Why I Do What I Do

In 2015, Derek Sivers created a /now page on his site for two reasons:

  1. Let people know what he’s up to in one, easy to find place.
  2. Make sure he stays focused on what’s important.

I think it’s a great idea! No wonder it caught on quickly and turned into a movement. You can find mine here.

However, I do think there’s one thing that’s even more important for you to know about me than what I do, and that’s why I do what I do.

Most blogs have lengthy “About” pages, which often end up being neither about the blog, nor the person, but the reader, in order to sell them on an idea (or an ebook download). I’d rather just tell you why I’m writing.

In October 2016 it hit me. This is my personal formula for happiness:

My personal formula for happiness

When I posted it on Instagram, this was the caption I added:

I want to fill my entire life with these 3 things. Nothing else. Meaningful work, great people I love and unforgettable experiences that make for awesome stories when I’m old.

Currently, I’m figuring out the work part of this equation. When I started writing this blog in 2014, I had no idea what to say. I just knew I had to say something. I’d spent the two years before reading a lot of blogs and couldn’t help myself any longer.

To say my beginnings were humble is an understatement. I published several posts to be read by zero people, a book no one bought and most of the online marketing advice I sought and implemented was…crap.

One thing, however, was clear right from the start: I loved the process of writing. Mixing words, synthesizing sentences, creating something that would forever remain in black and white colors and might leave a profound impact on another human being is nothing short of magic to me.

I’ve had most of my own, deep, “Holy shit!” kind of moments while reading. Naturally, I started wanting to be on the giving side of this time- and spaceless exchange of two humans.

Once I started, there was no turning back. I didn’t know what I was doing and I didn’t figure it all out fast (I still haven’t). All I knew was: I have to write more.

After my first few attempts in 2014, I began writing almost daily in mid-2015, which led to a series of guides around productivity, some posts on Medium and lots of guest posts. Just before Christmas I wanted to kick into high gear, so I launched Four Minute Books and set the crazy goal of publishing 365 summaries in 2016 – which I did.

For all the things I’ve done over those past two years, from freelancing, ghostwriting, translating, interpreting, marketing, SEO, coaching, social media, editing, and on and on – the one I’ve always, always returned to with sparkling eyes is writing.

And so, at long last, I’ve arrived at a vision of what meaningful work means to me: I’d love to be a full-time writer.

Make that conditional: I’d love to be a full-time writer, but not at all cost.

In a 2017 world, it’s become easy to make a full-time living writing. People write viral blog posts, then sell productivity courses. Publish 40 half-baked ebooks on Amazon, and you’re set. I have the discipline to do this, but I believe in legacy over currency.

I’m not going to sell you re-packaged information that’s available for free elsewhere. I want to be a full-time writer when I’ve gotten so good the world practically tells me to, which can happen one of two ways:

  1. Enough people voluntarily choose to support me through Patreon.
  2. I get a real book deal.

I’ll always write. I’m not worried about money. I want to help you change. So you’ll help change others. That’s my selfish, unselfish dream. That’s what meaningful work means to me and that’s why I write.