The kids and I were inspired to make a short film about two rival street lugers, and we're excited to show it to you!
Not bad for a few hours of fun.
The kids and I were inspired to make a short film about two rival street lugers, and we're excited to show it to you!
Not bad for a few hours of fun.
By far, the question I get asked the most is, “How do you do so much?” Another version I hear a lot is, “I don’t know how you do everything you do.” I get the same question/comment weekly if not more often. I’m going to put some thoughts on the page here so I can point people to this blog so they can read about it if they want to. Hopefully you’ll get something out of this too.
In a nutshell, I do a lot. I don’t take time off too often. I’m nearly maxed-out on PTO. But when I do, I make it count. I don’t watch much TV. I don’t like to sit still. I love making things. I want to do even more. I sleep seven hours a night (I only say this because I won’t sacrifice sleep—I need to stay healthy so I can do more). I like to record podcasts. I haven’t decided if I’ll write another book. I recently made an online course to teach others a 3d program. I’m designing (and am going to build) a custom camping trailer from scratch. I’m a licensed architect. I mentor people. I lead. I’m on many teams. I want to be outdoors more. I like to exercise. I love rock climbing. I miss making music. I want to travel and see things. I want to have experiences. I want to be inspired. I want to be with my family.
I think about two words quite often: freedom and impact.
I like making goals. Part of the reason I like making goals for myself is that I enjoy progress. I try to go through the goal setting exercise once a quarter. Some goals are short burns, and some are long term.
I also like autonomy. Autonomy serves me well. I don’t like having to move at someone else’s speed limit (and this doesn’t always mean I like to move faster). Autonomy gives me the freedom to do more with my life than most people are comfortable taking on. It also allows for me to do meaningful work, to me at least.
The word ‘freedom’ immediately came to me earlier this year when Mark LePage asked the EntreArchitect Facebook group to "Pick one word that defines your focus for 2017.” There were lots of great words added in the thread that day and for many days after that. I wrote ‘freedom' that day because it meant autonomy among other subtleties.
So freedom was my word… for about 3 months. I've now changed it. Don’t get me wrong, freedom hasn’t been banished. It’s still there, but it’s not the priority. It’s now periphery. Hopefully it’ll be an outcome of my new word: impact.
Why did I change my word? Because I want to make a difference. Freedom was selfish. Freedom was for me. Impact is for others. Impact is my why. Why do I do what I do? To make an impact. To help others. To make a difference. To push the boundaries. To color outside the lines. To make progress. To allow for change. For better.
In case you’re wondering, I’m no different than anyone else. You could choose to do anything I do. You might be able to do it better. You just have to decide if it’s worth doing. What's important? What’s your priority?
If I could ask you to do three things, they would be:
I was recently asked to answer a couple of questions for a new podcast called Inside The Firm about working within the profession of architecture. The questions come from Alex Gore and Lance Cayko of the prestigious firm F9 Productions in Longmont, Colorado. Here are their questions:
1. What is the worst advice you have ever gotten in your career?
2. What is the best advice you have ever gotten in your career?
Listen in to hear my answers, and be sure to listen to their other episodes. I'm enjoying what the guys at F9 are doing. And they came out with a new episode every Friday, so subscribe!
Next week I'm launching a new video course on the Method website. I've been working on it for the last 3 months and am happy it's almost here!
Leading up to the launch, I'll be previewing a small video section of the course each day. Each video will be about 5 minutes long, so I have socially engineered them to be the perfect distraction.
I won't post the updates here on this site each day, so be sure to check it out and then go back each day to see a new section of the course as they are revealed. Of course you can follow along on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook as well if that's your thing.
Today has been emotional. My dad called me this morning to tell me that my grandfather—his father—is gone. He was 96, and he was the last of my grandparents to grace our presence. As I tearily sit here and reminisce my experiences with him, I am left most moved by his life of exploration and unstoppable desire for learning about and figuring out one of the most beautiful places in the world: Death Valley. He had something I don't: singular focus. His passion was for the geology of Death Valley.
His gift to our family was showing us that we were explorers and that we went out to enjoy and study the planet we live on. He gave us a unique, behind-the-scenes perspective of what one of the most extreme places on earth was like to try to fully understand, and he spent most of his life out there trying to figure it out.
I'm sure the geologic community will miss him. He's arguably the most "famous" family member I've had. Throughout my life, more people than I can count on my hands (including professors in college, other architects, and strangers) have asked me if I'm related to him, just by connecting our last names. It was because he was a well-regarded geologist who spent the better part of his life searching for answers on plate tectonics in Death Valley of all places. I always thought that was cool. Somehow, before there was an internet, he had important things to say about it and his words spread. You can see his books on his life's work at Amazon.
Here are some of my memories connected to him:
Goodbye Granman. I regret not spending more time with you.
In 2014 I had the opportunity to collaborate on a design project that was something out of the ordinary, and I recently went looking to see if I could find it online. Youtube to the rescue!
Working with my friend and colleague Mark Schoeman, we were given full leeway to design and produce English subtitles for a short film where the actors speak French. You might think that there's no design opportunities in subtitles; they're pretty boring, right? But we came up with what I like to think is a creative approach. Our subtitles really add to the film, help tell the story in a more intimate way, and set it apart. If you have the chance to see it, it's a beautiful film that's worth your time.
Anyway I just thought it would be fun to put this up on my blog. It was interesting work, especially for a couple of architects, and at the same time difficult (working in another language, and the sheer amount of subtitle work that had to be done). In the end we had to do it twice—once in English for the North American release and then again in French for the release in France.
The film went on the festival circuit and won five awards. You can learn more on its IMDB page.
Here's the trailer that gives a glimpse of the story and what we did:
I've been sharing on a couple of podcasts lately.
First, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Enoch Sears who is an architect and the publisher and founder of the Business of Architecture website and podcast. We talked about the Archispeak podcast, ARE Hacks, and lots of other fun stuff. It comes in two parts, and you can listen to them or view them here:
I was also interviewed on the Entrepreneur Architect podcast by Mark LePage where I discussed my origin story, my projects, my day job, and my book. This one was a lot of fun. Mark asks great questions.
We got into some things my book reveals in a candid conversation:
It’s very easy to schedule a test and show up to take it, but the hard part is to prepare: diet, nutrition, how to deal with distractions, learning to study, choosing to study with others or without, how to study around your family, etc. It’s less about hacking the ARE and more hacking your life.
My book, ARE Hacks, is all about choosing yourself: you have to decide to get your license for you; to make yourself more valuable; to finish what you started; to make our profession better in the future. Within the chapters of the book I give practical strategies, advice, tips and tricks, resource recommendations, and what to expect throughout the process of sitting for the exams. I talk about the psychological affects of passing and failing, and it includes the consolation of knowing what you're going through. Like I say in the book, passing the ARE is the hardest thing I've done, and I want to help you however I can to ensure your success.
Our profession needs you! 2017 is right around the corner and you might be thinking about making a resolution. Or you might be avoiding it like I did for so long.
It’s a huge commitment, no doubt. It’s a task that requires the kind of perseverance you might not know that you have. But with the launch of ARE 5.0 by NCARB just a few weeks ago, there has never been a better time to become licensed, especially if you've already been authorized to test for version 4. You have the unprecedented opportunity to take just five tests instead of the six in ARE 5 or the seven tests that ARE 4 demands. You read that correctly, and NCARB outlines the process on their website. Because of the way exam content has been mapped to bridge between the coexisting versions of the exam for the next year and a half (until June 30, 2018), candidates can use this 3+2 strategy that takes advantage of the transition like never before. This means you can take fewer tests. After that final date, all candidates will be automatically transitioned into ARE 5.
And while my book is not about what to study to pass all those tests, it is about how to make the space in your busy life to accomplish your goal of passing the ARE. It's not easy. We all have commitments and lots of excuses. I've been through all of it—the good and the bad—and have laid out an effective plan you can use so you don't have to figure it all out by yourself.
With the end of 2016 quickly approaching, it's a time of reflection and planning for what you'll conquer next year. I hope you'll take the next few weeks and do some introspection about getting your license and ultimately decide to become an architect in 2017. Make it your year. Allow me help get you motivated and give you the tools and the plan that you need to succeed. That is the reason I wrote ARE Hacks, and I know it will help you achieve your goals.
Find out if ARE Hacks is for you. Read the reviews here and sign up for the email newsletter to get a free chapter by entering your name and email on that page.
My first talk since publishing ARE Hacks is happening in Southern California on November 10, 2016 at the AIA Orange County office from 7pm – 9pm. I'll be talking tips, tricks, strategies, and hacks so you can conquer the Architect Registration Exam and help make our profession better.
Head over the the AIAOC website to register for the event. I'll bring a few copies of the book if you want to buy one. I'll even sign it if you'd like!
I originally didn't plan on writing a paper version of my book, but I ended up doing it. I started with the idea that I wanted my book to embody the spirit of how I studied for the Architect Registration Exam myself, meaning, whenever possible. I wanted the reader to have the ability to bring up my book at any moment of the day, and the only way to do that was to get it on their device that is already in their purse or pocket.
But I love real books. I love them for many reasons, and I was reminded of a lot of them when I read CJ Chilvers' blog post this morning about the reasons to buy paper books. Take two minutes to read the list and remind yourself why paper books are so important. I love reasons number 3, 9 and 13.
I can't even begin to tell you how cathartic it is to hold my book in my own hands. I set on a journey at the end of 2015 to write what I thought was going to be a series of blog posts but found out along the way that the writing had other plans of its own. It became apparent it needed to be a singular thing, and it had to be done in a way that was different than I had done before.
I like to choose new tools and mediums to share what I know, and for this project it made sense to do it in a single volume. Even once I began, I originally had plans to simply create an eBook, but making something physical holds much more meaning to me—this is why holding it in my own hands is so important. I made this thing.
Of course this project was much more difficult than I thought it was going to be. I've written many things in my life, but nothing like this. Whenever I try something completely new, there is a naïveté that comes along with it. Where this came into play was when I was trying to will myself to finish the project. I had been working on the book for many months, a little chunk each day, slowly chipping away at the writing and the editing. It got old.
But the things I learned when taking the ARE, and then writing a book about that process of figuring out how to make the time in my life to do it, are exactly the same skills I used to finish ARE Hacks. In other words, what I learned by taking and finishing the ARE is the same thing I used to accomplish this other huge project. And that's how I know my strategies work—because I've used them for more than one thing. Cool.
This gets me to how great it feels to be done, and to have a real thing I can hold in my hands as the product of my work. As I wrote earlier, my original plan was to write an eBook, which I obviously can't hold in my hands (unless you count the device it's viewed on the thing the reader holds in their hands, and to me that doesn't count). Creating physical objects is something fewer and fewer people are doing these days in an age where knowledge work is highly valued. Yet to me making something tangible is so much more valuable. It's easy to critique something (like a book) that we see hundreds if not thousands of every day, but to actually make one brings my appreciation to another level.
So how does it feel? Allow me to answer in two ways: First, IT'S REAL. It's not a bunch of bits and bytes arranged on a screen. It's paper that comes from living things. The cover feels amazing and it makes me smile when I touch it. The cover the graphics are printed on has a great tooth to it. And the book smells like a book. It's awesome. I can flips through real pages, I can fold the corners, and I can write in it with my fountain pen. Second, it feels fantastic in a personal accomplishment kind of way. I never thought I would really like being an author, but I do. I don't know many other writers. It's different, and I like it.
Today I shipped out several signed copies to new friends. I was writing personal messages inside, and it was all kinds of surreal. It's something I never thought I would be doing. It's a new way for me to connect with, motivate, and inspire people, and I like that aspect of it.
Creating ARE Hacks has been an experiment in putting my art out into the world in a new way. I've done it before with my architecture, my music, and my podcast. I encourage all of you to do the same. Write something; build something; make something real. Put it out into the world for others. Get out from behind your monitor and share your art.
Without further ado, here is the announcement of the winners of my ARE Hacks giveaway! Why not make a video announcement? That's exactly what I was thinking.
Congratulations! You will each receive your choice of either a paperback or eBook version of ARE Hacks: Learn to Pass the Architect Registration Exam. I hope it serves each one of you well.
If you didn't win, please consider picking up a copy of my book. You can see all of your buying options by visiting this link.
It is with great pride (and relief!) I can finally announce both the paperback and Kindle versions of ARE Hacks is now available. I've held it in my hands, and it's wonderful. The feeling of having made something that I hope can help people get licensed and make the profession better for all of us is awesome (and humbling). If you haven't been following my blog recently, you can learn more about the book by visiting its dedicated About Page here on this website.
There are a few ways to get the book depending on what you want, so choose your own adventure:
UPDATE: I've opened this up to include posting on Facebook and Instagram too. I don't know why I didn't include them when I wrote this last night (it was 2am) so I can only blame myself.
Here's something special I'm doing over the next seven days: I'm giving away 5 copies of my book! Here's what you have to do to get in the running to win a copy:
Post/tweet/share about the book on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. Using your social media account, share about the giveaway with these three ingredients: Use the hashtag #arehacks in the post, include my twitter/instagram name @etroxel or tag me (Evan Troxel on Facebook), and copy and paste this link http://arehacks.com/blog/book-launch in the post. If you're using Instagram, use one of my photos found on this page. Simply save it to your camera roll and use it in your post.
Here are some examples for Twitter and Instagram:
Hey @etroxel I want to win a copy of #arehacks because I want to get my architecture license and change the world! http://arehacks.com/blog/book-launch
I want to win the book #arehacks by @etroxel so I can learn how to pass the Architect Registration Exam. http://arehacks.com/blog/book-launch
I need to get motivated to pass the Architect Registration Exam so I want #arehacks by @etroxel. http://arehacks.com/blog/book-launch
I'm choosing myself to take my architecture career to the next level with #arehacks by @etroxel. http://arehacks.com/blog/book-launch
I need to learn how to create a strategy and a plan for success to pass the ARE with #arehacks by @etroxel http://arehacks.com/blog/book-launch
See the three ingredients in my examples? There you go. Mix it up if you like, but you get the idea.
The giveaway entry period ends 9/30/16 at noon PST (here in California). I'll be randomly choosing the winners and contacting you on 10/1/16 on whichever social media platform the winning posts are selected from, so keep an eye out to see if you win! Don't worry, if you don't see it I'll keep trying to contact you until you do.
The fine print:
The "final" files for the physical version of my book are in the hands of the printer and now I'm waiting for my proof copy to ensure everything is set correctly for printing. Once I receive the proof, I'll scour it for anything that might be a problem. If I don't find any issues, I'll give the printer the go-ahead and the physical copies will be available for ordering online. I'm not exactly sure how long this process is going to take—hopefully just a few days. Please remember, this is my first time doing all this.
Suffice to say as of right now I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. It feels good to be done writing, editing, proofing, designing, submitting, finding more problems, and resubmitting. Look over there on the right—I even added "author" to my byline. It's official now!
What about the eBook? We do live in the future, after all.
It's true, and because the Kindle submission process is quite a bit more forgiving than the print one, I'm very excited to announce that my book is now available for preorder on Amazon's Kindle store. It's set to be released on the 16th, which is a few days ahead of the print version. Click the "Buy on Amazon" button to preorder your copy today, and it will be digitally (and magically) delivered to your Kindle app and device of choice on the 16th.
I'll also have a very special announcement very soon to go along with the book launch, so stay tuned!
I had the pleasure of being on Mark R. LePage's EntreArchitect Podcast to talk about my book ARE Hacks, my origin story, and many other things. Mark is so great to talk to, and I truly appreciate his hospitality and thank him for allowing me to talk to him and his listeners. As usual, Mark was a class-act (and his show notes are amazing).
There was a good discussion about the book itself, why I wrote it, and why hacking your life (and the ARE) to become an architect is worth it.
You can listen here.
It's just around the corner, right?
In my last update, I said that I didn't plan on visiting the text of my book again for a long time.
Well, that didn't last.
I re-read the entire book (it's a fast read) and found all kinds of things that needed to be fixed and changed. As it has been every time, I'm glad I made another pass at it. The final product will be much better for the extra love and attention.
Over the long weekend, I redesigned the cover and formatted the entire book for the print edition. I didn't write the book in Microsoft Word, but now that I've used it for formatting I have to say I hope to never use it again. While it is a powerful tool, it has so many idiosyncrasies and problems that it's maddening. I should have used InDesign; duh. Once I was too far down that road, there was no turning back.
I also checked off a few more boxes on my book's to-do list. Of course, more things have also been added. It's seemingly unending.
I'm hoping to submit the file to the printer this week and upload the digital version to Amazon shortly thereafter. All of the pieces are falling into place... just a few more to take care of. These are just a few of the things you never have to do when you're writing a blog.
Once I get the manuscript submitted I'll be receiving a hard proof copy for approval. If all goes well, the print version will be available in a couple of weeks. The eBook version should be ready much sooner.
I'm so excited to share what I've made with you. It won't be much longer.
It's the question all parents hate because it usually comes up within the first five minutes of the trip. Within the context of writing (and finishing) my book, I keep hearing myself ask the question. Honestly, I had an idea it was going to be like this because this kind of project has taken me out of my usual stomping grounds. Becoming an author is new territory for me, but it's been important because 1.) I love trying new things, and 2.) I'm intensely interested in widening my experience.
I've just finished my sixth revision to the main body text, and am now tidying up all the loose ends that come along with a project like this. Let's just say it's much different than writing a blog post. I'm so glad I took the time to review it again and again- it's a much better product because of my obsession with the craft of writing. I've learned so much over the last seven months, not only about how to write a book, but simply how to write better. I have to say I am amazed that I'm still excited to share the book with everyone even though I've read it at least ten times now. It's loaded with good stuff. But in my pursuit of perfection, this book needs to be done and it needs to ship.
This week I'll be designing the cover and tightening everything else up. I don't plan on revisiting the text again for a very long time. That's not to say it's perfect, but it's good enough. If all goes as planned, it should be available in a couple of weeks. If I didn't have to worry about all of the other moving parts of my life, it would've been done much sooner. That's just not my reality.
ARE Hacks has been a labor of love, and I can't wait for everyone to read it.
Finishing my book has been one of the more difficult things I've done lately. The to-do list only seems to get longer, but my excitement is very alive for this project. I've heard that the last ten percent of a project is another ninety percent. So first you do ninety percent, then you do another ninety percent, or something like that.
Today I'm doing my final read-through* and taking care of formatting. As I mentioned in my last post, I've written longish things in the past, but nothing like this. At this point my book is just over 40,000 words, and that's just what made it into the final document. There have been many other words and ideas written that didn't make the final edit.
It's been a roller coaster ride. Curiously enough, here's a post by Seth Godin that diagrams what it's like writing a book. It's been an incredible journey, mostly involving just showing up to do the work day after day, which is much like what's involved in studying for and passing the ARE's.
Not only have I learned a new program to do my writing in, I've also learned how to self-publish. There is a lot involved in the process of creating printed and eBooks that I've never done before. I'll be writing more about how I wrote the book in future posts here on my blog, but for now I need to keep my focus on shipping.
* Fingers crossed. No, really. This is it.
For the last seven months, I have been working on project that's been taking up a majority of my early morning project time and other down-time. I've been writing a book, and it's been much more work than I initially thought, but entirely worth it. Besides a couple of medium-length manifesto's, this is my first foray into long-form writing. As I wrap-up the final details, I thought it might be a good idea to let you know that it's coming and to give you everyone opportunity to know when it becomes available.
So what is the book about? It's about a subject near and dear to me—how to pass the Architect Registration Exam (ARE) so you can call yourself an architect and practice architecture. It teaches you how to hack your life and create the space necessary to have the time needed to study, how to turn the best strategies into habits, and it gives you many other tips, tricks and resources you can use to become licensed.
Who is it for? This book is for people who crave freedom. It's for people who want to become "real" architects and elevate their careers. I waited seventeen years after graduating from Cal Poly to get my license and call myself an architect. Now that I've done it, I want to help others get theirs (in a much shorter time period!). Getting licensed gave me freedom and it finally quieted the nagging voice in my head to finish what I had started so many years earlier. Getting licensed is an important piece of the puzzle that many graduates forego, and because of it the profession has suffered.
There's still much more to talk about. I'll be posting about the book leading up to the release over the next few weeks. For now, you can head over to the landing page where you can sign up to be notified when it's available.
When I think of summer, I think of vacation. It's a time for recharging my batteries and widening my experiences so I can be a better architect. Summer for my family means there's an adventure, and we went on a great one this year. We went to Lake Powell which is on the southern border of Utah and Arizona. It's picturesque, and not to be missed.Read More