Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.
Merlin Mann | Jan 12 2009
The beginning of a blood-curdling recession hardly seems like the time to ruminate about fantasy resources, I'll grant you that. But, I want you to think about something. Really think about it.
If, tomorrow morning, you had 60% of the time and resources you needed to start making anything you wanted, what would it be? And, what would you do first?read more »
Merlin Mann | Nov 26 2008
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.read more »
Merlin Mann | Sep 5 2008
A very simple guide to leaving here quickly so you can get back to making something awesome.read more »
Merlin Mann | Apr 10 2008
I've been working on a bunch of (non-43 Folders-related) stuff lately, but I started feeling that hankering to come back and write something new here. To get the engine started, I went through some old posts and turned up a few (oddly self-inspiring) ideas that I want to re-share. The topic? "Getting unstuck."
I guess all I'd add -- since it's on my mind today -- is that I'm learning how much it pays to listen whenever you hear yourself mentally whining.read more »
Merlin Mann | Mar 24 2008
Yes. Constraints. As Paul shows, constraints get you thinking about the creative process in a whole new way.
Twitter's making me a stronger writer. I think harder about how to say more using fewer and shorter words. Nothing beats hitting the Twoosh. (140 chars)
Let's close with a favorite quote on creative constraint from Anne Lamott's wonderful Bird by Bird. She explains that she keeps a one-inch-square picture frame on her desk to remind her of "short assignments:"
Well put. (And only 17 characters north of the Twoosh.)
The Question to You
Got a good example of a creative constraint at work?
Merlin Mann | Mar 6 2008
I really enjoyed this Morning Edition story on "Prospect Theory," or the idea that loss aversion can be an effective motivator in goals related to health improvement like weight loss and smoking cessation:
Related to that question I was asked at Macworld: I wonder if a gym membership might be even more motivating if you received a daily email updating you on the wasted dollars you'd spent by not working out in the last n days.
When I started paying most of my own college tuition, I remember realizing that every class I skipped was equivalent to throwing away about a day and a half of the money I'd earned from waiting on tables. It was very motivating for me, and I started missing a lot fewer classes as a result.read more »
Merlin Mann | Feb 19 2008
While I wish Peter had held out for a more cromulent title ("Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat?" Ouch.), I so admire this guy's grip on what clutter does to your mind. Or at least what it does to mine.
Typically swell quote:
and, later:read more »
Matt Wood | Feb 1 2008
It snowed almost a foot here in Chicago last night, and looking at all that white stuff made me think about junior high, when my school was out an entire week for snow. I built most of the eastern seaboard in SimCity 2000 that week, on a 33 MHz PC no less. I was a nerd. It was awesome.
I thought about how fun that sounded today after I finished shoveling, and considered digging around for an updated copy of SimCity online. Then I reminded myself that the last thing I need is another hobby involving the computer. I use a computer for work. When I'm finished working, I screw around on the internet. When I'm tired of that, I read books, which isn't a whole lot different, if a little easier on the eyes and attention span.
Pardon me while I get out the nostalgia hankie, but I miss the days when my hobbies had nothing to do with staring at a glowing screen. When I was a kid, I could sit down in my room over an unopened wax box of Topps baseball cards and completely tune out the outside world until four hours later, when my mom called me to dinner, handed me a napkin, and told me to wipe the drool from chewing 36 sticks of gum off my chin.read more »
Joel Johnson | Jan 28 2008
I’m not a Christian anymore. Perhaps I got a raw deal when God was passing out churches—mine was shaken apart in my late teens by a pastor who got busted for sneaking a few hundred thousand out of the offering plate to buy Nazi war memorabilia, not to mention banging a few dozen women who came to him for marriage counseling—but I’ve made my peace with the Prince of it.
One particularly Christian principle has apparently stuck with me over the years. It wasn’t until recently that I rediscovered it. (Not animal sacrifice, which I never abandoned.) And whether Jesus of Nazareth existed as a real meat person or was the product of a coterie of desert sci-fi novelists, one thing he taught has been helping me a lot lately.
It’s awfully nice to forgive.read more »
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