Tips For The Unrelenting Creative: How To Make Your Day Better

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Hi everyone,

I hope your week is off to a great start. I started my week by running the Rose Bowl Half Marathon on Sunday, which was profoundly satisfying and ridiculously painful at the same time. The half marathon is exactly half way to the LA Marathon in March and I hope to participate in that race as well. I was ready to quit in mile 12, but I kept going. When I finally crossed the finish line, all of my negative thoughts and (most of) my pain went away.

There is something special about crossing the finish line of a long race like a half marathon. It is so satisfying to complete the race, but I think it’s being around large groups of people all pursuing the same goal that makes me so happy. The finish line was at the 50-yard line inside the Rose Bowl stadium and I was overwhelmed with joy as I stretched on the field after the race.

It’s oddly ironic that I feel like I’m also at about mile 12 when it comes to completing my book. I just have a few more sections to add and it will be complete! My hope is to share it with the world by mid-March, right about the time I also hope to run the LA Marathon.

Fingers crossed that I can reach my goal for both.


  • How To Make Your Day Better: So much of my work this time of year is in pursuit of improving my life in some way. Generally, I spend my time trying to figure out how to maximize the productivity I can achieve within very strict time boundaries. Working more hours in the day is no longer an interest or an option for me with a family. Instead, I’ve been trying to be smarter with the time I have. 

    Tip: Block off time to get your most important work done before you do anything else in the day. These days, that means I start to work on my big ideas at 5am most mornings. I am not bragging about my work flow habits, it is simply the only way I can guarantee that I get to the things that I care about most each day. Josh Spector at For The Interested wrote this great article with some additional tips for making your day better. Check it out. 

    Related: How To Design Your Workweek
  • How To Negotiate Your Compensation: The great resignation has caused a lot of movement in the job market, which means that I have been asked a lot of questions about how to negotiate salary when being hired. The time is now for you learn about how to advocate for yourself when you are hired in a new position. 

    Tip: When you receive a job offer, that is your moment to ask for more compensation. The person hiring you is expecting you to counter. Your job is to come up with a number you believe is reasonable for the work you will do and counter their offer. The absolute worst thing that can happen in this situation is that they can say no. I have never heard of a job offer being rescinded because someone asked for more money when they were hired. Here’s a fantastic article about how to negotiate your compensation. 

    Related: Signs It Might Be Time For A Career Pivot
  • How To Build A Daily Writing Habit: I started my daily writing habit about eight years ago. A lot of people use this exercise to help formulate ideas and grapple with big concepts. While that was partly true for me, I mostly used my daily writing to respond to what I saw happening in our field. Writing didn’t help me with ideation, it helped me organize my ideas.

    Tip: Creatives intuitively understand how to develop a daily habit because they spend so much time perfecting the craft that helps them identify as a creative in the first place. Work to transfer the skills you learned in the studio and apply them to the work you do as a writer. Ann Handley beautifully outlines Lynda Barry’s Four Square writing technique to help you develop your own writing habit. Check it out.

    Related: Seven Tips To Keep Your Calendar Sacred

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Nate Zeisler is the Dean for Community Initiatives at the Colburn School in Los Angeles. He envisions a world where students majoring in the arts have a clear path to a sustainable career, where creative minds are empowered and inspired to rule the workforce, and where access to the arts is not just for the privileged few, but for all.

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