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Want to Gain Confidence? Block Outside Influence.

Want to Gain Confidence? Block Outside Influence.

Writing tip: turn off all newsletters, updates, etc. from all of the blogs and news sources you read.

Don’t read any news. Not on your phone, your computer or that paper stuff. Don’t watch TV. No radio. Not blogs, not email newsletters, not even from your favorite writers or idols. No nothing.

No input other than what you see in your daily life, walking around, playing in the park, doing your day job.

But keep creating. In fact, create more. Can you create every day? Even if it’s just something small, but it’s yours and you created it. Maybe from scratch.

See what it does to your writing.

How long can you keep it up? I don’t mean getting totally offline for a year. Maybe even a few days? How about a week? Maybe a challenge for Monthly Experiments?  Am I just playing the ostrich and hiding from my competition, my peers, the real world? Maybe a little. Is that so bad? Remember, you don’t want to compare your beginning with someone else’s middle or end. Where does creativity come from? Does it come from reading your competitor’s ads? Sorry, you’re too late. If you have little input, it has to come from somewhere else, somewhere more original, from within.

I have 3 email addresses, I’m only using 2 right now: not my news one. One is purely work, one is purely family. The third is my news, people I follow, blogs I read, news. I haven’t read it for two weeks. Did the world end? Well, maybe. But my world didn’t end. At all. In fact, in some ways it feels like it’s just getting started again. 

Here’s what happened:

  1. I don’t care: It matters so much less what others in my field are doing, writing, creating or publishing. It’s just me on stage and the audience loves me. (Audience being … imaginary. 😉 ) What audience?
  2. Decreased input, increased output: I’m not sure of the math on this one, but maybe it’s like that simple cheese sandwich tastes better when there’s only one slice of thin cheese on it. Less is more.
  3. I’m more comfortable in my skin: because I have no one to compare myself to, I feel great! I’m the best dad, the greatest writer, and possibly the best Burpee jumper around. Confidence.
  4. My life is less cluttered: I’m not being bombarded by media from all directions. Granted, there are billboards on the streets, but I see them for one second. It’s not a blog post I might read for 10 minutes. Zen.
  5. Take photos: I am a not-so-secret photo fanatic. I’m taking more photos and loving them. Better yet? I’m taking photos and thinking of stories that go around those photos. Creative.

Bonus: the world really didn’t end. I didn’t lose ground in my industry. I didn’t lose clients to my competition (well, maybe … ). I actually don’t care about news news so much anyway … and I’ll catch up on whatever I might have missed when I decide to get back to it. If I feel like catching up. In fact, on that note:

Catch up with what exactly?

Maybe it’s all backwards. Maybe it’s not 80/20 (work/life). Maybe it’s 20/80 and we should be “turning off life for 2 weeks” every once in a while instead and digging into work. OK, OK, going off the deep end. But should we be “catching up on photography”? Shouldn’t we be doing what we love to do on a more regular basis and not just on vacation?

On that note, I just switched some DNS information so a server will switch. I need to check on it. Then I need to go to the beach and play soccer with my sons.

Having fun with the panorama mode. [Almeria, Spain]

Having fun with the panorama mode. [Almeria, Spain]


  1. Krista Stryker (@12minuteathlete)

    I love this. I used to try and keep up with every single thing in my industry, which is tough because I’m part of a few different industries! I’d get so overwhelmed at having to keep up with everything I barely actually created anything of my own.

    Now, I read what I can, but limit it to the very best stuff and focus much more on what I’m doing and creating. I even unplug for a few days and just focus on creating rather than consuming. It’s a much better balance!

    • Bradley

      It’s funny, this post didn’t start out as what it became. But I HAVE been offline pretty much for the past few weeks and it kinda just hit me–it’s a good thing!

      You say, ” … limit it to the very best stuff.” and I think that’s important. If you read everything and everyone, that’s great if you’re doing a research report or a Wrap Up post, but if it’s for your own learning, Aim High, keep it to a minimum and do your own thing.

      That all said–it’s hard to not want to read it all and “stay on top of it.” It’s addicting to read from your own industry.

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Krista. I still haven’t left to get that beer … and do my Burpee. 😉


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