What to expect from me in 2024.
And the underlying logic + lessons behind this space.
Of the many people reading this, approximately zero of you are thinking “I wonder what Adam and FWD are going to do in 2024.”
But clear expectations are the foundation of good relationships, and while you and I’s relationship may exist between a screen, expectations are still important.
I’m going to use these expectations as an excuse to drive toward the underlying logic and lessons, which I think will be broadly useful to anyone reading this.
Jerry Seinfeld needs no introduction. He’s one of the most successful comedians of all time. And that didn’t happen by accident. It happened because it was the natural outcome of his innate talent combined with the systems he used to develop that talent, and some luck along the way.
When a young comedian happened to run into Jerry backstage one night, he asked him for advice on developing in his career. This was Jerry’s response.
He said the way to be a better comic was to create better jokes, and the way to create better jokes was to write every day.
He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker. He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day.
After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job is to not break the chain.
Sometimes we’re better at giving advice than taking our own advice. I know that’s the case for me.
I call myself a writer. But writers write. And they write a lot. I haven’t published a book since 2016. I haven’t written for a major publication in years, outside of one FastCompany article in July. I wrote 74 posts in 2023, and while that may seem like a lot to people that don’t write, it’s a very low bar for continuing to develop my craft and growing an audience that gets value and insight from words on a screen.
Writer’s block is a myth; a mask for poor systems and a commitment to those systems.
More content. More development of the craft. That’s the north star.
The world is infinitely interesting, giving us lessons and insights in an instant if we’re willing to pay close enough attention.
While things like productivity, personal growth, and high performance will always be a common thread in my writing, I can’t focus on improvement for improvement’s sake 100% of the time. It gets dry. Stale. And it’s dishonest.
Life is cyclical, and pretending it’s all up and to the right doesn’t do you or me any good. Give me the real stuff. The raw stuff. The fun stuff. The interesting stuff.
The stuff that life is actually made of.
Everything will be free.
Anything you could ever want to know exists somewhere on the internet, for free.
Hell, you can even take entire courses and programs from Ivy League universities for free.
The idea of gating content for a price never made sense to me. It’s not that writers shouldn’t get paid for their work. It’s that the incentives have to make sense. I’ll give you an example from my life.
There are a handful of musicians whose albums I will *always* purchase as soon as they come out. Why? Because I get so much value from their music, which I’m usually listening to for free on some streaming platform, that buying their album is the least I can do to show my appreciation for their music. I could go listen to that same album for free on Spotify or YouTube. But that misses the point entirely.
To my existing paid subscribers and future paid subscribers: you can still support my writing the way you are now, but the incentives will change. Maybe it will be copies of my existing books with a handwritten thank you. Or access to future chapters and books before they’re released. Or a post written just for you on a topic you care about. Or something else entirely. It’s up in the air at this point.
And if those incentives aren’t interesting to you? No sweat. I’ll make you whole regardless.
Doubling down on my superpowers.
Careers are fascinating things. There isn’t a manual for them, but here’s how the bulk of them play out, outliers excluded:
We spend the first half of our career doing different things, failing, learning, succeeding, and failing some more. We figure out what we’re good at, what we aren’t good at, what we love doing, what we don’t love doing, what gives us energy, and what drains us of energy.
But the second half is where great careers and mediocre careers diverge from one another.
Great careers get more narrow. More focused. We take the things we’re good at and do more of them. We take the things that give us energy and do more of them. And we do less of the things that someone else can do better, that drain us of energy, and that we don’t like doing.
Great careers are built on a series of inputs and outputs, and the task in the first half is to figure out which inputs to double down on.
Which brings me full circle to my own superpower - writing.
I say that with zero ego, because we all have superpowers. They’re the things that live at the intersection of everything above. Things we’re good at. Things that gives us energy. Things that we like doing. And things that others glean value from.
I could start a podcast. Or create a social media strategy and post every day. Or start a YouTube channel. There’s plenty of mediums to deliver the same message. But none of those check my superpower boxes.
I’m a writer. And writers write.
See? Full circle.
With that, I genuinely hope this post finds you excited for the year ahead. We’ll wrestle with our ghosts in the machine together, and you’ll see me wrestle with some of mine here in real time, as I’ve been doing since I picked up the digital pen 14 years ago.
✌️ and ❤️,