Plan Your Next
Plan Your Next
The problem with writing. Plus, your next special guest, Paul Woods.

The problem with writing. Plus, your next special guest, Paul Woods.

👋 Hello! I'm Nate Kadlac, and this is #49 of Plan Your Next. It’s a newsletter that connects design, creativity, and how you prepare for your next thing.

If you’re new here, it’s nice to meet you!

Writing problems
The problem with writing

What’s new this week?

🎨 Approachable Design is sold out! I really appreciate everyone who signed up (and paid!) to help me test this idea. I have a much clearer vision for what this can and will be, so I hope to talk more about it in the near future. But, if you’re interested in unlocking your own creative taste and to apply the elements of design to your personality, you can sign up for my email list here.

Good morning from Los Angeles!

Last summer, just as I was perfecting the stay-at-home routine, I chose to stick a metaphorical fork in the road.

I was riding along, willing to accept my own path until I wasn’t. I went off script and started to take writing seriously.

Just a month earlier, I learned of David Perell, an online writer, through a few other people I admire. He teaches an online writing course called Write of Passage.

What caught my attention was his hook, start with abundance.

“Start writing once you have so much information that you can’t not write. Don’t write with a blank page. Start with a treasure trove of facts, ideas, and images instead.”
—David Perell

My past experience with writing was to open a blank page, stare at it, feel the anxiety building up to a boil, and then finally giving up and walking away. It was a chore, something to be done only as a necessity. I’m far from feeling most of my words are something worth reading, but I’m more concerned with the consistent practice; the art of building a habit.

In his book On Writing Well, Stephen King says, “You learn to write by writing. It’s a truism, but what makes it a truism is that it’s true. The only way to learn to write is to force yourself to produce a certain number of words on a regular basis."

The problem with writing is that it’s hard. It’s a slog I don’t wish on anyone.

But there’s a hack. Write a story that makes you laugh out loud when writing it. Write about how selling knives led to you becoming a self-taught designer. Write about Japanese pillows. Write about how you almost died during that cold-ass winter in Minnesota. Write about why you left.

Make writing personal and it might not be the problem you made it out to be.

Make it fun.

Make it playful.

Make it easy.

Plan Your Next featured guest

If you’re new here, I aim to discover insights from entrepreneurs and creatives who are chasing their next thing. This week, I’m honored to highlight Paul Woods.

Stop procrastinating about what you should be doing. Pick one thing and just do it. That’s how shit gets done.

Who is Paul Woods?

I first met Paul in my kitchen on a Saturday morning.

What now feels like years ago (what is time?!), my friend Hina and I hosted a pre-COVID brunch called Secret Saturday’s, bringing together creatives in LA to talk about creativity, design, affordable housing, and online education.

Paul had just finished his new book, “How To Do Great Work Without Being An Asshole,” so we talked about how a creative life can be chaotic while still being fulfilling.

I’m lucky to have Paul sharing bite-sized insights, and how he “fell” into design after failing as an artist. His words, not mine. Enjoy!

Tell me a bit about yourself and what keeps you busy most days.
I’m the CEO/CCO of Edenspiekermann, a global design consultancy with our US headquarters here in LA. We work across brand design and digital product design for clients like Red Bull, Google, Mercedes, Faraday Future the City of Santa Monica, and a bunch of others. I’m also the author of a book on creative culture, ”How To Do Great Work Without Being An Asshole.”

Tell me a story. When was the last time you made an unexpected turn (to others) in direction, either recently or in the past? And what's one takeaway you learned in sustaining that momentum to see it through?
For me, one of the most interesting turns my career has taken over the years is how I ”fell” into being design in the first place. Which happened entirely by accident.

When I graduated high school, I had the wild idea that I should study fine art painting at university. And boy, did I suck at that. For some reason, I was obsessed with painting rotting leaves in glass boxes. Weird shit. I failed just about every module in my first year and dropped out soon after.

Realizing that I still needed to somehow make a living, I managed to convince a friend that my “failed art” skills would translate perfectly into the vacant “webmaster and designer” role he had at his record label. And the rest, as they say, is history.

What were you doing prior to making this change?
Being a broke, and failing, artist. I hated it, but it felt like it’s what I was ”supposed” to be doing, based on what I’d been told by all my teachers at school.

What would you say to someone who feels stuck pursuing a new idea?
Stop procrastinating about what you should be doing. Pick one thing and just do it. That’s how shit gets done.

What is a favorite quote or piece of advice you live by?
Don’t work for assholes. And don’t take yourself too seriously.

What’s your ask, or something you need help with?
If you’re interested in building better, more sustainable creative processes, workplaces, and teams check out my book, ”How To Do Great Work Without Being An Asshole.”

Where can someone find you online?

I’d also like to show off Paul’s illustrations here that I absolutely love.

👋 See you next Sunday

If you’ve forgotten who I am, here’s a little bit about me. As always, my calendar is always open to chat about your crazy ideas or if you’re creatively stuck.

And if you’re creatively stuck because you ran out of coffee, save 10% on Flow State coffee. Flow State uses l-theanine and raw cacao to lower anxiety and support creativity. (Affiliate link)

Have a great week,


Twitter: @kadlac

Plan Your Next
Plan Your Next
I'm Nate Kadlac, designer of Plan Your Next. A weekly newsletter that connects design, creativity, and how you prepare for your next thing.