I just hit a personal milestone: 1000 edited videos on Thinkific, and 1000 edited articles in this blog. So I want to share my experiences with you. More can be found in my speedwriting course.
How I started speedwriting
Writing 1000 articles of 1500 words each or 1000 scripts for videos of several minutes appears to be a daunting task. Recording 1000 videos is a significantly more frightening prospect. Even getting the right statistics is nearly impossible. Some of the texts and videos have not been edited, or are scheduled for the future.
When I just started, writing a simple 500 words text and recoding a short video was extremely intimidating. I was not sure I had something valuable to say and struggled to get subjects. My initial articles dealt with questions often asked by my students, since I tired of answering the same question multiple times. Then I wrote a bit of how hard it is to work full time, have three small children, and write a blog over the weekends. But I never gave up.
From speedreading to speedwriting
The biggest change happened when I understood that I can write all the time about the stuff that I currently research. Not everything, but at least some psychological subjects can be applied by everybody. The links to articles I read vent into my reading diary, and entries from my reading diary form subjects of new articles.
This process continued for several years, with me making an effort to publish articles every 5 days. With time my writing got faster and better, and I started to understand how writing itself contributes to my comprehension of the subjects. Suddenly reading and writing were not independent standalone tasks but parts of a bigger pipeline, of how I process the information.
The explosion of content
My biggest limitation was environmental. It is hard to write with 3 young kids turning the house upside down, and it is hard to write when you can spend the weekend in nature instead. In the meanwhile, my kids continued to grow. I could spend more time writing without interruptions. In March 2020 we were locked down for a month. Suddenly, the writing was the best alternative. So I started to write an article every day.
Soon after I started understanding the big holes in my presentation. I had four different courses, which connected in my head, but in my head only. So I started to draft the taxonomy of knowledge as far as I see it. Soon after I started to write, connecting the dots. I wrote eight more courses and recorded the videos within six months.
The four years vision
My current vision is providing enough learning ideas and training materials for four years of training.
Year 1: Keytostudy – Learning how to learn
Year 2: Keytovision – Investing time and emotional energy wisely
Year 3: Keytomission – Influencing others
Year 4: Keytomeaning – Finding joy in smart hobbies
In a way, this can be interpreted as four kinds of markers I use:
keyword markers for learning,
anchor markers for visualization,
metaphors for influencing, and
autobiographical experience markers for myself.
The plan includes at least 12 courses of 12 sections each, minicourses, books, worksheets, and so on. Currently, I completed probably 30% of it.
Work as a pipeline
Since I married my wife, she told me to read very fast and remember everything. Speedwriting was an experimental exploration. Anthony Metivier and Jonathan Levy helped me with some tips. The rest was my own experimentation. The main understanding was very simple: no effort I invest should be hard or fruitless.
Efforts are fruitless when they do not generate a product or a service or a meaningful experience. An article or video is reasonable fruit of research work, and most of my reading is a research work of some sort. A meaningful experience is more complex. For me, it is often a combination of a healthy lifestyle and the ability to influence others.
Then, I can work on any stage of the pipeline based on how I feel at any given moment. I do not force myself into any mindset, but instead, harness my mindset to do something meaningful. This way, the work is much easier, almost effortless.
Keeping the main job
It may sound strange, but all this time I have been working full-time as a lead developer in a startup company. This other identity is very different from the identity of accelerated learning expert. I find that I need both of my jobs to be sufficiently engaged.
Context switches allow me and my partners to rest.
Never give up
I was very close to giving up more than once. Nothing about this particular project is natural for me. I am very shy, and constant attention to my persona makes me uncomfortable. English is my third language. I hate the way I sound in English. The whole video setup was a bit hard for me. Photography was not on the list of my passions until I had no choice. My family always fought for my attention, and I also have some other interests. I have a focus issue, but I am not hyperactive and for several years I was absolutely exhausted.
I simply did not give up. Each time I wanted to do just one more thing. And then another thing… This happened because I wanted to help my students, because I had some question that bothered me, or because I wanted to clean up my schedule. The actual reason does not matter. Each time I added one more thing.
I rely heavily on my partners. Be it my wife Anna as a co-author and educator or my video editor Oliver Santor, or my business partners like Anthony Metivier and Jonathan Levy. I hope that in a couple of years from now my children will also be able to help. I could not achieve anything without the people I trust and work with.
In a way, all of my students are my partners. Some students help with ideas, others provide motivation or finances to create new content. Recording videos and writing books is expensive. Currently, I reinvest all my earnings into making more content.
I am really grateful to all of my partners for their support and help.
Two mountains of paper
My thesis advisor once told me that he has two mountains of paper. One mountain contains white sheets ready to be written on. The other is the result of his work. His entire life’s meaning was passing papers from one mountain into another. This existential wisdom is not glamorous, but it is definitely workable. In a way, I continue his job. A slightly different media, slightly different subject, but the job never ends…
I hope to celebrate a 10,000 milestone with you in the future, maybe 10 years from now…