Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.
Merlin Mann | Oct 5 2010
Context: Last week, I pinched off one of my typically woolly emails in response to an acquaintance whom I admire. He’s a swell guy who makes things I love, and he'd written, in part, to express concern that my recent Swift impersonation had been directed explicitly at something he'd made. Which, of course, it hadn’t—but which, as I'll try to discuss here, strikes me as irrelevant.
To paraphrase Bogie, I played it for him, so now I suppose I might as well play it for you.read more »
Merlin Mann | Mar 17 2010
After almost a year of hand-wringing, fretting, and occasionally even writing the odd string of English words, I've finally started turning into the home stretch with the first draft of my Inbox Zero book.
If it hasn't been obvious, or you couldn't just guess, this book project's been a big rock for me. Given the effort it's taken (read: most every hour I'm not sleeping, working, or pushing my daughter in a swing), it's also the primary reason why updates to 43 Folders have been so scarce over the last few months. The spirit was willing, but the brain--insanely sick of thinking about these very topics--was weak.
Yes, as it turns out, writing a book does require an extraordinary expenditure of both attention and time. And, in my own case, I'll confess that this often meant working even more than four hours a week. But, who knows? Maybe that's just a consequence of my slow typing and abject lack of lifetrepreneurship.read more »
Merlin Mann | Feb 5 2010
Asked and answered by the wonderful Frank Chimero:
You might be amazed how many times--and over how many years--a given person can ask this same simple question, hear that same simple response, and still find themselves casting about for the great and arcane "secret" to achieving real focus.
But, this is pretty much it. Mostly.
Although, I must add one important "Step Zero," borne of my own tedious experience.
Before you sweat the logistics of focus: first, care. Care intensely.read more »
Merlin Mann | Apr 28 2009
Thanks to my funny, literary pal, Jason B. Jones, today, I'm visiting lovely, warm Connecticut to do some talks and whatnot at CCSU. I mention it because I'd started typing this little post mid-way through the long eastbound flight that delivered me here from three fun (but very long) days doing a comedy thing with You Look Nice Today and Jordan, Jesse, Go! over on that other, top-left, edge of our nation.
So, I was tired. Really tired. The kind of tired where your wallet hurts your butt, and coffee tastes weird, and you try super-hard to sleep, but -- well -- you're just too tired to sleep. And, I was fine with all that. Who can complain about being sleepy from hanging out with Adam and Scott? Exactly.
Except. The lady in the seat directly behind me was having grave problems with her "mud room." Big mud room problems. I know this because she talked about it for several hours in excruciating detail.
I'll spare you the nuts and bolts of the numerous and surprising ways that the room in which wealthy persons remove their shoes might contribute to causing a carefully-coiffed, 60-year-old woman to come unglued over "priorities." Suffice to say, fixing this problem was a "high priority" for her. So, she said, repeatedly, as I shifted my wallet, let my coffee go cold, and balled the little blue pillow under my neck.
"Priority! Mud room!" I audibly mumbled, just loud enough to be heard exactly one row back.read more »
Merlin Mann | Apr 10 2009
This unbelievably long article is related to (but not necessarily about) a discussion that I and several other people have been participating in online over the past few days. It's about (and not about) the increasingly popular practice of re-publishing someone's online work on another site without the attribution, formatting, and linking that many bloggers regard as standard, ethical, and fair.
It's admittedly a polemic (which is what people who think they're clever call, "a rambling rant"), but what may seem to many to be a childish and ungrateful pout about trivial status and self-esteem beefs turns out to be a kitchen table issue for me. Because, how people decide to reuse and attribute my work directly affects my career, my livelihood, and my ability to thrive based mostly on giving things away for free. I know. Paradoxical, right? Believe me, I know.
Anyhow. To get up to speed, please read these in order: Matt said something, Josh said something, I said something, Andy wrote this awesome post, Jason responded, then, Anil responded. For extra credit, and to get you in the mood, go back and re-listen to Gruber's and my talk from this year's SxSW.
I will wait here. Please read them all. This will take a while, and you should only continue if you're okay with that. As ever, it's kind of the whole point.
[Time passes, and then:]read more »
Merlin Mann | Mar 25 2009
SxSW ’09 - Gruber & Mann - HOWTO: 149 Surprising Ways to Turbocharge Your Blog With Credibility! (audio mp3, free on iTunes)
My pal, John Gruber (from daringfireball.net), and I presented a talk at South by Southwest Interactive on Saturday, March 14th. We talked about building a blog you can be proud of, trying to improve the quality of your work, reaching the people you admire, and maybe even making a buck (in a way that doesn’t blow your deal). Here’s what we had to say:read more »
Merlin Mann | Mar 18 2009
Merlin Mann | Mar 11 2009
That's my pal, Jonathan Coulton, remarking on the disruptively talented Kutiman, who has made an astounding series of YouTube video remixes that's lighting up the web and (one imagines) generating a lot of wood amongst our nation's libidinous entertainment litigators.
Here's Kutiman's "The Mother of All Funk Chords" (link includes credits for each video):read more »
Merlin Mann | Feb 3 2009
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Merlin Mann | Feb 1 2009
QPR - CryingStore - "Cold Tulips" by merlinmann (Celtx - Project Central)
I've recently returned to using the Open Source (MPL-based CePL license) Celtx app for all the script-ish stuff I write. But it does a lot more than just collect and format drafts (which, unlike a text file or MS Word, Celtx does in a way that lets you focus solely on writing, rather than fiddly formatting). It's also an amazingly flexible and robust app for managing all the pre-production materials for screenplays, comics, audio plays, or what have you. And, again: it's totally free.read more »
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