The accountant who’s writing a novella behind their boss’s back feels “safe” behind a spreadsheet than on a call with a publishing house. “I’m not an accountant,” they say. And yet they show up everyday to keep being one.
We’re less fraudulent doing something we hate, and more fraudulent doing something we love.
Are we in balance? Are we ready? Have we taken care to do our work at a steady pace? Will we move quick enough to get things done on time, and slow enough to see obvious oversights?
The fighter who prepares the best is usually the fighter that wins.
And the best way to prepare is to accept that a bunch of unexpected stuff is going to happen. That way you won’t be jolted so easily by a curveball or foul play. And so the unexpected becomes expected.
Today I was going to write to you about something else, but I forgot what I was going to say. This juicy comment from Stuart on Making stuff is easy stole my attention. I can’t stop thinking about it.
Maybe tomorrow I’ll remember that brilliant thing I was going to tell you.
Passionate doesn’t mean romantic. The passionate creator is often faced with the deafening silence of a subscriber count of 0, the barrenness of an empty comment section, and an email list of roommates who signed up just to be nice.
But even with a subscriber count of 1,000, a comment section as lively as Times Square, and an email list of every friend, colleague, and fan they’ve ever met, the passionate creator pretends those things don’t exist. Not because of delusion. Not because they’re above anyone. But because the passionate creator holds close in memory the motivation of deafeningly null subscriber counts, ghost town comment sections, and newsletters sent out to nobody.
Writing a blog post, recording a podcast, speaking to an audience, delivering something creative — these things take effort. And not only because writing something burns calories (I’m guessing it’s no more than the amount you burn while you sleep). But because it takes a lot of effort to say No.
To say No to notifications.
To say No to checking to see if the world is on fire (spoiler alert: it kind of is).
To say No to all the incoming requests for your time.
Is it selfish to say, “no — all this external stuff isn’t as important as writing the first chapter of my book”? — Probably depends on what the book is for. But if the book you’re writing is going to change readers minds about something, if it’s going to improve their lives, make them smarter, healthier, possibly sexier — then get as selfish as you want.
The temporary selfishness required to create something remarkable leads to your name being immortalized as selfless. I call this selfless self-expression. Selfless self-expression practically requires you to be as selfish with your time as you want. To create something because you need to, not because the world needs it. The world doesn’t need another podcast. The world doesn’t need another cookbook or how-to video. There’s millions of those already.
So why make anything? If everything already exists, why bother? If there’s a gazillion podcasts, books and blogs and how-to-knit-a-sweater videos — why bother?
Because if you don’t bother, you’ll end up kicking yourself for never having bothered to press record, click Publish, or – at the very least – send that postcard to grandma.
You should bother because you need to. You should bother because it’s keeping you up at night. You should bother because your future self will thank you for it. Your past self will thank you for it, too. “Thanks for finally bothering to make something. Now all that time you didn’t spend making it actually means something.”
Ultimately, you should bother because if you don’t, I’ll continue bothering you about starting until you finally do.