Document, Don’t Create

Like most non-creatives, I had a lot of resistance to publishing content online. I felt I didn’t have a body of work ready to publish. But I’ve been encouraged by watching Ali Abdaal’s YouTube videos.

Ali Abdaal recommends the same book to everyone who tells him about their impostor syndrome: Show Your Work, by Austin Kleon. The title comes from doing school assignments where you receive credit for not just the final answer, but for showing how you got there.

“I really like Gary Vaynerchuk’s concept of ‘document, don’t create‘. Document the things you are doing already. Document the things you are already learning. Don’t try to ‘create’ new content.”

Ali Abdaal. YouTube. How to Make Money Online in 2022

In this video, Ali is interviewing the teacher of online writing, David Perell.

“Sell your sawdust. What are the things you’re already doing. How do you take that and turn it into something useful.”

David Perell. YouTube. How to Make Money Online in 2022


Starting The Creative Craft

It’s amazing how much time I wasted before I started to create some content. Eventually, I did come around to dropping all my fancy ideas for a website and committed to sitting down every day to write.

Get Started To Get Ready

When you’re starting your craft, the most important thing is to do the craft. Anything that takes you away is going to be sub-optimal, even if it’s something the gurus tell you to do.

David Perell. YouTube clip.

It’s a bit like going to the gym when you’re not used to exercise. The hardest part is to create the habit and remove the friction of going. So, at first, even though it’s not best practice, go every day. Then update to best practice once the habit has been established.

As well as writing every day for a fixed duration, I also set a publishing schedule. This felt really tough at first, but I’m getting used to it. I’m also ironing out the little process inefficiencies and learning what I can do best at different times in the day.

Create First, Then Scope

Writing before I was ready also helped overcome my doubts about what topics should be included or excluded from this blog. By reading up on what I was writing about, I discovered logotherapy. And, since writing is thinking, I’m now blogging to myself as I explore my journey of becoming a solo content creator.

We just have to show our work. Gary Vaynerchuk tells us to document the process itself, rather than trying so hard to be a creator.

Quantity Leads, Quality Follows

Ali Abdaal talks about how quantity is the path to quality, and can be more effective than focusing on quality from the start.

This insight counters the resistance of perfectionism. It gives us permission to go ahead and publish before we feel fully ready, while also satisfying the perfectionist urge by promising that this is the fastest route to quality.

My publishing schedule works to force this process along. Ali says: “I think that getting good is often just about putting in the reps, while also having a little bit of a mind on marginal improvement over time.”


I Don’t Want A Team

Building a team is often described as the big win in levelling up a content creator’s success. If we delegate the tasks we don’t want to do, then we can double down on what we love doing.

But running a team is the kind of office work I chose to remove from my life.

Substituting doing something I don’t want to do, with managing someone else doing it seems like a compromise. What happened to Hell Yeah, or No!?

Perhaps I can transform some of the have-to’s into want-to’s. Previously, I got sick of trying to make a website do complicated things, and settled for something simpler. This allowed me to focus on the core challenge of writing. I’m much happier.

My content creation is meant to be logotherapeutic. So it needs to be kept up close and personal.

Either love it or cut it.


Getting Things Done – by David Allen

To have an infinite number of things to do, but nothing on one’s mind“.

This was the phrase that caught my attention.

Getting Things Done – by David Allen

There were two parts of David Allen’s life that perhaps he brought together to create his methodology for ‘stress-free productivity’. He was a management consultant, and he practised karate.

David talks about the ‘ready state’ of the martial artist. One of clear mental space, where we are dedicating 100% of attention to whatever is at hand. Undistracted and relaxed, we can do our most meaningful work. This is what martial artists call a mind like water and athletes call being in the zone. Here we respond appropriately to input, neither under- nor over-reacting.

David uses lists – but the right lists. With the wrong lists, the mind notices that they don’t contain what we said they would. So the mind distrusts them, which leads to friction and then becoming numb to the method. David has figured out what the right lists are, so that the mind can trust them, and releases their contents from active memory. He has then gathered these lists into a workflow for capturing, organising, actioning and reviewing our do lists.

Anything that does not belong where it is, the way it is, is an open loop, which will be pulling on your attention if it’s not appropriately managed.

David Allen. Getting Things Done. 2015 Kindle Edition. Page 13.

All of this helps us to let go of what we have decided not to do in this moment, and focus on what we have committed to doing right now.

We can achieve stress-free productivity even in our complex lives and create the conditions for creative flow.


Be Boring In Your Life

Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work — Gustave Flaubert

Austin Kleon. Steal Like An Artist. Paperback. Page 118.

“Be boring” says Austin Kleon.

If I want to get my life-work done each day, then the rest of my life needs to stop being such a distraction.

There are lots of different methods for organising projects and to-do lists, but one of them is special. One methodology has the goal of having an infinite number of things to do, but nothing on one’s mind.

I’m going to have a second try at implementing David Allen‘s book Getting Things Done.



Solo-preneurs of the world, Disunite!

It sounds like the revolutionary call for the workers to unite. But the path of the greater resignation is one of independence.

The word saboteur is derived from workers wearing wooden shoes called sabots who interrupted production. But sabotage is a negative behaviour.

A nice pair of slippers, on the other hand, is part of the creative loafing experience.

The shoe called the loafer got its name because it’s easily slipped on, without the work of laces and knots. That sounds like a metaphor for the independent, creative career I have in mind.

So maybe those who choose the path of the greater resignation are loafeurs.


This Blog Is A Form Of Logotherapy

In a book I’m reading about ikigai, the authors have introduced logotherapy. The two ideas are related, being about having a purpose to live for.

It seems relevant to the journey of my great resignation, which is how this blog got started.

The Five Steps of Logotherapy

(1) A person feels empty, frustrated or anxious.

(2) The therapist shows them that what they are feeling is the desire to have a meaningful life.

(3) The patient discovers their life’s purpose (at that particular point in time).

(4) Of their own free will, the patient decides to accept or reject that destiny.

(5) This newfound passion for life helps them overcome obstacles and sorrows.

Once the patient has established their purpose, they can press on with life, breaking the mental chains of the past and overcoming obstacles along the way.

Where Am I In This Process?

(1) I started this journey by quitting a job and a lifestyle that I disliked. The hope was that I’d find a working life that satisfies. I called this hope my great resignation.

(2) I’m trying to replace a work life, with a life-work. That’s why I was reading about ikigai. So I already have the direction of travel.

(3) Step three is my work in process. I know that I want something greater than the great resignation. I’m just not sure how it’s going to work.

Writing is Thinking

I started this blog with the statement “I Am A Writer“. The intention was to push myself to write, even though I didn’t have the ideas clear in my head. Writing would be the act by which I figured things out, because writing is thinking.


Writing is Thinking

One of the reasons I write is to clarify my own thinking.

When you write something for others, you discover all the gaps in your ideas. The process of writing reveals them and makes you organise your thoughts. You also see when you need to get more information, or check something you think you know.

“It was only when I actually wrote a blog post and wrote publicly and published on my blog … that helped me solidify and clarify my own thinking.”

— Ali Abdaal – YouTube clip

“When the ideas in your mind are clouded, so are the words on the page in front of you. Re-writing is re-thinking. It’s the single best way to sharpen your ideas.”

Why You Should Write – a blog post by David Perell

“Writing is thinking. To write well is to think clearly. That’s why it’s so hard.” — David McCollough

David Perell – Twitter


Bringing My Blog Back To

I started with Then I tried self-hosting, and finally returned to

I started with because it was free to start. I knew I could move onto self-hosted wordpress when I was ready.

I have a technical background including software development, but not in web development. So it was natural for me to see the opportunities of doing clever things with websites. Because of this, I let myself be tempted into the world of self-hosting, multiple plugins, and the potential to tweak the code.

The push away from came from the lack of a staging environment. I noticed this when I was trying different themes.

It’s hard to find out what a change in theme is going to do to your website. The customizer demo gives you a small glimpse of what the changes might look like, and it isn’t accurate. Themes are generally not well documented. Yet they have a huge impact on all the elements of content and also the available features.

I chose Hostek as my first host for a self-hosted wordpress site. They were cheap and allowed an unlimited number of websites. I could quickly create a clone of my site, apply theme changes, review the whole site, then delete the clone. However, there were concerns with downtime and getting Jetpack Backup to stay connected via FTP.

I tried Pressable as an opposite to cheap hosting. They use the same infrastructure as, so the downtime should be resolved, and their Jetpack Backup was sure to remain connected. Plus they allow you to create a staging website. However, I got frustrated with the included backup being just a daily backup, and it was expensive given this was a new blog with no visitors.

So then I had a go with BlueHost. They have a cheap plan, allow for a staging site, and are often recommended in the wordpress world. What a complicated mess! The regular wordpress setup features were all over the place and every new website comes bloated with lots of auto-updating plugins. I killed this plan after 24 hours.

This is when I realised that I had been pulled into a distraction. I was spending all of this time fixing technology problems when I should really be focused on learning to write a blog. I thought of myself as a techy person rather than identifying as a writer.

So I killed my self-hosted sites and returned to It’s simpler and I’m taking up the challenge of becoming a writer. When I want to try another theme, I’ll create a free site, export my content into it, and use that as a staging site to test the theme.

Sometimes I follow a long path to get back to where I started, to take up the real challenge, writing, rather than the comfortable one.



I really like this word, loafing.

Is it a privilege of social class, or a measure of success? Maybe it’s just a state of mind.

Ernie J. Zelinski talks about creative loafing, a constructive state of creativity.

Loafing makes me think of Richard Branson wearing a sweater instead of a suit. Something about success that doesn’t need to impress.

Perhaps it’s part of the greater resignation I have in mind. A successful career, filled with creative flow, and without hustle.

I’ve started wearing slippers, during my ‘work’ hours, as a reminder to loaf more and be creative.