Your own trust fund

There are various ways to make money online and in real life. I would like to outline some of my methods here.

Well not methods that I have created, or that I have enacted, but some notes on what I am reading about and am putting into place.

Investing in dividend stocks

Investing in other currencies

Saving up money to buy a house

Buying a home to have it rented out – which starts with learning about how homes can be rented and what characteristics to look for in a house.

Learning real-world skills like carpentry, electrical work, plumbing, computer programming

These however all require a few things, like electricity, like energy. They require health, happiness, and then wealth.


here are some things i know about myself

i need to be breaking down problems in order to breathe
i need to be exercising hard in order to breathe
i need to be sleeping with a cpap machine in order to breathe
i need to be writing everyday in order to breathe
i need to be seeing anna and hanging out with friends in order to breathe

i need organized space and food in order to sustain breathing

i am embarassed that i haven’t figured out what my life purpose is and what i am supposed to be doing. i’m supposed to be successful and maybe i am. but i haven’t lined it up.

I wonder when I will be a real person.

the manifesto

why you want to start putting out content – i am not sure. writing has always been there for me. it is the easiest way for me to communicate. that’s not to say i’m a bad communicator, people open up to me, people laugh, people tell me about the struggles they are having, about weird medical problems they have, or brother in laws that threaten to bomb their home and the stress that it puts on them, i think it is just easiest for me to get to know myself while writing. i write for myself and what i know. and i am writing because i want to have an impact in the world. well no, i am writing because it is a compulsion and i want to make this compulsion i have valuable to people. i have to write in order to breathe, i might as well generate good in the world with all this energy and output. i want to generate money and self awareness through writing. i want to generate good influence on people. i want to have exciting records of exciting places.

what you’re going to start doing – write articles about important questions that i have, questions about life and how to live life and what is a good life, questions about how to relate to people, questions about positivity and doing the ultimate thing which is being master of your time. basically a how to manual for life. i approach things with an engineering mindset. i take things apart and figure out how they work. i used to do it with clocks and toys when i was a kid, i did it with being popular in middle school and high school, it took me until graduate school to figure out college, and working life to now figure out and LEARN things that people intuitively grew up manifesting.

where are you going or what are you about or who are you about to become – i’m going to the best version of myself. you could call it my ego ideal, you could call it a way to move forward, you could call it happiness. or joy. i think the biggest winners in life are people that are happy. that are good people. i am writing to add clarity in the world because i just see so much fear out there.

i want to solve problems well – this blog is a way for me to develop my way of thinking.

where do you put out the content – written word (blog, linkedin, guest blog, instagram good strategy write 13 sentances), video (youtube, facebook video), audio (podcasts) – writing because writing is the thing that i do. and it is easiest for me. podcast. it took me weeks to put out a video, and i just have to practice that in order to move on. i could start, and i think this is what will happen, combining not that great videos with excellent writing and pretty good and occassionally damn good photos with excellent writing. i think that amalgamation, that combination, that i can sous vide into really compelling content for people. compelling is something that adds value, something that captures attention, something that makes people want to grow. my cousin told me, when i was in high school and he was older, now i understand why you are so into self improvement. it is like being a robot and you can upgrade your own components, like playing a video game and you can upgrade, upgrade, improve, upgrade different portions of your life. i have had some good times, i’ve had some shitty times, i’ve had some dark times, and glorious moments. this blog and of course all writing has been a way for people to experience in a most unique way the human experience. i guess i could write topics for college kids, posting filipino articles in the filipino college groups, and high school groups, and then post articles in the comments on blogs, i could put content out on instagram and do what i did, which was, click on users. i could put posts under pictures in facebook and then pay to have those shared. but first, the creation of content.

where is the stuff going to show up – distribution (look at the distributers, soundcloud, sketcher, how do i set up my podcast), how do people discover it (go into the DM, use facebook ads and target people trying to reach, grind and email hustle and do you want to distribute my content time or money, money is easy, time is hard, but if you have no money it is your only option) you need to find other places that have eyeballs or ears and get it out there.


i don’t know where i am going to distribute or how to find viewers. how to build an audience. i guess that depends on who my audience really is. probably the 20-30 year old, diverse male, especially ones that are insecure, which i know, from experience, means also people that have a ton of accomplishment and disposable income. people that are into thinking, really. people that are more reasoned. people whose friends accept their recommendation as truth. this isn’t the hustler in your friend group. this is that wise nerd. wisdom nerd. authentic manifesto. and really, it is people who aspire to that, people without manly father figures in their lives, people who are navigating a world that has constantly been difficult for them, people who are forming their opinions of the world. which doesn’t answer my question of, well, where am i going to distribute, where are people going to find out about my content? catholic groups, minority groups, successful students who are now struggling with school, people who are facing problems. people who are interested in and motivated to improve their lives, people who want to laugh, people who look to adventure as a method of self reflection. gear people, office people, weekend warriors. so i could guest blog on like the asana blog, trello blog, but really, commenting on people who comment on gary vaynerchuk videos, on fashion blogs. really i think it would be good to get feedback from real writers, which means establishing real relationships, in person even, with them. maybe offering an audience or an event with some alumni people, setting up stuff for them. interesting to note, though, that watch writer went straight sideways, he had great writing, that he built up by writing for various print and online magazines, those had the benefit of also providing autheority, but then his writing was so good, and he did such cool things too. valuable would be for him to find people that would also be interested, so i could feature content with people on instagram, for instance, join the local groups here as well.

How to avoid consumption. Case study: the leather travel journal.

The primary thing that is on my mind is products. Travel and travel gear are fun, but they are again a poor imitation of what you want. By buying the cool, you are engaging with the the desire, but not taking action to make it a reality. Products short circuit achieving the real thing. Instead of embarking into enchanted forests of adventure, we spend time comparing types of boot leather and precise axe lengths.

But we are confusing. There is a romance to products. Do you remember the touch of a leather journal cover? Of functional, do anything, hiking to restaurant leather boots? Perhaps in old countries, we saw city dwellers, rulers even, imbued with furs of animals they did not hunt, and steel they did not forge because they were totems and testaments to self. Things afford the ability to build an image of self, but they do not necessarily produce the self. How many knife owners have never gutted an animal, or shot a gun? Or used a dive watch? Or gone backpacking, but own the best gear?

I wanted to kill consumerism, but that is not the answer. The energy behind the consumerism is still there. Advertising and stores implicitly message that to fulfill wanderlust, you should buy a product. Instead of climbing a hill, get the boots to climb a hill. Consumption is easier, definitely, but it doesn’t do the same thing.

That said, I’m planning a trip to Spain and here is a list of things I want:

  • to eat
  • to drink
  • to be merry
  • a leather carryall or a leather catchall for putting on the bedside table of the lovely hacienda or the cut rate airbnb where we will stay.
  • a leather wallet that can fit euro bills which allows me to leave the money clip at home and taking money out, haggling, and paying, a safer, more discreet interaction.
    item of choice: bellroy note
  • a phone charger one of those power bricks that i could stash in a pocket.
    item of choice: anker powerbrick
  • a day bag that folds down to nothing and isn’t a cinch bag. Cinch bags seem cheap, if I am being totally honest. However, why do I want a goruck gr0 (~$300), when I have never had a problem carrying things in a cinch bag (~$0 plus dignity)? I don’t carry bricks around on vacation, or ever. I have a perfectly acceptable, ugly bag.
    Item of choice: goruck gr0 or chrome delta
  • a leather travel notebook – I like having an easily accessible record of trips.

What has worked in the past?

Digital documents have been the easiest to recall. When I go back and look for packlists, for instance, I easily type a few words to find the ones on my phone. I have a few travel habits about how I title packlists to include duration, special events, temperature, and destination. On the plane ride back, I write a review of the items, one by one, and if i used the item or not. I complete this closing out ritual on my cell phone, and it is wonderful record for subsequent trips.

What is missing?

Something that seems incomplete is an audit and record for the day to day activities. Similar to the packlist, before the trip, I have a google doc that roughly sketches out key events, times, locations, places to eat, sites to see, or activities. Do I go back and review this document? No. I’d like to have a record of whether the lunch place was too far, or we found a cool art exhibit on the way and were derailed. Or a few notes on the person we met there.

What’s the hangup? Have you tried daily journaling? What about journaling at the end of a trip?

Daily journaling on vacation doesn’t fit for me. At the end of the day, it may be 3am and I’m exhausted, and not ready to reflect. At the end of the trip, I can’t often remember the details of each specific day. I’ll talk through with someone and eventually get some of it.

What about recording on your phone, during the day?

The ideal then would be some record in real time. Typing on the phone, I’ve tried, and it’s tedious and draining to be in the company of someone constantly chronicling on the phone. It does come off as rude. “Wait everyone, before you eat, let me take a picture, take a few minutes to type up a comment, take care of a few things online, then I’ll rejoin the conversation.” A potential solution, then, is the leather travel notebook.

What are some advantages of the travel notebook?

  • Less rude.
  • It keeps you from engaging with your phone, which is a device meant to distract.
  • In certain occasions, it is acceptable to pull out a journal, but not a phone.
  • Having someone write their email address or directions is easier than doing in on a phone. LinkedIn or email have their place, but writing is good for certain occasions.
  • Can store things like tickets and not wear down your phone battery.

Do you have a specific notebook picked out?

I’ve used them in the Philippines and they are the only surviving document of my trips there. I want one trip per notebook. I don’t want a half-filled notebook that continues one trip then the other. I want something easy to replace. I want something that can work as a low-key scrapbook with ticket stubs and cut outs. If I wanted to go even cheaper than the notebook, I could use the sheets of paper that I use. Two long cuts, and two staples, or a binder clip. that’s a notebook as well.
item of choice: midori travel notebook or midori passport notebook or a leather cover for moleskine cahier or field notes

So where does that leave me?

It looks like the thing I am most interested in right now is a leather travel notebook like the midori travel notebook or passport. The trick with the passport is that it takes refills that may be more difficult to get. moleskine wins on distribution and finding a leather cover that is sized for the midori could be the ticket.

In an effort to reduce the amount of purchasing that I do, I have a few options.

  • First, I could buy just the notebooks (like the moleskine cahier) that would allow me to try out the size, carrying a notebook, and writing in a notebook, before making the purchase.
  • Second, I could make my own notebooks and that would use even fewer resources. However, there is something I like about an actual notebook. A little more robust, a little easier to use.
  • Third, and what I will likely do, dig around in the house and find a notebook that I already have that is about the right size. I know I have some that are half-filled or little steno style pads. I will use that on a trip and see how I like it. I could even use that on a weekend as a example of a trip.Buying things is fun. It provides a little shot of goodness, but can easily eat into the budget for having real adventures. So instead of the chase and hunt for a new notebook, save that money for the future.

How to avoid burning out?


How do I avoid burning out?

you have to solve it. first, understanding. being burned out is often ascribed to working too hard. that’s incomplete. if you have a good why you can do the what. being burned out has to do with grinding for the wrong reward, in the wrong way, with the wrong attitude. so i was working hard basically because of all the pressure i was feeling from the parents to do everything, and the physical and emotional attacks. don’t do that.

What should I do?

what you need to do is find the things that you do that renew you. something that in the doing, renews. you grind for the right reason, the right goal. so i have spent time figuring out what that is for me. had to figure out eating, sleeping, exercising first. and i’m still not perfect, but i’ve figured it out to a point where i can see other things. when you are ready to solve the problem in front of you, the teacher will present him or herself. so the other thing i learned is how to make friends. another thing i learned is how to seek truth, instead of seeking to win. you lose, if you win an argument and you miss out on knowledge that you need. and now i am seeing that i can have anything i want in the world. if i just want one thing. that’s the question you should ask yourself, i’ve buried it down here. if you could have anything in the world, but it could only be one thing, what would it be? money is a weird answer because it is always money so you can do something. even business people don’t just want money, they want the process of making a deal and getting an edge. well that’s what they want, if they’re in it for the long haul.

What about working for money?

yes, you need to do that. you need to pay rent, you need ot provide for yourself. this line of questioning is not to find a job that will pay you right now, though it probably will, it is so that you know where to go. well, so that you know the wya to go. so that you don’t spend fifteen years, decades, working on a career, and realize that it was the wrong thing. it was not what you wanted. if you have a plan, that’s good. maybe it makes sense, in your plan, to work hard for fifteen years, amass wealth, and retire. i just want there to be some direction to things, a plan. an attitude, a plan, and never stop.

Would it be the worst to be rich and not happy? If i don’t know what i want, should i just try to be rich?

maybe. it’s up to you. whether you are rich or poor, up or down, you have something that when you do it, you feel a particular, even peculiar kind of good. i call that joy. it is not adrenaline only, it is not only winning. it is setting the rules for yourself. there is a saying first you play the game, learn the rules of the game, then you figure out how to win the game, then you set the rules for the game. reflecting on the happiest people i know, it seems like they have carved out a slice of life that they want. they’ve defined it. it meets their needs. that’s setting the rules for yourself, that’s defining a win for yourself. that’s how you see people who are poor and making shitty art and they are so happy. well just because you find something you are happy doing, doesn’t mean you have to be shitty at it. i had set up a false dichotomy of being wealthy and doing what you love, and then there’s a weird group that RANDOMLY does both, or they do both with insane costs. no, if you execute over time, and have a plan, and never stop, then you will win. and you’ll be ENJOYING it while you are doing it. that’s winning. it is sustainable. i’ve been through lots of things that i thought were ‘the thing.’ but ‘the thing’ has been writing, and now adventure writing, is what is making it take shape. because i met someone that has done it. in fact, i think those people are lazy, or not grinding. they’re not hungry. you will continue to do it because it is good, you have to be smart. the fact that you’re reading this post means you’re looking for information, tactics, and want to win. so you will do that, if even more, once you find the thing.

i was once talking to my uncle about my search for becoming a doctor. i wanted to be a doctor, but i kept asking what it was like. well if you are trying to convince yourself to do something, then maybe you don’t really want to do it. you should consider the possibility that you don’t want to do it. i had all the volunteer experience, and in order to avoid stoking the ego, i’ll leave it out, but if i were honest, i would have said being a doctor seems like something everyone wants me to do, everyone says is a good thing, but the doctors say don’t do it if you don’t want, i don’t know what i want, but i want to do something, because i can’t figure out what i want, i know the doctor thing doesn’t excite me. so will i regret everything by being a doctor? i don’t know, i set out for the path of following the deep longings within me. seek truth. i don’t know, maybe i could have found it being a doctor, maybe i’d be like 10 years behind by now, maybe i would be so confused and consumed i’d have forgotten about it until i was forty. i don’t know. maybe i still would have taken until i was thirty to figure it out, and i would have been better off having financial resources to put into things. maybe i would have figured it out really fast, even earlier, and been able to build a life out of it. maybe i would have really burned out and destroyed my marriage relationship. i didn’t want that. it’s hard to know, i know where i am now, i am happy because i know the life i will have. and the life i see makes me happy. that’s really all anyone wants. hope.

What Clive Cussler taught me about writing.

At a neighborhood restaurant in St. Paul, I spotted a bright orange watch at the bar. The guy wearing the watch offered to move down the bar so my party would have enough room to sit. Being a watch enthusiast, I took a the chance to peek at the watch. “Orange monster?” I asked. He looked confused. “Oh, no. It’s a Doxa. My favorite fictional character wore one.” Dirk Pitt was a character invented by Clive Cussler. Both were explorers and adventurers. The books often included historical events, mystery, intrigue, and adventure. A more rough and tumble James Bond, well before this more recent Daniel Craig incarnation. Clive Cussler has interviews online, really interesting reads, and a couple of videos biographies. I’ve picked out a few key insights below, that I gleaned from reading about this interesting adventure author.

1. He researches intensively, both about the time period, mechanics of machines, and even words used at the time.

Cussler’s books often took place with historical events or periods in history. He said that he research was the longest part. I never understood the research portion, or rather, didn’t appreciate that it could bring more pleasure to the reader. Research, I take it, can add the pleasure of gaining knowledge, which is a nice addition to an engaging plot, and charismatic characters. He often brings up in interviews that one of his books was taken in place of a PhD thesis.

2. He collaborated with other authors.
This collaboration is something that I have seen again and again in business, but never, or very rarely in writing. By partnering with colleagues and working with them on novels, well they could produce much more content. That’s a business persons thinking. Sure, he was giving up some content, but it was about managing and getting the story through, instead of just writing for normal content. When the iron is hot, well then, keep it going. That’s what Judd Apatow, Seth Rogan, and his writing partner, Evan Goldberg, did.

When they finally got a a script through, they said, okay, people were asking, “Well what else? Do you have anything else.” Seth and Evan shoved four movies down the pipeline in a two years. When the door is open, go for it. So they were constantly producing material, but then finally, they were able to distribute it. I think either way, both Cussler/partners and Rogan/Goldberg capitalized on initial success by giving the public more and quality. I should let Clive Cussler know that is a really good lesson for me to learn.

3. Hustle.
He got himself an agent through his own contacts. He called an agent and said that he normally dealt with movie and TV scripts, but found some novels that seemed good, and well, now he found some and was sending them over. He didn’t exactly say they were his own. Hustle though is not being disingenuous. He put in the work to produce great content.

4. Collecting is a habit that belies certain traits.
He says that one thing writing and collecting have run common is perseverance. Writing you have to persevere to the end of the story; collecting you may take a long time to find something. For his example, it could take each lot of time to restore a car. There are certain character traits that come out amongst successful people. I do not know what this information means, yet, but collecting to me is a weird trait. I wonder what other traits move with the desire to collect.

5. He wrote to entertain himself.
Necessity. Given the statement above, other authors have communicated this sentiment [the clymb] this author talking about how he has seen people not continue the work.

6. What he may not have seen.
In his day, the game of getting published was different. The gatekeepers were the companies. And you needed an agent to advocate for you to the companies. Companies were pretty much the only game in town for distribution, accepting payment, marketing. Everything. The agent spent three years before he was able to get Clive Cussler published. Today, there are still those companies, but the real metric is if you can get eyes on something. Give away the best stuff because the people are the metric. If you can get eyes on something. The guy that wrote that ‘hope they serve beer in Hell’ book, he put his stuff online. He couldn’t get published, but in any case, what launched his career was getting eyes on it online.  The guy that wrote the Martian, well he put his stuff on line. As a blog. One chapter at a time. He did have an audience from a web comic he had written, but still. He built it. One thing that I like to examine, is the cemetery …that is the people that did the same things, but did not get the fantastic results. I mean just like there are SOME photographers who put photos on flickr, and are contacted about huge contracts, there are thousands of photographers that don’t. For the people that put stuff out and nothing happens with it…I realize that it isn’t just luck.There is hustle involved with that too.

Like Chase Jarvis talks about, there is the other half.

Like Gary Vaynerchuck talks about there is the two hours producing the movie and 16 hours promoting the content.

When I was in college, I would visit every writer I could that came to campus. Whether I knew her or him. One of the writers was talking about how she found out that her books were really popular in prisons. They were inspiring to inmates. That prompted me to ask the question, “As a writer, how do you find your audience? Hhow do you start thinking about your audience? Do you take your audience into account when writing?” She said she didn’t think about the audience. And that answer was unsatisfying to me. It displeased me. It left me feeling like this person who I thought had all the answers, couldn’t help me. Now I realize that part of art is creation. And artists, traditionally, are so focused on creation, what goes into inspiration, and the act of creating, that they do it for themselves. And that is beautiful. And that is likely a very self-satisfying endeavor. If somewhat narrow-minded, self-centered, and admittedly, what might be necessary for production of art.

7. But the game has changed.

With distribution and production and marketing available to the artist, combined with the fact that lots of old media and traditional power structures are not nimble or in place to work the new game, well there is a crack in the wall. Eventually, authors will figure it out and come pouring through. Some already are. So I am getting started, albeit behind the first innovators, but early enough that I can reap rewards. Carve my niche. Dig my supply trough. And do it doing something that is engaging, and fun, and in the doing, renews.

For me, the intrigue of wrist watches is something about what makes a person choose a certain watch. You learn interesting facts, and you get a sense of the person. I hope that guy gets a good adventure or two in with that watch by his side.


My philosophy on mens travel footwear

The biggest challenge I have when packing is shoes. More generally, footwear. See my feet are size 11, double wide. For my girlfriend to throw a pair of running shoes and flip flops into the bag, well that’s a non-issue.

My Rainbow slippers next to hers. Mine feel like they are each the size of a paperback book.

I have been traveling for fun, hiking, and work, for six years now. My primary mode of travel is on the airplane, which has led me to consider the many merits of lightweight, one-bag travel. Carry-on only is the biggest goal for me. When I first started flying to Yosemite for backpacking trips, I would hem and haw and calculate and repack for hours. Sometimes packing was a six hour ordeal, broken into two sessions by a quick dinner.

[Read more about it here.  You shouldn’t have to go through the same time sink.]

My quest ultimately led me to a five step method for packing footwear. Two. Two is the maximum number of footwear to bring. One in the bag and one on your feet. If you have smaller feet, well the footwear won’t take up as much space, and then, by all means go for three. For the rest of us big footed folks, or those wanting to cut down pack size, here’s the way I think you should go.

  1. Write out all the activities you are planning to do on the trip.
    I get excited about footwear because of the potential space savings. Additionally, I think that for men, there aren’t as many cross over type footwear. For example, for a woman to wear strapless sandals, well I’ve seen people pull it off in a business casual environment. If a man wore sandals, well, you’ve got to be a pretty cool guy.  Basically you want to think about all the activities that might require special footwear. Here are some examples: hiking, walking all day, stomping through puddles, dancing, dinner at a nice restaurant, running, working out at a gym, wedding.
  2. Categorize into the three delicious efficiency categories.
    Decide if these are activities that can be done with a casual+active shoe, casual+dress shoe, or if they need a specific type of footwear. Highly personally, but the categories help. Here is an example from a trip we did to Hawaii:
    Reunion – dress or casual/dress
    Day hiking in Hawaii – active shoe
    Day to day wear in Hawaii – flip flops
    Reunions may be less formal than weddings. In Hawaii even more so, so having on dress shoes or a pair of leather shoes would be just as acceptable as a dark, closed-toed shoe. I like flip flops as day to day wear because walking around is really nice for me in flip flops because my feet are big and they get hot. If you’re not hiking as much or on as difficult and uneven terrain, then go with a casual shoe. The day hiking we did is more strenuous. I have hurt my ankle twice in my life that required 6-8 months in a boot, so I opt for more support.
  3. Check for concessions or combinations.
    Holding everything in your head is difficult [humans can only hold so much in their heads]. Thinking of every activity is easier when written out. So use the list to consider each activity. If you need footwear for a nice dinner, can you use something a little less dressy, but much more comfortable? If so, then you could use those comfortable shoes for looking nice around town. [That would be an excellent example for New York.]
  4. Consider if you can buy something there.
    If you’re planning on buying something at your destination, then take that into consideration. [Buy stuff when you get there.]
  5. Pack for the most common scenarios.
    Here is where all your hard work pays off. You look through the list and, well, now you can see what is the most common type of footwear. You can now consider if you can pull it off with one pair, but it’s most likely two.

    For the above example, I could have made a few concessions. Here are some TWO footwear solutions for a trip to [Hawaii] with a semi-formal event, hikes, and day to day:

    • Casual+dress and flip flops – a casual, black shoe that could handle hikes would have been fine at the reunion. something like a leather sneaker. This way, I could hike and go to the reunion in the same shoes. In Hawaii, it is more important to have good footwear for the harder hikes because the bar was a little lower for a reunion. Flip flops because I like wearing them so much.
    • Casual+dress and running shoes – a more dressy shoe, like a leather boot that I could wear all day, and a running shoe for using on the hikes. Compromise would be that I would wear the running shoe or casual dress shoe around most days. Going on the beach is actually fine with the casual+dress or running shoe. Take them off and throw them in your bag or carry them. Or, walk barefoot to the beach, because we stayed right by the beach.
    • One pair solution: A casual leather shoe, black or brown, that I could use for all occasions. A shoe like a vans or leather converse that I could use for all occasions. Concession would be you’d have to find something that looked reasonable, but could also hike. If you look at old backpacking photos, everyone wore leather boots. A casual leather shoe, instead of a boot, would be good because you could still slip it on and off for time at the beach.

    What I did:
    Maybe you’re the kind of person that pulls off red converse all stars at a wedding. Frankly, I’m not. I want to be wearing leather dress shoes with high polish. My cousin can have on black leather converse sneakers. He has a more casual look and it works for him. Style is about self-presentation. Good style, well you figure out what looks good on you. In a formal setting like a wedding, I like to be dressed up. I have dress shoes that I know can take some moisture. And I’ve had them fitted with a thin rubber cap. In Hawaii, I did the full trifecta: flip flops, running shoes, and dress shoes. It worked fine. But they took up a significant amount of space in my personal item. In the end, I would have liked to optimize, but I didn’t know then, what I’ve outlined above. Again it worked fine, but it was the hardest while traveling, and if we had to be more mobile, then it would have been pretty terrible. On this particular trip, I knew we were staying in one location for a few days, then staying at a friend’s house for the other four days. We would be traveling by plane and bus, but nothing too difficult or arduous. No multi-hour treks. So, the bus rides and transit of our belongings was difficult, but we still kept the bags to carry-on limits.

    I get a little neurotic about packing, and I guess this article is a good example. It would have worked if I had followed any of my 2 shoe solutions above. But I didn’t. The extra footwear minimally impacted the trip because, well, we didn’t have to move around, we didn’t have to leave anything behind, and we are young and strong and able to carry all our crap. Plus, I find an unusual feeling of satisfaction running around the airport with just a carry on bags, or walking past and around unencumbered by multiple or large rolling luggage. This thinking that has kept me up into the wee hours of the morning before a trip, all the in search of the subtle pleasure of a small, lightweight bag.

2 things Aaron Teasdale taught me about adventuring

Two things Aaron Teasdale taught me about adventuring.

Reading adventure writer profiles is interesting and ispires me. I have tons to learn about creating consistent, engaging writing. Read the article by Aaron Teasedale linked below.

Aaron talks about living in a van and making an internship work even without any pay. He all’s about raising his first kid with only $11,000 a year. He talks about basically living outside all the time. He was walking the walk. I think that being an expert means getting really into a sport. Really understanding it and not just being a fly by night participant. I think what’s important is the curiosity and enthusiasm.

He talks about the importance and reality of an internship. I had never heard it out that way, but read the same in thing from Chase Jarvis, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Tim Ferris. It’s shocking to me that mentors and mentorship may play and have played such a pivotal role in successful careers, but no one ever talks or teaches you how to do it. maybe you’re parents if you’re lucky. Major key.

He talks about how he seeks out the good stuff in the world. By extension, it must be about what he thinks is great for pitching stories as well. Here’s what he said:

“You have to seek out extraordinary places and new ways of exploring them. You have to find people doing groundbreaking things and profile them. You have to do deep research, find new angles, and tell stories that haven’t been told. This is your job.”

He talks about getting injured, losing use of his legs for a year, and then how it induced him to become a naturalist. Really understand flora and fauna.

It sounds to me like he had a long time , about fifteen year before he was considered an expert. And now, I’m realizing that being an expert is based on content. Writing outstanding interesting content, and doing it regularly. That seems like the key to the game.


This article was difficult to write, but I’m sticking to the publishing schedule. My first goal is complete focus is learning how to produce consistent content. improving the quality of the content. and marketing he content.

Honestly, the writing process is a mess, but here’s how I work.

Writing process

The gap: what about the process

Gross ications on the Writing Process

I took creative writing courses at Stanford University. Many were taught by Stegner Fellows, who were individuals that had received a grant, considerable prestige, and time to work on writing projects while teaching students. The first teacher was the one I felt closest to because I got the impression she also viewed writing as magic. She said that everyone has something to write. Even adolescence alone, she said, provided a lifetime of writing material. Still, despite the homework, in class exercises, and readings I didn’t learn the fundamental thing: how to fucking write.

At the core of that frustration is my realization that teachers have an unbelievably difficult job: getting different people to complete a task. Everyone has idiosyncratic ways of learning, producing, and may be at different stages of understanding. It is like packing up a house to move, everyone knows the general idea, has a general sense of the goal, but one person thinks it is okay to push everything into plastic garbage bags, another meticulously wraps each cup in purchased wraps, and another uses the event to throw everything out. Meanwhile, another person decides to pay someone and goes to watch a movie instead. Somewhere here, to be supremely effective, a teacher understands each student, his or her needs, process, and goals, and creates individual guidance through assignments, conversations, and advice, to bring about a desirous result. If a student doesn’t meet a teacher 90% of the way, everyone can be royally fucked.

So here, I’m writing a letter to myself that aims to reflect (in broad strokes) my personal method of writing.

Produce effect. Entertainment, emotion, and knowledge with bonus points awarded for elegant execution. As an aside, the pursuit of elegant execution may produce the meat of the whole endeavor. Anyway, that’s my take on things. There are typical formats of stories, poems, even sentences. And they do different things. Like decorating a house, the process is particular to the problem. In Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, the narrator describes how the instruction manual outlines one method of assembling items, but that may not be the fastest, efficient, nor most robust. It is simply the decision of the person who wrote the instructions. It may not even be the most reliable, the most straightforward, or elegant. So like there are plot driven stories, character driven stories, relationships, changes in relationships, flowerly language, or even just juxtaposition that drive writing, the method is up to writer. Satisfy yourself, satisfy the reader. Here’s the first oversimplification of teaching writing: purpose. Writing is taught without defining purpose, or possibly just by defining the key elements of purpose that matter to the teacher, without revealing the substantial driving truth that purpose depends on the producer. And to complicate matters, readers read for different reasons (ex. entertainment, to forget, to understand, to learn). It is the balance, you have to do something for the reader. You have to solve a problem. At the same time, and this is part of the very end, you have to do the writing for yourself, otherwise you will not sustain it.

Look them up. The five paragraph essay. The inverted check mark. The seven basic plots. Magazines articles are like a strip show, slowly revealing, at portion, the story. Fiction can be more like getting flashed on the subway. Knowing different formats, can give your brain different options for structuring your own stories. Jaws, some people think, is a story about a shark, when really it is a story about a father and a son. And a shark.

Go paragraph by paragraph. Jason Heaton, a Minneapolis based adventurer, has some great writing. I took notes on one of his articles and in the first sentence he writes something catching, then zooms out and mentions the location and zooms sideways and mentions the characters, then the reason for why he is there. Then he provides some historical information for context. Then back to the narrative, using showing words, action verbs, and allowing the reader to experience then savor particular moments, reaching a crescendo of action (THE GOAL), quick denouement, return, and then a short sentence before it ends. Oftentimes here is where you will read a pithy statement that zooms the whole thing way out into the human condition, by zooming entirely, selfishly, into one individual. Take notes and you’ll start seeing what tools are available.

You have to do it for yourself. You just want to produce something? Fine. But that is at least a clear choice and will provide the constraints within which you can construct. When you have structure, well that’s where writing class starts. Here’s the second oversimplification, that you start with the formats. Perhaps the very accomplished writers I was taking courses from did start with structure. Perhaps BECAUSE they started with structure, that’s the approach that leads to accomplished writers. Meanwhile, the writers with character and language oriented approaches are languishing. Who knows. I just know that for me, at this moment in time, I don’t start with structure. Or format. Maybe format. Format is how it is going to look at the end (magazine, short fiction, poem, stand up). Structure is how the story evolves itself.

I freewrite. I start I guess, now I understand, that I write with impulse. Oh here’s a third oversimplification, that the approach is the same every time. So I use a generic word like impulse. You would benefit from having multiple tools because your conditions will change. You may have long uninterrupted blocks of time and need to write like that, or small snippets of time on the light rail train, or instead a surreptitious notepad document at work. Different styles of writing could benefit from different tools. You learn to write in different scenarios by writing –actually writing– in different scenarios. But you start with is impulse and one of those for me is constraint. There needs to be a seed of small energy and if you don’t have it, you write until you find it. Free write until something bothers you, or you love something, or you are intrigued by something. Today I started by knowing I wanted to write a How To article for my blog. My blog has zero posts right now. So I started with format at the end. That was the impulse. Then I freewrote. The point is that when I close my eyes and can imagine everything there, well I start with output. What do I output? Vignettes. Moments. Ideas. Details. Characters. Mistakes. Structure. In a terrible disorganized and incongruously beautiful melange of shit. Shit melange. I also put in references of stuff I might like, like the word melange.

When it comes to photography, one strategy of being perceived as a great photographer is to only show your great photographers.
The simplicity of the statement beguiles the difficult of its execution. Like the aphorism that the height of design is “not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” Only showing your best stuff is hard. Because you first have to produce good stuff, then figure out what is the best, and why, and then have the discipline to only have those three or four pictures. And to go out and get more. High quality wins, though. And in writing, you then MAY take the approach to sift through the shit melange that you’ve created and extract good nuggets. Maybe not polished gold, but the good stuff.

You develop taste as Ira Glass (NPR creative success) talks about: the most important possible thing you can do is a lot of work. You get into it because you have good taste and then there is gap between what you can produce and what you know is good. And you keep on working at it until you realize your vision. If you have no vision? You do. Because there is some shit you read and some shit you don’t. So you produce work and read and produce until you figure out what that is. And there again will be two things: what you like doing and what you do for your readers. And at first it will seem like they are different, but then they come together when you truly enjoy and engage yourself. Serve people. Here is another oversimplification: people say to work, but no one explains how to work.

Here’s where the good stuff pays off. It is the knowledge gained from structure that you can apply to the problem you’ve started to define for yourself. Example, I want to tell a hiking story, for a magazine, and the main thing that happened is that my friend freaked out. How do you tell that story in a way that is engaging to you and to the audience? By developing taste and ability. It is like moving into a house. There’s a stage where you have moved in, but only in the sense that the terrible detritus that you’ve chosen to collect as a representation of yourself is now inside the four walls of the perimeter. But your kitchen plates are still in a box with the bathroom soap, and that box is sitting on the bed in the middle of your living room, the bed which will, in turn, eventually make its way into the bedroom. To the bedroom, that is, once you get the mountain bikes, sleeping bags, and tents out of the hallway. Editing is where you start to make the damn thing livable. And that applies to this particular style of writing that I’m describing here. I’m hedging because I want to be accurate. This isn’t the only style of writing, nor is it true that one person may only use one style. Who knows? I don’t. You just need to make the damn thing liveable. Presentable for company. You wouldn’t want to go out and invite all these people, tell the people at work to come over for dinner, and the friends you’ve had for years, and have the house be a disordered slop bucket.

You revise, multiple ways, multiple times maybe. Take naps. Take a moment away. There are tricks and ways you get more efficient at, say, writing clear sentences. Here’s where skill comes in, like having the right words, the skill of description, the sense of pacing. Eventually you learn that the studs in homes are standardized in distance, and you can hang pictures faster. It is satisfying.

Tricks alone, though, aren’t going to get you to properly arrange a house. But it is helpful information. No one can tell you how to do everything, but everything that you need is out there and explained. Writers and craftsmen have discussed their craft. It is up to you to find the specific tools and solutions that you need. Or invent them yourself.

Well roughly, that there are basic methods, but the particular method for you is defined by your taste. Taste is developed through work and consumption and reflection. Understanding the desired end result is not the same as the practice of producing that result. Everything is out there, but there is no guide. First though, you may produce, you may arrange, you may refine, and through reflection, you may refine further.

Find stuff.

Well, I think it’s a more honest description of the entire process. Writing is not the 20 minute free writes, or story structure, or analyzing short stories. But it also is. I hope that through this article, you get an understanding of what I’m talking about.

Fuck no. This applies to everything. Everything is everything. It is the process for everything. That’s why sometimes being good at some things helps you be good at other things. Like take a hockey player and put her on skis for the first time. Be astonished.

This guide would be disingenuous and hypocritical if I didn’t include a statement indicating that I’m missing so much in it. I wanted to give a very, very broad, super high level structure because oftentimes no one talks about it. Forget about the forest and the trees, I’m trying to give you the google maps satellite view. Because, again, that’s what I never got from writing seminars at Stanford and I don’t commonly see written.

We could zoom even further out and ask questions like, if you’re writing in a journal and never show anyone, is it still worth writing? Yes.
How do you become successful? Through mentors.
How do you get your material good? Experience life and read.

Take naps, exercise daily, eat well, and while writing, listen to energetic, lyrically bereft trap music.

What is a better title for this article? What is one question you have regarding adventure or writing?

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How to decorate a house? Structure and format.
How to build a house? Living a good life.
How to get people to visit your house? Marketing.