December 18, 2017 was the last day I had written in the morning. It’s usually nothing spectacular but early wake, daily write helps me think clearer, more straight forward and kill any passive-aggressiveness, anxiety or worry that I may have developed over the time.
Writing in the morning is my psychotherapy. Attending costs my time but it’s worth every second.
I’ve had writing sessions of up to 4 hours where I wrote up to 3,000 words. That’s a massive brain dump, in my opinion, and it shows how much can stuff can aggregate when you think your brain is in idle mode. But with 4 weeks of no visit at the mental toilet I felt like shit, and it started yesterday…
I recorded the new video for my daily series (it’s not a vlog, more like said-out-loud notes). The recording didn’t go well and the video never went online. This is when I noticed something was off, or it has been before, only that I wasn’t able recognize what was wrong. In the afternoon, I attended a webinar on voiceover with Jay Britton. He talked about how to get work on social media. His key takeaway: Don’t sell build relationships through conversations. It’s that simple. Towards the end of his presentation he recommended to concentrate your marketing as a voiceover professional on that one „thing“ you are, so you don’t spread your marketing thin. What he meant was: Show yourself as the voice actor, don’t also be the writer, editor and marketing professional. But writing something like „Voice actor and motion capture artist“ could work when the two things complement each other. In my Twitter profile I’ve currently described myself as: „Actor & voiceover…“.
His recommendation evoked an inner conflict of two approaches that I’ve been carrying around for many months: A) wanting to do it right on social media by curating what I share and being very thoughtful (strategic about what I share) and B) only being myself when „you just write what you think“ as Pieter Levels recommends in his interview with Indie Hackers (Courtland Allen). This is tearing me apart, I feel the pressure to make a choice between A and B. The problem is that I (still) suck at decision-making because I enjoy having a variety of options rather closing one door in favor of another to enter. That leads to the other problem that I’m unable to commit to something or someone for long, which has an impact on my relations in business and personal life.
The voiceover webinar was over and I was mentally overwhelmed with too many conflicts in my head which led to a 50-minute mini crisis. So, I took a nap to relax while also thinking hard. During the nap I thought that I had recently come from a mindset where I would want to push my voiceover and copywriting client business simultaneously - while maintaining the daily video series, an email-based masterclass on story creation and my day job in an editorial and customer service team. That was a lot on my plate, more than I could eat and digest. I stopped napping, got up and came to a conclusion.
I concluded that my actual thing is promotion. By my very nature I promote and connect, meaning: I bring two things together - person to product, product to person, idea to person, person to idea. So, I hesitated not and directly updated my Twitter, Mastodon, Medium and LinkedIn profile to reflect my revelation. This rushy reaction (without thinking) I’ve been observing on myself pretty often. It maybe has a tendency to OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) but only a doctor would be able to tell, and I do not (yet) feel like paying a visit to one for this reason only.
However, since I had now discovered that new identity of myself I wanted to super radically challenge that identity (me). So I said to myself: Starting next week, I promote one project per week. I write the copy (script), voice the script and add some simple 2D visuals to it so that by the end of the year I’d have 48 projects promoted - actually 44 because I’ll travel in September. Promoting projects, I’d raise awareness about projects that I personally find worth knowing about, on the one hand. On the other hand, I demonstrate my promotional abilities as a voice actor and copywriter (script writer). Win win - and I had written the draft for my next blog post announcing the idea of „52 projects in one year“ already. So rushy, so good.
I felt great for an hour or so until I came back to the conclusion that I’ve always had and probably will have: I need to build my own assets (products) because if I’m the owner of the assets I can control what to do with them. This is a power I’m aware of. But it’s also a power that I tend to neglect although I shouldn’t (I know). So, the promotional idea is fancy but it’s only the bling-bling after the actual hard work (building and shipping). Thinking about my kind of behavior, I feel I’m looking for the easy way out and I can only boo out myself for that.
To prevent having such a time-consuming crisis again - 50 minutes is not a lot but the time after to regain order into chaos is what sucks a lot of time - there’s no way around than writing it all out. So, if I want it or not, I need to make time for dumping my thoughts (ideally in the morning). This is essential for my psychological well-being. The other option would be to go insane, and that would be actually not be a big surprise if I look into my family.
I was wondering why I stopped writing and I think it had to do with lost faith in the importance of thought-dumping and the new template I used every morning that had became too demanding and stressful. I used the writing prompts that Ryan Holiday suggested in one of his emails and added them to my already existing prompts. This is my template that reflects the exact morning routine (get up early, leave the house to walk 20 minutes, return and write) I applied until December 2017.
It’s …. I got up at …, left the house at … and returned at ….
Write one sentence about the day that just passed.
Journal two quick pages (around 150 words) about yesterday’s workout (how my knee feels), what work I did, any notable occurrences, and some lines about what I am grateful for, what I want to get better at, and where I am succeeding.
Prepare for the day ahead by meditating on a short prompt: Where am I standing in my own way? What’s the smallest step I can take toward a big thing today? What blessings can I count right now? Why do I care so much about impressing people? What is the harder choice I’m avoiding? Do I rule my fears, or do they rule me? How will today’s difficulties show my character?
Also: What’s the worst thing that could happen today?
I wrote in OmmWriter which I find the perfect macOS app for writing in a calm and serene mood.
I said it above: I try to avoid the hard work of building and shipping. It’s a weakness of my character that I have to admit. However, since I also like to take challenges (e.g. I spent 3 weeks in Cuba with 150 US dollars in September 2017) I challenge myself to actually build and ship a useful and usable product, and I’m giving myself 28 days for that. You can follow the progress on Twitter because I’ll use #28dayslater. After these 4 week I’ll ship what I have, and that’s it. If there’s no reason not to, I will then stop working on that product and move on to the next product. The current product is #studiolist, you can follow the process on WIP (Work in Progress). I’ll write a separate blog post listing all the 28-day products I have in mind to produce. I’m applying Pieter Levels definition of a product or what he calls a startup, meaning: it’s a new product that grows fast.
Transitional crises are hard as fuck. This was one of them and I’m happy I got out of it with no big harm. Also, every time when I go through one I realize how painful it but I still kind of enjoy it and do it again. Weird, I know.Share this story on Twitter
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