Making stuff is easy

Hosting a podcast. Writing a blog. Sending out a newsletter. These things aren’t that difficult.

What’s a podcast, anyway? One or two people talking into a mic about stuff that other people might find interesting? What could be so hard about that?

And what, exactly, is a blog post? Words on a screen under a domain name on the Internet.
Not much to it.

But a podcast that thousands of people listen to every week? A blog that kicks off the morning of a thousand people every Thursday?

Still, not that difficult.

One or two people talking into a mic (plus a thousand people listening). Words on a screen under a domain name on the Internet (plus a thousand people reading).

But trying something over and over again until you get the formula right? That’s the hard part.

“If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” applies to creativity, too.

If your project breaks, if you’re not getting the engagement you want, no need to reinvent your wheel.

Instead, try plugging up all the air holes. Tighten your approach. Apply specific constraints. Choose to be this, not that. Stick to a routine. Be relentlessly yourself. Set a ludicrously high bar. If you’re not getting the engagement you want, there’s probably too many holes in your approach. Which means too many excuses for people to listen to any other podcast, to read any other blog but yours.

Making stuff is easy. And it’s especially easy for you because you already have the talent, taste, and tools to make something great.

But there’s a fourth ingredient. An ingredient you need. An ingredient that all the great creators use in their recipes everyday.

Flexibility.

From Cullin McGrath to Salman Ansari. From John Daub to Austin Calvert. These creators have a sixth sense for change. They fine-tune their approach until they get it right. They reiterate until everything is in its right place. They stick to what works for them – not for what works for the others. The best creators administer the proper dosage of flexibility.

Because if you use too much flexibility, you’ll end up changing your approach every week and confusing the hell out of everyone. But if you use the right amount of flexibility, you’ll recognize when your approach isn’t helping you get to where you’d like to be.

2 thoughts on “Making stuff is easy”

  1. Making stuff is easy indeed. It’s making good stuff and resonating with people that’s hard. I always believe that the market determines whether or not your work is any good, and if you’re not getting any traction, maybe you’re not good enough… yet.

    This is where the cliched word ‘passion’ comes into play. It’s the passionate ones who’ll stick through the zero-subscriber days long enough to gain a following and be someone in their field.

    Thanks for this thought-provoking post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Stuart, thanks for this juicy comment. You’re right in that the market determines whether or not what you made is worth anything. Radical innovation is super rare. We only have a handful of Musks and Jobs per century. But a lot of useful creative work can be made by the hands of people who aren’t larger than life visionaries. Anyone can start a blog or a podcast or a newsletter, like I always say. And those things can be super rewarding for the audience and the creators.

      Much of creativity comes from making stuff that people actually want to use (this is the same idea as saying that the market decides what’s useful). But sometimes we don’t know what we want (people wanted a faster horse, they didn’t know they needed a car).

      Passionate people might just be people who know that their work hasn’t been reiterated enough times to be as polished, pretty, and most important, as useful as it could be. Useful can also mean silly, fun, ridiculous, like Monty Python.

      Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

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