Life Experiment: 30 Posts in 30 Days in 30 Minutes or Less

In an effort to fight off creative boredom and get my writing chops chopping (chomping?) with more regularity, I'm embarking on a 30-day writing commitment here on BarryMorris.net.

I have no plan for this other than to just crank out a daily post for the next 30 days and see how it feels. I have no topic plan, length of post plan, nothing.

Oh, and I can spend no longer than 30 minutes on each post, from inception to publication. Yeah, baby...this is serious stuff.  :lol: 

I'm also going to include original photography in each post, starting with the photo above of my desk at work that I took a few minutes ago. (I'm still successfully avoiding the use of my employer-issued PC laptop).

Each photo will capture a piece of my daily experience. They may not all be gorgeous photos, but they will be all be in black and white in keeping with the motif.

I'm all about the motif. Motif...yeah, I like that word. It just begs to be italicized, don't you think?

I know, you're thrilled

But please, try to contain yourself. 

This is going to be like Julia Cameron's morning pages exercise except my whiny stream-of-consciousness type thoughts will be shared to the world or rather my 600+ readers...a number that I actually don't believe it accurate judging from the lack of comments on my past posts.

Of course, that could just mean I write crap that no one cares about. Whatever. I write for my own sense of gratification anyway. :roll:

This isn't the first time I've done this. When I first read Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg, I embarked on a similar project, but those writings weren't published. But you have to love her guidelines for daily writing practice:

  1. Keep your hand moving (or typing my case)
  2. Loose control
  3. Be specific
  4. Don't think
  5. Don't worry about punctuation, grammar, or spelling (I'll ignore this one)
  6. You are free to write the worst junk in America
  7. Go for the jugular

Where did this idea originate?

No clue. Actually, I do know. I was thinking this morning about how Ev Bogue used to post each day to his minimalist blog, Far Beyond the Stars, in the days before he kind of went off into the wilderness to recreate the decentralized web on a used Chromebook. It's a long story.

This was at a time when minimalism was unique and living with less was intriguing. Now it feels like no one gives it much credence beyond the minimalist celebrities among us.

Perhaps the idea was in the ether and I inhaled...unlike Bill Clinton. OK, that's it...enough bad jokes.

See you tomorrow for my first post du jour

Tunnel Vision

I get it and I get it often.

I get it often and I love it.

For a while, anyway.

The 411 and the evolution of Zen-Journal

In addition to this blog, I also write another. For the past few months, I've been working on it nearly every day. It's become my drug of choice. 

I'm kidding....coffee can never be suplanted as my go-to! 

It's a website and blog about how to use an analog time and life management system I created a few years ago using just a pen, a notebook, and a smartphone (or your favorite digital device).

It all started a few years before when I discovered the Bullet Journal® system, another analog pen-and-paper task management method.

I adopted Bullet Journal® and started using it...and when I say I adopted it, I mean that I did so in a big way.

  • I devoted the very website you're reading now to covering how I used it and how I modified it
  • I wrote and published a book called The Bullet Journal® Power User Guide.
  • I created a course by the same name as well

1,800 students later, the creator of the system (through his attorney) began emailing all authors that were producing works that referenced his creation. Though he never reached out to me personally, his attorney did via a cease-and-desist letter asking me to cease from selling the course.  8-O 

She explained that he was trying to get his arms around the rapidly-expanding enterprise he'd created and attempting to manage the intellectual property to which he had a right.

After trading a few emails back-and-forth with the attorney, I told her I was happy to comply and did exactly that. I stopped selling the course, removed all references to Bullet Journal®, and devoted my attention to other topics.

However, as I describe in this post over at Zen-Journal.com (my other site), the numerous modifications to the Bullet Journal® system I'd made resulted in a more efficient method of managing both my tasks and, in a greater sense, my life. I continued to use this hybrid system, corrected some issues that I never liked, and soon realized that I had something of my own.

Why am I telling you this?

It's my round-about way of explaining why I haven't been posting here. 

As I said, I get tunnel vision.

When I get it, it means I can only see what's in front of me.

For a few months now, Zen-Journal has been what's in front of me.

There more to come here

I'll be posting here to BarryMorris.net again soon. I've missed it.

I have some additional minimalist experiments planned and I'll be telling you about those.

8-)

P.S. Feel free to stop by and download a free user guide to Zen-Journal! Just click on the image below. 

MicroPublishing Is the Wise Choice

If you're like me, you're driven to write and publish. There is something inside you that compels you to write, to edit, to craft a narrative, and the push the product of these activities out into the world.

With the advent of the blogosphere, with its ease of access and one-button publishing options, writing and publishing have become the choice of every writer in the world who has access to a computer and an Internet connection.

Macropublishing v. Micropublishing

There are several advantages to being a micropublisher with the first being the absence of a traditional gatekeeper. The gatekeepers are still alive and well, but the micropublisher doesn't need them.

Traditionally, before the blogosphere, the macro model of publishing was the only option. You worked on your piece (a book, magazine article, or poetry collection) in private over a long period of time, sent them off to a publisher, and then waited for a response.

The odds were overwhelmingly stacked against the independent author and favored those fortunate to be represented by an agent. Even then, your chances of ever seeing your book on bookshelves (then, the only option) was slim.

Traditional publishing houses barely coughed up any money for marketing purposes and this favored those with an existing audience. However, therein was the problem: Unknown, first-time authors didn't have an audience.

Micropublishing helps you grow an audience

The blogger, the fiction author with a secondary blog, even a YouTube creator has the potential to reach and establish a large audience with a lot less effort and obstacles than the traditional macropublisher.

By using an email list, it's now possible to create a list of those granting you permission to reach them with your micropublishing. This is the Holy Grail of online commerce. Those granting permission want to hear from you...just not every day.

If you don't have an email list, you need to start one. I use Mailchimp and I'm very happy with their service.

Armed with an email list and a mission, the micropublisher can offer loyal readers more of their writing in a direct manner without the need to engage an agent, a publisher, or a marketing professional.

Micropublishing doesn't need overhead

As a micropublisher, you don't have to pay a vanity publisher to print limited runs of your book unless you want to. In fact, you don't have to pay for it at all. With the advent of print-on-demand publishers, you can sell a single copy of your book or other publication and have it printed and shipped at your customer's cost.

Perhaps publishing a physical book isn't that important to you and you'd rather emphasize sales and money in your pocket over a physical book in a bookstore that doesn't generate any income. There are great services like Gumroad, my choice for e-commerce providers, that allow your readers to purchase your micropublication directly from your website and download it instantly after purchase.

Micropublishing is here to stay

Whether you want to publish books, micromagazines, an email subscription, or something else, micropublishing is by far the wisest choice you can make. Micropublishing isn't going the way of the Dodo anytime soon. Increasingly, the majority of readers do so on their digital devices.

As an author or writer, isn't it time you stepped up?

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What's MicroPublishing?

MicroPublishing is the term I use to describe the current reality that every writer, blogger, or even hobby story writer who wishes to publish, absolutely can publish...and in nearly any format.

Previously, being published was reserved for the chosen few who made it through the gatekeepers at the big publishing houses. It used to be that if you submitted an unsolicited manuscript to a publisher, it would be relegated to the slush pile, imagine a pile of manuscripts in a dank basement.

It might never be seen again. That's no way to motivate talented writers, right? The reality at present is that if you want to publish, you can publish.

Thanks, Amazon?

While Amazon deserves credit for totally obliterating the gatekeeper structure of the mainstream publishing world by opening both their Kindle Direct Publishing and CreateSpace for print publishing programs, their metaphorical ax also took down the reasonable judgment that accompanied such a structure, thereby allowing anyone to publish.

The result? A lot of poorly written and negligibly edited books and publications. But thanks to Amazon's online review system, a powerful peer-to-peer gatekeeper system of sorts, it's possible to seek out the solid from the otherwise.

More than books

Micropublishing includes much more than books and ebooks for the Kindle. Micromagazines are also a powerful weapon in the micropublisher's arsenal. True to the nature of micropublishing, they're highly-targeted at a select niche.

For example, The Minimalists have partnered with Minimalissimo and 5Style to create both a journal/blog and a micromagazine (Volumes, pictured below) dedicated to the pursuit of a minimalist lifestyle.  Volumes is a premium publication and annual subscriptions run $20.

Brian Gardner at NoSidebar and Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist, both well-trained writers and, as it happens they're also minimalists, have created a micromagazine called Simplify.  They offer each issue at just $6 or a lifetime membership for $20. They offer both a single PDF download or an online reading experience.

That brings us to a discussion about appropriate formats in micropublishing.

Formats abound

Both Volumes and Journal, are online publications, however, as I mentioned just above, Simply Magazine offers both a PDF download per issue or an online reading experience. There is no right way to micropublish when it comes to your micropublishing products, however, there is a choice to be made...and an important one. 

Just as you wouldn't expect a PDF on the Oxford English Dictionary to be well-represented on an iPhone, each micropublication you consider has a preferred, perhaps optimal, medium.

The ever functional PDF, first popularized by Adobe, remains a very effective way to publish in the micropublishing space, and it's very functional for reading on most laptops and tablets, but smaller tablets and smartphones will likely need an online option to maintain the elegant and pleasurable experience I believe we should aim for.

For micromagazines published in landscape orientation, such as Thom Chambers' In Treehouses, laptops and larger tablets are ideal for maintaining the visual experience. Simplify is published in portrait orientation and therefore could be read on almost all digital devices.

The format you choose for your micropublication, whether it is an online experience, a PDF download, or both, will largely depend on audience preference. If you really wanted to serve all audience preferences, and you had the time to do so, you could publish for a landscape, portrait, and online reading experience. 

The format is also influenced by the frequency and length of your micropublication. If you're planning a series of short books, you might choose a portrait presentation in either .mobi or .epub for importing into either the Kindle or iBooks, respectively. Conversely, if your micropublication is much longer and will be more like a micromagazine with multiple issues, your audience might better appreciate a PDF.

A rich space, ripe with opportunity

As you can see, there are many options to consider for the micropublisher. The medium, format, and audience preferences can be many. However, it remains a rich market ripe with opportunity for the micropublisher willing to take their time and develop their publications appropriately.

Perfection Is the Enemy

Perfection is the enemy of the creative

Perfection doesn't exist. Whether our quest is for the perfect motorcycle, the perfect wave, or the perfect smile... we waste our precious time in their pursuit. We fool ourselves into thinking that perfection is real and obtainable when it is, in fact, not.

Your first email subscription won't be perfect; neither will your first sales page. But just as your first kiss, your first attempt at cursive writing, or even your first attempts at walking were awkward, they were good enough.

Good enough is your best friend 

And while that first kiss might have been awkward and your first few steps were probably a bit wobbly, they were good enough. They got the job done. They led to further exploration, a refinement of skill, and most likely better results. 

Good enough is what we're really after as creatives. When we sacrifice perfection on the altar of creativity, we realize that we are, indeed, good enough. 

People buy good enough

My iPhone 7 Plus is good enough, but it's far from perfect. The camera isn't quite as good as the Samsung line of smartphone cameras but it's good enough for taking truly stellar photographs.

My BMW R1150 GS isn't perfect, but it's good enough. It was good enough to get me safely across the United States and back over a three week period without a single problem last summer. It's not the greatest touring bike in the world, but it's good enough.

You're good enough, too

You're not a perfect writer, a perfect marketer, or a perfect businessperson. But you're good enough. And good enough sells like gangbusters.