Founder and Editor in Chief of State of Digital Publishing. My vision is to provide digital publishing and media professionals a platform to collaborate and...Read more
Writer, editor, and entrepreneur who currently travels the world looking for great stories to live, interesting tales to share, and new ways to make words sexy. Founder of Craft Your Content.
WHAT LED YOU TO START WORKING IN DIGITAL/MEDIA PUBLISHING?
I liked the medium of online writing, and the way the landscape was changing. When I started, in the late 2000s, it was a way for writers and content creators who did not have access to the traditional publishing outlets to share their thoughts and opinions. That was exciting, especially because people seemed to actually care a bit more about what they were saying and how they were saying it.
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WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?
This changes on a daily basis since my role as a founder/executive editor means I fulfill many different functions within our small (but growing) agency. Generally, I wake up around 6 AM, make some tea, and read for a couple hours (preferably something on my Kindle, though sometimes I’ll catch up on articles I’ve marked that look interesting from my feeds). After that, I’m doing something to get moving for 20-30 minutes to get out of that cozy curled up reading state, before getting ready and settling in for work.
I try to review emails, Slack conversations, and Trello notifications at home — since I travel so much, I’m often on a different time zone (or continent) from a number of clients and my core team, so a lot happens overnight that needs my input to move forward. Plus, I don’t write well at home, and many cafes don’t open til 9 AM or so. It’s a nice window to GSD on a deadline.
Between 9-10 AM (at the latest) I’m off to a local cafe, where I hole up and write for anywhere from 2-6 hours, depending on what I’m working on and where my head is at. Flip back and forth between Americano coffees and mint tea, for anyone keeping track.
Then it is usually home for lunch (I don’t eat until afternoon most days, for no spiffy diet/health reasons, simply because I’m not usually hungry until then) and to recharge my laptop. Once that little light is green, I’m off to an afternoon coffee shop or pub to hole up and work on client edits (while drinking soda water and lime at the pub — one never edits drunk!)
I like to wind down on work by 6 or 7 PM, about a 12 hour day with a few breaks worked in. I don’t like to adhere to a strict “only work on these things at these times” schedule, cause life happens and I’ve found with digital publishing it is better to be able to roll with unexpected changes than to force creativity into a calendared box. If I’m in the mood or on deadline, I’m a bit more structured or will work longer, it really depends.
Preferably, I’m in bed by 9:30-10 PM with a fiction read and asleep by 11 PM at the latest. I don’t do well on less than 6-7 hours of sleep.
WHAT’S YOUR WORK SETUP LOOK LIKE?
Our agency runs mostly on Slack for internal communication (not that I think it is any better than email (which we still use for longer and some external things), because Slack trains us to the same Pavlovian response for notifications — but it does encourage more succinct messaging) and Trello for content calendars and client assignments (you can learn our entire Trello management process here).
I sometimes will use the Pomodoro timer with Toggl time management if I feel like I’m slipping too much in my productivity, so I can see where I’m spending my time and if that is the best use of it. As for the actual writing and editing work we do at Craft Your Content, that is all done in Google Docs.
WHAT DO YOU DO OR GO TO GET INSPIRED?
Lots of things. I get inspired by reading other pieces and thinking of a unique take to add or interpretation (with credit and attribution, of course), often by any physical stuff that I do (yoga, walking, hiking, kayaking, and recently rock climbing, are some of my faves), conversations with others, and taking in cultural scenes and events (I’m a huge theatre and museum nerd). I go through spurts of watching television/movies, usually on Netflix but tend to err on the side of mindless comedy or documentaries when I’m on a binge.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PIECE OF WRITING OR QUOTE?
I have two. The first is by an unknown author (though often attributed to Emerson) that is abridged to be “To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, this is to have succeeded.” The second is loosely credited to Hemingway, but so true: “ It is easy to write. Just sit in front of your typewriter and bleed.”
WHAT IS THE PASSIONATE PROBLEM YOU ARE TACKLING AT THE MOMENT?
I’m passionate about the quality of writing that is being shared these days. I do not for one second think that every single thing that is written needs to be a 3,000-word manifesto of researched and edited glory. There is a place for articles on cat videos, and we need that place to exist for all to be right for the world.
But there is a need for those 3,000-word manifestos of researched and edited glory, and that need is only starting to be addressed again. I’m encouraged by sites like Long Reads and Aeon, and long to see more of that interesting commentary and writing shared. Like I said, digital publishing is a brilliant way for people and brands to access an audience in a way that doesn’t have to involve the gatekeepers and sterilization of traditional publishing — I passionately want more people to want to make the most of it.
IS THERE A PRODUCT, SOLUTION OR TOOL THAT MAKES YOU THINK IT IS A GOOD DESIGN FOR YOUR DIGITAL PUBLISHING EFFORTS?
So many tools and solutions I love using. I tend to find that when systems try to be ALL THE THINGS, they get unnecessarily complicated and overly robust. I prefer simplicity and minimal design/use. It leaves us with a suite of services, which can be its own frustration bouncing between, but I prefer it. Currently, our most used are Trello, Slack, WordPress, Google Docs, Meet Edgar, Drip, Thesaurus.com and Dictionary.com, and Buffer.
ANY ADVICE FOR AMBITIOUS DIGITAL PUBLISHING AND MEDIA PROFESSIONALS JUST STARTING OUT?
Give a shit. You’ll be amazed how quickly that will set you apart.