I’ve known Jackson for a few months now since we both joined the launch team for Jeff Goins’ latest book, The Art of Work. A talented writer and maker of notebooks, I was excited to be able to connect with him for this interview.
If you received a million dollars, no strings attached, what would change in regards to your writing?
I don’t think my writing would change much at all, except for the fact I would write more often and, in turn, get better at the craft. The thing that I love the most about writing is that it doesn’t cost me anything except time. It doesn’t require much in equipment or resources, so basically anyone can do it. A better computer and notebook won’t really make someone a better writer.
Tell me about your creative space, what are some parts of it that are absolutely necessary and what makes it you?
My workspace is clean and organized. I have a very hard time being creative when there is clutter around me. My brain starts to shut down. Lighting also plays a signfant role in my environment. Natural lighting or floor lamps help me focus and think better. Anything that helps my mind relax and stress melt away. That’s when I can do my best work, so I do everything I can to make sure my workspace is a stress-free environment.
What is your favorite part of the creative process?
Sharing. While I love the actual production side of things, it’s always the most fun and rewarding to share what I create with others. I heard a poet once say, “to be read completes the art.” I couldn’t agree more. The creative process doesn’t feel complete until I’ve shared what I’ve created with someone else.
When you hit a wall, what do you do to get out of it?
One of two things: 1) break the wall 2) walk around it. Breaking the wall requires hard work and drive. You sometimes have to just push through a rough spot. Other times, it’s totally pointless to keep pushing. Sometimes that wall won’t budge. When that happens, you have to walk around the wall or go in a different direction. What does this look like? Taking a break. Going for a walk. Trying something totally new. Getting an outside opinion. Giving up. That last one is hard, but sometimes it’s honestly the best choice, especially if it’s keeping you from better things.
What does your average day look like?
Wake up. Coffee. Thinking/reflection/prayer. Doing (projects, work, etc.). Resting (short breaks throughout the day). Relaxing towards the end of the day (social time, me time, reading, watching, social media). Sleep.
Think back to when you first started writing and look at now. What has changed, what has stayed the same with how you work on your writing?
I used to write primarily for myself, but now I do it for other people as well as myself. There’s a balance that you have to find between writing for others and writing for yourself. If you write just for yourself, then you’re probably going to be the only one reading it. It’s easier to do this, but it’s not the most rewarding. After all, good things are often hard things. The one thing that has stayed the same over the years is the source of my inspiration. I create out of my life, which means that my ideas usually come about from things that happen to me and lessons that I learn. I spent a lot of time reflecting on life.
What are a few things that inspire you?
Rainy days. Times where I feel intimate with God. A new notebook. Coffee with a friend.
Depending on what project you’re working on, how does your creative process change?
If I’m working on a long form project (something that will take me a week or more), I spend a lot of time in the planning stage. I make sure that I’ve covered my bases and have planned for success. With shorter projects (like blog posts, social media content, etc), I tend to experiment and be more spontaneous. I just go with the flow and see what happens. Both approaches to the creative process are good to utilize. Sometimes you need organization. Other times you need freedom.
Looking to the future, do you see anything changing with how you write or is there anything you want to change with your writing.
I hope to write with more personality. I’ve only been writing seriously for 2 years now, so my writing style is still developing. I’m in the process of finding my voice. It’s an exciting place to be, but it’s also a little frustating because I haven’t settled into a niche quit yet.