The Rule of Suck: the first one is going to be very, very, embarrassingly not so good.
What to do?
Do the next one. And the next one after that. On and on, serving up hundreds of works to an audience who trusts that you’ll get it right — eventually.
Here’s Paul McGrath (great name), on pancakes and what they teach us about creativity. I told him on Thursday that this was my favorite read of the week. It’s now Saturday, and I’m still standing by that statement.
My buddy Cullin is at the scariest time of any writer’s life.
He’s expressing a unique point of view.
With his name on it.
He’s detaching himself from mass thinking, even if the much of the mass is partly favor of the “good guy.”
To come alive as a writer, as a creator, is to accept the fact that people will disagree with you. What’s scary about this is that most people confuse disagreeing with dismantling a friendship. “I can’t disagree with you because your standpoint is so foreign to me, so instead I’m just going to cut you out of my life.”
It’s rare to find a writer brave enough to not only challenge collective assumptions, but to challenge them in public.
Cullin is one of those writers.
Here’s his newest piece about a young man trying to find his way through today’s chaotic world.
Not a loser.
The opposite of a winner is someone who doesn’t know that they’re capable of being a winner.
You could finish last, and still learn something valuable. Or you could finish last, and quit because the skill ceiling is too high. It doesn’t matter if the game is too hard. It doesn’t matter if the grammar is too complex. What you measure is your reward.
You could cheat your way to first place, and become a better cheater. You could fail your Japanese class, but still know the difference between “に” and “に.” In both cases, you’re a winner: you’re still gaining something.
The question is: what are you trying to win?
Lighting. Clothing. The speed of your voice. Are you looking at the camera, or looking down at the ground? Sit up straight, but don’t stiffen up like a skeleton. Is there anything distracting in the background?
These details matter. You might have groundbreaking ideas, but it doesn’t matter if you can’t convince anyone to put their phone in their pocket while you speak.
Performative Speaking is only just beginning. I’ve already learned much from Robbie Crabtree about why good presentation matters as much as having good stories.
Today is my birthday. The following people made my 25th year on this planet my favorite year yet. I’ve known many of you for only 2 months, many more for only a week. And yet it feels I’ve known all of you my whole life.
Thanks for being awesome. Thanks for pursuing creative excellence.
Let’s see if I can remember all of you in one go.
Steven D. Cullin. Pranav. Alex. Chris. Audrey. Robbie. Sean. Imah. Rich. Nat. Nathan. Sebastian. Kyle. Austin. Greg. Shelby. Noxy. Andrew. April. Uri. Steven K. Rob. Jordan. Jamie. Arielle. Phil. Bjorn. Daniel. Ben. Logan. And you.
Cheers, and here’s to another good 25 years.
P.S: I tried not to rely on social media. If you don’t see your name on this list and you’ve been on my podcast or helped me with a project, thanks a million.
In 1992, riding a skateboard up and down a half-pipe wasn’t cool. The world turned its attention to street skating. Something with more edge, more rebelliousness, less polished and less about sponsorships and money.
But that didn’t stop a scrappy kid in Carlsbad from riding his skateboard everyday. Because Tony Hawk knew that if the world decided that vert skating was cool again, he would be ready.
In 1999, Tony Hawk landed the world’s first 900.
What will you do when things get slow? Will you wait for the world to tell you what’s cool and what’s not? Or will you tighten your bearings, wax the rails, and drop in?