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I came across an article from nearly a decade ago that talked about how one writer 5X’d her writing speed.
She came up with a triangle method. Here are the three sides:
Alone, each method can boost your numbers quite a bit, but combining all three will yield profound results.
While originally designed for increasing writing speed, these methods can be adapted for content creation in general. That’s what we’re talking about today.
If you’ve been feeling stuck, it’s very likely one or more of these methods will unlock things for you.
Links & Resources Mentioned
Note: This transcript of the episode was machine-generated by Descript and has not been edited for correctness. It’s provided for your convenience when searching. Please excuse any errors.
Sean: [00:00:00] When you go and you do all three at the same time, boom, you’re in the zone.
Ben: [00:00:04] It’s like the clue method. mmm. Yeah, we get because it’s so it’s always a person in a place with a weapon.
Good morning, Sean. It’s going great. Yeah, how are you
Sean: [00:00:40] God. I got to go to a concert to his a lot of fun. I had so here’s what happened. You know, I went to Hawaii on vacation and I booked a hotel through my like credit card, you know Associated partner kind of thing because I would get more points.
And it was going to be a big juicy pool of points. They also had a pool. But I’m describing the amount of points. I was going to get from staying at this hotel because it was associate and so I look at my points and I’m like, yeah, that’s pretty good. All right, and I had assumed that they’d already been deposited and then I get an email and it’s like you just got 25,000 points and I was like, oh, okay.
Alright started kind of burning a hole in my pocket. You know, I wasn’t I wasn’t really intending to use them right away. But when. When I got this newsletter, that’s like Hey, we’re playing on tour. We’re going to be in Dallas. I was like, okay, I got to go. So I booked just some flights. It’s like a 42
Ben: [00:01:47] Where you say you flew
Sean: [00:01:50] yeah, but that’s like 10 hours of driving or something, you know, so so I wanted to surprise a few of my brother’s so I kind of like plan this.
Elaborate thing where they didn’t know what was going on and people made sure they didn’t make plans and they were picked up and so we all got to go to a concert together and there’s a lot of fun.
Ben: [00:02:11] That’s awesome. What did you did you see? Who did you see anybody? We
Sean: [00:02:17] talked about in the pre-show.
So I figure we’ll just get to the topic today.
Ben: [00:02:19] Okay, leave leave them guessing. That’s cool. It was Nickelback. All right.
Sean: [00:02:26] walked right into that one. No. No.
Ben: [00:02:31] Why not there? I mean they’re all right. You ready?
Sean: [00:02:35] listened in 2007. We all did Ben we just
Ben: [00:02:41] did and you know what most of us we still like up we like the Nickelback.
Look at this Photograph. It’s a classic.
Sean: [00:02:52] don’t think it’s a classic yet like someday somehow. It’s kind of make it. Alright, but not right now. I know you’re wondering when but we got to do a show. Thank you.
Ben: [00:03:07] really good.
Sean: [00:03:09] So today we’re talking about three ways to get unstuck and make more content last week.
We talked about how to create daily content, which was really good go back and listen to that if you want to hear more about especially video. Chopping up things into clips and distributing distributing it on social media, but I came across this article from like nearly a decade ago eight years or something from an author who was talking about writing and improving her writing speed like 5x.
She was doing something like two thousand words a day which you know, some people would say that’s pretty good. She wanted to get to Ten Thousand Words a day. And she was experimenting and this article is sharing her methods and stuff. And if you want to link to that, it’ll be in the show notes for this episode Shawn with.com.
4-5-1 451 will have a link to that article is by Rachel Aaron Rachel Aaron Rachel Bach. She changed her name, but it’s how I went from writing two thousand words a day to Ten Thousand Words a day. And so she came up with this triangle method. There’s three sides to it. We’re going to talk about it today.
Number one knowledge. Number two time number three enthusiasm and each of these were going to dive into they can definitely boost your numbers quite a bit. But when you combine all three of them. That’s when you’re going to get really profound results. But here’s what I actually want to do today.
I found this article and I was inspired by it. She’s talking about increasing her writing speed. But I think a lot of these these ideas can apply to just content Creation in general and whether you know that might involve writing but some of these I mean, even if you create are even if you make music, I think a lot of this can apply across the board, so.
If you’ve been feeling stuck when it comes to content, I think one of these methods is going to
Ben: [00:05:12] a position where I feel stuck, but. I. I have plans for I have a strategy for creating more content and I can already feel it in my body. Like I’m anticipating this moment where I you know, step up to the blank page and I’m like, oh no, what do I do?
And and so I’m really excited about this topic because I’d like to just avoid that altogether like I’m ready to dive in and just get rolling. So I’m excited.
Sean: [00:05:49] right. Well, let’s do it. So this this this article wasn’t really written with any kind of graphic in mind, but I think after she wrote it someone made.
A visual for her which is kind of cool and it’s just a triangle very simple triangle. And at one corner, you have the word knowledge one has time one has enthusiasm and so in her article she talks about the different sides of the triangle and side number one is knowledge or know what you’re writing before you write it.
So just a few highlights from her article that I want to bring into today’s discussion and see how we can apply it to content Creation in general. She said I wasted a lot of time rewriting and backtracking. So that’s that’s a very common thing that really slows us down is going back. Reading what we’ve already written going back over it rewriting it that’s going to slow you down a lot and there’s a bunch of bullets and stuff on each of these but feel free to just interrupt me in jump in then and we can kind of expand on some of these these are just highlights from the article.
So if you really are interested in writing and speeding up your writing speed definitely check out the link in the show notes shamas.com 451. She said I started scribbling a very short hand truncated version of the scene on paper. So again, she’s a she’s a novelist. She’s talking about creating a story, you know, there’s characters in it, but she started scribbling a shorthand truncated version of the scene.
Now when I apply this when I think of like blog posts or something, I do something very similar. I had put out a video long time ago called watch me write a blog post. And I outline in a similar way I saw someone recently. I think it was like one of the base camp guys. He was he was being asked about like, how do you write and he was he was just like I just right I just right through all the way to the end till I’m done.
I’m like, I can’t that’s not how I work. I can’t do that. Like I first have to think about what is it that I’m writing and then I break it into pieces. And I make little bullet points and outline and like then I go expand on each of those like I go back through and I look at each bullet and I think okay.
What what is this trying to say? What do I really want to say here and I expand on each of them. But the first step for me is outlining the whole thing. Just kind of give it a little structure right a few bullets and then go back and flush it
Ben: [00:08:33] Yeah, I’m actually very much for that method because I think what it does for you it like before you start writing your already organizing your thoughts and you’re already structure.
Especially for informational stuff is super important if you’re trying to teach something or you’re trying to. Across information. I mean even even this podcast episode for the most part. has some kind of structure or outline or forethought given to it so that there’s a clear path to follow as you’re listening or as you’re reading and and that’s so that’s where I think like outlining is it is for you to be able to organize your thoughts and to have.
You know to be able to kind of focus on one chunk at a time to expand it out, but it’s also for your readers sake like it it makes it so much easier for them to follow you through your thoughts and and to follow you through the information to get to the result. You’re trying
Sean: [00:09:46] Yeah, I you know, I always thought of outlines as the second part which is it’s good for the reader.
It’s good for the listener because then you’re not rambling as much you get to a point you hit some interesting Milestones along the way. But it’s also great for you. It just makes things a lot easier because it’s kind of like paint by numbers or connect the dots, you know, you make the dots in the first place, but then you come back in and you’re like, all right, cool.
I know what I need to do because I’ve got this outline. It’s a similar thing not just with blog post. But if you’re making a film, you know, you got to think about what is the story? I’m telling here. I had to think about this when I was going on my trip like what? What am I trying to make and I was trying to make multiple things which just made it extra.
Messy and maybe I could use this over here. Maybe I could tell the story about a trip and maybe I could show the cool things that I saw maybe I could tell people how to pack but it was all just kind of jumbled in my mind and I didn’t really I didn’t really nail it down like which which one am I going to pick and what’s going to what am I going to use for
Ben: [00:10:52] Now and in fictional writing there’s there’s something kind of unique about approaching the story because sometimes and and different writers have different methods for this, but
Sean: [00:11:05] what is it this the Stephen King calls it is it panzers
Ben: [00:11:09] I’m not sure I’ve not
Sean: [00:11:11] where you go by the seat of your pants.
So to speak
Ben: [00:11:15] Okay. Yeah, yeah.
Sean: [00:11:16] some people kind of like they know the end. And it’s just about getting there and then some people are like I’m just going to see what I’m just going to throw the characters into this scenario and see
Ben: [00:11:32] know like talking to Rachel about her writing process. Sometimes she kind of does this mental thing where she says?
to her characters. Okay, what are you what are you going to do? And then she just observes them acting out whatever scene and it and so it is kind of a creative observe as Observatory process, but it’s because the story doesn’t really exist yet. The end doesn’t exist yet. And so you’re trying to discover what that is.
And and I think that is that shares a commonality with. Almost all writing is before you can outline. You do need to understand what the story is and what the end result is.
Sean: [00:12:22] dancing. It’s plotters versus pants sirs is the expression used in the novel and Community. He says, I don’t know if King came up with it, but it’s commonly used but what also named Rachel the author of this article is talking about is she writes a shorthand truncated version of the scene.
So maybe she doesn’t know all the details, but she’s kind of mapping out like what. What is the
Ben: [00:12:49] she’s so so in that case. She’s telling the characters what the story is. She’s she’s dictating the story. She’s she’s creating that and. and that has to happen before. You can outline and start adding detail at like absolutely so I think there’s I think it’s just the difference between like.
the method for. creating that story whether that’s allowing it to happen kind of organically which Some people prefer to do or having some specific ideas saying I’m more that way like, I like to I like to think about. Where the story’s going what the moral of the story is going to be in like
Sean: [00:13:40] It’s so hard to show up to a blank page.
Which is the thing that we talked about in 30 days to better writing the course inside the community. We’re actually going through in the month of October. It’s it’s giving your future self some prompts planning your topics in advance. So you don’t just show up to the blank page and say what am I going to write?
Similarly? You don’t show up to a beautiful location and and wonder what am I going to film? What story am I going to tell? And you don’t show up to the blank canvas as an artist and say what am I going to paint like you should plan that out before you open up the paint, you know before you get to the easel plan it out.
You want to know give yourself a prompt? It’s just so much easier. She says if you want to write faster and any time she’s talking about writing. I’m just thinking about all types of content creation. The first step is to know what you’re writing. Before you write it. This is how I create content.
I have I have different lists in my to-do app. I use things. It’s got like Mac iOS iPad app, it all sinks together and I have one one category in there one list called content prompt ideas. And any time I have any idea that could be content. I just dump it in there. And then from there I can I can create whatever I want.
I could make it a quote graphic. I can make it a podcast. I can make it blog post. I can become anything else and I might move it to another list of here’s things. I’m going to make for Instagram right? But but I’m constantly feeding. Ideas into that list so that whenever I’m because I’m in these different modes.
Sometimes I’m in a creative ideas mode and that’s when I want to log those ideas. You know, I wrote recently on sabbatical dot blog about my experience with closing my Apple watch rings every day for a year. And I said the LTE Apple watch is worth it to me because. The two places right? I get some of my best ideas and they’re also the most difficult places to capture those ideas are in the shower and on a run.
And I have a waterproof notepad. It’s called aqua notes. It’s great. And then I have the LTE Apple watch and you know, the are pods that let you say the Siri command. And so when I’m on a run I can just tell Siri to remind me of something or create a note. And I just capture any time. I have an idea.
I capture it immediately. So I never forget because I don’t try to remember that’s pretty good. I just let the computer remember it for me. So I’m in this ideas mode could be running could be taking a shower could be having a conversation with someone capture capture. Okay, then other times I’m in production mode right now.
I’m in production mode my hair looks pretty good. Lights are on microphones recording cameras are rolling got an outline in front of me. We’re in the studio. We’re streaming or on schedule people are showing up live. I’m in production mode. So what would be really smart is when I’m in production mode to have things ready to go.
All right. I’m in production mode give me something you know, it’s like what’s his name? You know, we’ll do it live.
Well, anyway, you got your newscasters.
Ben: [00:17:19] was terrible you like booted over to me and I wasn’t even ready.
Sean: [00:17:24] your newscasters.
Ben: [00:17:26] oh, oh, I know you time. We’ll do
Sean: [00:17:31] they’re ready to go. You know, they got the the powder on their face they get they got the suit, you know, they’re like, let’s go give me the teleprompter right?
I’m ready to produce. Let’s go live. What am I going to say? And they’re ready. Here’s what you’re going to say. We got the teleprompter ready to go. Here’s your outline. We’re going to go to the weather. We’re going to take a commercial break production mode. The when you’re in production mode, you need something ready to go.
You don’t want to be in production mode and it’s just like football stadium lights on you, you know, you’re on a stage. You’re like a deer in the headlights. You don’t know what to say you forgot your lines. Like what am I even doing here? You need to know what you’re doing here. So for me creating content, like I don’t try to think of something today.
I just say all right. I’m at my desk. I need to produce something today. I’m going to make a quote. Graphic. What quote graphic am I going to make I’m going to go to my quote list when I came up with ideas on a walk. No, I want Sharon because then they’ll you know, it’ll ruin it. Right but like I come up with ideas on the walk.
I say something Lacey. I’m like, oh that’s good. So I capture I put in the boatless. I’m like, I’ll make a graphic of that someday, so I don’t open Photoshop like mmm. Hmm. I just look at the list.
Ben: [00:18:58] Yeah.
Sean: [00:19:00] You know, you’ve been try humming on a podcast. It doesn’t translate you have to go like 10x.
Ben: [00:19:09] As that was my best. I feel like if you got to cover a whole octave, right if you’re on a podcast, okay, I want to I want to talk about this like modes and mediums thing because something kind of caught me a moment ago about this idea that you have different modes that you’re in right? So you’ve got this mode that you’re in where ideas come to you and.
You want to have a you know, you want to have a habit you want to have a method for capturing those ideas as they come to you, but there’s the mode of outlining and kind of doing prep. There’s the mode of writing or maybe you’d call that production mode. Like we don’t we don’t need to Define all of these different modes.
The first question that kind of popped in my mind was well could could those modes not happen in the same medium like. If you sit down to a blank page and you’re trying to discover the story. Whether that’s creating it or herbs that you know, whatever you’re doing. Could you not do that in the same Medium as you use when you get into production mode?
Seven eight, so. so the thing we’re trying to avoid a sitting down to a blank page and trying to write out the story editing ourselves the whole time like. Hey, you know continuously hitting the backspace key try and trying to produce content and so but there is there is a time like when you’re writing the outline.
Where you are pickier about. how you title things and the words that you use because you’re trying to create a good structure for yourself. And so I guess I guess my question is first like. does it matter that that happens in the same medium and then a follow-up question is are there benefits to.
Making sure that different modes. Have different mediums so that you train yourself. When you arrive at a specific medium you train yourself to snap into whatever mode that Medium is made for. okay,
Sean: [00:21:47] I meant I might do that subconsciously. I
Ben: [00:21:50] Well, so for example the Rachel the writer that you mentioned.
Rights, like hand rights.
Sean: [00:21:59] don’t
Ben: [00:22:02] Okay. Okay. Well, so but you said that when you have ideas like you have a specific place where you capture them, that’s not the same place that you create the content. And and so like having those as two separate things like one serves a specific purpose and it’s easier for you to be in that mode.
Because you’re using that specific medium or that Medium is the only one available to you at specific times
Sean: [00:22:34] Yeah that there is a lot of power to creating those associations on purpose with this. We’re triangles all the way down today. I call it the focus triangle device location and time. So if you do a particular activity if you consistently do it on a particular device phone iPad can desktop computer.
That helps strengthen the association Health shoe snap into the mode much more quickly a second method is location. So if you do a particular task or activity in a specific place like in your living room or your home office or the coffee shop. Once again, it’s quicker and easier to snap into that mode and create that Association.
The third one is time time of day that you do your particular activity. Writing, you know, prepping whatever it is. Maybe it’s in the morning 6:00 6:00 a.m. You do a certain thing consistently help strengthen the association 12 p.m. For p.m. 8 p.m. You know, whatever that is, right, you’ve got device location and time when you combine all three of those that’s where it gets really interesting really powerful.
So you say all right every morning at 6:00 a.m. I’m going to write on my iPad. In the beanbag in my home office and you could pick a particular topic or whatever, but that way when it’s six a.m. And you go sit in your bean bag with your with your iPad in your lap. You’re just in that zone like you’re ready to go because there’s so many things that are associated with the feeling of doing that another example could be on your phone in the living room.
At 6 p.m. Or it could be 10 a.m. On Wednesdays at the coffee shop on your laptop or you know, you know what I mean. So you combine all of these and then when you go and you do all three at the same time, boom you’re in the zone. the clue method.
Ben: [00:24:38] mmm. Yeah, because it’s always a person in a place with a.
weapon of some sort. For those who want to use that particular strategy could time not just include a specific time, but some association with an activity that’s done at a certain time. So like in
Sean: [00:25:04] oh, yeah it
Ben: [00:25:05] like after breakfast I always do you
Sean: [00:25:08] Like like podcasting for instance, you know, we do happen to do it at exactly 10:00 a.m.
But maybe you record your own podcast at home. And sometimes it’s 10 and other times you have to work around your kids schedule and it’s another time but its podcast time. totally. so that’s the first one it’s knowledge and she says of the three sides of the triangle. I consider knowledge to be the most important.
And if I expand on this a little bit. It’s also just going to be easier to okay, let’s let’s establish what she’s talking about with knowledge. And then what I’m about to say with her knowledge is knowing what your writing before you write it planning essentially, but you could also look at it as knowledge as in domain expertise.
Do you know your subject matter and it’s going to be easier to create. On a topic where you have knowledge, so maybe this just might this might help unlock things for you. Maybe you’ve been struggling because you’ve been trying to create or produce in areas where you don’t have knowledge and that’s not to say you shouldn’t venture out and and learn and do new things.
That’s great. But you might want to bifurcate that into research and learning. And enhancing that knowledge and then creating and producing and writing and teaching instead of trying to like do it all at once. Like I don’t know the subject matter, but I’m going to try and produce in it that could be where
Ben: [00:26:45] Yeah, I mean it’s it’s super hard because what you the position you into putting yourself in is.
you either have to be very shallow. on certain points because you don’t have the the depth of knowledge and experience from spending gears with a specific topic or you end up getting. Really bogged down in trying to find the deeper stuff as you go and like neither of those is fun because on the one hand you’re producing terrible content that isn’t really as helpful as it should be for the specific topic.
You’re you’re writing about or. You were taking much longer than you should to create a single piece of topic a single piece of content on that topic and. I actually like I worry about this a little bit because there are there things for podia that I want to that I want to produce but I’ve been leading really heavily on topics that I’m very familiar with.
But I know there’s a wide range of topics that are relevant to the audience that I’m speaking to that. I don’t just don’t have as much knowledge on and and I’ve been thinking I really need to create a habit. I need to create a routine like build it into my work day where i’m just consuming and learning and researching not for a specific thing that I know I’m going to be writing about.
But for the specific topics that I know are relevant to my audience that I’m will eventually write about and and the good thing about, you know, setting up that practice of researching and learning is that it can produce ideas. It can give you ideas for things that you can write about you can you can start to make connections between the communication you’re having with your audience and topics or issues that they’re bringing up.
And things that you’ve been learning and researching that you can then point them to then use as references in the content that you’re creating. So, I mean, there are a lot of good things that
Sean: [00:29:06] and another idea could be that you interview someone who has expertise on a certain subject. So they they get a little bit of exposure, you know kind of build there.
What am I trying to say build their perception? What’s the word? I’m suddenly lost
Ben: [00:29:26] Oh
Sean: [00:29:27] Yeah, something like that. Right? Like like people know them for that thing more see sometimes I know there’s a perfect word and then I Stumble because I don’t have the perfect word and I could just like go a notch down and be fine, but I just get caught up because
Ben: [00:29:42] Sometimes I’m writing and there’s a there’s a word I want to use but I can’t remember exactly how to spell that word and instead of trying to figure it out.
I just use a different
Sean: [00:29:54] don’t you just kind of like mash the keyboard kind of close and see if autocorrect gets it. All right, because autocorrect never works when you want to yeah, so you could you could interview someone there’s a comment here. Jordan said my husband is really good with idea generation consistently showing up to create is harder for him with all the distractions of family life.
She actually was talking about some other stuff, but this kind of gave me an idea. you you might be more inclined towards one or more of these different modes than others like idea generation versus execution, you know actually producing right and it’s not to say that you can’t. Get better and do both or do do all of them.
Like I certainly think you can and and there’s a lot of Merit to it. But something to consider is maybe even potentially partnering with or collaborating with someone who has a complementary strengths. So if you’re not so much the ideas person, but you can get stuff done and someone else is like just constantly generating amazing ideas, but they’re not the.
Why do I want to say executioner? And that sounds like someone’s gonna die. You could partner with them. All right side number two time. Side number two of the triangle we have knowledge first and then time. So what she means the author of the article Rachel means with time is track productivity and evaluate.
So she said I’d kept no records of my progress. She’s kind of looking back and realizing I never tracked hours never kept a record of how long it took me to actually produce the thing. I was selling. Yeah, pretty stupid way to work. So I thought that was interesting. You know, how how long does it take you to create something whether its product or its content it could be podcast could be art could be video course book.
Chances are you don’t actually know like you might think you know, but you haven’t tracked your time and you forgot about the preparation and the post-production and the proofing and the distribution. You don’t really know how long things take you you have to track your time and it doesn’t have to be complicated.
Oh no time tracking.
Ben: [00:32:23] I
Sean: [00:32:25] Yeah. When do I put that in my schedule? You could do a really simple version where you just write on a sticky note the time you start and then you write the end time you could use a spreadsheet you could use the notes app on your phone. You could use an actual app for time tracking like there’s their services that make this easy, but.
it wouldn’t be a good idea. If a business didn’t know how much time went into producing. What they sell or what keeps them in business or how long it takes to run a marketing campaign. You’ve got to get a good idea of this stuff. So you can you can know what a bunch of things like is this worth my time.
Am I behind a my ahead? Where can I make up time? Where can I save time? You know, it’s just awareness.
Ben: [00:33:18] Yeah, it’s it’s really difficult to. Improve if you’re not collecting data. And the more specific the data you collect. the easier it is to see where you can improve and so like and. I joked about like I don’t have time to track my time, but it’s it’s a legitimate thing like I get to the end of my day and I feel like I’ve just been I’ve just been working and working and working and and I’m like Oh, my day is done.
Like I feel like I had zero margin in there to actually write down like what I was doing from this time to this time excetera. but if I look back and I’m being honest with myself like. I know there were places where I started feeling burned out. And I know there were places where some like the computer was thinking or something was rendering and I got distracted and I went to Facebook.
Like I know I know those places exist and if I keep better records if I’m actually tracking those things then it’s a lot easier for me to see like, okay. Well, why did I get burned out? How long was I was I doing that specific thing or what was I doing when I when I started feeling that way like those are those are really important things because then you can start to structure.
You can actually design your routine and your and your work methods around how you work best and you can start to get rid of those spaces. Where you. You have to take you have to take a break and get lost on social media or you know, whatever happens that’s super useful and it’s kind of it reminds me of the metaphor you make about like.
zooming out like you wouldn’t you wouldn’t just continue driving in the wrong direction and an assumed like I’m I guess I’m going in the right direction without actually looking at a map and confirming where you’re going. It’s a similar thing. Like you think you’re you think you don’t have time to track stuff, but what’s but you also don’t know how much time you’re losing because you’re not being
Sean: [00:35:46] mmm.
Yeah, that’s that’s a good way of reframing it. You think you don’t have time but you don’t really you don’t even know how much time you’re losing.
Ben: [00:35:59] mmm.
Sean: [00:36:02] So she says I would note the time. I started the time. I stopped how many words I wrote and where I was writing on a spreadsheet thought that was really good.
So start time stop time. Output word count and then where I was writing so how might you take something away from this if you’re doing something other than writing. Well, when did you start? When did you stop? What did what did you produce what were you able to do during that time? What was the result?
Did you make three video clips? Did you batch produce for blog posts? Did you make. Five quote Graphics, whatever it is that you need to do for your content. And where were you. Because that that could provide some insights so the time of day and then where you were can kind of help you see. Oh, look, I’m more productive here or I’m less productive there.
Ben: [00:37:04] And I think you can you know, like be creative about what data points you want to gather because sometimes I mentioned earlier like I started feeling burned out that’s an important piece of data. Like if you if you start to feel burned out or you your you’re feeling like a certain part of the process is tedious or you feel yourself getting distracted.
You know tune in like that could be something that you want to tune into to help you gather data on where that’s happening. Why and what you might be able to change to avoid? Those you know, unwanted feelings that keep you from doing your best work. So yeah, I mean, I think I think for whatever your specific usage case is you can.
You can try to imagine like what are what are the data points that are? most relevant to what I’m doing. and it you know, like it could it could have something to do with
Sean: [00:38:12] going to say a surprising data point that she found was what she calls but in chair time which is just like if she sat down and wrote for 30 minutes the amount she wrote for for 30 minutes would be much lower.
Then the amount she wrote per 30 minutes if she sat down for 4 hours. So like what she meant was the longer I wrote the faster I wrote so sometimes you’re just not giving yourself enough time to get into that state of flow. So you just kind of poke at it a little bit and then you move on to something else.
And you’re you’re not really satisfied with your output. Well, if you had a little bit more button chair time, which means just okay. I am blocking this off this time right here is for writing or in our case, whatever your content type is producing that this is my time. You will produce more you will produce faster on average.
For that time potentially like like at least this is this is what it was for her. This is why you want to track these metrics because you’ll want to see what it is for you for you, but in my case I can say the same if I just kind of poke it something for a few minutes. I don’t get that much done.
Whereas if I dedicate a block of time in average I get way more done.
Ben: [00:39:48] that data also. Allows you to experiment with other things too. So like. it might have happened to be that she had 30 minute blocks and for our blocks and that like that was already a part of her schedule. But let’s say that you’ve been you’ve only been giving yourself an hour a day.
To write or an hour a day to do whatever else and you measure your results over the course of a week or two weeks. And then you have a baseline. So let’s say for the next period whatever that is, whether it’s a week or two weeks. You’re going to increase it from one hour a day to two hours a day and see how that changes the the data it like.
Do you write twice as much or do you end up writing three times as much because you’re able to get into flow.
Sean: [00:40:42] And to add on to this like because immediately I know people are reacting to this. Like I can’t do that can do that don’t have the time right? But think about it this way if you don’t think in terms of like, oh double your time every day in perpetuity, you do an hour a day.
Try two hours a day. It’s like yeah, that would be nice, you know, but but try this out maybe set it up to where you could get. One day where you did two hours to track it and see how you perform. Right? And let’s say you actually do four times better, which I don’t think is out of the question in terms of output like on average right if you if you have more time that’s focused and you can go into deeper Focus.
You can actually get way more than just a linear amount. More time right? It’s exponential. So let’s say that was the case and that’s what you found. Like. Wow, if I can get two hours instead of one. I’m four times as productive and your data shows that well what you might be able to do is instead of working on this thing kind of poking at it, you know chipping away at it an hour a day every day.
Maybe you could have this. This holy day of Monday were you’ve got this rare two hours and you really have to work for it and you’ve got to get someone to watch the kids for an extra 60 minutes and rearrange your schedule a little bit, but then you could take the next three days off. You know like you might discover you could rearrange things in a way that you could be way more productive by spending less time and then you actually have more time.
Ben: [00:42:26] this example, like maybe you’re spending an hour a day five days a week. But if you spent two and a half hours on one day you could accomplish the same amount. Like you could get the same amount done, but now you’re cutting your overall time in half. So you’re actually learning yourself back sometime and you don’t you don’t get to discover whether or not that’s actually the case unless you experiment but it’s like you said you don’t have like you don’t have to say Okay for the next two weeks.
I’m going to double my writing time like you
Sean: [00:43:04] I even thought of an easier way than I just recommended which was like, hey, see if you can try this out once and then maybe you can get you can rearrange your schedule and have one day where you work a little bit longer and take the other days off. I still think that’s a great idea but it involves like rearranging things and people are resistant to change.
So here’s I’m going to propose something else. We’re in your current schedule and I think you probably can find it. If you really look for it. Where in your current schedule. Do you have the best opportunity to spend the most focused time? And that could be either in terms of duration like most days.
I have 60 Minutes this one day. I have 90 minutes or it could be most days. I have 60 minutes. But this one day where I have 60 minutes. All the kids are out of the house, right or whatever version of that is for you where you have greater ability to focus but you kind of just tend to browse on Instagram or watch YouTube videos.
Like where do you currently have the greatest ability and and freedom and flexibility and focus and concentration possibly in duration, but even if not that that maybe you’re squandering. And how could you make the most of it? How could you protect that treat it as this sacred time where you communicate to people in your life, or maybe that sacred time is where you’re the only person and there’s no one else at home or whatever and you could get more done.
How can you treat that as a really special time and prepare for it plan for it line up your topics and then just go hard at it during that focused block.
Ben: [00:44:47] yeah, and.
I know I know it’s tough when you you have kids, especially if. Your kids are home schooled or at an age when they’re not going to public school yet or whatever the case is, but but I like what you said about. working to set that time aside work like actually doing the work is not just. it’s not just finding the time in your schedule, but it’s having conversations with people and it’s.
You know talking to your partner or talking to family members who live nearby and saying this is something that I need help with I need to be able to do this for my business to support my family, too. To fulfill my creative passion to fulfill my purpose. I need to have this 60 Minutes of uninterrupted time when I know that nothing is going to.
Like unless there’s some emergency but nothing nothing is going
Sean: [00:45:58] this could be a one plus one equals three scenario where I understand if you’re resistant to ask friends or neighbors for help, you know, it’s like I don’t want to ask like. Will you will you spend an hour, you know, but think about it this way if you found that going from one hour to two hours or two to four or whatever is just exponential in terms of productivity.
You could kind of Stack your time on that day and then take three or four days off essentially or do other different types of work administrative or whatever. So instead of every day just kind of working at it kind of making progress. You have one super productive day where you output more than you did in the past more than you needed you get ahead and you ask that friend or family member for the hour of time.
Well now you’ve got three or four extra days where you could give them back an hour? And you still have two extra free days. You know what I’m saying? We’re like. They give you ask them for an hour, you give them an hour back technically you’re even but your output is higher and you have two extra
Ben: [00:47:06] you might be able to sing me that and being like Oh, that’s not that’s not my reality.
But the point is. there is there is work involved in creating that kind of protected time and it’s worth
Sean: [00:47:25] Yeah.
Ben: [00:47:26] and you know, even even if you don’t work out a scenario where you can take two days off like I hear that and I think about my circumstances and I know all of the things on my list that are not already getting done.
Sean: [00:47:42] and when I said two days off, I just meant from that one task that you would do
Ben: [00:47:47] right? No, I yeah, okay. Okay. I get I get what you mean, but still like I’ll say that I’ll say that there are there things that are creeping into constantly creeping into my thoughts while I’m trying to focus on other stuff because.
They’re just they’re not getting done. I’m having to keep kicking that can down the road or whatever it is. And if I could get the focus and have the level of productivity that uninterrupted time produces. I might be able to get to some of those things and then it would start to take that burden off of my mind which would help me to concentrate and focus more and it has this positive Snowball Effect.
And and so I just I feel like if that’s if that’s something that you’re not currently experiencing because of your circumstances and your responsibilities. It’s absolutely worth working for getting
Sean: [00:48:54] And that’s that’s basically what the author of this post says. All I had to do is discover. What made good writing time for me and then make sure the good writing time was the time.
I fought hardest to get so the discovery came from the tracking and the data the awareness and then she fought hard for that time to protect that time. So that’s side two of the triangle side one is knowledge. Side to is time and now we get to side three side three is enthusiasm get excited about what you’re writing.
And for today’s topic. That means get excited about what you’re podcasting. That means get excited about what you’re live streaming what you’re writing what you’re emailing whatever the content type is. Get excited about it. And honestly, she said she considers knowledge to be the most important and I think I think that’s a good one.
I suppose it’ll be different for everyone. But in my mind enthusiasm this one were about to talk about this is one of the biggest ones this is actually I mean I’m speaking for me, but I really suspect this is going to be one of the big ones for a lot of people so she says on the days where I broke 10K.
I was also pulling fantastic word per hour numbers 16 2 2016 hundred to two thousand words per hour as opposed to my usual 1500. It was clear these days were special but I didn’t know how I didn’t know that I wanted those days to become a sorry. I did know that I wanted those days to become the norm rather than than the exception.
So I went back to my records, which I now kept meticulously to find out what made the 10K days different. The answer was head slapping lie obvious. Those days I broke 10K where the days I was writing scenes. I’ve been dying to write since I plan the book.
So she was excited about them and that’s what that’s how she got to
Ben: [00:51:00] This is how I like when it when I first heard. The word enthusiasm at the top of this podcast. I thought stuff that you’re that you’re already like looking forward to that you’re excited about. and and like as opposed to trying to get yourself excited about writing a specific topic.
I don’t know that it can’t be both though. But I feel like in this specific case like she’s talking specifically about stuff that you already feel passionate about the already feel enthusiastic about like you’re out you’re already like if someone were to call you up and be like, hey, can you give a speech on this topic?
Like you’d be all over it because you’re just that’s what you want to communicate to people. You’re so excited about
Sean: [00:51:51] right? So she’s discovering. Okay the days where I did Super well were the days where I finally got to the scenes. She called them the the candy scenes, you know, like the ones you really wanted.
That’s when she performed the best and she said if I had scenes that were boring enough that I didn’t want to write them. Then there was no way in hell anyone would want to read them. This was my novel after all if I didn’t let if I didn’t love it. No one would. So enthusiasm enthusiasm translates, I think into a better end result that people are going to resonate with more deeply.
Ben: [00:52:33] Yeah, absolutely.
Sean: [00:52:36] So I’m talking to my brother about this when we were when when we were at the was after the concert. We got some coffee on the way back to the airport as having a conversation with them about this and.
I said. I wrote it down. I don’t want to wash my own clothes.
But it what is that? Can you plagiarize yourself?
Ben: [00:53:06] I died. No, I
Sean: [00:53:09] I have it written down better. But basically the best art. Comes from a place of emotion. It’s created from emotion. Whatever it is music painting any kind of artistic expression the best. Forms of art come from a place of emotion there created out of emotion.
Ben: [00:53:36] can I bring something in here that I think is really interesting. Okay, so there was a clip going around from Joaquin Phoenix being on the Jimmy Kimmel show and the headline was. Jimmy Kimmel surprises Joaquin Phoenix with a behind-the-scenes, you know a thing of him cursing out one of the and I think I think it turned out to be like one of those performance art pieces where like he wasn’t really.
cussing out his his Director of Photography or whatever but. but in the scene, you know, like it looks it looks like. a scene. And Joaquin is sitting there like full makeup and everything and he’s you can see him just like kind of like focused and trying to get himself into and one of the things he says as as he’s like talking to the the videographer is like.
because the video the videographer apparently is like whispering and like kind of being distracting and walking his like I’m just trying to find something here. And I thought that was really interesting about this this acting method of really trying to tap like trying to tap into real and sometimes very specific emotions.
In order to be able to act out a scene because reproducing it. Is I mean, it’s it can be very difficult to do and it can be really easy to spot a fake. So like it it’s often in an actor’s best interest to really try to tap into something real. I’m trying to you know, there’s I mean, that’s what he said.
I’m trying to find something real. To act out and I don’t know if you seen Joker yet. I haven’t seen it. I’ve heard I’ve heard so much about like how just gritty and and and how difficult. It is in terms of like the emotional performance from Joaquin but like it’s, you know, trying to find those dark.
raw authentic emotions. And channeling that in your performance, you know, like that’s what makes that’s what when people talk about how great Joaquin is in that movie. That’s what they’re seeing is. How he’s acting from a place of authentic emotion because he’s tapped into it somehow.
Sean: [00:56:16] is I’m glad you brought up that.
Visceral example because this is where I was going and I think what I had the quote I had thought I’m saying quote. I just mean like I’m writing in my head as something that I might put as a quote like a graphic, you know, the best art is Created from emotion. And it doesn’t necessarily mean happy emotion.
It could be dark. It could be tough. Another think this is what I told Lacey on a walk when I was talking about content ideas and stuff. When life gives you struggles with when life gives you a how do I want to say it? No. When life gives you struggles. It gives you a story.
And it may not it may not feel Pleasant those emotions and sometimes the emotions that aren’t Pleasant are ones that you push down you push away and you try to ignore. But there may be something to leaning into the emotion that you’re feeling for the sake of creating. Because it again like some of the some of the most iconic, you know.
You know, let’s let’s just say punk rock for instance that the angsty kind of music that some of us. I mean depending on your age. There’s it came at a different point in your life. You know, it’s really associated with like when we were growing up it was it was this political links, you know kind of a backlash, right, but like really good art was produced as a result of Leaning into that emotion.
So like where I want to get with this is I know she’s talking about enthusiasm and I’m branching off a little bit by talking about emotion, but it’s kind of the same thing like feeling strongly you should feel strongly about your work if you want to create great work, and if you don’t feel strongly if you don’t feel something if you aren’t if you aren’t in some way enthusiastic about what you’re doing, Do something else?
Do something else or find a way to
Ben: [00:58:46] want to park for a minute on the tapping into the emotion thing because depending on where that emotion is coming from there can be trauma and. It can actually be harmful. To allow yourself to focus on an Explorer certain emotional experiences. And so you definitely should be careful with that and and it’s also a while while I think it is true that.
part of what makes certain pieces of art great. Is that they were born from a place of authentic emotional expression? But that doesn’t mean that if you can’t force yourself to tap into those negative harmful emotions that you’re not going to create something great. So I want to make sure that that’s not the message we’re giving and and not that you know, not that anyone thinks that
Sean: [00:59:48] And that was that was a bit of a rabbit Trail off of the outline.
So like I don’t want I don’t want to get too. I don’t want to distract people with that when really what she’s talking about here is enthusiasm and I kind of went down the emotion track,
Ben: [01:00:02] but I think that’s I think that’s good. Like I feel like they’re they are kind of one in the same like you either already feel.
Enthusiastic and passionate you have a past experience. That was may be painful that you want to help somebody avoid and you can channel That Emotion. And talk about and communicate your experience or you can or you you imagine like you live with the vision of something that you want for people that you that you feel very excited and passionate about and that comes through so like so that that may already exist for certain topics, or maybe you arrive at a topic and you’re and you’re thinking to yourself.
Yeah, I’m just I’m not really feeling it
Sean: [01:00:54] think if this example of like a guy talking about taxes and I was a video or something. I don’t remember if is a video of a presentation in front of people, but he was like, you know, I know taxes are boring and at that point like he lost me.
Ben: [01:01:10] Yeah, so it’s like it’s absolutely okay for you to move on if you’re not feeling it but I think something you can also
Sean: [01:01:18] could go into that and be like, I’m gonna find a way to get excited about accounting and like, you know
Ben: [01:01:26] find yeah.
So so the other option is to actually ask yourself like why why I write about this and like really tap into the why because I think it’s a it’s a lot easier like nobody’s excited about talking about taxes,
Sean: [01:01:43] But that phrase.
Ben: [01:01:45] No, no. Listen. Nobody nobody is excited about this subject of taxes like as as just like it’s it’s not the word taxes doesn’t Inspire creativity, you know, like it’s not it’s not like
Sean: [01:02:00] someone could.
Ben: [01:02:02] No, but I think what I think people can be excited about is how how it feels. How empowering it feels to understand how taxes influence your finances. How empowering it feels to know what applies to you and what doesn’t how how exciting it is to get out from under the burden of like
Sean: [01:02:34] yeah not feeling the dark or
Ben: [01:02:37] Yeah, like all of the so it’s the it’s the why it’s like.
Whatever you’re trying to produce for people whether it’s that feeling of Freedom or the feeling of empowerment or getting rid of fear. Like those are those are things that I can really get excited about and get behind and then it doesn’t matter what it is. It’s what I’m producing for people that gets me excited and enthusiastic.
And then the topic is just how we get there.
Sean: [01:03:07] really like this third side of the triangle enthusiasm because I think it’s missing for a lot of people and maybe the other ones helped but I think this one could be what unlocks something for you. It’s not necessarily us telling you how to get excited.
But just knowing you’re totally right Sean. I have zero enthusiasm for what I’m doing, like just knowing that can help you if you have zero enthusiasm for what you’re doing you’re going to have a hard time. It’s going to be hard to talk about is going to be hard to produce content going to be hard for other people to watch or listen.
You can tell the difference you can tell that I feel what I’m saying right now that I’m enthusiastic about this show and showing up and talking about this topic as opposed to some other podcast where they’re just like mmm like that like they have to you know, someone’s forcing them to record a podcast.
Maybe you’re forcing yourself. So there’s two ways you either find a way to get excited. Maybe think less about yourself think more about the person who’s going to eventually see this what that does for them change your perspective find a way to get enthusiastic or do something else. So she says fortunately the solution turned out to be yet again stupidly simple everyday while I was writing out my little description of what I was going to write.
For the knowledge component of the triangle triangle. I would play the scene through in my mind and try to get excited about it. If I couldn’t find anything to get excited over then I would change the scene or get rid of it entirely.
Ben: [01:04:58] scene. That’s really interesting.
Sean: [01:05:03] Yet like the end result has to be enthusiasm.
Ben: [01:05:06] Yeah, we’re in gosh when you’re talking about. When you’re talking about writing fiction. Writing a novel like it’s so it’s so interesting to me how similar it is to setting up a movie scene. Like there’s you don’t you don’t put anything in your story.
That doesn’t move the plot. That doesn’t. Like that, you’re part of your goal as. the writer or director is to get rid of that extraneous stuff. So that every scene matters. One of the things I really appreciate about about Quentin Tarantino movies is that I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s necessarily true like you could say this about every piece of dialogue or whatever but.
But every scene has something interesting every shot it feels yeah, it feels like it feels like he was just like sweating the details like he was he was really enthusiastic about having this wide shot with you know, the grass and like the the cottage over here and it’s like. Just this one and it’s beautiful.
It’s like I could hang that as a picture on my wall and and I can tell just by looking at it that there is a lot of thought put into how that shot was set up.
Sean: [01:06:38] was in there for no reason like someone
Ben: [01:06:41] well and what’s oh gosh. What’s so fun is when you see that and you think okay. That’s beautiful.
That’s really cool. And then it’s used just a you know, a few minutes later in a very specific way. That’s like, oh I see because he was trying to create the scale and he was trying to to paint a picture with this specific distance or whatever,
Sean: [01:07:05] and Ben’s a filmmaker so he can appreciate like the the technical beauty of it, but for someone who and this applies to all art for someone who is not as knowledgeable in a field.
That’s that’s what produces the result where you just go. Man, that is awesome. Like maybe you’re looking at a watercolor painting or an oil painting or some blanket that someone made it could be a film. It could be it could be just this poetic message that should you feel like it should be on a poster and you’re just in awe.
If you understand the craft if you are a writer, if you are a painter, if you are a filmmaker, then then you have some deeper level of appreciation because you understand just how much goes into producing that kind of heard of result. But but the point is that care and enthusiasm for the work translates in
Ben: [01:08:14] Yeah, well and that kind of that kind of attention to detail and intentionality has to come from enthusiasm like you don’t you don’t you just don’t care that much.
You don’t pay that close attention to the details. You’re not that intentional unless it’s something that you aren’t easy a stick about.
Sean: [01:08:39] good article once again. From about 8 years ago by Rachel Aaron rate Rachel Ahrens Bach or batch how I went from writing two thousand words a day to Ten Thousand Words a day. We link to it Shawn must.com 451. If you want to read that whole thing great article really good stuff. I like this this triangle method knowledge time and enthusiasm for me.
I don’t know what it was for you been I feel like enthusiasm. And maybe that’s because I feel like I’ve got the knowledge part and the time part in the tracking. I think it’ll probably be different for
Ben: [01:09:20] so hard. So like. the time thing and and tracking is something that I need to improve on for sure.
And that’s so like I’m excited to put some things into place to help me do that. The knowledge thing is is something that like I want to to work more on in terms of having systems in place for doing consistent research and that kind of thing. but I guess the the enthusiasm thing is probably what gets me the most I feel like I tend to be kind of.
an even like I don’t I don’t get excited about stuff.
Sean: [01:10:04] Are you like a 5
Ben: [01:10:08] Yeah, and and that has to do with I think my personality in the way, I express emotion like, you know at on my birthday or whatever when people are giving me gifts like I don’t like to fake emotion, I’d I hate it like.
Sean: [01:10:25] don’t like
Ben: [01:10:27] and so and so like I’ve just.
unless unless I can. You know tap into some authentic like I feel excited or in I was on the phone with somebody the other day and we were talking about like maybe collaborating on some stuff and and she’s this type of person who is very enthusiastic and very expressive and excited and and that’s just not me and so I’m like, I’m on the phone.
I’m like, yeah awesome cool, and I never want that to come across as like I’m not excited
Sean: [01:11:02] sitting on this end. Like did I use that synonym? The last time I responded
Ben: [01:11:07] Yeah, so under
Sean: [01:11:08] want to say nice too many times.
Ben: [01:11:10] Under the surface. Like I feel I feel excited.
Sean: [01:11:16] you don’t want to fabricate it and so like you want to be authentic you want to feel disingenuous.
But but that means what comes out seems or can be perceived by others as monotone or disinterested and so it’s like this anguish.
Ben: [01:11:33] want to I want to figure out the places where I can deepen my experience of my emotions enough that that that bubbles over the surface at appropriate times, whether that means weather that comes across in my writing or in my presenting or whatever.
It is. Like I. Because I think I think expressed emotion and expressed enthusiasm is Meaningful. Because it doesn’t matter how much I’m personally feeling something if that’s not coming across enough. I think that can hinder my ability to put my message fourth and so like I want to I want to find ways to pull that out a little bit more.
Sean: [01:12:23] good show. you
Ben: [01:12:27] Sean where can
Sean: [01:12:30] West.com. And sign up for membership to get access to all of our courses and training all of the programs that we have as well as the community where you can tune into live shows. We do several of those each week. We’ve got our weekly office hours. We call it fired up Mondays.
That’s for members. Only. We even give you like a private podcast feed if you want to listen to those later. What else do we got going on? We got 30 days to better writing. By the time you hear this that’s probably already over. So we do things like that where you can participate as a group, but it’s just it’s a lot of fun.
It supports the show as supports what we do and we’d love to have you in the community. So that’s Sean Wes.com. Good show sir. Then where can people find you online?
Ben: [01:13:19] can find me at been Tolson.com, and I’m also at bent Olsen on all of the things send me a message.
Sean: [01:13:26] Send a message send a message I can say.
Ben: [01:14:14] It is, you know, I I record videos often reading from a script most of the time and sometimes I’m just like why did I put those words together?
Sean: [01:14:28] Oh, yeah.
Ben: [01:14:29] it’s like certain word combinations are just really difficult.
Sean: [01:14:33] used to do that when we would record videos or someone was around I’d be like this is hard, isn’t it?
This is hard say this say it you say it’s a those person
Ben: [01:14:45] you writing it, it’s like okay. Yeah, but then like saying it out loud. It’s like that was I never put I would never put those words together.
Sean: [01:14:53] And then sometimes it’s it’s not hard as really easy and you’re just like mouth why you do this send him a message.
That’s like a 5 it’s not a one. It’s like a five on the difficulty. Yeah. It’s a
Ben: [01:15:10] little bit.
Sean: [01:15:12] so I asked people in the chat, which was their favorite knowledge time or enthusiasm everyone voted for enthusiasm, which. I think Ben is maybe because we got enthusiastic about it.
Ben: [01:15:23] Maybe so.
Sean: [01:15:25] Like looking back just because that was the word we could have gotten a little more enthusiastic about knowledge and time.
I think we did a pretty good job. It was just like in contrast our enthusiasm for enthusiasm was.
Ben: [01:15:41] track my time.
Sean: [01:15:43] knowledge.