Discipline and efficiency are things that you can improve through practice

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Photo by Jonathan Chng on Unsplash

A few years back, I picked up a ghostwriting gig as a side hustle.

The ask was for two to three fiction pieces per week, at around 10,000 words per piece. In order to get the work done, I had to write at a rate of up to 2,000 words per hour, for two to three hours every single day.

In retrospect, I should have found a way to claim my energy drink budget as a business expense during this time. …


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GAMES UX

Exploring the reasons why it’s hard to put down roguelike games

If you peek into my Steam library, you would find a good bit of roguelikes + lites. It’s hilarious because I’m terrible at them! I’m afraid to share how many hours I’ve put into games like The Binding of Isaac, Risk of Rain, Enter the Gungeon, and Hades compared to my low percentage of achievements and other measurable progress. Despite it all, there is something about roguelikes that keeps me coming back to them again and again and again.

But, why?


Find balance between compensation, skills, and responsibilities

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Photo: Rumman Amin/Unsplash

It’s been twelve years since I graduated from college. In that time, I have held nine different IT-related roles, worked at six different organizations, and have lived in four different states. On average, that means that I’ve:

  1. Moved to a new state every three years
  2. Changed organizations every two years
  3. Switched jobs every sixteen months

There are definitely people who have experienced more career-related change than I have and in less time. But considering that the median workplace tenure for people in my age bracket is 3.2 …


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Photo by Vince Veras on Unsplash

I played the trumpet as a kid — from third grade all the way up through high school.

In my estimation, I was okay. I wasn’t insanely gifted, but by most metrics I was a solid member of the groups that I played in.

Except when the spotlight was on me. When I played a solo, or when there was no place to hide as a member of a small ensemble, I would get incredibly nervous. So nervous, in fact, that my throat would start to close up and my hands would start to shake uncontrollably.

It’s pretty much impossible…


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Photo by Jessica Delp on Unsplash

“Why isn’t this working?”

It was 5:00am. I had already been up for an hour, half of that time spent listlessly scrolling through various articles, the other half spent looking at a blank Word document. I had been switching from one to the other every few minutes or so — all while watching the clock like a vulture, knowing that my time was quickly expiring.

I had taken the plunge a few weeks before. After years spent as a night owl — waiting until the rest of the household was asleep before pursuing writing and other important hobbies — I…


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Photo by Braden Collum on Unsplash

Have you ever seen a job posting for an entry-level position requiring multiple years of experience to apply?

If your response is, “…you mean every single one?”, then you know exactly what I’m talking about.

As ridiculous and ironic as these pleas for underpaid talent are, they’re a perfect analog for individuals who are trying to build a strong work ethic out of a weak or even non-existent one.

Believe me, I have a ton of experience with this.

I was the picture perfect “academically capable, but utterly lazy” suburban nerd growing up. And unfortunately, even getting beat on by…


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Photo by Jackson Simmer on Unsplash

There are a thousand reasons for someone to pick up the pen.

Some people fall in love with the craft. Others, the lifestyle. Some like the image, the attention, or the opportunity for self-expression. A good number think that it’s what they were born to do — while others just can’t imagine doing anything else.

A lucky few even get to do it for the paycheck.

Whatever their reason — and for many people, it’s hard to point to just one — writers only do their best work if they keep in mind the why of writing. What does the…


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Photo by Lucas Santos on Unsplash

I played a bunch of Dungeons & Dragons as a teen and young adult. And every now and then, I would also branch out into some lesser known tabletop RPG systems — D20 Modern, Call of Cthulhu, and even a poorly run session of Paranoia or two (I can say they were poorly run because I was the one running them!)

One system that I never got the chance to try, but always wanted to, was the one at the core of White Wolf Publishing’s The World of Darkness line of products: Vampire: The Masquerade, Werewolf: The Apocalypse, and various…


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Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

I used to be an insane writer.

I don’t mean that in terms of skill or output. No, I mean insane as in that quote about doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different outcome.

I would rewrite the same scene three, four, or five times, sometimes changing just a single phrase from one rewrite to the next.

I would get a few thousand words into a new piece, lose faith, delete everything, and start it all over again.

I would obsess over word choice, my fingertips glued to the home row of my keyboard as I…


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Photo by Michael Longmire on Unsplash

One thing I often come across when reading about personal finance is this notion of “paying yourself first”. That is, once you receive your paycheck, the first thing you are supposed to do is put a percentage of it into savings — i.e. “paying yourself” — before putting the rest of it towards your other financial needs and wants.

It’s a pretty effective strategy. By making your first debt to yourself, you guarantee that:

  • your savings account will increase
  • you will avoid the stress of wondering whether you will be able to save anything
  • you will avoid the stress of…

Mortdecai Jones

Mortdecai Jones is on a constant quest to improve himself - and he hopes he can inspire you to do the same.

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