Writing by Walking 🚶

A strange thing happens when you walk. You notice more. You breath more. You think better. You feel more inspired. 

Places get smaller. You begin to see how the streets connect and spot all the shortcuts.

I've written about my passion for walking before but the activity never gets old. I want to encourage it and make it more than a Pokemon trend.

That's why I want to keep talking about, not in my words, but in the words of others (authors, artists, business folks, etc). I plan to post a few times a week on the writingbywalking blog. You can also follow along on Instagram or via Twitter

As someone who reads a ton of feeds and the occasional book, I don't think I'll ever run out of "walking" content. 

Everyone wants to discover something. The easiest way to do that is to go for a walk.

Nothing Is Private 📲

Snapchat represents the dialectic of our times. We want to be in public but share in private, the latter never guaranteed.

Just last night, Kim Kardashian released a Snapchat recording featuring Kanye and Taylor Swift. In it, Taylor consents to Kanye's using her likeness in a controversial track "Famous."

When celebrities spy on each other, it reconfirms the deepest worries of everyday people. We can document anything and everything with a simple mobile recording. Of course, there's always a flip side. The advancements in technology also enable individuals to expose ongoing police brutality.

Proof results as a consequence of any action or inaction. But it only becomes a dilemma when we make it one.

Breathe and Stop

“We do not learn from experience. We learn from reflecting on experience.” - John Dewey, American Philosopher

Pause and reflect. It sounds easy enough but no one does it. We want what's next: the next article, the next like, the next Pokemon, the next breaking news bite. But more isn't better. More confuses you more. We need less noise and more signal.

“The more frequently you look at data, the more noise you are disproportionally likely to get (rather than the valuable part called the signal); hence the higher the noise to signal ratio” - Nassim Taleb in Antifragile

Information is endless, recycled and sensationalized into something new. As the noise gets louder, our minds grow number. There is no finish line.

Over consumption is detrimental. The news bloats our mind like soda does to the body.

Take a step back. Avoid snacking. Slow down and let everything digest.

On the Internet

"On the Internet, no one knows you're a dog." - Peter Steiner cartoon, The New Yorker

“On the internet, no one can hear you screw up.” - Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian

On the Internet, you can hide behind a screen and project your best self to the world. Scroll through anyone's Instagram and Facebook feed and you'll just see their life highlights.

People love Snapchat and live video because it's acceptable to look flawed. You stutter and have disheveled hair just like every one of us. People can relate to the imperfect.

On the Internet, you script and direct the movie of your life. You can put on a Hollywood act, and you can share your real experience and be authentic.

The real you is someone between your Instagram and Snapchat profile. But the only way to verify that is to meet you in real life.

Make More

It always begins with the itch, the urge to create something. It sets a fire in your stomach. The more you ignore it, the more pervasive it gets.

You just need to do it, which requires focus.

Put your ass in your seat and use whatever device helps you do the work: earplugs, ambient music, a helmet, even Ritalin (if that’s your excuse).

Pray to the God(s) and close the door.

If you have an inventory of ideas that you share with the world, it’s your responsibility to ensure they get put into action. If no one’s taking them on, the onus is on you to experiment.

If you think you’re going to hit the nail on the head in the first round your nuts. You have to create junk or shitty first drafts first.

“The first draft of anything is sh*t.” — Ernest Hemingway

Thinking is not enough. Create on schedule. Every creative person must have the startup mentality to take responsibility for their ideas. Consider sharing your work online show people you’re paying your dues.

“Write it. Shoot it. Publish it. Croched it, Saute it, Whatever, MAKE.” - Joss Whedon

Grind it out.

The Case for Slow Social Media

Like, comment, and share. Social media teaches us to react immediately. Speed can be gratifying.

But the rush of immediacy causes unnecessary anxiety and short-sighted opinions.

What if we just observe, step away, and suspend our thoughts instead -- that is, listen before we speak.

The world overestimates real and raw sharing. Snapchat understands this. It started the ephemeral craze but now lets users piece together edited versions of their lives with Memories.

Here's one solution to the quick response: Go for a walk and focus on your breath. Quiet your monkey mind.

Here's how to get off the social media treadmill altogether: Slow down, think it over, synthesize, and then come back and participate.

Smartphones: Bringing the World to Your Fingertips

Instagram helps you see the world, its CEO Kevin Systrom once proclaimed. It was true. People were getting out of the house to take pictures that they could post in their feeds. Instagram grew up to become the visual version of Twitter. Images became the new status updates.

Pokemon Go is also getting kids out of the house and encouraging them to explore the real world. Children are exercising again, walking miles to find new characters out in the wild. Pokemon Go also helps demystify some of the confusion behind augmented reality.

Phones are our digital companions in the real world. They make us more knowledgeable about our surroundings. They make us more social, even if most of the talking happens behind a screen. But phones also make dangerous joysticks. Google Maps leads drivers into the ocean. Thieves are luring innocents into Pokéstops so they can mug them.

The digital and physical worlds are colliding. Marketers are salivating, thinking about new ways to use emerging technology to drive awareness.  Smartphones create green fields of opportunity.

The web, social media, mobile, AR, VR, drones, and smart cars – advances in technology continue to grow our interest in seeing the world.  

Shrink Notes to Build New Ideas

Everything connects. That is at the core of my belief. We are not talking about different things – Apples and oranges are fruits.

Like synapses connecting neurons, the thinker has to spend the time to lace together two disparate ideas. Mike Caulfield spends 3-5 minutes after reading articles to write a summary. He searches through his Wikity database to see if he can connect ideas.

It does that by forcing me to suspend my reaction to things until I’ve summarized them and connected them to previous knowledge. It forces me to confront contradictions between new knowledge and previous knowledge, and see unexpected parallels across multiple domains. It forces me to constantly review, rehearse, revise, and update old knowledge.

Caulfield calls his note-taking process a “superpower.” Maria Popova has a similar archival practice. Like a librarian, she summarizes books on a 3 x 5 notecard and puts it the back of the book for easy reference. She also encourages research through discovery and serendipity so don’t forget to get out and go for a walk. To put it another way, via Mr. Rodgers:

“Our society is more interested in information than wonder, in noise than silence.” 

One of the benefits of blogging daily for the past five plus years is having access to a wealth of notes. I use both my site search and Evernotes as a point of reference for research.

Whatever your process may be, the key is round out what you read to help shape your ideas. Consume, then synthesize.

Mixtape Monday : Episode 93

I usually try to limit these weekly playlists to five tracks but the new releases have been relentless.

"I sing about life." There's nothing better than a Marvin Gaye remix to start the playlist. Then get stuck in hypnosis with a fresh track from electronic-guitar ace Tycho before rolling into a heavy dubplate from Bug. But wait, that is not all!

Get rattled up in another Djrum beat before getting locked into the harmonious sounds of with Austrian duo Mieux and FloFilz. Finally, mellow out to the jungle bass of Synkro.

Want to hear more new music? Check out more mixtapes right here.