Creative Sprints (failvid-17)

In this Failed Writer video, I talk about how I chip away at my creative projects. I’m definitely no model for success — every week I consider dumping my novel — but I still manage to keep doing creative projects every week. So here is my tactic, sort of.

By the way, I’m use the Clear app for my creative list making. Check it out.

Want to see all my Failed Writer videos? Check them out here.

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I’m A Failed Writer #14: Project Mismanagement

So when I showed my friend Michael Schechter an early version of this video, he said, “you are out of your mind.” Actually, he had a more colorful way to say it. Partly, this was because we had just sampled ten different beers at Hopworks Urban Brewery. But also, the original video made it sound like I was done making videos… so long, schmucks!

Check out the updated video and hopefully you’ll see that I’m not going anywhere far…

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I’m A Failed Writer #13: Beyond Microsoft Word… Or Not

I started out this video with the intent of trying to get writers to stop using Microsoft Word and ended up paying tribute to an overly-sentimental romantic comedy from the 80s. It’s a new level of failure.

Even though I’m passionate about the writing tools that I use, I also worry about spending too much time thinking about the tools rather than thinking about the product. I’d rather have a clunky tool and solid writing practice than a brilliant tool and little to show with it.

So here it is. My quasi-passionate (and ultimately failed) rant against Microsoft Word:

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I’m A Failed Writer #12: Networking for Cowards

In this episode of my writing crisis, we walk through my take on networking as a terrified coward. But it gets more complicated because I’ve mistakenly succeeded in a few areas, while failing at others. More than other Failed Writer videos, this is an area of the writing life I’m still pretty undecided about — even more of a work-in-progress than other areas. But it’s something I’ve had to confront as my book approaches the publication date.

So here goes, Failed Writer Crisis #12:

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I’m A Failed Writer #11: 10,000 Hours

I intended this video to be about the way I once organized my whole submission plan for magazines. I had this fancy pants spreadsheet characterizing my every step. But a few minutes into making this video, I realized how much I have changed over the years. Now there’s a wife. There are kids. I don’t have time to fetishize the process. But it’s more than that. I also see how we writers are so compelled to obsess over the accolades we think we deserve before fully maturing our writing chops. And so this video turned into a talk about the need to write. To write a lot.

Without doing a lick of research (or even bothering to read his book), I swiped Malcolm Gladwell’s notion that it takes 10,000 hours to master a particular craft. (Don’t quote me on this!) I just love the idea of that number because it is a damn big number. And I think it is roughly true. It takes a long time for most of us mortals to get good at writing.

And so here is my not-entirely-educated take on it:

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I’m A Failed Writer #10: Big Projects, Small Lists

I’m a coward. When faced with a big project – something time consuming, something that will require sacrifices to be made – my instinct is to run away. Fast. No looking back. For that reason, it took me a long time to come around to the point where I (somewhat) enjoy the challenge of a big project. I’m talking about something like writing a novel or being in a long-term relationship. These are things that require work. Day after day. Month after month. Year after year.

The funny thing is that a key method I use to confront these big projects is so simple, so low-tech (so cheap in therapy costs!) that it almost seems like it’s cheating. And here it is:

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I’m A Failed Writer #9: Non-Crappy Writing Groups

I’ve begun dabbling in the world of stop-motion animation. What does this mean? This means that I wait for my toddler to take a nap and then I frantically begin playing with his stuffed animals.

My excuse this time for playing with his toys is that I want to talk about writing groups. I’ve been in plenty of writing groups and here is my take on what makes an (in)effective writing group:

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I’m A Failed Writer #8: Fresh Ways To Look At Your Crappy Writing

There’s a saying in the presentation world: “once you need your wife to film you naked for a presentation, you’ve gotten too desperate.” OK. That’s not really a saying… But it should be.

In any case, I hope you find some of this presentation useful. I took the tremendous risk of getting my wife to film me naked for this video (which is risky for both my presentation gig and my marriage) because I wanted to show you many of the ways I try to get a fresh look at my own writing. Let’s see if it pays off…

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