Take My Advice, I'm Not Using It (for the doers and dreamers)
The year in review. The year in preview. And some ways to be better (more productive) in 2023
I’m going to offer some advice on being more productive and creative in 2023. It is advice for me, along with some self-flagellation, and should the beatings work, we can all be better for it.
But first, about the title…
A few years ago I was helping a number of businesses with content planning and creation. Most of my professional background is in writing software but because I was also paid as a writer and as a speaker/presenter, I was often brought in to help others distill and publish their ideas.
Also, my first book deal had been cemented due to a popular tech career blog I wrote titled, Notes From The Toolshed* I was looked to as an “expert”, even speaking for notable writer’s groups, colleges, and business groups.
One day, I’ll write about that time a pilot announced my presence on a flight and gave me free drinks, all because I’d authored a book! Celebrity moment for sure!
My summarized, How To Get a Major Publishing Deal:
Have a popular blog. Self-publish a well-written but poorly edited book. Sell it on your own website. Get discovered by an Executive Editor at a major publisher who approaches you with a publishing deal, complete with an advance and press and all that fun stuff. Easy, peazy!
* The link above lists a bunch of my articles but I couldn’t get into them. The blog was originally on a website called ITToolbox, which was sold to ZDNet, which was sold to TechRepublic…. or something like that. I should have archived all that stuff when I had the chance. Maybe I can contact them…
I mention this because, at the same time I was helping others with content, I was not writing, creating any videos, or, in general, posting original work online. I had gone through my first divorce and I was struggling with depression - something I’d never experienced before.
I was playing music out, though. So, there was something.
And there I was speaking with a friend who asked me, “You help others with their content but you aren’t creating your own, why not?”
I flippantly said, “They can take my advice, I’m not using it!”
It was a bit of a joke… but not so much.
My friend said, “That’s stupid!”
And he was right.
I’ve done better since but not as well as I would have liked. As I’ve mentioned previously, there are any number of
reasons excuses for this.
This morning, as I was writing this piece, I posted something about writing on a Discord server I take part in. Soon, my fellow Discordians and I where discussing that and other topics. It was a good time…
Except for the fact that I was now interacting on a Discord server, which precludes writing the piece I was discussing writing on the Discord server. Hmm… tugs chin thoughtfully.
Thankfully, we have our brains and, when marshaled
properly, that is more than enough.
You see the problem, right?
Pressfield talks about Resistance as though it is a nearly metaphysical spirit intent on stopping you from creating.
I don’t agree.
I mean, I agree that resistance is a problem for anyone who wishes to create. And I agree that procrastination and distraction are the most pervasive forms of resistance.
But there is nothing metaphysical about it. I don’t believe that songs, essays, poems, books, etc. are floating in the ether and you put up your antennae to find them. God, the cosmos, your muse, etc. are not necessary for you to create. You need not, and should not, rely on them.
Plan: I’m going to record an acoustic version
of every song I’ve ever written.
Thankfully, we have our brains and, when marshaled properly, that is more than enough.
A Quick Review of 2022
My mean girlfriend, Deb, and I entered a domestic partnership… we’re official. We are not sure officially what… but official none-the-less.
I was referred to a oncology urologist for prostate cancer. Note: I’m not seeking any input on this; no sympathy/empathy, advice, encouragement, etc. I have doctors for advice - the only advice that matters. I have family for encouragement.
I have been told that, if you must have cancer, it is one of the best ones to have. Yay me! I strive for the best, so hell yeah!
Plus, currently we know almost nothing. In the words of Forrest Gump, “That's all I have to say about that.”
I will, eventually, write some thoughts on the ignorant lies deluded people believe about “market-driven healthcare.” It won’t change anything as those who believe the lie are too fully vested in the lie to truly analyze the lie. But anywho…
That’s the year in review.
A Quick Preview of 2023
I’m going to start playing some music out. Mostly as a solo artist, though I may, at times, have musicians join me. I’ll write more about why solo? The answer is pretty simple. As in, it’s simple to play solo.. I only have to get one person to show up. Me!
I’m going to record an acoustic version of every song I’ve ever written. Some will be published for streaming, others will be on my website. I don’t want to say that some of this is driven by a fear of mortality but I’ve had a few freak out moments over the past couple of weeks.
Borrowed Time © 2022 - Matthew Moran
I wrote this (below) a couple months ago… pondering aging and mortality. Months before we had gotten any PC news. I was reflecting on my kids getting older and living life. Look for a properly recorded but mostly acoustic version soon.
I’m going to write more pieces that will split the audience. I’ve avoided this over the past year or two. I haven’t wanted to hear otherwise thoughtful and decent people blather rhetoric and platitudes - publicly debasing their intellect in the process. It’s dismaying to watch. But…
Note: I don’t mind thoughtful disagreement but let’s be honest, that’s like finding a unicorn.
I have plans to manage technology for a company. Director/CTO or similar. Even a group of Productivity App Developers.
Most important: I plan to see my kids more. They’re pretty cool! And I plan to work on being nicer/less intense with my mean girlfriend/ best friend/ domestic partner/ lover/ photographer, Deb.
That’s the year in preview.
And Now For The Advice
Don’t expect earth-shattering. I’m not the first to say any of this. Mostly these are things I want/need to remember for myself. I’d rather say, “Take my advice. I’m using it and it is pretty damned good!”
With that, let’s go!
Advice: If you’ve wanted to try it, try it.
For God’s sake, please just fucking try it! (we use time or it passes, that’s it!)
A few years ago Deb said, “I wish I could play guitar.”
In my standard snarky manner, I said, “Wishing is unhelpful in learning to play guitar. You can, instead, sit with a guitar and learn to play it.”
She did and now she does. Including Travis Picking, fingerstyle, guitar.
Repeat: Time only passes. and it is likely that in 10 years, should you not try it, you will still be wishing.
It strikes me that dying with an unfulfilled/un-attempted wish would be a bummer!
Advice: Set Your Schedule and Your Systems
I enjoy interacting with my aforementioned Discordians. I know only snippets about them but I also feel oddly close to them.
But without a schedule those bastards will just keep talking. And by those bastards, I mean, me!
You need nothing more complex than a sheet of paper. However, I am a Google fanatic. Google Calendar allows you to have multiple calendars, some shared with people you work with. It is a powerful tool if you allow it to be your “benevolent dictator.”
By that I mean, when used properly it knows what you should do better than you do. Also, it is free with your Gmail account. And if you are not using Gmail and are, instead, using AOL, Yahoo, etc. please… please… just please.
Want to write a song? Set time for writing. You, your guitar (assuming that’s your instrument), a pad of paper, a pen, and every distraction turned off. You don’t need that next article on how to write a song or on discipline.
You don’t need my advice… unless you do.
Want to write a novel? Want to learn to program? Want to learn to draw? Want to learn to dance? Yeah… put it in your schedule.
Advice: Drown the Voices of Discontent
This could be the most important piece of advice I can offer.
There are people in your life that, when you tell them about something you want to do, they immediately remind you of how difficult it is, of how you failed the last time… They ask, “Why would you want to do that?” or they may even say something like, “Oh… that’s not something I would want to do.”
But they say it not as a self-reflection. They are really just questioning you as a way to keep you in your place.
Friends and family are the most dangerous source of this message. Note: I’m not intimating that any of my family or friends are this way.. but I’ve seen it with some people close to me.
Here is the truth…
More often than not, if you were to analyze what these people do, beyond watching TV at night, they don’t do a lot. And if nightly TV is your thing, that’s totally okay. Too passive for me but everyone should enjoy what they enjoy!
It is when doing very little is coupled with discouraging others that is rankles me.
What you will discover, something Deb has discovered, is that, should you chart a course and start doing more, those people start to drop out of your life in any meaningful way.
You see, they cannot cheer you on. Your pursuit of a dream or an area of passion exposes their lack of the same. And that, inevitably leads to separation.
You will be drawn to the doers and the dreamers. They will be the only people you can stand to be around. Most everyone else is just boring!
However, that does not mean the doers and dreamers will give you a lot of time. They may or may not actively support you.
That is because they are, similarly, doing and dreaming their own passion. Good for them!!
In contrast to the voices of discontent, who will not support you because of what it exposes about them, the doers and dreamers will absolutely cheer you on, but often only in passing.
Passionate pursuits take time. Don’t begrudge them that. Let that inspire you!
As I often said, most musicians at the open mic are just waiting their turn. And that’s totally cool! Take the stage! Have your moment!
Finally, How Can I Help You?
I cannot give you much time. That’s a promise! But, if there is a way I can help you, direct you, or something I can write about that would interest or encourage you, please let me know.
I will allocate a little time each week to respond to questions. No! You won’t get my scheduled creative time. My benevolent dictator will set up the necessary barriers to keep you at bay.
But, as with the man behind the curtain, I will allocate some time to give audience to the sincere seeker who desires to do more.
Let me know.
With love and sincerity,
December 28, 2022
I will not offer you any advice, nor blindly accept any you may offer to me. Nonetheless, I enjoy what I consider thoughtful interface with your thoughts, and hope to experience more of the same.
Best wishes in the New Year,