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The secret to great writing?


The secret to a better life?


It's hard to remember that this is all a gift. This doesn't minimize struggle or random cruelty, there is indeed a world of grays and blacks that we have to confront each and every day. There is horror. 

But if we start to own our outcomes, if we begin recognizing that each moment is indeed sacred, we can make progress. And yes, it will be small. But the next day it can double, and then double again, and then...

Are you finding the one hour a day to remind yourself why you're here in the first place? That's what this blog is all about. There aren't a ton of answers. But there are beginnings. #findthehour

Soundtrack to my life at the moment. 

AuthorChris Donaldson
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The question isn't:

Are you good enough?

The question is:

Are you good enough to yourself?

Instead of getting caught up in the downward cycle of the first question, let the second question prioritize what we do. Treating ourselves well is the start of treating others well is the start of treating the world well is the start of.....

Not to mention better work. 

Put #FindTheHour on the 'To-Do' list. Then check it off each and every day. I've been surprised at the results. You will be too. 


Well I finally finished the next draft of 'Devil's Candy'. Want to read the output of my #FindtheHour? 

Email me and I'll send you the first chapter. If you dare. 


AuthorChris Donaldson

Jim Collins nailed it when he said 'good is the enemy of great'. Listen to my thoughts on how we can jump the divide. 



Well I finally finished the next draft of 'Devil's Candy'. Want to read the output of my #FindtheHour? 

Email me and I'll send you the first chapter. If you dare. 

AuthorChris Donaldson
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If we aren't doing what we want, it's easy to spin into negativity. To look at the external forces of our day to day and blame them for where we are. It's a fallback position for many of us, because it's easier than actually holding ourselves accountable and doing the work it takes to get control of the moment. 

One great place to start with this is by living in a place of gratitude. Gratitude can solve a lot of problems, from office strife to personal relationships to the mountain of work that sits on top of us everyday. Being grateful can flip just about anything, and has an odd by-product of putting us in control.  In the driver's seat. So we can do more good work that matters. 

When we're grateful, it's hard to feel negative. Positivity begins to win the day. And we begin to find more and more places in our own internal landscape to stop and #FindtheHour. To get on top of the things that were once on top of us. 

Don't confuse being grateful with being weak. It could very well be the greatest strength we have. And it's right there, in our back pocket, waiting for us.  

Update: I am wrapping up my novel 'Devil's Candy' (at least this draft) and am excited by it. I've sent out the first chapter to a few people - so now it's out in the world. It will be going to publishers and agents in January, as I start work on my next project. Let me know if you want to take a look, and I'll email you a few pages. 

Keep doing the good work. 


AuthorChris Donaldson

Tools for Creativity and Productivity

This blog is posted every Tuesday and Thursday about my quest to deliver quality. This is tied to my #findthehour project, where I am working at least one hour a day on a passion project (right now a novel called 'Devil's Candy') - and then counting the days that my streak is kept alive. Don't break the streak.

AuthorChris Donaldson
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The stoics are of the belief that there are only two kinds of things in the world:

  • Those things we can control,
  • And those things we can't.

The trick is knowing which is which. This is a lifetime pursuit. 

But here's the good news: even for those things we can't control, there is room for us to flex our muscles (and our heart).  For we can control the way we respond. The way we act. The gratitude or lack of gratitude we show to the things that are happening around us. That's a choice more often than not. 

Another choice we have is how we spend our time. Who we focus on and what we create.  Yes, we can make excuses or let the Resistance wear us down. But we can also pick up the pencil and start writing. Or listen more deeply to the person across from us. Or....

Choices.  #FindtheHour

Want to read the output of my #FindtheHour? 

Email me and I'll send you the first chapter of my novel. If you dare. 

AuthorChris Donaldson





Whenever Will Smith reads a story or a script, he's always looking at it through this lens:

  • What does the Hero want?
  • Why does the Hero want it?
  • What will happen if the Hero doesn't get it?
  • What are the OBSTACLES keeping the Hero from getting it? 

That's it. Four simple questions that have propelled him to some fantastic work, and has helped build his integrity as one of the most popular actors and producer's out there. 

The magic behind these questions is that they extend beyond story and into our own lives. What do we want? Why do we want it? And how the hell are we going to vanquish the monsters in our path to get it?

(That first monster knocking at your door is self-doubt. Sharpen the sword.)

What #FindtheHour is about is helping vanquish one of the biggest obstacles: finding time. By being disciplined enough to find just one hour a day to pursue our passions, we can stop being pretenders. We can make stuff and build things that matter. We can play a little more. 

Is one hour enough? Absolutely not. But it may be just the start we need. 

So ask yourself your 4 questions. Go out and get it. And make @imwillsmith proud. 


Want to read the output of my #FindtheHour? 

Email me and I'll send you the first chapter of my novel. If you dare. 



AuthorChris Donaldson
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Try this to make your days better:

  • Do something NEW
  • Do something BRAVE
  • Do something KIND

There are whole books written on how to achieve happiness. But these three things over time are the lynchpin. My Dad passed these along to me, and they are certainly foundational to us being better, more joyful humans.

Spend your #FindTheHour experimenting.


AuthorChris Donaldson


If it keeps on rainin' levee's goin' to break
When the levee breaks I'll have no place to stay.

- Led Zeppelin

I did 63 days in a row of #FindtheHour. It was a good run, and I'm closing in on having some great creative stuff in my back pocket. 

But then the wheels came off. It started as all things start, innocently. I stayed up late one night. Then the next morning I got a late start, then work started to stack up, then I felt tired, then I started making excuses, then...

It's amazing how quickly the reptile known as Resistance takes hold. How quickly it finds an opening to whisper sweet nothings into your ear. "Relax," it says. "Why go to all the trouble?"

I folded. But not just for one day. 

Not just for two days. 

For three days I did nothing, proving Newton right again when he said a body laying down watching Game of Thrones remains laying down. 

Finally, I bitch slapped myself, got out of bed, and hit refresh.  

That's the answer. Sharpen the axe and begin chopping again.




AuthorChris Donaldson

Watch the above. The man and the process are intense. The inspiration is color.  

This film changed my very flat perception of Jim Carrey. It proved again we have to live on the edges. 




The woman in her shop welding alone. 

The guy staring at a blank page. 

Living on the edge means living on the edge of failure. It means, when asked to sing, you let 'er rip even though you probably aren't the best singer in the audition. Voice cracking, you do it anyway. At it's worst, it will be real. At it's worst, it's everything we got. 

And that's enough. Even though we may be scared shitless. 

That's the price of being interesting. Of creating interesting work. We might still have to care about what people think (I do,), but maybe the true level of success is if we answer the day. If we meet failure as a stepping stone rather than as a judgement of who we are. If we take the sword to doubt and the helping hand to our own passion. 

I'm still working on that. 



AuthorChris Donaldson

Nobody said it was going to be easy. 

There is a concept among the stoics called the 'Inner Citadel' - that fortress that protects your inner soul. These are the walls of integrity, protecting our purpose. 

No matter how strong the walls are, however, there can always be a breach from the inside. This is when we concede too much and care too little. When compromise (or maybe something worse, like greed) chips away at who we are.

Our job is to protect against that at all costs. To be battle ready when the attack comes - and it will come. To take the time to follow who we are, and be who we are. 

That's what #FindTheHour is all about: Shoring up the weak spots. Tapping into strength. Protecting the inner part of us that's life critical.

It's not easy. I struggle all the time with this. Especially the last couple of days, when all I want to do is watch TV or give in to the status quo. I push back, halfheartedly. I hesitate. I do make compromises. I strike deals with the Devil. 

But I also put in the hour. 


AuthorChris Donaldson
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Today is day 59 of my #FindTheHour streak. Join me in reclaiming existence. 

An old friend of mine Shawn Delaney always used to say 'Put the Couch in the Kitchen'. 

Apple says 'Think Different'. 

There's a thousand different people out there talking about 'Reimagine' or 'Rethink' or 'Transformation'. 

That's the function of #FindTheHour: to get us to take the time to reflect on how we spend our time, then make changes to reclaim our existence. Putting the couch in the kitchen is about a fresh blueprint. 

A few people asked me last week about the structure of #FindTheHour. Does it have to be one project? Can you mix it up and play a trumpet one night then throw pottery the next? Does it have to be disciplined around one primary goal?

The short answer is 'yes'. 

But that goal can be whatever we want it to be. That goal could simply be 'Doing that which brings me joy.' Or it could be finishing a book (my case) or starting a side-hustle. It's about shedding other people's expectations and focusing on what you want to do. Just for an hour. 

Sounds selfish, doesn't it? But it's the same kind of selfishness that's sparked the best art. The best life, perhaps. 

So choose who you want to be. 

Next Post on Thursday: Finding the Time


AuthorChris Donaldson

Today is day 54 of my #FindTheHour streak. Join me in reclaiming our existence. 

This is what the beast whispers in your ear:

You're too tired.
You're not good enough. 
You should focus on your spouse/your kids/your friends/your work/your abs today. 
You're schedule got turned upside down again. 
There's never enough time in the day.
Can you do it? No. 
Are you worthy? No.
You'll never have what you need to get started. 
It's just too friggin' hard. 

These are the words of the RESISTANCE, the greatest single adversary to creativity. These are the words I usually listen far too long to,  often even before I get out of bed every morning. These are the excuses that try to prevent me from #FindTheHour. 

But we are worthy. We are the slayers of dragons. 

If you want to do work that matters, but don't know how, the first step is fighting the beast. Not listening to your own excuses. Just putting your head down and putting in the time. And if you want a great book to read about this, grab Steven Pressfield's DO THE WORK, which I can't recommend enough. It's a gem. It speaks the truth about how we can tap into our muse and do things beyond imagination. 

That's what it boils down to. Just sitting down or standing up and doing what you know you should be doing. For an hour. 

That's a great start. 

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Streak Count of writing ONE HOUR A DAY: 54 days.

Music to write by: New LCD Soundsystem, yo! 

Most Frequented Writing Haunt: My house

Stay frosty. 



AuthorChris Donaldson