writing, ideas, track, draft to discover

How Writing Helps You Track Big Ideas

writing, ideas, track, draft to discover

People often ask me what I do as Chief Tracker at Tracking Wonder. I help people think. It’s that simple. Except it’s not. Because thinking means that we don’t only come up with new and useful ideas. It also means my idea-collaborators and I think through how to make the most viable of those ideas into actual endeavors, entrepreneurial experiments, brand-aligned websites, start-ups, pitches, books, community-building efforts.

Really, I help people chart a path to earn a reputation, earn respect, and earn revenue for their beneficial or artful ideas. Not simple but profoundly rewarding.

This current journey all started with writing. Writing has been my way to discover what I think I’m thinking, to make meaning, to discover what’s behind what I’m feeling, and to participate in shaping a future.

If you have an idea that lights you up, writing might be a tool to help that idea get traction. Read more

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A Ripe Time for Introverted Creatives & Entrepreneurs

A Ripe Time for Introverted Creatives & Entrepreneurs Imagine if Jonas Salk at last discovers the polio vaccine, but he cowers at the prospect of receiving publicity or criticism or of appearing vain by drawing attention to himself. So, he decides to keep the discovery to himself. That would be irresponsible, wouldn’t it? And yet […]

Jeffrey DDR

Business and Creative Retreat Tips and Support

To get traction on projects and business vision, you need to take a break from work-as-usual, but not all sabbaticals and retreats are equal.

Designer Stefan Sagmeister takes a yearlong sabbatical every seven years.

The first one he took was disastrous.

In this video I tell you the three things Sagmeister did differently for the second sabbatical he took that helped make it a breakthrough success.

You don’t have to take a yearlong sabbatical to learn from these three things.

Our clients take Deep Dive Retreats of 8, 24, 48, and 72 hours that have helped them advance brand strategies, big endeavors, business visions, and books.

In this video, I also share with you the three things you need for a short-term personal business & creative retreat you can take within an hour of where you work and live.

I also tell you how you can receive for free our simple Deep Dive Retreat document that I send to private clients. Read more

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The Girl Effect One Spoon at a Time

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1. The Scope of a Day
Sometimes, I try to find ways to break out of only my perspective, my experience. For if there’s one tenet I’ve tried to abide by for twenty-plus years it’s that writing is more self-expansion than self-expression.

I have thought often about girls and their choices and their self-images and their circumstances. For no less reason than that I have two young girls in our household making choices every day.

I have thought about my daughters, and I have thought about daughters around the globe. Read more

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How the Meaning of Life Comes Down to a Squealing Pig

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A few years ago I had spent a good part of a day sprawled on my studio floor as I mapped out plans for the next year – events and services and offerings and webinars and travels. Yadda, yadda. I have to admit that with all my sketchbooks and markers and Miles Davis waxing in the background, I felt like a big kid playing with his big boy tools.

But then I thought about the word “services” and wondered, Just who am I serving? And how am I serving? And what is the meaning, real meaning, of all this service?

Psychologist Martin Seligman suggests that the meaningful life comes from being connected to and serving something larger than yourself. And I suspect there’s a lot that’s larger than myself I’m connected to.

 

*
That evening, my toddler girl, wife, and I had strolled down the road to the house where Jill and her husband live. Jill’s the hamlet’s dog officer here in the Hudson Valley who also gathers orphaned horses, goats, turkeys, geese, dogs, peacocks, and pigs. She has two pigs, a little one named Rose and a sow named Petal. Petal is huge, a pink rain barrel on tiny legs.

As we approached The House Where Jill Lives, we heard a squeal like death and glee, of squeeze and slurp churned in the same bin of a throat. “He’s not killing her,” Jill said to us as we walked up. “He’s feeding her. She gets excited.”

Then another squeal lit up. The pink toddler girl lurched from her stroller, excited with arms flailing, and flew down the path to see Petal, the grand sow, devour nectar in the form of feed. Girl met sow. Pink met pink. Squeal met squeal.

*
Galway Kinnell writes,

…Saint Francis
put his hand on the creased forehead
of the sow, and told her in words and in touch
blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow
began remembering all down her thick length,
from the earthen snout all the way
through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of the tail,
from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine
down through the great broken heart
to the sheer blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering
from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking and blowing beneath them;
the long, perfect loveliness of sow.

And I thought that evening of my neighbors and their daily blessings.

*
There is meaning in laying out the days, sentence by sentence.
There is meaning in serving others’ dreams to them on white boards and white pages and white screens.
There is meaning in bringing a girl face-to-face with “the long, perfect loveliness of sow.”

Audio version:

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Will You Die Day-Rich?

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A few years ago, after our farmhouse had been renovated post-fire, my wife and I would have Finance Evenings – one night a week when we would spend two hours or so reviewing finances. One night, we cut it short. At least, I did. I would catch up next time. Honestly, even in those times of economic madness, what drove me and what drives me more than balance sheets is the currency of a day.

We say we spend days.  We say we spend and save and waste time. Something there is about the way time flows and the way the sun appears to cross the sky that makes us pine, perhaps, for a Way of Finances that feels comparably natural.

There is something to be said about the woman who dies with no memory. Either she’s impoverished or wealthy. Either she’s memory-poor or regretless-rich. Either she savored each moment that no memory was needed or she zapped past each moment with such busy-ness that no moment was heeded.

Why not hoard moments?
Why not invest in images by being present?
Why not cancel out regrets with contentment?
Why not invoice hope?

I want to leave an inheritance of how to relish relationships.
I want to die day-rich.

I hope my wife and daughters don’t mind.

 

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5 Stages of Confidence in Writing a Book

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Catch only what you’ve thrown yourself, 
all is mere skill and little gain…

–Rainier Maria Rilke

A funny thing happens with a writer’s confidence level when writing a book. Confidence shoots up and down seemingly as erratically as weather.

Part of what makes confidence so unreliable is what we base confidence on. We try to base confidence on nebulous emotions such as passion and a blind belief in our own abilities & authenticity and bull-headed willpower.

If I just believe in myself, I can write this stellar book. Just gotta believe! Just gotta write, write, write. Practice, practice, practice.

What if your confidence in building your book could be grounded on something solid, authentic, and heart-opening at the same time?

In working with literally thousands of writers and professionals with book ideas, I’ve identified 5 common stages of confidence. See what resonates with your own experience. Read more

Creative Commons (Moyan Brenn)

The New Story of Publishing

Creative Commons (Moyan Brenn)

Creative Commons (Moyan Brenn)

2016 might be the year you create a book that matters. I hope so. We need books that change our minds and change our lives. We need stories that expand our imaginations and expand our hearts.

My team and I are devoted to helping you become a captivating author – or an even more captivating author – this year.  I’m committed to helping you become an artisan-author, someone who learns the fine craft of her medium and genre so she can create exceptional work for her audience. And I’m driven to help you sort through the confusing multi-directions of publishing in the 21st century.

I hear and read a lot of anxious talk around publishing these days. Random House (#1 in the world) recently acquired Penguin (#2) so soon there may be just one mega-publisher. Or with the digital revolution maybe no books. Or with Amazon’s and Jeff Bezos’s dominion maybe no bookstores. The angst-ridden speculations go on and on.

I’m committed to filtering through this “Babel” for you and myself.

Among the things I’m sorting through are the several stories about the nature of publishing, past and present.

Let’s take a look at these stories about publishing and discern what matters most for you to focus on. I’m curious what your take is. Share your views in the comments below.

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Creative Commons (Stefano Corso)

How to take a Smooth Break from Blogging

Creative Commons (Stefano Corso)

Creative Commons (Stefano Corso)

Motivation by fear is an age-old tactic. Its adages begin with “Don’t” and twist with “or.”

Don’t steal from your neighbor, or you’ll get your hands cut off.”

Don’t turn in your paper late, or you’ll fail.”

Don’t leave work early, or your boss will think you’re a slacker.”

To which we can add the common commandment in blogger morality zone:

Don’t take breaks in blogging, or your readers will leave you.”

But maybe there are legitimate reasons to break from your blogging. That’s what I’m wondering: When you take a vacation, do you still bring your professional blogging and iPhone with you? When do you take breaks from blogging? When might it be wise to do so? Read more

Courtesy of Creative Commons (Fabiola Medeiros)

How Persistent Sprints Build Businesses & Books

Courtesy of Creative Commons (Fabiola Medeiros)

Courtesy of Creative Commons (Fabiola Medeiros)

Are you time-strapped or focus-challenged, but you have a book to write or business to build?

It might seem counter-intuitive – even threatening to your cherished beliefs – to imagine writing a book or building your signature business Story 15, 30, 45 minutes at a time. But that’s how you can do it.  Read more