The propeller muse

I am immensely fascinated by what my drone does. As it soars high and reduces every intimidating landscape into the grand scheme of things, I appreciate how beautiful my world is.

But I am more fascinated by how it works. I’ll tell you why.

It was a few months ago I realized that the propellers were very pertinent to an aircraft flying. I did a little experiment – my drone with its engine and motors powered up and running would not fly until I attached and tightened the propellers.

I got an insight from that.

Propellers are not the biggest part of an aircraft but they are very functional. A propeller is like a “spinning wing” that produces thrust – the force that lifts an aircraft in a forward direction.

Usually, the engine motors power the propellers for it to spin, so you’d say that without the engine, the propeller and by extension, the aircraft, can’t work.

Now, I’d say even with the engine running and motors powered on, the aircraft won’t fly without the propellers.

Here’s the learning point.

If your dream, goal or a certain project is an aircraft, passion, talent, knowledge or skill builds you an engine but each ounce of diligence and consistency poured into your work produces the force that intentionally lifts your project up and forwards towards completion.

drone_1.jpg

Without this, your dream will remain full of potential to fly but will not leave the ground For any sustained time.

If you want your dream or project to fly beyond mere talent and potential, you must attach and tighten the propellers of diligence and consistency.

Cheers!

Creativity tips for a productive 2018: Part 1

Want to make 2018 a productive year? Read my selected Creativity Tips before 2017 ends.

Hello Writer and Creative,

If you live in the real world, you will agree with me that great feats are hardly achieved accidentally. Historical and current examples of men and women who have done great things with their lives show us that more often than we realize, excellence requires intentional diligence and consistency.

A few days ago, I posted the image below on my Instagram:

IMG_1356

As we pack shop out of 2017, I felt everyone needed a reminder to introspectively evaluate 2017 and plan to maximize the opportunities of 2018 (because there will be lots of them). If you still think that opportunity comes once in a lifetime, you need to read my last post here.

“2018 is going to be a great year for the intentional creative.”

In 2018, I want to be a better writer, an intentional creative and an enthusiastic learner. I have been researching tips on how this can be possible and I felt to share with you what I found proven and practical. In this post, I will be sharing a trait I observed is present in all successful writers and creatives, called Consistency.

Consistency.

You probably know that one of the secrets to staying fresh and energetic is to write on a regular schedule (and the most consistent example is daily), and though every good book on writing maintains this as crème de la crème of writing advice, most writers find it difficult to practice. Yet, I can with near certainty, say that more than half of wannabe and accomplished authors will add any form of this golden word to their new year resolutions as 2018 draws near.

So what can we do about this?

They say, it all starts in the mind. I agree.

Start by agreeing with the fact that you will not find the time to write. The time to write will not show up like a lost toy you found inside the sofa while spring cleaning the house nor will you find it like a digger in a gold mine. You will have to create the time. Understanding this is the beginning of successful hustle. Though it feels good to bask in the delights of the few and far between child prodigy stories that have not gotten us anywhere than make us dreamers and wishers without any fire in our bones, I’d say that in 2018, start working on your craft. Whether you are talented or not, you need to put in the work.

I was not known to be the coolest guy in elementary, or high school (at least I didn’t think so), but I was known to be the guy that was very gifted in the arts. Anyone who wanted something drawn in school, or painted at church came to me. Friends who needed essays written, re-written or edited came to me. I have worked on many books, magazines, design projects for individuals and organizations since high school and I am a published author. Some have called me a naturally talented creative.

Guess what? It doesn’t matter.

It does not matter because I have met people who are not “naturally talented” but are now well-respected experts in the career they chose, simply because they put in the work! Interestingly, I also discovered that many people who are considered ungifted are just lost. Wait until they find their path and realize the power consistency.

Adobe Spark

While you cannot overemphasize the importance of a consistent practice of craft, your writing does not need to be perfect. What prospective medical student thinks he can perform open heart surgeries while still taking pre-med biology?

It’s… wait for it... the stupid one.

Sounds harsh, but it’s true! And I’m not saying the writer who thinks he can produce a masterpiece fresh off the start is stupid. I am just saying it’s okay if your first few compositions are not perfect. So, step one – Decide to consistently practice your craft – every day in 2018. How?

Just do it.

I know it sounds cliche, but the moment you remember you have to write, just write. The world will not end, and surely that episode of Stranger Things you are watching will wait.

Sometimes this writing practice will not always have a purpose other than to hone your craft.

We often wish every stroke of our pen or clang of the keyboard results in a masterpiece that will be adored by millions. Writers who consider themselves missionaries – who favor a specific sub-genre or theme – more often than others fall prey to this mindset. That is why we stare at the blank screen or paper and wait – for the muse – but end up writing nothing. You do not always have to write according to your selected theme. Your writing practice today may merely be to fathom the world sanctimonious – by finding ten synonyms or antonyms and using it in different ways within a conversation. On other days, it may be putting a backstory into your lead character’s life. Sometimes, it may be reading a prose written by someone you respect or writing the draft of the story you aren’t sure how it’s going to end. Sometimes, its using computer-generated writing prompts!

Quality is often extracted from quantity.

I secretly wish everything I create becomes a masterpiece, but I know that nothing in life works like that. We celebrate the great artists, composers, and writers of old but do you realize that for every famous work of Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simon, there are hundreds of paintings that weren’t so famous? Have you seen how many sketchbooks accomplished artists keep? Ever heard of rough drafts? No one sees those, yet they form the foundation for masterpieces and bestsellers.

Adobe Spark (1)

The thought that the world has to see everything you write is the beginning of frustration, because, truthfully, we usually start with nonsense. Get used to it. One of the most celebrated American writers of the last two centuries, Ray Bradbury reportedly said “every writer has a million bad words in them.  The sooner you get through that first million, the faster you get to the words worth sharing.” Another writer, Malcolm Gladwell proposed that 10,000 hours of deliberate practice are needed to become world-class in any field. While I do not necessarily fix an arbitrary number to it, I agree with the attitude of consistent deliberate practice behind those words. The sooner you can get beyond 10,000 words or 10,000 hours, the earlier you can start creating enthralling masterpieces.

The movie Starwars was not shot a few hours after the scriptwriter came up with the story – it surely took months and years of work! An accomplished athlete is not one who stumbles onto the Olympics but spends hours practicing for the games.

So why should your writing be different?

I will pause here so you can digest the words above. Tomorrow, we will dive deep into the nitty-gritty of Consistency. Stay creative!

Cheers!

Toluwanimi

Don’t lose heart

What to do when the day to day requirements of purpose is not always as exciting or scintillating as the envisioned end point.

A vision is exciting. A well-laid out strategy is exhilarating. A picture of the many lives your work will touch is enough to get you started, but the day to day requirements of purpose is not always as exciting, and surely not as scintillating as the envisioned end point. 

Before you abandon that path of purpose, that calling, or that project because it doesn’t feel as exhilarating as when you first envisioned it, it involves too many days of back breaking work or terribly slow wait times, remember that the beauty of gold is appreciated and enjoyed only when it has been extracted from its ore and refined. I do not need to tell you how undesired the process is.

A beautiful vision is pleasant to behold, but a few moments later, when your expectations fail to come through, it can easily be buried under a thick dark cloud. This surely doesn’t mean that the vision is purely your conjecture. It only means that you’re started on the real process of birthing – the bittersweet labor. 

There will be lag days, there will be incredibly slow and boring phases. You will feel like you’re pushing against a wall. Promised funding will roll in sluggishly or not at all. People will not always be willing. Your first prototype might fail. Expectations might be dashed and the mediocre on the other side will scorn. 

You will be demotivated and feel very useless at those times when the process becomes a monotonous routine. When this happens, know that you are under the fire that is meant to refine you and your work, not graze you into ashes. 

At this time, you need to put in writing the big picture and the reason why you are doing this, since it’s likely the thick cloud will block the horizon. Then put in the work because this is what you have to do. Do not seek repose in alternatives.

As you keep working, Pray and Don’t lose heart.

The cloud will clear and you will see yourself rise to the rank of the accomplished.

To a purpose fulfilled, 

Toluwanimi

Inspired by Colossians 4:2, Luke 18:1 (surprisingly).

UNCHARTED: Part One

uncharted

 

Growing up, I always loved to draw, paint and make crafts, but I did those as a hobby. The journey towards being paid for doing what I love started in 2005. It was during my pre-senior secondary school break that I first used a computer for design during a month-long stint at a graphic design company. Since then, I have logged in hours of personal/online training, as well as individual and collaborative professional work in the more than 11 years that have followed.

Why am I saying this in the middle of August? It’s not as if this day or month marks any special anniversary (though this month, I registered studio13:52 at the DBA as well as opened shop on Upwork).

Well, you will figure out the answer on your own.

It’s said that you need at least 10,000 hours of practicing a craft to become an expert of some significance. That’s about ten years (if you practice three hours daily). Though I am a professional graphic designer with 11 plus years behind, I perceive myself to be only starting.

As I take contracts in my local county, from my home country or across continents on Upwork, I realize that many years behind me does not nullify the need to continue to learn with the right tools and make the right connections in the ever-evolving creative world. The next challenge after establishing basics is to keep evolving to stay on top of my game.

While Studio 13:52 moves into an uncharted territory (you will hear soon), with the horizon promising endless possibilities, one thing is certain – I am committed to delivering inspired imaginations (That’s some marketing there!).

Am I good? Maybe a little bit.

Do I know all there is to design? Absolutely not!

So to practice and evolve, I must – today, tomorrow and the day after.

Even so, it’s not ten thousand hours of energy in all directions. It’s focused, repetitive, coordinated practice in the direction of a meaningful passion. With an assurance of God’s blessing on my endeavor (key point!), time and concerted effort is needed.

Interestingly, this pretty much applies to my faith, writing, relationships, career, vocation, ministry, family life and every other thing in-between.

Maybe yours too, if you think about this.

I’ll write more soon.

Cheers,

Toluwanimi

The ongoing struggle

team

What do you see in the picture?

I see an ongoing struggle.

You are the man in wine jersey, privileged to be a player on the field of life – running with the ball towards the goal post. You are meant to score, get ahead in the match and do your Coach and fans proud.

But –

– seven members of the opposing team say “No, you’re not going anywhere”, by their actions.

You are meant to maneuver your way to the goal post – to discover and fulfill God’s purpose for your life. You are meant to remain steadfast in the faith, and play your ball of commitment into the goal post. You are meant to learn at God’s feet, daily walking with Him and growing in your relationship. You are mean to live an abundant life, filled with God’s joy and peace and eventually exit this world emptied of your gifts into glory!

But the devil’s perfectly numbered team is saying “NO!”

They are all dressed in blue and black– members of the same team – but with different strategies poised to trip you.

Two are hanging tightly to your jersey top, determined to pull you back, to retard your spiritual growth. Unwariness. Indiscipline.

One pulls at your short threatening to strip you. Because He knows that if he does, you will stop your pursuit and scurry to cover up and save face. He will then have succeeded in stopping you from chasing the ball – and your goal. He is immorality. He has his means that you should beware of – Inordinate affection and thoughts.

Can you imagine what the others are doing? The one complementing his mate against you, the one that is jumping ahead to pounce on you…

They are so DETERMINED.  

They have been warned by their master to “win or die fighting.”

Be assured that the veterans who have played on this field and made it to the goal are on the spectator stands, cheering you on.

These sons of Belial will not give up until they strike you down, but you can keep them trying till you get to your goal.

So what can you do?

Believe that you can and have been empowered to overcome.

Then you must recognize their tactics, their game plan, so you can counter them. And you must be on the ATTACKING side. You must be proactive.

Strip down, start running – and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how He did it. Because He never lost sight of where He was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God – He could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now He’s there, in the place of honour, right alongside God. (Heb 12:1-2)

Will you follow in Christ’s steps today?

Cheers,

Toluwanimi

P.S. This article was originally written in January, 2012. Share. Be blessed. God’s grace empowers you!

Keep Moving!

I opened my eyes this morning but hesitated to get out of bed. I pulled the covers over my head to catch some more time of sleep… Or escape.

I’m not lazy. I’m not a slot- I have a passion for excellence and work towards it… But yesterday, I planned to spend quality time with God- to bask in his presence, to sit at his feet. To submit my weakness for His strength and to drink from the cup in His hands. To hear him speak: I had great plans…

But I flunked along my time management and ended up with not enough time… So I’m ashamed to look at Him today and I don’t have the strength to face the day…

Sleep

You know what He just did?

He told me: son, I had a lot for u yesterday. Where did u go?

Then He said, “Don’t worry, today’s here. Rather than carry over one day’s errors into the whole week, let us continue from where we stopped. Get up”

In your pursuit for a closer walk with God, do not give in to guilty party that wastes more time. Ask for His Mercy and help, spank yourself if need be but FORGE AHEAD.

If he doesn’t give up on you, why should you?

Good morning from Toluwanimi!

Respond in the comment section – How’s your walk with God?