the essence.

Creativity is Essential

Although I want to punch people who say “think outside the box,” having a creative mindset is a requirement, both in moving and in working for a startup. If you don’t have the right size box when you’re moving, you have to make one. The same thinking applies at a startup. There’s lots of scurrying around at the last minute, eating a sandwich with one hand, while writing on a white board with the other, and people pointing at their watches saying to hurry up!

Getting it Done Versus Making it Perfect

When the truck pulls out of the driveway, all your stuff better be on it! And when your new website launches, you’d better have most of what you need there. And if you wait until it’s perfect, it’ll never happen!

Delegate and Let it Go

When you give your life over to movers, you have to let go of control for a few hours or days. The same is true when you delegate what you can’t do yourself. Other people might only do 80% of what you’d do yourself. You have to be comfortable with chaos. Forbes has an excellent article on delegation, by the way.

Have You or Your Startup Moved Lately?

What helped you get through it with the least amount of stress possible? And by the way, have you seen my tea kettle?

 

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