Creative Retreat on a Cross-Country Train - The Doug Neill Show - Episode #20

Creative Retreat on a Cross-Country Train

The story of a three-and-a-half-day train ride from Portland, Oregon to New York City, and how I turned that trip into a creative retreat.

The Doug Neill Show: Episode #20

Recorded on May 10th, 2019

You can browse all episodes here.

A Quick Intro

0:40 – 2:15

The benefits of creative retreats in general and an encouragement for you to think about one you might craft for yourself!

The Tools and My Plan

2:15 – 11:46

What I brought along with me and my approach to each day.

  • The core of my creative career: Verbal To Visual, where I teach sketchnoting skills.
  • The main leg of the trip I took: Amtrak’s Empire Builder, in a roomette.
  • What I brought with me:
    • Legal pad, copy paper, and gridded paper
    • Laptop and charger
    • Index cards (half with projects-in-progress in Shoebox Method style, half blank) in a ziplock bag
    • 4 32-GB thumbdrive (in another ziplock bag) with three types of video files: past webinars from The Verbal To Visual Community; TED Talks and talks from Craft + Commerce; all public Verbal To Visual videos.
    • The book Company of One by Paul Jarvis
    • A few Netflix shows downloaded to my phone
  • The general approach to what I brought: balance of creation and (healthy) consumption.

How It Went

11:46 – 27:38

A description of the specific projects I worked on, along with three successes and one failure.

  • The first work I did: identifying and sketchning out the next stage of my two major projects: Verbal To Visual and this podcast.
  • Success #1: I made on progress on The Ever-Growing Guide to Building a Sustainable Creative Career (tentative title) connected to this podcast! Lots of writing and sketchnoting for that guide. Now ready to move from drafting stage into production stage.
  • Success #2: I reviewed 6 or 7 community webinars and brainstormed about a dozen new video ideas for the weekly tutorials I share here.
  • Success #3: I brainstormed and drafted a handful of free guides that I’m making for Verbal To Visual: got titles and outlines in place!
  • Failure #1: sketchnoting TED Talks – didn’t give any time to that while on the train, and didn’t have the right energy for it when I tried to dig into those on the plane ride home.
  • Bonus Success: great social time in New York with college friends of my fiancé and a long-time internet friend / now IRL friend!

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Thanks for listening, and talk with you again next week!

-Doug