Here is what I cannot stop asking myself: How do people get through the inevitable challenge of writing and create their best work? What drives them?
Really, that question has driven me for years to experiment with, research, and create.
It’s driven me to track wonder.
It’s one thing to fall in love with a fantasy. It’s another thing to stand in love with a dream.
Members in the Tracking Wonder community and ecosystem are creating their best work. Like, every week. It’s a pretty astonishing to witness. They’re launching workshops, websites, writing books, poetry & building businesses.
But none of them are without challenges. Read more
So who’s your Story about?
I generally feel a wee bit disoriented right after shaping a book proposal.
What’s it worth? I wondered. What if my agent rejects it? What if this is all a fool’s errand? What have I done with my life? Okay, I don’t go quite that far.
Last time this happened, my six-year-old peeked in my study. She wanted to show me her outfit – a summer skirt and a short-sleever atop a long-sleever.
“I just couldn’t wait any longer to wear summer clothes,” she said as she twirled around the study. And at that moment, I remembered again why I’m writing this book, why I’m building Tracking Wonder, why I utterly adore engaging readers. Read more
Writing drafts is a process of discovery
You know, Michael Bungay Stanier didn’t write his elegant book The Coaching Habit in one draft. Or two. Or three. He wrote multiple drafts. In fact, he presented the book with multiple angles and in multiple structures to Workman Publishing, who had published his previous book Do More Great Work (that sold hundreds of thousands of copies) but to no avail.
Finally, after many attempts at getting his book published, Michael took matters into his own hands, hired his own publishing team, and published The Coaching Habit with his own Box of Crayons Press. Read more
How do we stay productive each day and each week while still feeling spacious with presence, delight, purpose? This comes up a lot when we discuss the process of writing your book.
“Productive” here references the quality that you’re moving forward on the projects and ideas that matter. And by “that matter” I mean the projects and ideas that light you up, that come from your own key drive (whether that’s novelty, mastery, impact, accomplishment), and that contribute in some way, great or small. Read more
You want to publish your book.
Whether you’re writing your first or fifth book, you fantasize about finishing that book, getting it into the hands and hearts of people who need it, and what might happen to your life and sense of fulfillment as a writer once that book is “out there.”
But you feel a tension. This tension is the gap between what you currently know and what your skill set is a present, versus what you might need to know and be able to do and create in order to reach that place you fantasize about.
That gap in knowledge can feel like a chasm.
That chasm’s enormity can take your breath away.
The self-masochism begins. Read more
During the past month, Tracking Wonder’s research assistant Gianna Kaloyeros has curated some of what we deem the most relevant studies, stories, and news that will help you and your team excel at having the most impact and influence via brand building, storytelling, and innovation.
– Jeffrey, Chief Tracker at Tracking Wonder
Four Reasons Every Startup’s Brand Needs Attention
With a personal account and wealth of advice from an entrepreneur and investor, Kumar Arora nails down the four biggest priorities for startups building their business. Don’t wait to start building the brand culture, he says, even in the infancy of the business. Among the four priorities is making sure your brand has a carefully considered name, builds customer loyalty, remains a source of inspiration, and sets your business apart from the competition. Kumar Arora @karora007
Guest Post by Erin Haworth, Tracking Wonder’s Systems Shark
The Remote Team’s Time Challenges
I’m fortunate to be Tracking Wonder’s operations manager and overseer of a dynamo team of remote contractors. It’s common for three or four team members to be working on one client’s brand story, strategy, website and online assets at any given time.
Projects like these require lots of coordination and lots of collaboration. But that’s not a simple task considering our team doesn’t work from a single brick-and-mortar studio. We need an entire team to operate on the same page even though we span 4 time zones, 6 states, and 2 countries.
Our projects also require we be responsive to each other and to our clients in a timely fashion. Again, not easy. But that’s what I do at Tracking Wonder – I track problems until I find a viable solution. Read more
Guest Post by Marisa Goudy, Copywriter and Storytelling Coach
“Creating in the midst of chaos is your superpower.”
When someone first said this to me, I took it as a compliment. I’m a mother, a business owner, and a creative. Chaos seems inevitable. It’s better to embrace the mad swirl of the full catastrophe than it is to resign yourself to a narrow, boring existence, right?
I’m not so sure any more. I’m not so sure all this chaos is as effective or enticing as it used to be.
WHEN CREATIVE CHAOS JUST BECOMES… CHAOS
Not so long ago, everything from entrepreneurship to parenthood seemed like an exciting, all-encompassing experiment. Each day dawned with new challenges and rewards. It seemed like a fool’s errand to try to limit such creative possibility with something as pedestrian as time management strategies.
Inevitably, layers of complexity forced me to shape those uncharted days into more structured routines. A second daughter, the elementary school calendar, the needs of an evolved business partnership, the tug of a novel, the launch of a podcast… Winging it stopped feeling “open-minded.” It began to feel amateurish and unsustainable.
But that addiction to chaos is tough to kick. It’s still tempting to go with the flow and wrest order from chaos by strength of will alone. They don’t pass out super powers every day, after all. If making it happen in the midst of a daily fire storm looks so impressive, why quit? Read more
I know that finding time to do the stuff you’re most passionate about is hard.
In these times, it’s hard to ignore the shifting cultural causes that call you to act.
As creative thinkers conventional planners and time management systems don’t cut it. Neither do random sticky notes plastered on your computer.
In light of this fact, I created a productivity tool and time management system designed for professionals, thought leaders, business owners, and creatives called the Mind Rooms Guide. It’s been developed based on the psychology of creative thinking and productivity.
Here are some thoughts on how to boost creativity and Shape Time to Act.
1. REMEMBER THE DEAD LINE.
In 1944, Miklos Radnoti knew the Nazis would shoot him and the other Jews marching across Hungary any day, any hour. When his wife later had his body exhumed from a mass grave, they would find a notebook of poems tucked in his field jacket’s pocket. Somehow, he stealthed out a pen, the sound of gunfire rattling like bones, and wrote a series of poems.
Radnoti’s persistence is a haunting reminder of my mortality, of this odyssey’s limited time.
The pressure of time, the fact of mortality, the real dead line, compels me to create, and to create with awareness and intention.
2. TANGO WITH TIME.
All of us creatives tango with time. Most creatives cannot wait until their kids go off to college or until retirement or until divorce or until they quit a job to begin their real work. Gratified creatives with packed lives create before the family gets up or in “pockets of time” – on the subway or in the forty-eight minutes between when their children have fallen asleep and before they themselves fall asleep.
One way or another, we’d be wise to make peace with time, stop fighting it, and avoid bemoaning its scarcity. There’s plenty of time to be had, it turns out, and if we can’t change the way chronological time works, then we can change the way we work with it.
Instead of managing time like some begrudged worker, we can shape it. Think of yourself as a potter more than a manager.
To show up and shape time as a creative has less to do with calendars and more to do with loving the mind. And the body.
Creativity is not about waiting for the muse – despite Elizabeth Gilbert’s charming spin on the Greek muse.
Creativity is about showing up and shaping time for the muse. Read more
We business artists are blessed and cursed with a generative mind – the ability to come up with lots of ideas.
You may be feeling the effect of shifting cultural causes calling you to act. How do you find the time in an already profoundly packed schedule for your deep creative work?
Sunni Brown, named one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business, nailed the problem this way: “Discerning which opportunities to pursue has been a bogeyman in my creative work for years. I just couldn’t settle on the criteria for choosing.”