Do your best work. Live your best life.
Over the last four decades, I’ve worn many titles: author, writer, minister, professor, trainer, facilitator, workshop leader, communications director, creative consultant, strategic advisor. But in every role, what I do always comes down to this: sharing practical ways to improve work and life.
We’re better together.
At MarkMcElroy.com, I share what I’ve learned (and what I’m learning) as a way of connecting with people curious about:
- New ways of working. We’ve all been there: pointless meetings, debates that go nowhere, egos and rabbit holes that grind work to a halt. Better ways to meet, make decisions, and prioritize work exist. If you work with teams, committees, or organizations that are ready to move faster, make better decisions, and get things done … let’s talk.
- New ways of writing. Writing doesn’t have to be lonely work. “Writing out loud” — sharing projects as they evolve, including what works and what doesn’t work — can engage more readers and produce better work. If you want to create, revise, and share your fiction and non-fiction directly with your audience … let’s experiment together.
- New tools for thinking. So many notes, and so little done with them! But powerful new tools — like Obsidian, Roam Research, Logseq, Craft, and others — can help us store information, explore connections between ideas, and share insights faster than before. If you’re ready to stop collecting and start creating … let’s work together.
How can I help?
For the last three years, I’ve been working as a professional facilitator and strategy advisor, helping teams achieve their mission with grater focus, effectiveness, and intention. I’m eager to coach your community group, business team, or progressive church in techniques that convert tedious meetings into lively sessions where voices get heard, decisions get made, and goals get set and achieved.
As a professional writer, I’ve been creating, selling, and publishing comic book scripts, short stories, a dozen non-fiction books, a dozen Tarot card decks, hundreds of corporate video and presentation scripts, and a bazillion blog posts since 1985. I’m happy to share what I’ve learned (and what I’ve yet to learn) … and to explore “writing out loud” as a way to collaborate more closely with readers to create books people will love.
As a knowledge worker, I’m done with tossing my notes into dusty “everything boxes.” In 2019, I ditched Evernote and DevonThink for “thought processors” (like Obsidian, Logseq, Craft, and Roam Research). I’m excited about sharing ways these tools are revolutionizing how I study, take notes, keep journals, and create new work. Obsidian is my tool of choice, but the techniques I share make ideas dance, whatever tool we use.
As of April 2022, I’m working on:
- The fourth and final act of a novel called Parallel Lines
- Planning for a non-fiction book for people interested in adopting new ways to meet, make decisions, and set priorities
- Revising and updating my web properties for 2022
I’m also seeking community groups or progressive churches interested in exploring how new ways to work could change they way they meet, make decisions, and plan for the future. Curious? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Not all the work I do — including projects for my former employer — can be disclosed in a portfolio. But beginning in 2022, this site will include a page of public-facing projects I’m especially proud of. In the meantime, you can check these out:
- 60 Seconds to Roam was an experiment to see if the basics of Roam Research could be boiled down into one-minute snippets. Watch the series (and watch my awkward efforts to get the hang of video blogging) on my YouTube channel.
- The most popular post on this site is How to Keep a Journal in Roam Research. The best courses on using tools for thought as journals are taught by my friend, Tracy Winchell. We had a very nice conversation about journaling practices here.
- Bloom is a chilling sci-fi short story I created with a mix of divinatory practices and Roam Research database queries!
Do we have some shared interests?
- MadeByMark.com. From 2000-2017, long before blogging was easy or cool, I maintained a massive personal blog at MadeByMark.com. In 2022, I’m reimagining MadeByMark as a playground for “hobby topics” like faith, food, personal tech, the quest for the perfect pizza, and global travel.
- Divination. Tools like Tarot and the I Ching can be powerful tools for inspirations, introspection, and reflection. (I’ve taught brainstorming and creativity workshops using Tarot cards all over the U.S. and the U.K.) TarotTools.com, dedicated to my books on these subjects, has become a ghost ship. In 2022, I’m revitalizing it and repurposing some content as courseware.
- My Media Diet. I maintain a public page on the books I’m reading, artists I’m listening to, and shows I’m watching, just for the fun of it.
- Voice Acting. My first paid job was at WDNG as a (pretty bad) on-air DJ. Over the years, I’ve done a lot of voice-over and narration work for corporate videos, commercials, and even one cartoon. I maintain a small home studio, so I still enjoy lending my voice to projects I believe in.
I grew up in Anniston, Alabama, a nerdy gay kid who was writing (bad) short stories and keeping (dramatic) hand-written journals while classmates played football. That fascination with capturing and sharing experiences fueled both my career as a writer and my passion for world travel.
My proudest personal achievement by far, though, is my wonderful 30-year marriage to my best friend and soul mate, Clyde Parks. Along with our two rescue dogs, Windy Day and Sunny Day, we now live in a small town in Mississippi.
I earned a B.A. and an M.A. in creative writing from the Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi. Decades later my master’s thesis, relating insights gleaned from teaching in one of the planet’s first computer-aided writing classrooms, become one of the seminal works in the field of computer-aided education.
In April 2022, I retired from my position as a strategic advisor for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Over the course of fourteen years with the Bank, I’ve also been honored to serve as a communications consultant, creative director for anaward-winning media production team, and, for thirteen years, the friendly host of the Bank’s quarterly town halls.
Before this, I’ve worked as an on-air disc jockey, a pulpit minister, the Dean of Students and a Professor of English for a small seminary, a corporate trainer addressing audiences nationwide, and director of training and PR for a major telecom company.
Let’s hang on to each other.
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