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I really hope this works.
Or "why you won't find me on TikTok any time soon".
“You know Simon, your writing really resonates. If I were you, I’d be churning out 2 or 3 articles a week.”
That was James, a marketing professional, during a group call for a program I help run. My response was an expression of gratitude, followed by a, “but, are you nuts?”
Maybe I didn’t use those exact words, but I was certainly thinking it. And that’s not to knock our friend James—he is after all an expert on growing a brand in our new attention economy.
It’s just that, writing 2 or 3 articles a month would be near impossible for me—that amount in a week is not even fathomable. And it’s not because I don’t have the time. It’s just the ideas—specifically, ideas that I consider useful, actionable, and thus publishable—don’t come all that often. Not anymore; not when it sometimes feels like I’ve already plucked off the low-hanging fruit of self-improvement advice topics. There’s only so much I can say about mindfulness and self-compassion; and when I do get a new idea, it can take me weeks to wrangle it down into something coherent, fresh and actually useable.
Still, James’ comment had me thinking. The reality is, in the past year I’ve published on average less than one article a month. That’s less than when I held a full time job, and it’s translated into a sort of brand-building stagnation.
At first glance, this seemed like a big problem; one that needs to be fixed by (what else?) declaring to the world my intention to post more frequently. And that was my first impulse, going so far as drafting a version of this email with such a message.
But then, hovering over the “send email” button, I thought better of it. Perhaps I needed to question the base assumption I was making. Do I really want to go down this path—one preached by all the marketing gurus? Is more content actually better? Is it better for me and my quest to grow my personal brand? More importantly, is it better for you, someone seeking to take in knowledge and have it lead to tangible and permanent improvements in the way you live?
Maybe you too are a creative person. Maybe you also seek to grow in recognition or influence. If that’s the case, then you know what it’s like to feel the pressure to produce more. To feel like muttering a single ‘no’ to any of those questions would be blasphemy.
I mean, I know what I don’t want to turn into: a TikTok or Twitter content machine, dolling out a stream of sound bites.
As a self-help thinker and writer, this really seems like the way I need to go. But I can’t help bemoaning it. The way I see it, short-form content and especially video is the candy version of information. Candy is super sweet and gratifying—especially when compared to what it’s loosely mimicking: fruit. Eating real fruit is also quite gratifying and this is because, in addition to providing some calories, the package contains nutrients and fiber. It’s rewarding because it provides what you need to survive.
Candy, on the other hand, is only reward. It delivers a hit of energy, and nothing else. And we’re already storing in our bodies too much energy.
So it goes for short-form informational content. Like calories, we need information to survive. It therefore feels good to learn something new, relevant and useful. When we’re presented with a clever trick or a profound piece of advice, we get a gratifying jolt of “oh sweet! that’s such a good, useful, implementable idea…”.
But then the conveyor belt whips up another piece of content for another gratifying experience. Then another. This happens again and again until you find yourself, hours later, hunched over your phone, feeling like you gained a lot, yet without the foggiest retention of anything you just took in.
With short-form content, the information is fully stripped of the rind, peel, seeds, pits, and fiber—the stuff that forces you to slow down, take-it in fully and reach satiety. That’s the stuff needed to translate the info into actual change and improvements.
Short-form content never actually helps you, despite feeling like it will. It’s candy.
So in case I need to spell it out for you, I f*****g hate short-form stuff; especially when it’s fed in a reel. I’d love nothing more than to find a way forward that doesn’t require me jumping on that bandwagon.
But hating on TikTok isn’t exactly new or heroic for a millennial-turning-boomer like myself. Plus, rejecting the extreme of something still leaves open its more reasonable avenues of implementation. Maybe I don’t need to post 8 TickyToks every day, but surely I should be churning out more than one or two emails or Reddit articles every few months?
I can’t say I have the answer just yet. But I find myself really wanting to find success where the answer is “not necessarily”. Maybe what’s best is to just continue on without the added pressure of self-imposed deadlines. I just need to continue reading, researching, conversing and unpacking ideas into coherent pieces of writing. Whatever posting cadence that leads to is the right one. And if I feel a small urge to cut a lengthy dry-spell, a nice, personal, behind-the-scenes email could do the trick (like this one).
And maybe that there can be the take-home for you with this article. Maybe it’s okay not to prioritize quantity over quality. Maybe it’s okay to pause and question the status quo and society’s incessant appetite for content. The algorithms want you to produce, produce, produce. The companies behind them go bust if they run out of free candy to dish out.
But I don’t care for algorithms. I care about people. I know that if I take my time and create truly meaningful pieces of content—content that actually leads to tangible and permanent improvements in how people live—then it’s these people that will get the word out. It’s people, not algorithms, that will define my long-term success and impact.
At the end of the day, we’re only given 24-hours each day. You should use that time to do what excites you, not what you someone is telling you “works”.
But perhaps I’m wrong about about that. I don’t really know; but I what I do know is that you should give yourself permission to at least try. Test your hypothesis about doing something different; doing something against the grain. Because, as the old saying goes:
The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
Go ahead and find out if you are indeed unreasonable… or just plain wrong.
Okay, maybe I’m deluding myself. Maybe this entire article is just an elaborate excuse to produce less than I really should; or else avoid stepping out of my comfort zone and in-front of a camera.
Or… maybe this is all a clever ruse to hide, under a giant wall of text, a big announcement that I’m beyond stoked to finally make.
And what announcement is that, you ask?
Well, I’ve set a launch date for my course: October 17th, 2023. The working title is "How-To Actually Stop Procrastinating” or the H-TASP Method for short.
I’ve been developing and refining this thing for over 2 years. It’s been tough and demanding—I’ve almost given up countless times—but it’s finally reached a level where I know it can deliver on its title. It’s contains a comprehensive and straightforward method to get you more motivated, more consistent, and more productive. It’s sticky. It actually works.
There’s a reason I’m keeping this announcement quiet for now—tucking it below an article I know not everyone will read. I want to offer you, the rare person who reads my articles, first dibs on pre-registering with one massive perk: full, free, and unlimited access to me while you implement the method.
I'm looking to connect with a small group who are adamant about changing their ways; who’d be committed to taking this method seriously. On my end, I’ll stop at nothing to make sure you see the results you crave—and that they stick. Video-calls, Whatsapp or Discord DMs, emails… whichever way works best, I’ll be there to personally guide you along the way.
The best part? You don't have to pay a dime until weeks after the official launch date.
I’m not a fan of the typical "30-days-no-risk-guarantee" that requires you to contact support and hope for a refund. Instead, you'll have 14 days to explore the content once it launches. If it’s not for you, you can cancel payment with a couple of clicks.
This is simpler. This is legit no-risk. This is how it should be.
The price of the course before it officially launches is $97 per year, but you have the opportunity to grab the course at the lowest price it will ever be. Use coupon code HTASP50 at checkout for 50% off for as long as you keep the subscription. In addition, you will receive bonuses that includes a Pom-List time management mini-course, Notion temples, and access to a private Discord server (on top of the private calls and DMs).
Interested? Pre-register directly here. For questions, feel free to hit reply.
That’s it for now.