Face It: You're Just Not That Good

In February 2007, Ta-Nehisi Coates visited the unemployment office in Harlem.

He had just lost his third job in seven years and had come to the office to attend a seminar on, ‘work, responsibility, and the need to stay off the dole.’ He was thirty-one years old.

At that moment, he second-guessed whether he should quit his dream of becoming a writer and get a ‘stable’ job. After all, he had a young family, and, quite understandably, he felt that pursuing this dream made him an irresponsible father. The stats didn’t look great. He was a college drop-out. He was Black in America. Raised on the streets of Baltimore, he found inspiration from hip-hop. Despite that, or perhaps in spite of that, his wife convinced him to continue honing his craft.

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How to Develop and Sustain Creative Thinking

“But unless we are creators we are not fully alive. What do I mean by creators? Not only artists, whose acts of creation are the obvious ones of working with paint of clay or words. Creativity is a way of living life, no matter our vocation or how we earn our living. Creativity is not limited to the arts, or having some kind of important career.” 
— Madeleine L’Engle

Just as Madeleine described, creativity can be injected in all facets of life. Most of us don’t work, at least on an obvious level, in creative jobs. We’re sitting in cubicles. We’re working from home. We’re out in the field. But no matter how we earn our keep, I’m a firm believer that incorporating creativity into your work will not only generate better results, but also help you become more innovative, resourceful, and intentional as a creator. Here are 6 ways that have helped me stay creative in my daily life.

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A Writer's Role

"A writer should concern himself with whatever absorbs his fancy, stirs his heart, and unlimbers his typewriter. I feel no obligation to deal with politics. I do feel a responsibility to society because of going into print: a writer has the duty to be good, not lousy; true, not false; lively, not dull; accurate, not full of error. He should tend to lift people up, not lower them down. Writers do not merely reflect and interpret life, they inform and shape life.

The writer’s role is what it has always been: he is a custodian, a secretary. Science and technology have perhaps deepened his responsibility but not changed it. In ‘The Ring of Time,’ I wrote: ‘As a writing man, or secretary, I have always felt charged with the safekeeping of all unexpected items of worldly or unworldly enchantment, as though I might be held personally responsible if even a small one were to be lost. But it is not easy to communicate anything of this nature.’

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2018: The Year of Side Projects

I recently wrote a blog post that gained some traction on Medium and on my personal blog. What I’ve inferred from the overwhelming response (both via public messages and private emails) is that I’m not so alone in how I feel about the self-improvement industry. We’re being inundated with advice on how to be our best selves but we’re struggling to define what our best self even is.

After some thought, I figured out a way (at least for me) on how to combat this problem: Make more stuff. And in 2018, that’s exactly what I plan on doing.

After some thought, I figured out a way (at least for me) on how to combat this problem: Make more stuff. And in 2018, that’s exactly what I plan on doing.

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Why I Would Be Happy if Professional Blogs Didn’t Exist

Professional blogs are boring.

They replicate mass media.
They don’t bring any fresh ideas to the table.
They take middle-of-the-road positions on everything.
They focus on churning out content, not for its intrinsic value but for clicks (for revenue)
They outsource their content at very little cost (guest posts or ghostwriters).
They refrain from controversial positions in fear of losing their audience.
And often, their success was simply built on being the first to leverage some marketing strategy (which is perfectly reasonable and not bad at all).

Simply put, their business is designed to replicate how top-tier new media organizations are structured, just on a smaller, niche-focused scale.

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What This Brilliant, Underrated French Author Taught Me About Sacrifice

Violette Leduc lived most of her life feeling sorry for herself.

She was born to a servant girl and a rich father who refused to legitimize her.

Growing up she had poor self-esteem and had difficulty making friends.

After World War I, she was sent to a boarding school where she first experienced sexual intimacy with a fellow female classmate. Later, she embarked on an affair with her musical instructor, who was later fired after their affair had been revealed.

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