43 Folders

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Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.

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”What’s 43 Folders?”
43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

Twyla Tharp, on Failing Well

YouTube - Twyla Tharp on the Subject of Motivation and Creativity

As I get older, I've learned to really appreciate people who are smart, opinionated, and ornery — yet still have the plasticity of mind to synthesize new ideas and be okay with sometimes failing.

Feels like a big pattern for making this stuff work over time.

Driving Around the Buffalo

It's purely coincidental that today is my 42nd birthday, right? Eh. Maybe.

Still, seems like as good a day as any to tell you what I've been thinking about, so, here's a little present to myself.

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The Wire: Writing Into Your Arc


While this article about The Wire deliberately contains as few actual spoilers about the show as possible, it does contain numerous links to pages with information that will tell you critical spoiler information about the stories and fates of the show's characters. The article also contains language and links that are very much not safe for work. Please proceed with caution on all fronts.

In the time since I gallantly announced what makes a good blog, I’ve had time to think more about the qualities of work that endures.

Not thinking just of personal blogs here, or solely in terms of the ways that we can improve online publishing and social media —although clearly these are areas that could stand some improvement. I’m talking about the extent to which some of those qualities that I mentioned in that article relate to broader ideas around all creative work and the process behind how it gets made well and consistently by an auteur who’s only incidentally a merchant.

And it’s especially got me thinking about how any thing we choose to make today can contribute to, for lack of a better phrase, an arc.

So, naturally, I’ve been thinking a lot about The Wire.

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43 Folders: Time, Attention, and Creative Work

["what is this?"]

Here's something I wrote last week for this site's new "About" page:

43 Folders is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

Call it a motto, or a charter, or -- if you have to -- a "mission statement." But, for both of us, it's a stake in the ground that keeps me focused on what I feel best suited to do for you with this site right now.

I want to help you identify and remove any obstacle that keeps you from making things that you love. And then I want to help you figure out how to make those things even better. That's pretty much it.

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Four Years

[“what is this?”]

Four years ago last Monday, I started 43 Folders with a TypePad account and no idea what I was doing.

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43f Program Note: The Week Our Gears Shift

Reserve Reading: kung fu grippe - "Better"

In light of some new directions I'm taking with my work, 43 Folders is changing focus and approach from being the "blog about productivity" that many readers may view it as today.

So, this week, I'll be presenting a few articles that touch on where I'm heading with this stuff, and why.

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An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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Merlin used to crank. He’s not cranking any more.

This is an essay about family, priorities, and Shakey’s Pizza, and it’s probably the best thing he’s written. »

Scared Shitless

Merlin’s scared. You’re scared. Everybody is scared.

This is the video of Merlin’s keynote at Webstock 2011. The one where he cried. You should watch it. »