“Your skill will be whatever it is you’re doing differently.”

–Jerry Saltz


The theme for this week is “making it”: how to make it, how to define making it, and how to eliminate the distractions that not only keep you from making it but keep you from making anything.


What I’m Reading

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport – I try not to get hysterical about these book recommendations, and I want to avoid prescribing “absolute must-reads” or saying there’s something wrong with you if you haven’t read a certain book. But in the case of Deep Work, drop whatever you’re doing and read it.

This book will not only change the way you approach work, but it will change the way your brain allocates its precious attention and focus. After one week of implementing some of the distraction-cutting suggestions Newport lays out, I’ve almost doubled my word count per hour, and I’m getting more done in shorter workdays.

“How to Be an Artist: 33 rules to take you from clueless amateur to generational talent (or at least help you live life a little more creatively).” – A massive post that does just what it says–takes you through the stages of becoming an artist from starting out to navigating the politics of success. Most of Saltz’s advice can apply to writers or creatives of any type. He gives some outstanding creativity prompts that can work in a variety of media

“You Probably Won’t Make it to the Top” – Ruby on Rails developer and Basecamp founder David Heinemeier Hansson urges creatives and entrepreneurs to stop comparing themselves to others  and instead focus on the work itself:

“Luxuriate in the experience and flow of getting better. Stop playing games where you can’t set the rules. Start winning the ones where you can.”

“Don’t Save Anything for the Swim Back” and “Never Complain; Never Explain” – Words to live by from The Art of Manliness. The first is a philosophy of total commitment from the movie Gattaca. The second is the personal motto of Benjamin Disraeli and Winston Churchill which I have tattooed on my forearm. I plan to write something about that soon.

What I’m Listening To

Churchill: Walking with Destiny by Andrew Roberts – A 50-plus-hour audiobook on the life of Winston Churchill. I’ve found that by choosing long books on Audible I can let my free credits accumulate and end up with several free books every time I finish one. I plan on breaking up this epic listen with a few shorter audiobooks.

“Vice signaling” on the Joe Rogan Experience – Joe Rogan and math genius Eric Weinstein kick off their nearly 4-hour conversation by contrasting the merits of virtue signaling and vice signaling. Weinstein argues that vice signaling is a “growth industry.” In short, leading with one’s faults and vices is more honest, rarer, and more valuable than advertising one’s virtues and one’s ability to toe the line of inoffensiveness.

What I’m Watching

The American Meme – An almost too painful to watch Netflix documentary about social media stars and their lives off-screen. Fantastic motivation if you’ve recently quit social media and feel like you’re missing anything.

What I’m Writing

A Medium article about my first week off Facebook and why I decided to give it up.

I’m working on a post getting into “vice signaling” and how I’ve seen it play out in my own life. I’m also outlining my own reflection on the maxim “Never Complain. Never Explain” and why I decided to tattoo those words on my arm.


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