Hell yeah, I wanna write a blog!
That’s the sentiment that came to me a couple of months ago. It didn’t come to me suddenly, like a unicorn bursting through clouds, tossing me onto its back and carrying me off on my new rainbow adventure. The idea of writing a blog had actually been on my mind for about a decade and a half. Ever since ye olde days of ‘weblogging’, I liked the idea of regularly jotting some words for people to read on the Interwebs.
For a long time, writing a blog wasn’t a ‘hell yeah’ for me. It was just one of many ‘that’d be nices’.
Getting better at drawing.
Getting better at guitar and writing songs.
Working on this story idea.
Or that one.
Or one of the other hundred or so I’ve got tucked away around here somewhere.
Maybe write a blog.
And a bunch of other stuff.
As creative folks, there are often plenty of projects we would like to have a go at, but the reality is that our time and creative energy is limited. Many of us are juggling the day job, family commitments, all that ‘life’ stuff, and – oh yeah – we do need to be able to kick back and relax from time to time. That’s why we need to be able to sort the wheat from the chaff and know, with as much confidence as is possible, what is the right thing to focus on, right now.
It’s the classic ‘learn to say no’ advice on steroids and it takes some serious soul searching at times. You do need to stop, write down the possible projects and really imagine what getting that done will feel like. If that lights your loins more than the others, you have your answer.
The excellent Jessica Abel talks about this. Jessica has a whole site devoted to helping creative people get their shit together, and I always find her stuff really helpful. In this case, Jessica was herself quoting Derek Sivers. They both make the point: It can’t be a ‘Yeah, well, I guess so…’ It has to be a ‘hell yeah!’ or else it is a ‘no’ (or, at least, a ‘not right now’.) As Derek puts it:
“If it’s not exciting, if it will not lead where you want to go, or if it will not pay necessary bills, that’s a no. A definite no.”
As I said at the beginning, writing a blog was bobbing around in my That’d Be Nice Sea for a while, but it only recently became a ‘hell yeah’ for me. Why? I think maybe because I finally felt I had a solid concept for what the blog would be. I felt like I had something to say.
In the summer of 2016, I was working as a freelancer and read a book that prompted me to write a book. As a wannabe entrepreneur, the book (the one I read, not wrote) promised me that a book (the one I would write, not read) would be ‘the ultimate business card’. Imagine, the thinking went, being able to tell a potential client, ‘I wrote the book on BLANK – literally.’ More importantly, the book (I read) confidently informed me that everyone has knowledge and experience within them that will be useful to others, whether they realize it or not.
So, that summer, I made writing a book about surviving as a creative person and my own approach to the creative process my ‘hell yeah’ project. I had limited time between servicing my freelance clients, helping my wife, Jessica, with her nutrition business, playing soccer, watching soccer, hiking, eating, sleeping, and all that life, life, life, but what limited time I had was devoted to writing the book. And I did it! Then I decided to close my business and return to working at an ad agency.
But I did it. Because it was my ‘hell yeah’ and I didn’t deviate from that goal.
I do intend to rework the book – Creativity Unboxed – a bit and make it available as an e-book, so do watch out for that. But more importantly, it was the exercise of writing that book that led me to hit upon another, probably much bigger ‘hell yeah!’
I want to help people. People like me. As best I can. Through sharing my experiences as a ‘Creative Lifer’ and learning about theirs. Because we creatives do tend to hide in our little holes and keep to ourselves, often looking enviously at the achievements of our peers and feeling like we’re not getting as much done as everyone else, or not doing it as well, or not doing as much of it as we would like. It’s our nature and it’s unhealthy.
Putting real consideration and effort into identifying what I really wanted to do right now, what could wait, and what I could be okay with accepting would likely never happen (so long, rock star dreams!) has helped me to actually do things, and it will help you do things too.
Can I get a ‘hell yeah’?