The Productive Creative


Category: Blog

  • 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

    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.

  • Loafing


    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.

  • No Hustle

    No Hustle

    Hustle culture isn’t why I triggered my great resignation. That’s not a lifestyle that I crave.

    Hustle is outcome-focused. Compare this to the practice as described by Seth Godin. I want to live for the practice, not for the outcome.

    “Journey before destination”, as Ali Abdaal might say.

    “You’re a winner when you have a zest for life, when you wake up every morning excited about the day.”

    Ernie J. Zelinski, The Joy of Not Working, page ix, Ten Speed Press

  • A Greater Resignation

    A Greater Resignation

    The Great Resignation Isn’t So Great

    When I had a permanent employment job that I disliked, the phrase ‘great resignation’ sounded very appealing.

    I assumed it was about the opportunities made possible by the creator economy. That people could quit the world of fixed employment for a company and all the culture and practices that go with that lifestyle. We’d take the new opportunities to work for ourselves.

    Instead, it turned out that this ‘great’ resignation was about people quitting their jobs to find another permanent employment with better work conditions. I found that to be a thin vision.

    I want to work on my own terms and to take ownership of my day. For work that makes my life feel ‘great’.