Do you have a backup plan? How do you keep things running smoothly in your life? Are some of your processes dialed into a formula?
Sometimes it’s great to have things somewhat automated. When you get to be a pro at something the trick is to make a difficult task look easy.
Remember — perfection is the enemy of excellence. When it comes to being productive on a schedule, it helps to have some tricks up your sleeve.
Case in point: this Monday Love newsletter. You might be a long-time reader, or someone who just joined the list this week. I’d like to think that you are one of the people who sends me a heartfelt thank you note each week, your kind words are the wind in my sails!
It makes me really happy that a lot of people like my writing, and read this newsletter in their mailboxes or on our website’s blog. From time-to-time people will ask me how I do it, what does it take to consistently create engaging content on a regular basis?
Today is as good a time as any to give you a peek behind the curtain and deconstruct my creative process a little bit. These are actually some of the tips I will give people when they hire me one-on-one as a writing or marketing coach.
So let’s take a little meta-look at Monday Love and let me show you the method to my madness I use massaging these messages into place. If you’ve read these for long, you might have guessed that there are some faint outlines hiding behind each week’s color.
Sometime during the week, I’ll get a seed of an idea to germinate in my mind. That’s all I need to be able to sit down, plug it into my mental template, and spin up my weekly message, usually in an hour, or two at the most.
I have some secret weapons too. Siri is my friend, almost every one of these newsletters is spoken into a notepad on my phone or laptop before being edited into what you read. I like my writing to sound like how I talk. So when my writing starts with me speaking, it makes it that much easier.
You’ll notice that this newsletter always starts with two or three questions asked directly to you. This sets the tone, let’s you know I’m talking directly to you, and leads the way to what ever philosophical point I’m making. And no surprise, there’s something about reading a question that makes our human nature want to read on.
Then I generally switch the voice and riff on some cliché or generally pontificate about the overall message I’m aiming to get across. For me, this is usually where I can include you somehow in the universal nature of human experience. And I use the phrase ‘for me’ to avoid making any blanket assumptions about you or your experience of the world.
Then it’s time for the anecdote. Sometimes this will be a true tale from my own past, other times I may be relating something I read in a book or saw in a movie. Occasionally I veer into social issues or current events.
For instance. This piece is inspired by the fact that I’m re-reading the New York novel Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe, a book I remember really loving when I first read it some 20 years ago. Since then I’ve read most of his other books such as the Atlanta adventure A Man in Full, the Southern University saga I Am Charlotte Simmons and his most recent tale of modern Miami, Back to Blood.
They are all wildly different, incredibly well-researched, and vastly entertaining immersions into American life in different cities. And yet they all share a similar architecture. Several story lines begin in sequence, seemingly separate from each other. There’s an all-powerful figure with base human desires at the top of some social pinnacle that makes a fateful mistake. Political or legal figures who are practically caricatures in the way they toy with power and fate form the accidental walls of the maze through which the hero and anti-hero careen.
And through it all, an honest sort of person with an ordinary life blithely travels through the plot with a burning desire to become something more. Hubris and ego brings down the god. Tragic or comic characters lay the threads of coincidence that draw their destinies together. The storylines tighten and weave and intersect until the fate of the fallen collides with the heart of the hero, and a grand life lesson of goodness and grit and glory is revealed.
Wolfe’s formula is a winner. Now back to mine. After my anecdote or insight, I write a few lines or personal words that attempt to pull it all back together, a ‘moral of the story’ if you will. Such as…
Whether you’re a novelist or a blogger, a teacher or a trainer, or any sort of public servant who lives to produce, having a few go-to tropes or templates up your sleeve will help you keep up your flow.
This is coming in handy for me this time-sapped week, as I find myself thrown for a loop with a mystery malady that has me doing the health care dance with the professionals of Western Medicine! Fear not, my prognosis is good, but having a rabbit ready to pull out of my hat is eminently helpful as I’m loathe to drop the Monday Love ball for even a week.
With a big hug of thanks to all of you who are kind and care, I give you another weeks love and warmth to hold like an umbrella of positivity and good vibes. I really appreciate you!
Till next week, all the best!
DANCE FIRST MEMBER SPOTLIGHT – freedomDANCE Sundance Camp in Turkey with Alex Svoboda and Alexa Schmid!
Today’s Dance First Member Spotlight shines on Alex Svoboda and freedomDANCE! A divine mixture of dancers from all over the world will converge at Sundance Camp in Antalya, Turkey this May 8 – 13. Join your community hailing from the UK, Turkey, Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Norway, Germany and all corners of the globe!
Led by freedomDANCE’s Alex Svoboda and Alexa Schmid, this Dance Meditation and Conscious Movement Retreat is your opportunity to experience the magic of Turkey in a beautiful village hidden away from tourists!
Relax and enjoy secluded beaches and wild life, an amazing dome with sprung wooden floor in the forest, delicious Turkish food and welcoming hosts, all held together in the loving attention of two experienced teachers with ample drive and creativity.
Alex is one of Europe and the UK’s most well-loved and sought-after movement leaders. As the founder of freedomDANCE he has built a community foundation of somatic leadership, training teachers and leading retreats and workshops, as well as offering weekly classes in Cambridge.
Dance First is honored to be part of an international network of movement leaders and to know that these forms of expression continue to grow and evolve around the world.
Thanks for your continued membership Alex, and your great work bringing Conscious Dance around the world!