Here’s what has worked for me.
I quit my job in 2013…
And I did many things since then. Good things. Crazy things. Stupid things. Smart things.
And most of them didn’t work. But some of them did. And this is a collection of the things that have worked for me over the past three years. Maybe they’ll also work for you. Maybe they’ll help you. Maybe they won’t. I don’t know. But I’ll use this is a reminder for myself…
I wrote my first book in 2013. It wasn’t a success. Then I wrote another book. And then another one. And just recently I released my eighth book. Also, no success. At least not a financial success. But more than 10,000 people read it on Medium. And I’m working on a few more books right now.
When I say persistence I don’t mean that I did the same thing over and over again. That never really works.
Over the past three years I didn’t just write books. I also wrote more than 600 blog posts. I gave more than 30 talks. I mentored at dozens of events. I started a small digital agency. I launched (and shutdown) 14 websites. I designed and uploaded more than 100 T-Shirt designs to a marketplace and sold 15 or so of them. I started dropshipping on Amazon and Ebay. I created tons of infoproducts.
I’m not saying any of this to brag about it. Or maybe I am. I don’t know. The real reason why I say all of this is that all of these things taught me a lot about writing. About how to get my thoughts out there. About how to get my stuff noticed.
You can’t be “just” a writer anymore these days. You’ve constantly gotta find other ways to make a living. Because only the top 0.1% in any field make a living following their passion.
And I’m clearly none of them. Even though I already spent more than 10,000 hours writing.
This is definitely the hardest for me. If I have an idea I want to see it happen the second I have it. And if it doesn’t happen right away I usually lose interest. Unless I don’t. Then I know that this might be something I should take a closer look at some time in the future. Still, patience is something I still struggle with a lot. Even though it has proven to be the key to many good things.
At any given point in time I have more than ten things I want to work on. And that’s the best to do list you can ever have.
If you have so many things you want to do that the weight of all the ideas almost crushes you, you know that you have to get going soon so that some of the weight goes away. So you can finally breathe again.
That’s really how I work. That’s how I get all of my stuff done. I don’t need Evernote, fancy productivity apps or whatever. I just wait until that weight gets so heavy that I have to get going.
The good thing about it is that all of these things are things I’m really interested in. And if I’m not interested in them anymore in a few months or so I automatically saved time and energy.
Is this a good way of doing things?
I don’t know. Probably not. Most probably not. But it works for me…
I usually procrastinate on many things as you might have realized by now. So I never really start working on things that I don’t feel like working on. I know, this only works when you have tons of ideas and tons of things you’re interested in. But here’s the truth…
You can only be productive if you’re working on something you enjoy doing. On something that gives you energy. It’s past midnight where I am right now and I’m still writing this. Because writing gives me energy. But when you’re constantly doing things you don’t enjoy doing, then these things will suck all the energy out of you.
I know. Most people can’t do this. Most people have a job. A family. And so on. But then again. Being able to do the things you enjoy doing doesn’t happen over night. It took me 3 years to build that life. To be able to sometimes to the things I really enjoy doing.
Why only sometimes?
Because even when you’re able to do the things you really enjoy doing, you’ll spend 99% of the time doing things you hate. Like proof reading. Or marketing. Or other ways you can get food on the table.
# one thing
One year ago I decided to write one blog post every single day. Since then a lot of things changed for the better. A lot more things started working out. Writing is my one thing. The one stable thing in my life right now. It gives me strength. I think we all need at least one thing that helps us to see the end of the tunnel when the tunnel is one of the scariest places you’ve ever seen in your entire life.
Every day before I go to bed I list the things I’m grateful for. A year ago or so I did it in the morning of the next day. But I kept forgetting what I did the day before so I changed it and started doing it the same night. Maybe I should see a doctor. I forget things so easily…
So I list everything I’m grateful for. Really everything. The people I talked to. The food I ate. The water I drank. The products or services I was able to buy. Everything. And you know what? Ever since I started doing this I need less and less stuff. I’m happy with less.
I don’t know if there’s any causation. Maybe there is. Maybe there isn’t. But what I do know is that it works for me…
There are tons of other things that have worked for me over the past three years. But as I said a few minutes ago it’s already past midnight here. And even though writing gives me energy, that energy doesn’t last forever. Especially when I have to read this one more time before I hit the publish button. And doing this will suck all the remaining energy out of my body so I can then go to sleep and list all of the things I’m grateful for.
The bus ticket I was able to buy. The coffee I drank. The plate of rice….
Originally published at yanngirard.typepad.com.