Overcome procrastination and writers’ block! In a new “timed writing” video, writer Walt Jaschek prompts you to join him as he writes uninterrupted for 22 minutes. (It works!)
Is there something you need to write? Are you in avoidance mode? Would a timed, 22-minute deep dive move something along? And would watching Walt write at the same time help you sit still and just do it? You’ve come to the write place.
Gather your notes, gather your research, put down your phone, click this new YouTube video, and sit quietly and write with me. As you’ll see, I’ll ask Alexa to start a timer for 22 minutes, and off we will go.
The idea is to come out the other side of these 22 minutes with a draft of about 600 words, which is what I typically crank out in that amount of time. A first draft, mind you – pure words on the page. Polished edits can come later. First: sentences. Paragraphs. Fingers hitting the keys.
What can you accomplish?
In 22 minutes, I say, you can crank out a solid draft of:
• A blog post
• A cover letter
• A graphic novel or comic book page (of about 6 panels)
• A solid character description
• A short chapter of a novel
• A good list of headlines
• A good chunk of a non-fiction article, or at least a strong lede
• A great chunk of a brochure or collateral material
• A plan of action
• The outline of an essay
• A really terrific shopping list
Why 22 minutes, and not say, 20 minutes? Well, I love double digits, and though 20-minute writing sprints are common among authors, I’ve always felt those extra two minutes allowed for some breathing room.
Bonus tip: if you need more time than 22 minutes, just rewind the video and start back at the beginning. Watch it early and often. The point is not just to start something, of course. It’s to finish something.
So let’s begin, shall we? Ready, get set…
Let me know what you accomplished in the comments!
The original content creation medium (if you don’t count paint on rock,) paper is the must-have form of pulp.
Julia Cameron , author of the creative journaling guide The Artist’s Way says: “When we write by hand, we connect to ourselves. We may get speed and distance when we type, but we get a truer connection–to ourselves and our deepest thoughts– when we actually put pen to page.”
What she’s talking about isntt pulp fiction. But it is pulp. Paper is still the very best place to start ideas for copy and content writing. It’s liberating – even productive – to step away from the screen and “scritch.”
Earthwise is affordable – check current price; – and is 100% recycled. The stock as a good “hand feel,” but not so much it seems precious. I’ve weened myself away from those high-end notebooks. I feel compelled to decorate them with greatness. The pressure!
With a deliberately un-fancy sensibility to your paper, you’ll flow with the go. You’ll feel no hesitation in grabbing a pad from the stack and making your mark(s) on the world.
Call me a Sharpie collector. Or perhaps a Sharpie loser: I tend to lose more than I gain – I think I must leave a Sharpie everywhere I go (you’re welcome) – and thus I replenish my supplies frequently. The black fine-points are my every day, all-day tools: I love the precision of the line, the depth of that black color, and even the sound of the “scritch-scritch” on the paper.
Oh, the sad feeling when I am out of Sharpies and must use a mundane ballpoint to ideate. Somehow, the logo designs, the name ideas, the lists, the character sketches, the flow charts just aren’t as… sharpie.
And then there is the highly saturated color set: so great for accents, adornments, fheading titles, and more robust sketches and doodles. Day or night, home or away, Sharpies are never dull. They are the Walt Now Creative Ideation pens of choice.
Bulletin: your creative content is only as good as your content creation tools. And your brain, but that’s another story. In this post, I highly recommend Apple’s MacBook Air laptop. Five stars for content creation, unless you need battery life, then, for serious, buy something else.Here’s my review, supported by affiliate links.
Apple’s MacBook Air [check current price] is so colossally cool for content creation, I use two at once. Really. I was such a heavy user of my first one, an 11.6-inch model purchased in 2014 and still killing it, the “a” key now looks like a font from an alien dimension. When I was offered a used 13-inch, as an inheritance from an elderly family member, I thought I was walking on MacBook Air.
1. They’re shiny. Like robots in a mirror wearing bling. I just like to look at them.
2. They’re powerful. Mine have mega-memory (newer ones even more) and 1.4 GHz Intel Core i5 processors. Gigantic iMovie files into convert into mp4s in a blink; your YouTube channel need not wait. Every task in Photoshop happens at the speed of thought: yes, you should have a tighter crop on your headshot. De-saturate it while you’re at it.
3. They’re thin. “Have-you-been-working-out?” thin. Look how thin.
4. They’re light. At about 3 pounds each, I can put both into my backpack and zip out the door without straining any upper body muscles.
6. They’re trouble free (but then, trouble is always free.) I’ve had both since 2014, and have had 0 virus or performance incidents. I think the Apple store misses me.
7. They make your fingers feel good. Great keyboard response and large trackpad action to… to… excuse me, I have to kiss my fingers now.
8. Flawless, no-dropout videos conferences while executing all of the above. It’s the laptop for multi-taskers. Or those who aspire to be.
Why do I have two of them?
Hey, why not?
I can have two screens open at once, which reduces the amount of tabs I have open on either one of them. It also suits my creative ADHD: when I look away from one screen to avoid thinking too hard (“brain hurts”,) my eyes and hands fall on the other keyboard, and keep working away on something else.
And, yes, I assign different types of projects to each MacBook Air, by category. The slightly bigger screen 13-inch is better for using InDesign, Photoshop and Comiclife. The slightly smaller 11-inch where I pound out copy in Word: scripts, screenplays, stories, posts and exasperated tweets. Correspondingly, it’s also the one with the most social tabs open.
Is there a “con” to the MacBook Air?
Yes, and it’s a big one:
It’s plain terrible. Awful. Neither of my MacBook Airs can hold a charge.. If I dare try to use without power cord, I’ve got about 15 minutes to live, sometimes less. In my particular creative venues, from home office to library to coffee shop to Whole Foods, I am never far from a wall outlet, so concern over battery life has, like Elvis, left the building. BUT BUT BUT…
If you are, say, a frequent flier, and need a laptop that works reliably on airplanes, forget the MacBook Air. Wipe it from your memory, like Men in Black. In fact, in my experience, battery fans, forget Apple laptops altogether. Go another route. Laptop Mag says the best three laptops for battery life are the Dell Latitude 7400, the HP Spectre x360, and the Dell Latitude 7400. I believe them. On the charged issue of charge, I’m envious.
On the whole, though, if battery life isn’t in your top 5 content creation criteria – as it is not in mine – you will love the Macbook Air. Business Insider agrees: this article is headlined, “After one year with Apple’s latest MacBook Air, I remain convinced it’s worth the high price tag.”
Price tag? Though I’m a freelancer on a budget, and live frugally, I can’t imagine life without these babies. Sometimes day-in, day-out value is worth that first investment.