Gamify Your Writing

You can crank out more words by gamifying your writing. If you keep your goals in front of you, you’ll be motivated to see your numbers go up.

Here are some free Google spreadsheet templates for gamifying your writing. They allow you to challenge a friend or keep track of your own stats. They will help you get started whether you’re a creative writer or a content marketer looking for a way to take your writing and insights to the next level.

Track Your Creative Project With Metrics

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So, you’re committed to a creative project, but how do you keep it on track after you’ve started?

Tracking your progress with metrics will give you the feedback you need. If the numbers call you a slacker, it’s time to hustle. If the numbers say you’re intense, it will build confidence.

So what do you track? The amount of time you’re putting in or when you reach goals?

If you track something like the number of blog posts for your fashion blog, songs for your EP, or painting for your collection, each item could take different amount of time, so 1 does not always equal 1.

If you track time, 1 always equals 1 so your metrics are more accurate.

Plus, setting aside an hour on a calendar is less daunting than putting a goal on the calendar. Over time you’ll also see how you’re becoming more productive with the same amount of time.

All you need is a spreadsheet with a column for the weeks or months and a column for the amount of hours worked on the project. I recommend creating a spreadsheet in Google Docs.

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To harness the power of peer pressure, publish a chart online so your friends can cheer you on. As an example, I publish how much I’ve written lately in my bio on this website.

With metrics, the next time someone asks “How’s your project coming?” you can tell them exactly how it’s going.

Do you keep metrics for your creative project?

Get an Accountability Partner for Your Creative Project

Want to change the world? Go to bed on time.

Then you’ll have the energy and time to work on things that matter before the day gets away from you. If you don’t have a rigid schedule that allows you to regularly pour yourself into a project, you won’t see it grow.

When I read advice from creative people I admire (folks like Stephen KingAnne LamottTwyla TharpEviatar Zerubavel and Austin Kleon) the message I distill is simple.

Creative people don’t become prolific because they have some secret source of magic others don’t. Creative people become prolific when they master the art of discipline.

Have a creative project that’s a priority? Start by giving it the regular time it needs. If you can’t figure out how to bake it into your schedule, it won’t become a habit.

Even if you can only work on it weekly, commit to a specific time rather than waiting for larger chunks of time that may never come. Forming the habit is the key to seeing your project grow.

Find someone to meet you at your kitchen table or a coffee shop on a schedule. They can work on something completely different. The point is to have someone that cares enough that they’ll keep you accountable.

You may need an extra nudge when figuring out how to make your project a habit. That’s fine. Give it a shot. Soon your passion may be the only reason you need to get to bed on time.

Books I Read in 2013

  1. Timothy Keller, Jesus the King
  2. Timothy Keller, Generous Justice
  3. Timothy Keller, The Prodigal God
  4. Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games
  5. Suzanne Collins, Catching Fire
  6. Suzanne Collins, Mockingjay
  7. Stephen King, The Breathing Method
  8. Stephen King, The Colorado Kid
  9. Stephen King, Ur
  10. Neal Stephenson, Reamde
  11. Neal Stephenson, Quicksilver
  12. David A. Kessler, The End of Overeating
  13. Rafe Esquith, Teach like your hair’s on fire
  14. Michael Hyatt, Platform
  15. Austin Kleon, Steal like an artist
  16. Jon Acuff, Quitter
  17. John Green, The Fault In Our Stars
  18. Anne Lamott, Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers
  19. Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
  20. SuperFreakonomics, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
  21. The writing life, Annie Dillard
  22. Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis
  23. The clockwork muse : a practical guide to writing theses, dissertations, and books, Eviatar Zerubave
  24. Going Clear : scientology, hollywood, & the prison of belief. Lawrence Wright
  25. Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures, Robert K. Wittman

The Distance From The Bottom

Remember the first time we talked
After I betrayed your trust

You told me how you felt
Slapped in the face

You told me what you’d do
You’d love me

You left and I climbed to the top of the slide 
Raindrops rolled over my cheeks

That’s when the world finally felt as I felt
And it felt normal to sit in the rain, see

Joy is the distance from the bottom
And normal is just some point between

Poem By Nathan T. Baker

Imma bee. Imma bee. Imma bee. Imma bee.

Nashville Storytelling Classes for Businesses

imageSomeone emailed me asking how they could learn how to use the power of storytelling to strengthen their brand and sell their awesome stuff.

I usually don’t have time to take on new work or speak, but I can pass along some suggestions.

If you’re looking for someone in Nashville to come speak or teach this topic, I’d focus on looking for those with expertise in marketing, new media and content work.

Here are some recommendations. There are plenty of really talented people in town that could help with something like this. Here is the shortlist of who I’d trust to do a great job if it’s a good fit:

Individuals

Firms

Who am I missing?
I’m sure I’m missing tons of folks, but here’s a few leads to help. Feel free to leave other suggestions (including yourself) in the comments.
Photo: Josh Oaks

From Seattle to LA in 5 Minutes

4:55 | podomatic | mp3

Dave, Wes and I adventured down the West Coast last year. I brought my recorder.

Our trip was over ten days but I condensed it to 5 minutes of audio for you. Here’s what the West Coast sounded like to us.

We camped, hiked and visited breweries in Seattle, Portland, Napa Valley, San Francisco and LA. Actually, the only place we couldn’t find great craft beer was in the Redwood National Forest.

Oh and you get three geek points if you can catch references to the following:

  1. Lord of The Rings
  2. Settlers of Catan
  3. Hoary marmot

Shout out to Richard and Summer for letting us crash on their floor in Seattle and showing us around The 206. Shout out to Josh for gallantly driving us through LA traffic. Shout out to Lasswell for the sampled song “beeKoo mix,” which is Creative Commons CC BY 3.0.

Did the sounds of our trip spark any memories of your own?