Retiring Acme Pride, but not its posts

I started Acme Pride (an anagram) in the weeks prior to the publication of my new book BROKEN. Grateful that it’s finally available. As I started to share how the book was made, I would first post to this blog, then to my primary blog of Design Feaster. Posting to two blogs quickly became old.

Moving forward, all posts about writing (like why write and making a scrappy, not crappy, first draft) including those related to my publications, will be displayed at Design Feaster.

Here’s to striving and writing!

Gathering for potential: CreativeMornings’ role in making my book BROKEN


Chat icon designed by Wilson Joseph

Organized gatherings—whether they’re flavored as conferences (including “unconferences”), summits, camps, or meet-ups—are infused with the possibilities of inspiration and knowledge. One such gathering is CreativeMornings, which I’ve consistently endorsed as my kind of design conference. Held monthly, it is a regular invitation to evoke vision and build knowledge. Bolstered by local pride and neighborly attendance, CreativeMornings also inspires reconnecting.

During the reception of the fourth CreativeMornings/Chicago at Threadless’ workspace, I noticed a former co-worker. While this is not always a guarantee of a pleasant chance encounter, in this case, it was sweet serendipity. I reunited with Stephanie Di Biase, a creative director. We chatted about our current work, since leaving the employer we shared. We had both happened to sign up to see the CreativeMornings/Chicago Talk by Jake Nickell, who co-founded Threadless. This was a welcome coincidence.

One of Jake Nickell’s proclamations, during his presentation, was: “Make with friends.” Friendship was a definite part of Threadless’ inception and gradual success.

Five months later, Stephanie and I reunited. This time, it was at my request, to talk about collaborating on a personal project of mine. After close to two years, the result is a completed book called BROKEN: Navigating the Ups and Downs of the Circus called Work.

Reflecting back, reconnecting with Stephanie at CreativeMornings, where we listened to Jake’s nudge to create with friends, in our shared city of Chicago, constituted an influential series of of circumstances that ultimately resulted in our book.


CreativeMornings says it provides “an open space to connect with like-minded individuals.” Open space. Connection. Like-mindedness. This social algorithm remarkably served my musings about what to do next—what creative project to consider getting real. Aspiring to meet a would-be collaborator at a gathering is a romantic idea, but it isn’t a flat intention. A gathering, like CreativeMornings, can play a supporting role in the unfolding rush to imagine the making of something, something wonderful in the worlds of like-minds, and beyond.

If a gathering’s tasks of giving inspiration and knowledge are fulfilled, a good gathering becomes a life event. It can be a preview of possibility, explored and realized.

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Tap into, what Seth Godin called in his CreativeMornings/New York Talk, “convening power” with this list of gatherings related to art, business, craft, storytelling, technology, and more.

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This is the second post, after the launch of BROKEN, that reflects on how this book was made. More to come in this series about aspects related to writing and self-publishing. Read the previous write-up The Evolution of BROKEN.

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Originally published at Design Feaster, the blog of Design Feast.

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My new book is out! – BROKEN: Navigating the ups and downs of the circus called work. Order your copy now.

The Evolution of BROKEN


Calendar icon designed by Phil Goodwin

Shortly after the launch of my book BROKEN: Navigating the ups and downs of the circus called work, my co-writer Stephanie Di Biase tweeted, “it’s been a long time in the making :)”. As I mentioned in the book’s announcement, while the idea for the book was noted on June 30, 2010, the actual writing didn’t start until November 21, 2010. The gap between committing to the idea and actually beginning to write it will be a subject for a separate post.

When the ideation of BROKEN started, I documented my time. From November 21, 2010, through December 3, 2012, I completed my preliminary version of the manuscript—seven chapters. The Introduction, Credits, Colophon, and other sections, were written afterwards. Over the course of three years, I did not write every day, or even every week. At some points, I skipped a month or more. After that, there was a year of not visiting the project at all.

My timeline for writing the book can be broken (pun intended) into parts: minimal at the start (November 21, 2010–March 2, 2012), then aggressive (April 29, 2012–December 1, 2012). The minimal phase was partially affected by my original co-writer leaving the project for parenthood. The aggressive phase was energized by the discovery of, pitching to, then joining by new co-writer Stephanie.

Since BROKEN began as a joint writing project, I didn’t want to break this arrangement, especially after my original co-writer left. Working with another person not only makes the time go faster, it also makes the process feel more productive.

To Stephanie’s point, it took quite a while to complete BROKEN. Evaluating a project’s duration as long can mean that the project was drawn out. It can also mean that the effort was slow. In this project’s case, it was both: drawn out and slow. I’m not complaining—that’s just how the process unfolded. There were residual feelings of impatience and anxiety. In looking back, these feelings were relatively tamed by sticking to the vision that this book will ultimately result in a completed state. What made this sticking-to-it lasting, was, again in retrospect, faith. Time will tell if a project will ever finish. In BROKEN’s case, faith helped to see it through to launch.

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Speaking of time, it took me three hours to write this post.

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This is the first post, after the launch of BROKEN, that reflects on how this book was made. More to come in this series about aspects related to writing and self-publishing.

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Now available! – BROKEN: Navigating the ups and downs of the circus called work. Get your copy now.

BROKEN, the book, is now available!


BROKEN: Navigating the Ups and Downs of the Circus Called Work—my new book co-written with Stephanie Di Biase—is now available to download.

The rough idea for this book was written down on June 30, 2010. One of the first things written, to help start thinking about this book, was: Controlled Chaos. Sounds like an oxymoron. It was my feeling at the time and is a constant, albeit one way to look at work. It’s a residual perception and reality.

I wanted to make a book to help everyone deal well, even better, with the challenges of work, and these are not new challenges. They are recurring ones, like ineffective communication, workplaces with unhealthy cultural climates, the irritable actions of co-workers, and tough clients. BROKEN has ways to take on these challenges and others.

No doubt, work is a huge part of life. BROKEN was written for the person, working hard, and who desires to work on aspects of how she or he works and try to practice being better: better at communicating, better at treating co-workers, better at contributing to a good-work environment—better at working well. BROKEN is part guide, part therapist, and all-parts steadfast partner focused on making your work circumstances as productive and meaningful as possible.

Dedicated to hard workers everywhere, BROKEN is filled with practical methods and sharp stories. It also displays wonderful illustrations drawn by Lucy Engelman. It was absolutely fun writing this book with my collaborator Stephanie Di Biase, and a lot of effort went into making it for you.

Help with the book launch of BROKEN

Get your copy! As a PDF, eBook, or both.

I would greatly appreciate your help in letting people know about BROKEN. Here are a few easy ways for you to spread the word:

  1. Email your friends, colleagues, coworkers about the book.
  2. Post on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and your other social-media networks with this link:
  3. Repeatedly mention and share throughout the day and week can only help.

When finished with reading BROKEN, I welcome your review. Please send to me.

More BROKEN-related posts in the works

I hope to share more about how the book was created and get nerdy about the intensive process of writing and self-publishing. In the meantime, here were previous blog articles leading up to BROKEN’s launch:

Thank you for your interest and consideration, and here’s to working better!

Silly Putty

I think that, like in my writing, reality is always a soap bubble, Silly Putty thing anyway. In the universe people are in, people put their hands through the walls, and it turns out they’re living in another century entirely.

Philip K. Dick, Author, December 16, 1928–March 2, 1982