Windows 10 was the last operating system that called for manual defragging. Way back in 2013,

the idea was that as data accrued on those old-school spinning hard drives, the machine would eventually have to work too hard and take too long to relocate all the data fragments.

My theory is we all have a similar problem with our brains, especially with the mounting tidal wave of information coming at us. It’s become even more necessary to add some context to the data of our lives.

So, for over 35 years, I’ve had a daily practice of squaring off with…

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The jokes aren’t as funny.

The juicy ideas have gone dry.

You miss that tingle of anticipation when the words start to flow.

As BB King sang it way back in 1970, “The thrill is gone, baby.”

It’s time to get lost

Writing in public is like a committed relationship

And sometimes it’s like you’re singing a love-gone-wrong song. You’re in a relationship with a significant other — your creative work — and you’re committed to showing up and sharing even when the thrill is gone.

An ancient verse suggests losing yourself in your relationship with your spouse. It’s a deep form of empathy. But stepping into someone…

Writers know that to improve your writing, it’s essential to read regularly.

Once you commit to developing your business writing fluency, you’ll find it challenging to come up with content ideas. But what’s most challenging is the process of developing your skills. And part of that process is developing a refined sense of taste when it comes to quality content.

Here’s the thing: if you don’t breathe in good writing, you can’t exhale it. The trouble is there are mountains of books, articles, and posts to read. How to make sure you get to the good stuff?

We know it’s…

Spencer Tracy, a famous actor, once asked the soon-to-be-famous, Burt Reynolds, “Are you an actor?”

To which Reynolds replied, “The jury is still out on that.”

“Well,” said Tracy, “Don’t let them catch you acting.”

Something similar to this is involved in any great art. Of course, people marvel at the artist’s ability, but what’s most impactful is what their art conveys. How it makes us feel. How it changes us.

Likewise, the best writing goes unnoticed because it is concealed by great ideas.

It’s the bad writing that gets noticed. It interrupts and forces the reader to fill in…

When I left a global logistics company (UPS) in August of 2018 and pivoted to a content marketing and copywriting career, I thought I was done with logistics. Turns out I needed to get back to my roots in order to get my creative game on.

For most of my adult life (I started as a delivery driver in 1986) I lived in the get-the-goods-delivered world of logistics. Forecasting volume, packages per hour, time studies, daily reports, and on-time delivery, were all a part of daily life.

Logistics is about the management of the flow of things between the point…

Backstage before “the talk”

When I finished the talk back in 2015, I felt a huge wave of relief. In the video, you can actually see my shoulders sag and my deep sigh as the audience applauds afterward. It was a once in a lifetime event. There were some great talks presented that day, and the audience was fantastic — eager and receptive. I received plenty of positive feedback on my talk, but later when I watched the video and saw that big sigh it hit a nerve. Why was I so glad it was over with?

I’d spent months preparing and rehearsing, and…

photo: pixabay

The letter arrived in June of 2018, and the minute I read it, I knew what my decision would be. After 32 years with a Fortune 100 company, I’d been hearing rumors about a buyout, or early retirement. As I read the letter, I was struck by the fact that it now felt more like a polite invitation to leave and the next round of letters, if there was another round, would not be as polite or generous.

It’s funny, the writing was on the wall, but when it came to the official announcement, it felt more sudden and much…

I’ll never forget the feeling of dread as my wife and I walked into the courtroom…

We were alone, facing the unknown and unable to imagine a way it could end well. We were in the midst of a lawsuit filed by a former business partner, outgunned and out-funded by our opponent.

As the court proceedings got under way that day, we were called forward and the opposing attorney took her place to our left. She was a young polished attorney, and this was the first time we’d seen her. When it was her turn she went through her brief, but when she reached a certain point, the judge interrupted her and said to the stenographer…

This is a post for those who are struggling. Maybe it’s the loss of a job, loved one, or a health crisis. For whatever reason, you’re feeling overwhelmed, like you’ve lost your footing. Here’s a way to get some traction and regain some semblance of sanity. A means for moving forward when all you can think about is retreat. It may even help you decide that things are going to be ok after all. Eventually.

I know how it feels when you’re on the ropes, when life has gone sideways, and it’s hard to stay on track. Perhaps it seems…

It’s almost a knee jerk reaction to that job interview question about your greatest weakness, to say you care too much, but for managing the load of life or even a job, it’s probably not the best answer. When things begin to get crazy, you have to ask yourself how many cares you’re carrying around. Could it be you’re trying to care too much?

I was surprised to learn that my grown children — all of them — are Bob Ross fans. I just know him as the guy on PBS with the smooth blues radio voice that paints beautiful stuff and narrates his smooth strokes of color as he goes. My kids say it’s comforting to listen and watch as he calmly goes through the paces, a dab here, a dab there and gradually this beautiful scene takes shape on the canvas.

Recently, as they watched, I overheard him say,

“…I think if there’s a secret to human nature it’s the fact that…

Mark Modesti

Copywriter and Cofounder at

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