By Tim Denning
My writing has reached millions more people this month than any other month in the last six years.
This is not a humblebrag. It’s a moment to study and learn from.
What has changed this month with my writing? Let’s analyze so you can use the learnings to help your work outperform, too.
A dramatic shift in soundtracks
The soundtrack you write to affects your mood. Your mood affects your writing — big time.
This month I started writing to different music as an experiment away from the typical movie soundtracks.
A song like “Prodigy — Breathe” produced this insane writing style. It was hypnotic. Full of energy. Unstoppable, even.
Action you can take: Change the music you create to. Watch the difference.
A lot of the writing I read online puts me to sleep.
I realized that writing puts me to sleep when there is no personality. Dry facts about meditation and walking are so boring. But a slow walk with Madonna or a meditation session with a crane hitting your house is interesting.
This month I have really let my personality be unleashed. I’ve stopped thinking about what might upset people and said what, to me, is helpful.
All of us have oodles of personality underneath our fragile egos. Let go of how people perceive you, and be yourself. You won’t get fired by being yourself unless you become a troll and tear other people’s dreams to the ground.
Action you can take: practicecreating content for social media that is unfiltered. Drop the F-bomb if you must and don’t feel guilty.
3X more flow
Yeah, yeah, yeah….you’ve heard it before. But flow states can change your life. This month I have experimented and life-hacked the heck out of flow states. I reached a record the other day of 8 hours in a flow state.
These flow states have seen me go from 10 blog posts a week to 14–15. The number of social media posts I can create has doubled too.
Here’s the trick to flow: wireless headphones that don’t leave your head.
Yep, I discovered this hack by accident. I started going to the bathroom, making lunch, and reading books with the same music repeating over and over. The non-stop music put me in a trance. Before, I would take the headphones off several times a day.
When you take your headphones off, you break your flow state.
Action you can take: buy some noise-canceling headphones and leave them on for an entire day. Aim to beat how much time you can spend in flow being creative.
An enhanced work ethic
This month I have worked my face off. I have really gone all-in rather than danced on the sidelines of excuses, blaming and fragile complaints.
I have put in a lot more work and not been tempted by pathetic distractions like another movie on Netflix that tells me nothing about life.
A simple creative hack is this: work more hours than you did last month. You can simply outwork your prior results if you choose. It’s so stupidly easy to do.
Action you can take: estimate how many hours you worked last month. Beat your record this month (without working yourself into the ground).
Contemplate this question:
What if what you did changed the world?
This question has changed the reason for me to be creative. When you attach yourself to a big idea like changing the world, you do what you do, differently. I keep thinking maybe I’m helping a person through one of the most difficult times in history. I have attached this idea to every writing day.
“Today I’m writing so someone doesn’t lose their job, or to help a stranger start a business.” This self-talk stops me from worrying about my precious goals and fantasies of sitting on a beach drinking water out of a coconut.
Action you can take: steal my question to be creative or create your own. Choose a question to ask yourself consistently that is bigger than you.
My writing has become a lot more visual. I have added a lot more imagery to how I write. When I describe failure I use descriptions you can visualize. If your dream burned to the ground like the twin towers on 911, could you visualize that? Does it feel different?
Action you can take: describe the advice you can offer with relatable images.
Shake more hands
This month I have made it a daily habit to connect with a new writer. I have reached out to big writers like James Altucher, and writers many of you have never heard of.
These writers have supported my work and helped it reach larger audiences without me having them to beg them to do anything. These writers have also helped me get out of my creative bubble. They’ve said things like “that article you wrote made no sense.”
Fellow creators show you your flaws.
Action you can take: meet one new creator each day. Don’t ask them for anything, just talk.
Read to learn
I have read more blog posts this month than any other month (check my profile to see). A consistent learner eventually increases their results, subtly.
Reading other writers has been a lot of fun too. Maybe all you need to do is read more so you can learn more. Reading is an underrated life hack that any creative can use to be inspired more often and stumble across new ideas.
Action you can take: set one-hour aside each day to read short blog posts.
Treat strangers better
This one is hard to admit. Some months I have accidentally treated people badly. I have replied to a message with a smartass response or been accidentally unkind.
No one likes a smartass.
This month has been all about treating everybody well. If a troll messages me, I thank them and try to build them up, rather than tell them they are wrong. If my social media account gets taken away (one of them did) I ask nicely for the issue to be resolved. If a company that has my money (like a travel agent) goes bankrupt and I need to call them, I put myself in their shoes and talk nicely. Everybody has the capacity to be nice.
The crazy part is when you treat everybody — not just a few people — better, they treat you better back. Why is this important? You need other people to be creative and 10X your results. As a writer I rely on publications, editors, readers, business owners and freelancers to make my vision a reality.
Action you can take: stop yourself next time you feel like you’re going to lose control and be rude to someone. Choose to say nothing.
This article isn’t a brag fest for Timmy’s ego. Hopefully you have learned a few ways you can create more and level-up your results. If all you do is put more effort into your work this month than you did last month, you’ll see a tangible difference in your results.
Don’t be afraid to unleash your personality, treat people better, double down on your creative habits, contemplate questions bigger than you, and meet more people who can help you progress your goals.
Phenomenal results help you dissect your process, so you can go further in your life than you ever imagined.
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