jasraj's blog

Hello, i'm Jasraj Singh Hothi and this is my blog. I also have a micro-blog.

I've been in and around the IndieHackers community for a while now. I came across the community during my first digital nomad trip to Tenerife in 2019, in the Canary Islands.

More on that in a moment. First, it feels necessary to go back a little further to 2014. It was around this time that I first started to come across the world of indies and makers, even though I didn't know that's what it was at the time.

I would hear the stories of folks doing unconventional things, building businesses around blogs and online communities. Never having fit in, or known what I wanted to do with my life, my interest was well and truly piqued. For the first time in my life, there was a “career path” I stumbled across which… felt right.

I started attending events at this place tucked away a couple of minutes from where I work, called Escape the City, where other disillusioned corporate workers would gather.

And then a year later, after I had quit my job, was studying a Masters and was having a “year off” of sorts, I went to the most incredible conference I've been to in my life.

It was called World Domination Summit, and it was eye-opening. Keynote speakers featured some of these inspiring folks I'd been following, and the smaller workshops and more casual mingling were even more powerful. There were folks there doing unconventional things, all kinds of quirky businesses, showing up as themselves and building businesses where they could do the same. I remember meeting a ‘play coach’, someone who offered ‘cuddle therapy’, and others who were still working 9-to-5s but were drawn to, or had already started, doing their own thing.

I attended a LiveYourLegend meetup, where I met someone I consider a friend today called Elizabeth Miner (I think she was the first nomad I ever met), a wonderful person.

For a few days I was around a group of people like me, at different stages of the journey, but connecting around a common cause. Unconventional living.

I would go on to seek out communities and surround myself with other unconventional, creative types who were building businesses.

I joined Fizzle, run by someone else I bumped into at World Domination Summit called Corbett Barr, and then, towards the end of my month-long stay at a coliving space in Tenerife, I stumbled across another world that was there waiting for me to discover it at just the right time.

It was called IndieHackers.

How it happened was as follows. Somehow I came across Tyler Tringas and his concept of “micro saas”.

Even though I wasn't a developer, something lit inside of me and excited me when I landed on that guide. In the same as when I had come across Scott Dinsmore and Corbett Barr's guides.

As I read the chapters of Tyler's free ebook, I found myself wanting to hear more from him. I looked up podcast interviews, and landed on his interview on the IndieHackers podcast.

And suddenly, I had found this whole community of passionate creatives I resonated with.

At the time I felt a little... different. I wasn't a developer (I’m still not), and yet this place felt like me. It was a supportive community of fellow unconventionals drawn to living life on their own terms, through creating products of different kinds.

In the last 5 years, the creator and maker space has evolved and gained steam.  In the IndieHackers community today there are all sorts of developers and non-techies building online businesses, some subscription-based, some community-based, product-based or service-based.

For a good while, like I do when I join any community, I gently dabbled, trading threads and perhaps starting to comment here and there.

Things changed when an indiehacker posted a thread about connecting over video to discuss something he was building. I liked the sentiment behind the post, so I jumped on a call.

Sasa would become my first 'IRL' indie friend.

I was also fortunate to stumbled across IndieLdn, which has given me the opportunity to meet fellow indies in real life at their casual and coworking events. In fact, I think it was something like a couple of years after I came across IndieLondon that I went to my first event… I sometimes ask myself, why not sooner.

All of these conversations made me feel like I was back at World Domination Summit all over again, that memorable conference where it feels I really found my first indie “tribe”.

And so without a doubt the best thing about indiehackers is the video and IRL conversations, made possible by this platform which has let me continue to find and meet “my people”.

It's so easy to do so, and I've found fellow indies – like me and perhaps like you, wherever you are on this journey – to be warm, open and curious.

If you're currently lurking in indiehackers, I'd invited you to step in and start replying to some threads. If you've had some interactions, I'd invite you to start connecting with folks on Twitter, and reaching out.

“Hey, what you're up to looks really cool, and I've been enjoying our interactions / I’m working on something quite similar. Do you fancy catching up over a call sometime? Let me know if you might be open to that, and we can work something out if so :) Cheers. Jas”

Literally, that’s all it takes.

Of course, there's always a chance there will be a “no”, a non-response, or more likely a polite decline. But the video and IRL chats I've had with fellow indiehackers has been the most rewarding part of being in this community.

If you don’t reach out, if you don’t step in, you’re missing out on something significant.

And so if you're an indiehacker already, I'd invite you to reach out to fellow indies, keep an eye on the meetups going on (online and IRL), let yourself show up and be around fellow side-hustlers and solopreneurs.

Surrounding myself and having conversations with others on this journey has been one of the most significant things that has carried me through – and continues to.

From Escape The City, to World Domination Summit, to IndieHackers, you bet I'll be making more time to reach out, be curious, and have meaningful interactions with fellow indies, over video and in real life.

The best thing about indiehackers is the opportunity to spend time with them.

So go ahead and create those opportunities.  The connections you'll make, the things you'll learn, the energy you'll absorb, is one of those golden, immeasurable, priceless things.

In fact, I’m likely off to London tomorrow for a day of weekend co-working with RamenClub (part of IndieLdn), an IRL community I discovered through the IndieHackers forum.

If you’re an indie hacker/maker/solopreneur reading this, I hope you’ll step into conversations, video calls and meetups, too.

I attended a gathering this week that some have described as a “networking event”.

I’ve been to this particular meetup 3 or 4 times now and, I’ll be honest, it doesn’t feel like networking at all.

That probably says something about the event itself and how it’s run, and those who attend; but, thinking about it a little more, it’s dawned on me that I just don’t do “networking” anymore.

I’ll try my best to explain…

I remember attending events during my years of working in the City, or the so-called “business networking” events I attended when I was dabbled in freelancing.

It all felt very… transactional. Business-y. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of work went into the running of these events, both in putting them together and during the events themselves. I even made some warm connections from these events.

However, there was still an undertone of “business” and “I’m here for myself, and to get clients”, over and above simply connecting for connecting’s sake.

This brings to mind a memory from 7 years ago when, whilst building my first business, I reached out to someone in the States with an invitation. It was someone building a business in the space I was building in, who was further along in the journey. We had exchanged emails here and there over the course of several months, and I thought I’d reach out and propose catching up over a call.

“Hey Jas”, the reply read, “I don’t make it a practice to schedule calls without any purpose.” Or something like that.

Ouch. To be honest, reflecting on it now, I completely understand. If an entrepreneur’s, if anyone’s, day was filled with open-ended, intention-less conversations, I’m not sure many businesses would get built – or many things would get done at all.

If I am being honest, in my heart I did wonder – depending on how such a video conversation might go – if this person might become a mentor of mine. In some ways, he already was.

But, really, this was just someone I’d enjoyed back-n-forthing with over email, and who I was open to connecting with over a call. It speaks to an innate curiosity with, and openness to, other people I’ve had for as long as I can remember.

I recall being like this as a kid, mostly observing other kids (and teachers) during the school day. This interest translated into my first “proper job” as an adult, in a customer services team. And in my second “proper job” as an adult, I would spend many client meetings talking about everything under the sun… and often forgetting to directly address the reason we’d agreed to meet up, until a few minutes from the end of the meeting.

I’m not saying this was wise, or that this approach (if you can call it that) is for everyone, but by the time I left that company, I was a top-earner and employee-of-the-year. I can’t help but feel that my way of “networking”, of connecting with people, played some part.

This brings me back to IndieBeers, the meetup I attended this week. In years gone by, I’d have turned up to these sorts of events suited-and-booted, pressuring myself to have as many interactions as possible.

On Wednesday evening, I showed up in what I’d chosen to leave the house in that morning (shorts, t-shirt and a cap, for a warm day), arriving early to a bustling pub that was spilling to the street outdoors given the nice weather.

Now that I’d been to these meetups a couple of times, I already knew some familiar faces, and I enjoyed checking-in with a couple of friends I’d not seen in a while, before just letting myself gently mingle.

No pressure to have a certain number of conversations, or talk about my business, or reach any particular outcomes of a tangible nature.

Just an openness to chat, 1:1 or in a little group, simply showing up as myself and being curious.

I had a brief-but-memorable interaction in the gym locker room recently.

I was in a good mood after a workout/spa session, and I noticed this guy wearing a Chiacgo Bulls shirt.

We talked about NBA and The Last Dance, and it turns out that he was a business owner. His dad before him was, too.

I have a good friend of mine, whose dad has sadly now passed, who is also an entrepreneur. His dad was, too.

We aren't completely the product of our experiences, but I believe they play a part. My own dad is very passionate about what he does, and he is very skilled at it, but I know he wouldn't be offended if I said he doesn't have much of an interest when it comes to business.

I remember as a kid growing up, I wanted to make my dad proud.

I remember trying really hard at math (what we call maths here in England). I understood it, I was okay at it, but I never had the same logically-inclined brain my Dad and my brother have. I was good enough at it... I remember my dad would sometimes get frustrated when I didn't grasp mathematical concepts too well. Looking back, I think he just wanted what was best for me and was perhaps a little surprised as to why I didn't grasp these black-n-white concepts.

I don't think either of us knew then that I wasn't naturally wired to be a black-n-white guy.

I remember getting into Chess, even getting to Board 1 at primary school, and eventually going to a Saturday chess club where the standard got higher, it felt more competitive, and I lost the joy of just doing chess for fun.

I look back and I think I see that a part of my dad was wanting to be to have – and grasp – the opportunities that he didn't have. Though he got into a good grammar school for secondary, he wasn't afforded the privilege of a private primary school like I was.

I think if my dad had gotten into chess when he was a kid, he would be really fricking good at it. And I think a part of him wanted me to lean into that, his first-born who looked so much like him, and be really fricking good at chess.

He's very skilled at logical and motor functioning pursuits. Whether it's intricate clinical work, or playing tennis or golf, my dad has a natural knack for it. My dad would play with a wooden racket and make me and my brother look like novices with our graphite rackets. This was well into our teens, and into early adulthood when – apparently – a man is in his sporting prime. It was quite embarrassing, really. Whereas I had tennis lessons for a time, my dad's youth practice would involve hitting a ball against a wall out in the street where he lived. Self-taught.

For a time I felt like I was letting my dad down a little, but looking back I realise he was just a father wanting to see his son fulfil his potential and make the most of the opportunities I had which he didn't. Each being complex human beings, it just turned out that our brain wiring was a little different.

--

I think, as boys, we look up to our fathers whether we realise it or not. Naturally, our experience – and perhaps even what we aim for – is shaped by our fathers. I feel like I got my smarts and my academia from my dad.

As I've stepped into my creative, entrepreneurial side in the last few years, I hadn't realised that there was a natural entrepreneur there with me all along.

My mum's father arrived as an immigrant from India in the 60s, and walked for miles to the nearest factory to sign up for a job. He didn't speak a word of English when he arrived and shared a room with a bunch of people. He ended up working in a shop, before going on to buy his own shop.

My mum, his first-born child, would come home from primary school and help out with household chores that included bathing her siblings. She would also help out in the shop, observe everything that was going on, and perform reconnaissance on competitors' shops and their prices. She learned negotiation not from self-help books or YouTube channels, but simply by observing, learning, and doing.

Shortly after she and my dad got married, they managed to knock together the money to buy a space for my dad's practice. They've worked together for more than 30 years, both crucial pieces of the family business; my dad being a skilled and caring surgeon, and my mother responsible for all things business-related.

In bringing me up and sending me to the schools I went to, my parents wanted me to have all the things they never had. Having an education was extremely important, and it was very important to have something to fall back on.

I don't think I even knew what entrepreneurship was when I left secondary school. There was this thing for sixth formers (year 12 and 13s) called Young Enterprise, but it sure as heck wasn't for Jas. Jas was brainy, academic, destined for university and a job in science, so he thought.

It would take a little while longer for the creative and the entrepreneur in me to emerge.

It was there with me all along, both inside of me (in my being), and outside of me in my lived environment... as my mum would diligently go about her day's activities, effortlessly switching between family life and business life.

Over more than three decades, my mum and my dad have made a phenomenal team. I'm not sure each of them would ever have found a more worthy co-pilot.

Swimming against the tide, and the challenges that have come with choosing an indie-shaped path. 👣

One of the most difficult things I've had to contend with as I've chosen a path of “doing my own thing” are the comments, judgements, or just plain differences I've felt with most of the people in the world. Or, at least, my world.

From my family and friends, to the people I'd encounter in cafes, on the bus, at social gatherings ... when out in the world, “doing your own thing” just isn't what's normal.

Not only is there the judgement that comes from taking the solo path, but an underlying expectation that you must know what you're doing (surely you must know what you're doing to be so reckless...), and thus at least be “making it” (i.e. somewhere between making a reasonable, sustainable income to making a lot of money from your business).

And therein lies the great challenge I've experienced. Navigating “the messy middle” that is my own doubts and gaps in knowledge and just experience, all the while having to keep up appearances to the outside world, and sort of pretend that all is well even when sometimes... well, it's not easy.

There was a time when I was worried about what every person knew would think about me doing my own thing, and would be there watching y every move and waiting to see whether I'd “make it” or fall flat on my face.

Now that I've made some money from 3 businesses I've started* (not counting the many more ideas I've had, which I've pursued to differing extents), mixed in with the real-world experience I've gotten, I feel different.

[*I don’t count the little money I’ve made from Medium and selling copies of my book “money from a business” – as I consider this my writing, and not a business]

There was a time when I used to dread going to large social gatherings for the fear of being asked “So, what do you do?” It was worse when my parents were around at things like weddings, when curious-to-nosey-to-prideful parents would ask my own: “So, what does your son do?” My parents, as supportive as they have been on my journey, of course feel their own stuff when it comes to sharing what I'm up to... and the changing answer I've given them, or the judgements they feel from others – as well as from themselves – hasn't always been easy for them.

I continue to answer the “So, what do you do?” question in different ways, depending on who's asking the question and the setting we are in. I work in marketing” is an easy answer, and one which is true. I’ve realised that not everyone can handle “the whole truth” or they simply don't deserve to hear it.

This sounds harsh, but I’ll try to offer an explanation here. If you tell me you work in corporate law or consulting, I take your word for it and no further enquiry ensues. If I introduce myself as ‘a writer’ (or someone who ‘writes things’), all sorts of questions have then been asked of me. Some of the responses I’ve gotten include: “Oh, what do you write?”, “You're not famous, are you?” or “Where can I read your stuff?” Even when this comes from a good place, sometimes (depending on the person), I'd rather not offer up too much to a stranger I've just met.

And then I had an interesting experience this weekend.

I was at dinner with my uncle, his partner, and his friends, all of whom I had met before, a couple of them with their partners who I hadn't met.

It helped that I had met most of these people before, but the couple of times I was asked about my work during the evening, I felt comfortable owning and sharing what I do. This was not the case five years ago, so this is new, and a market of my growth in character and confidence. I was – I am – proud of myself.

And the very next day, heading to a cafe for some Sunday writing and reflection... I found myself in one of the most interesting conversations I've had in a long time, with anyone let alone two cafe strangers. With the two of them, I was happy to show up as myself without question. We covered a great deal of intimate ground over the course of twenty minutes (possibly longer, but it the time simply flew).

Whilst I still prefer connecting in small groups, my dinner on Saturday evening was a lovely experience, and one which told me I have grown into myself – and with the confidence to own and share where I am in my journey – and that's something worth celebrating.

I'm currently reading Rob Walling's book, Start Small, Stay Small, in which he writes, when it comes to the solo pursuit that is a business:

“Surprisingly, anything is much easier the second time. And the third. And by the fourth time you can’t even feel the hair on the back of your neck, or the sweat in your palms because it’s no longer there. The terror goes away surprisingly quickly.”

It would appear that there's something to be said for that. I think, over time, my own terror has diminished, and thus I’m able to show up from a more confident and comfortable place. And that’s quite a satisfying realisation.

It turns out that being Jasraj is, in fact, the most normal thing in the world 👌

Yesterday, I caught up with a good friend of mine I first met on the internet on a platform called micro.blog.

I remember the first time I came across Laurence, aka Cerulean, on the platform.

This guy is as wonderfully weird and quirky as me, I thought, as I read the things he was writing about and sharing, and stumbled across his delightfully-wacky email address, and just everything I was seeing come from this quick-witted human being.

We exchanged numbers, and – true story – during an exchange about “minimal phones” – I dropped my smartphone… what was to be the beginning of the end of my iPhone.

The first time we met up we spent a good couple of hours walking and talking in a West London park. We shared our stories and put the world to rights.

There’ve been other meets and chats since, our most recent yesterday with Laurence driving down to my neck of the woods, as part of a couple of days in London for his putting together his most recent album. I was even treated to a sample play of a couple of the tracks. I say treated because it was no less than an honour. Like any writer who graces me with their writing, whilst it is being birthed, a musician or any artist who does the same… words cannot describe.

It is the deepest of privileges that fills my human heart. Truly, something that can only be felt and not done justice with even the most eloquent words on page.

And, of course, we shared more stories and put the world to rights. He gave me some very sensible advice too as I navigate a new path and find myself in the throws of passionate emotions and – admittedly – reckless irrationality.

The magic of the internet, the best thing about the internet, no doubt, is being able to connect with people through their words (or, in Laurence’s case, through music *and* words. And he makes videos too – each medium carefully crafted with Laurence’s essence – so he really does offer different ways to intricately connect with him) and develop a heartfelt friendship.

My life is all the richer for the people I have in my life I can speak honestly and meaningfully with. Those connections are deep and rewarding in both written/artful form, as well as in ‘meeting in real life’ form.

Thank you, internet. 💛

With everything else I see going awry with the digital space, this is truly the one thing about the worldwideweb I will hold onto and cherish deeply.

I remember the first time I typed out websites into my browser… “double-you, double-you, double-you, dot….”. Wondrous. Magical. Beautiful.

ps. I was previously offered the gift of talking ‘Smalltown Dreamer’, Laurence aka Cerulean’s debut album, and discovering more of his story (in his backyard) –> a small portion.

I started the day with a workout, before settling down to my coffee shop working.

I also tried somewhere different for lunch, one of those casual cafes places with wraps and baguettes and such. I noticed a lot more masks around today, there's those daily updates now being a thing of the past, there's been a surge in COVID cases which has led to things like staff shortages; British Airways cancelled dozens of flights yesterday, adding to the already-manic Easter-holiday-crowds at the airports.

I worked from home this afternoon. I decided to look for a free Pomodoro app for my laptop I could use offline, and found this one. It's neat because it automatically switches from “work” (25 mins) to “break” (5 mins) sessions, so you don’t have to keep pressing ‘start’; the latter accompanied by a gentle metronome to invite you to really take that break. I just checked and you can adjust timings and the # of rounds, too. Simple and effective.

Truth be told, I'm still trying to get better at the whole focus thing. It's a little trying to rein in and gently tame one of those wild horses with a rope (the rope starts out real long to let the horse roam freely, and is gradually shortened to – quite literally – rein it in. I recall one of the free videos on the Headspace app depicting this.

I think this might be a little easier once the new site is up-and-running (getting there), I've found a system for my marketing (getting there), and so my work is somewhat more business-as-usual.

As well as the tomato timer, I was also accompanied by ambient beats and then Kanye West later in the afternoon. I've been listening to his music a lot lately, and discovered some new stuff of his I hadn't heard whilst I was at the gym this morning and listening to a YouTube mix.

His song 'Hurricane' keeps playing in my head. It’s so catchy. Mm-mm-MMM-mm-mm.

TLDR: I find Notion both mind-blowing and… mindblowing.

I went down a big rabbit hole yesterday, the sort of rabbit hole that Pomodoro timers can help me with.

It all started when I came across someone's beautiful blog site. I've recently been refamiliarising myself with Wordpress, and I can't help but feel this safe and solid option feels old and outdated.

This blog I stumbled across was modern, with clean UX, and full of heart. I loved it. It turned out it had been built with a modern Notion-website builders, with his particular product focused on using notion as a blogging CMS.

I'll be honest, the product itself is great. It’s in beta but I had never seen anything like it; there was this dashboard that neatly and intricately links to your notion database.

The founder is a developer based in India working on this full-time, and so a solopreneur I knew I would love to support if I could. I gave it a good shot, I really did, and Bhanu was very helpful in walking me through getting me set up. I get the impression that he's building a neat product he cares about that he wants to last.

I do feel the notion ecosystem is young and has lots of potential. Notion-as-a-website is attracting its own little crowd, with the likes of super.so, simple.ink (I had a brief exchange with Daniel there over the chat, with his brother he’s building out a whole suite of products serving the notion community) and fruitionsuite.com offering ways to help you publish your notion as a site (the latter letting you do so completely free).

And yet, I'm not sure what it is, but I just can't get my brain around notion. Or, rather, notion literally makes my brain go crazy.

I was reading recently about expansive thinking, and I'm recently realising that my brain is one of those creative brains that gets really excited.

Whereas I've seen other creatives use notion effectively (folks like Yihui whose beautiful notion-built blog + site it was that I stumbled across, to Porter's own neat task-organising (+ mind clearing) notion template; in fact, you can find dozens of notion templates out there, on a notion.so itself but also on blogs, gumroad, etc as more folks adapt and tinker and develop use cases (and unique templates) that others can also use, too. It feels like this great big open-source community, and there are already of passionate notion-ites out there.

It's just that for me, personally, I can't seem to find a way to use notion that serves me. I think it's something to do with the never ending possibilities that I find overwhelming. I was intrigued – and amazed – at the idea of using notion as a blog, and “upload” posts as pages on there, ones which could even be scheduled, and be labelled with tags, and so forth.

For me I think there's also the idea of my blog being on this public database, which I might accidentally delete at any time. In theory, you can backup and export your notion database for safety, but it also feels a little to alien to me at this moment in time to upload my posts onto a database.

It would also take me a good few hours to “work notion out”, where time would better be spent on building out a blog that is pretty-enough for me (the more possibilities there are, the more my crazy mind wants to tinker...), and lets me frictionlessly upload posts in the mist conventional way.

In other words, a place a little more familiar, and simply requires pasting text from my editor (Notes app on Ipad for this post), before pasting, formatting and hitting publish on my blog. Being a professional site I'll want to use headlines, meta descriptions etc effectively, but that's pretty much it for me.

And so there goes another step into the world of possibilities that is notion, for Jas.

As for this post, it's being typed out on my iPad, will be emailed to myself, and will then be pasted and uploaded onto my Write.as blog.

Getting the words from my brain to my blog as smoothly as possible.

That seems the way for me to go, whether it’s my personal blog or my professional one.

It was grey here today so I decided to make a slightly longer journey to what is usually my “afternoon” coffee shop; the one I normally go to is pretty dark inside, even when you sit near the windows, and being Monday I figured it could be pretty busy.

I did some reading whilst on the bus (Mindwandering, by Moshe Bar) and read a particularly poignant extract on “associative thinking” which really resonated:

I got to the “quieter, brighter” coffee shop and, of course, when I got there there was a child making a lot of noise and what looked like a grandparent trying to keep him occupied with some kind of kiddie's TV out loud. You have to laugh a little at the irony.

After getting some writing done, I got started on my new site.

It's the first time I've been back on Wordpress for a while, and I had flashbacks of my time starting various previous blogs on there; taking ages thinking of a name, and choosing a theme, and getting it set up.

This time, I'm trying to embrace a more laid-back approach. I already have a name for the blog, and I took a few minutes to consider themes but I landed on one. I’m still experimenting with the layout, and the sections I’ve written are very early drafts.

But here's what it looks like so far in its (very) embryonic stage:

I then met my dad for lunch, he cycled to me and we walked to Nando's, his Fiido electric bike in tow. With the battery it's a pretty heavy thing to carry down escalators… once we reached the bottom he let me try carrying it, I'd guess it must be around 20kg. At Nando’s we shared a whole chicken between us, though dad gave me ¾ of it. With two portions of spicy rice, I was pretty full.

This afternoon I spoke for over an hour with a blogger I reached out to online whose blog and writing I loved. We talked about all sorts, from the jobs we've had, about our lives as modern-day writers, travel, publishing, and so forth.

After dinner, I felt pretty full and sluggish and fancied a trip to the gym. I've not done an evening workout in months, possibly over a year. Monday evening is really busy at the gym, though it got a little less so as I worked out. It's almost a whole new owe at the gym; there's like a whole different evening-crowd to the daytime-crowd I'm more familiar with. I had a few minutes in the sauna, too.

I'm writing this out in the kitchen whilst my parents watch an episode of Masterchef, and I'm planning on watching the second part of a new Muhammad Ali documentary I started watching last night, before I head to bed.

1pm in a gently-bustling bookshop cafe.

It's sunny and about 14 degrees out, after a chilly start to the morning (minus 4 at daybreak).

I enjoyed a lie in, before a workout and spa session, and now here I am with decaf flat white latte and putting fingers to keys.

Focused activity is the plan this afternoon.

After exploring the idea of travel the last few days, it's looking like I'm being asked to stay put in the UK for the next couple of months. It seems the weather in Europe is unpredictable of late, with wet a particularly wet March in Portugal and particularly strong winds in the reliably balmy Crete.

I explored the idea of putting my own little co-living space together, and I'll keep that option open for June-time instead. I'll need to tell tweak the landing page accordingly. Truth be told, I'd like to release my paperback book and get the foundations in place for my new site and business, and it makes sense to hunker down and do that here in England. I think it makes the most sense. Travel plans, at least for now, on pause.

I've also been leaning into focus this week, and in particular focused and productive mornings. Whilst I will never be someone who structures every hour of my day (I shudder at the thought), I also feel that structure and focus allow for freedom. For example, a focused 4-6 hours of work on any given day, allows one to rest and relax and be wonderfully free, resting in the knowledge of a good day's work. I'd like to build my focus muscle with a morning 3 hours of focused work, 1 hour spent on a meaningful activity; for this month, that is blog posts, working through the early stages of the Fizzle roadmap, and building out a new site for The Indie Writer.

I've mentioned that focused work gives me freedom for later on, but I also believe it gives freedom in the present moment, too. To be focused is to be present. And so perhaps a live well lived is living a life of focus and simplicity.

With the first quarter of 2022 behind us, I'll be endeavouring for more of both of those things over the coming ninety days.

I think I’m going to become good friends with the pomodoro timer this month. 🍅

I started the day with a morning workout, and it started lightly snowing on the way to the gym. Later this afternoon, there was a short burst of what looked like hail and then snow. In spring…

I got to work on my book’s formatting, with a pomodoro timer tool I found online, before then realising that Atticus has its own in-built timer. Result. Pretty handy for getting the head-down and focusing, which is what I’m trying to get better at lately. I actually formatted right to the end of the book (I just need to fix up the back matter pages tomorrow), and I just need to make a few tweaks and I should be good to go.

Tomorrow I’ll be sending the final page-count to my cover designer, so she can send me a cover file with the correct “width” for the book’s spine, and I’m planning on starting my new Wordpress site for The Indie Writer. One of my goals is to have a new site drafted by the time I next meet with my mastermind group. Speaking of which…

Last night was my mastermind group’s second meet which went really well. Here’s me at the bar getting a little work done and waiting for my two mastermind pals to arrive:

It’s been a while since I was in a mastermind, and I’ve not been in an in-person one for 6 years, and so I’m really relishing it.

I’d made good progress since the first meet, we had some great discourse, and I’m feeling good about the goals I’ve set between now and our next meet in two weeks’ time. We’re also thinking about doing a “book club” between the three of us which I’m also feeling excited about. I’m looking forward to our next meet already.

The afternoon’s activity was less focused and taken up with more research on my forthcoming travel trip, but I did get some writing done.

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