Craig Allen Thoughts on creativity and productivity.
Typing on a laptop

I was having a group text conversation with my family this weekend, and some stories came up in my life that made me realize how many things are connected by the common thread of my love for words.

My first thoughts about this idea came from my post last week when I wrote about my top five strengths according to StrengthFinders 2.0. My second strength, “ideation,” says this about my interest in language (emphasis mine):

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WordCamp Lancaster banner free ticket

When they first announced WordCamp Lancaster 2017, I immediately bought a ticket. Then I applied to speak, got accepted, and got a free ticket. That leaves me in a position of having a ticket I don’t need.

Sure, I could ask for a refund. And sure, they’re only $20…

BUT-

I thought I’d have a little contest and give my extra ticket away!

All you have to do is comment on this blog post between Friday (February 24th) and Sunday (February 26th) by midnight. I will choose a winner and announce it on Monday morning. Make sure to use a valid email address, because that’s the one I will assign the ticket to for the winner.

In your comment, tell me why you want to go to WordCamp Lancaster!

StrengthsFinder Book

I may have written about this topic before, but I was reminded recently about StrengthsFinder 2.0 and decided to take a look back at my results.

My top 5 themes (strengths) according to the test are:

  • Deliberative – best described by the serious care they take in making decisions or choices.
  • Ideation – fascinated by ideas…able to find connections between seemingly disparate phenomena.
  • Adaptability – prefer to “go with the flow.”
  • Empathy – can sense the feelings of other people by imagining themselves in others’ lives or others’ situations.
  • Intellection – introspective and appreciate intellectual discussions.

It’s helpful every once in awhile to go back and remind myself of these things and read the descriptions. There is also actionable advice about how to handle certain situations in work and general life, which is also useful.

Some highlights for my future self:

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Windmills on the water near farms

A few weeks ago, I decided to start blogging more frequently at Open Waves Design, my business for web design and development. I had a resource for 40 blogging topics and planned to blog through them. I knew I couldn’t do one per day and keep up this daily blog as well, but I figured 2-3 per week was reasonable.

I was wrong.

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Blank notebook and pencil

With less than two weeks until WordCamp Lancaster, I was hoping to have my presentation mostly done this past weekend. However, because I had a few other projects to work on, I’m not as far along as I’d hoped.

One of the most difficult things for me to decide is what stories to tell. The technical parts of a talk are easy, but there are dozens of stories to choose from. What makes it harder for me is not knowing which ones will have the most impact, and be the most relevant to my topic.

For this talk, I’ll be sharing a few stories about my struggles and failures over the last few years while doing freelance web development. My hope is that people will learn from my mistakes, and I think it helps people feel encouraged to know when other people are having a difficult time. While there is a lot to learn from failure, sometimes it’s just comforting to feel like you’re not the only one.

At this point, I do have a general outline and a few ideas for specific stories which just need to be fleshed out with more detail. I should have my slides done this weekend, so I can begin practicing and be ready for March 4th.

Will I see you there?