Stretch Yourself -
Some reflections on 2022 and looking forward to 2023... And maybe an apology for not blogging for, well, almost two years...
Got sidetracked. But truthrully, I don't regret it. It was a conscious choice to focus on growing the narration side of my business more than the marketing side... I've since been hired on by a small audiobook publisher as one of their narrators and have narrated somewhere in the range of 60-70 books since my last blog post.
I did some amazing things for me this year. I took a course on improving flow in my life from the Flow Research Collective (FRC). And I took it to heart. The first time I met with my coach, he recommended something to me that would turn my schedule completely on its head and alter something that prior to my meeting with him had been on the back burner for the last 20 years of my life. Part of me thought, ‘come on, I’ve proved my way works for me, isn’t there something else I could do instead?’ Fortunately, there was another part of me that was tired of getting the same results from the same efforts and feeling the same way most of the time. That part said ‘Look here, YOU’RE PAYING for this course, if you DON’T at least give it a shot, you’re only shooting yourself in the foot.’
So I changed a habit. 1 thing that has enabled me to improve my relationship with my wife, my kids, my work, and so much more.
But there was a lot more I changed as well. More little habits that I’ve added, and some useless habits that I’ve jettisoned. I’ve learned some key lessons that are continuing to change the way I think and invest my time.
This year is also the first year that in my narration career I’ve surpassed what I ever made at any day job. Pretty sure that wouldn’t have happened without many of the lessons I’ve been learning.
So what’s been the key?
It’s kind of two fold:
Realizing I’m no different than anyone else. I’m not an exception to any rule. As they say in FRC, Biology Scales- Meaning essentially – all our brains and bodies basically work the same as everyone else’s. Yes, there are obvious differences: height, gender, IQ, whatever. But the neurochemicals work the same, by and large
Anyone can accomplish virtually anything given the right set of passions, purpose, planning, perseverance, and persistence. In other words, I’m not ‘special’. But everyone is. And everyone has some passion dwelling in them that can drive them to be the Spielberg of what they want to be. This doesn’t equal fame, fortune, or whatever, unless that is part of the purpose. Sometimes those things may come along on the ride, but comparison to others or accumulation of stuff or reputation are not any kind of true motivator, and may well serve as a distraction.
But it’s the passion that stretches us. It’s the stretching that fulfills us. But don’t overexert yourself. Flow is a cycle. Continuous work and burning the midnight oil creates burnout and eventually results in diminishing returns. This year I tested myself. I tested some of my limits. I got to see what is possible. I’m going to do it again in 2023. And I hope I can inspire my family and others to come along for the ride, because I’m happier and more fulfilled than I’ve ever been. One of my main passions I’ve identified and have been acting on is creating and promoting beautiful stories and ideas.
Here I’m going to be vulnerable and put a ridiculous statement out there into the world:
In 2023 I want to double my audiobook output. In order to do so, I’m letting other people do some things that I thought I had to do myself, or that I thought I couldn’t afford to have someone else do.
As part of my doubling my Audiobook output, I’m delving headfirst into some Public Domain works. My goal there is to record an hour a day on some classics. It feeds my intellectual curiosities and maintains a certain level of “challenge-skills” balance that keeps my work interesting. I’m also willing to grant myself some leeway. The hour a day is something I aim to do every day, but I know life happens. So 300 finished hours of Public Domain Audiobooks is the plan for 2023. I’ve been working on Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens for several months on and off in between my many other projects, and first up is finishing it (I am more than halfway through the 35 hours of narration. If I stick to my plan, I’ll finish recording it in January and hopefully have it ready for public consumption by March 1st). Here’s my initial plan for what’s coming in the next year Public Domain wise:
Our Mutual Friend – Charles Dickens
Thirteen Short Stories Volume I - HP Lovecraft
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre - B Traven
The Lost Prince - Francis Hodgeson Burnette
Amerika - Franz Kafka
The Making of Americans - Gertrude Stein
Thirteen Short Stories V II - HP Lovecraft
Seven Pillars of Wisdom - TE Lawrence
Steppenwolf - Herman Hesse
The Wasteland - TS Elliot
My Inventions - Tesla
Rising Wolf - The White Blackfoot – James Willard Schultz
Metropolis – Thea von Harbou
Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
The American Language - HL Mencken
Thirteen Short Stories by HP Lovecraft V III
Ten Days that Shook the World - John Reed
Sanditon - Jane Austen
Men Without Women – Ernest Hemingway
Strange News from Another Star - Herman Hesse
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - F Scott Fitzgerald
Women in Love - DH Lawrence
The Age of Innocence - Edith Wharton
Dickens' Christmas Story Collection - Charles Dickens
That’s my plan and roughly the order I plan to narrate them in. Will it change? Almost undoubtedly. But this is me putting it out into the world and I hope in a year, my holding myself accountable for it. I look forward to sharing them with all of you. If you’ve got any you think I should (either this year or in the future) I’d love to add them to my docket. And if you look through what I've released in the last while & would like to review one, drop me a line. I might have a free code available for you.
Yes.... I am slightly daft... That's probably what happens when you voice hundreds of different characters...
Happy new year.