How’d I Do It?

How’d I Do It?


Since announcing Tinder & Flint the most frequently asked question I’ve gotten from people who know me is not, “What is it about?” or “Why Fantasy?” Everyone keeps asking me: “How in the world did you do it?”

So I’ve been thinking about that! And I have a few thoughts.


Long before Tinder & Flint was even a spark, people have asked me about productivity. I run a charity, maintain a private practice, have written industry-oriented books that are reasonably well received, and so on. So people ask.

The number one reason is that I don’t watch TV. I grew up without one and while—as a child—this was a great frustration and point of contention between myself and my parents, I credit this wondrous gift as the single most valuable habit (non-habit?) of my life. I don’t generally consume distracting media, and for that reason I have more focused hours in every day than a lot of people.

If you want something done, ask a busy person

I’ve learned through two decades of community organizing that the busiest people are the most effective nearly all the time. When I make requests of individuals for time or advice or support, in most cases it’s the unimaginably busy, jet-setting entrepreneur-with-absolutely-no-time who gets back to me instantly, while the semi-retired or or gently-employed individual is far less responsive. This is not a hard and fast rule, but it is a trend. Nor, by the way is it meant as a judgment. I think those semi-retired people rocking on the front porch with a coffee, not checking their email, have definitely figured something out that the rest of us could learn from! But the fact remains… busy people have a greater capacity to do more than un-busy people.

It’s the inverse of what you might think.

And I don’t think it has to do with innate capacity at all. I think it has to do with mindset. Hypothetically if you were to ask an Olympic track star to race around the field one more time, right after they’ve just run… they could do it, and faster than most other humans. But ask that same track star in the off-season to get up from watching a movie and go run around a track as fast as possible, and—while they still could—they might be less enthusiastic!

Writing takes focus. It can be very tiring and draining. It can also be absolutely exhilarating. But in my case, having less time has been an ally because it has forced me to be efficient when I write, to commit ideas to paper with the time I have. When is that time? 9-11pm and Sundays. Which brings us to…

No wine

So my charity keeps me busy from 7am to 2pm and my private practice keeps me busy from 2pm to 9pm – and Saturdays. Friday and Saturday nights are off, and so are Sundays – unless we have special events. It’s been this way for more than 15 years now. I don’t drink a lot, but at 9pm I got into the habit of drinking a glass of wine.  Yum.

Guess what?

After a long day Matthew drinks one glass of wine and—Boom!—he goes catatonic on the couch. I got tired of the routine and experimented with zero wine from Sunday through Thursday. It was absolutely amazing! I gained back two hours each of those five nights—ten hours a week—of alert, vibrant life. I’m proud to say that not every one of those nights was filled with writing, but many of them were.

And that’s how the first two+ Tinder & Flint books were written in 2015!


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