“Write drunk, edit sober.”

Hemingway didn’t say it, though this quote is often attributed to him. And, to be sure, it’s bad advice. Have you ever tried to write while drunk? I have and, I’ll tell you, the output was no bueno. It was a jumbled mess of half-thoughts and homonyms which no amount of editing could salvage.

But, like many quotes real or fake, there is a lot of truth in this brief, four-word sentiment. No, it doesn’t have anything to do with intoxication. It’s about the merits of uninhibited creativity. Writing drunk, to me, means letting your mind wander, letting your thoughts be your thoughts and getting them out without judging them. Writing drunk means writing freely and not worrying about getting anything right.¬† (more…)

I’m tired. I have a headache. A week in the woods, not sleeping well and maybe a couple too many cocktails helped me ring in the new year last night. And yet, here I am hungover, exhausted and wanting nothing more than to crawl back in bed but I’m writing this anyway. Why?

Because I told myself I would.

I’ve been working for the last few months on my plan for this year. I’ve been quantifying the way and pace at which I work, prioritizing the things I’d like to accomplish and transforming things I’d like to do into measurable, actionable plans.

I’ve never been one to set resolutions. Or, if I have, I’ve never been one to stick to them. Resolutions are nothing more than wishes… ones that go mostly unfulfilled. But I wanted this year to be different. I wanted to finally do the things I’ve been saying I would do for years and, in some cases, for as long as I can remember.

I also wanted to have a plan. Not just a pie in the sky monkish plan of tireless labor and effort, but a realistic plan based upon and grounded in the reality of my life. Over the next few days I’ll break down each of the following goals and how I went about setting them and devising a manageable, realistic plan for achieving them, but today is about accountability.

I wanted to put these ambitious plans out into the world so that I could no longer keep them buried in my mind and on my laptop.

Here’s what I’m planning to do in 2016:

  1. Write 8.5 books in no more than 30 minutes a day, six days a week.
  2. Write 366 journal entries. (It’s a leap year)
  3. Run a 5K starting from the couch; do 100 push-ups, 200 crunches and 100 squats; swim a mile starting from next to no ability; do my first and build up to 20 pull-ups; and take on a class-based fitness challenge – all in less than 35 minutes of daily activity.
  4. Write 300 blog posts (only 299 more to go!)
  5. Read 26 books.
  6. Interview 26 people I admire.
  7. Learn Spanish, Italian and German (in no more than 10 minutes a day)
  8. Save an extra $5,000 before Christmas (without killing myself)
  9. Not miss dinner, games and family activities (not letting the above goals interfere)

Is it ambitious? You bet. But it’s also manageable. I’ll share how I plan to do it and update progress here. I’ll also share stories of other people who are taking on the things they want by building smart plans as I go.

I hope you’ll join me and stay in touch because¬†2016 is going to be a heck of a year.

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I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately. Mostly books about marketing and presentation of information, about content marketing and social media. And some have really struck a chord (see the bottom of this post for a list and links to my new favorites), especially those that deal with story telling as a marketing principle – well, not just a principle, but a marketing bedrock.

There are a lot of reasons why these resonate with me, not least of which is that I am both a) completely convinced that story telling is the foundation of all human interaction and b) an instinctive story teller.

And, to be sure, these and a lot of other books, podcasts and conferences do a wonderful job of covering the need for story telling and some of the basic (and some advanced) principles of story telling. (more…)