My Head Never Stops, So I Have To
To function each week I need to seek a balance of solitude and connection, so I need time to both calm my head and time to connect with peers.
Too much time alone and I live in my head, too much time with peers and I end up building a tower of ideas that go nowhere.
A Typical Day For My Head
Yesterday I read an Aeon magazine article about Nazi troopers being drunk while massacring people in towns on their quest for ethnic cleansing.
When I woke up this morning, the content of the article was the first thought in my head.
My next thought was of walking through Auschwitz in February 2005 with a copy of Primo Levi in my bag.
The slash of horror I felt while standing in the freezing sheds of Auschwitz, looking at the bunks that three people slept in together has never, ever left me.
I read about the cold bunks, and how three people slept in them, in Primo Levi the day before at the Krakow airport.
A previous version of me would churn these thoughts around all day with my brain looking and feeling like thick hot chocolate sauce being stirred in a pan all day in a room with no ventilation.
Lose Yourself To Dance
On a lighter note, after watching a Daft Punk documentary film, my head was churning about creativity.
I’m still looking for the connection between Primo Levi, Daft Punk and drunk Nazi’s, its something to do with human respect and creativity to overcome evil; I just don’t feel qualified to write about that yet.
Why It’s Good To Be Alone
To the extent, I have to bite my tongue if I get interrupted by Supercoolwife or #babybernie.
Of course if one of these guys wants to come and use the kitchen, which is the room I barricade myself in every morning, why should they have to deal with me being a Moody Cow?
I need to have a space to calm my head; my head is going all the time, churning out thoughts.
I love this about myself, but I can only do something with those thoughts and connections when I settle and get clarity on them.
The book Moody Cow ends with the grandfather meditating with his grandson and the way they do it’s by dropping glitter into a jar and then watching it until it settles.
When the water is clear, also if you look carefully, you can see the colour of each glitter spec.
So when I wake I meditate, to calm my thoughts and get my day in perspective. Don’t get me wrong I love having all these thoughts and connections; I just mind them desperately consuming me.
So I like being on my own to settle all this and curate the connections between is in my head.
Sharpen The Saw
In 2017 I made a concerted effort to put myself into groups that would support me working as a freelancer and improve my skills as a content producer.
Approaching the same work as I was doing through a Showrunner lens started me down the road of fine-tuning a dedicated curation process and editorial calendar, which sped up my content production ability.
Why You Need Other People As A Freelancer
I was thinking about this for another post, ‘why bloggers need to be around other bloggers.’
Of course, I know bloggers talk, I also see many people that sit at home reading Neil Patel posts thinking how the hell do I do that?
The same happens with freelancers and indie workers, so I made a point of seeking deeper connections with my peers, below is what I do weekly.
Double Down On MeetUp.com
But they had to take up the right amount of time, and they are not ‘direct revenue generators’ so it wasn’t something to spend planning all week, they had to be a good use of everyone’s time.
Out of this we paused the weekly #Blogclub and asked people what would be worth turning up to sit around a table for 2 hours every Wednesday, it was writing time and ‘how the £@<k do make my website work?’
And to gear this to people who were genuinely committed to making their website work but just don’t know where to start.
Content Marketing Academy
There’s good solid stuff in the CMA, and the best bit is the 90 Day Challenge where 40 of us post what we have made in a spreadsheet each week, and then Chris Marr does a live webinar to give weekly feedback.
Fizzle Mastermind Group
I joined a Fizzle mastermind group where Sok, Giselle and I chat weekly either in person or on WhatsApp to keep each other going.
We are in Melbourne, California, and London, so the only time that works to speak is 06:30 am London on a Friday or Saturday morning, far from this being an issue it’s a commitment test to keep us together.
The Results So Far
My point is the talking regularly with a peer group has propelled both the work that you are reading now and other projects most notably the OuiShare Radio Podcast is hurtling towards posting a new podcast daily.
At the time of writing these projects are far from perfect or working like a well-oiled machine, what they are is in action, and that action is fuelled by getting people together.
Do Stuff Together In 2018
Alex co-founder of Indy Hall coworking space spent 7 minutes shouting at me about ‘doing stuff together’ in this short podcast in Jan 2017 here.
I recommend giving it a quick listen, Alex has a cheery rant about sharing goals, getting together in a cafe, at your kitchen table or a bus stop to share what you are working on to keep your traction and motivation going.
Also published on Medium.