Author’s Note: I’m currently in the process of migrating old blog posts to this new system. That may mean some links, syntax highlighting, and other details are broken or missing temporarily. Sorry for the inconvenience!
I feel like I’ve been on top of things lately. Been drinking lots of water, meditating, writing in my journal, eating healthy, getting lots of videos out. It’s been great. But I forgot to write a blog post and now I find myself sitting down writing because “I’m supposed to” rather than because I have something to say.
So yeah. These words are here because of a rule I made for myself. They’re not here because I thought they were interesting. I sat down, I wrote them, and I published them. I may even have shared out the blog post link. So that you’d have to read it. How dare I?
Especially now, when content is so cheap, we have this attitude that people should keep their sub-par stuff to themselves. Attention is a precious commodity, and it’s absurd for others to make demands on it if they’re not going to put their best work forward.
We don’t always mind. If someone is starting out and doesn’t know any better, that’s fine. But if someone actively knows they’re creating less than their best: doesn’t that content belong locked away in a drawer somewhere? The audience for your terrible work should be “future you, leafing through your old journals, rolling your eyes condescendingly”.
Make Stuff Though
Your goal should be getting better at your craft, your skill, your art. And the creative part of the brain if very tempermental. If you have cool ideas for stories, but never write them down, the brain will just stop coming up with any. After all, you’ve already got that one novel you’re not working on, so why bother coming up with anything else?
The more that you write down and express your ideas, the more the brain will surprise you with new ones. Your creativity is like a gas — it expands to fill its surroundings. So always make stuff. Even bad stuff. You’ve got to get that out of the way for good stuff to happen.
Share Those Things Too
Other people’s attention problems are exactly that: other people’s problems.
There is a lot of content out there, absolutely. But it’s not your job to curate things on other people’s behalf. Let Google or Facebook do that. Or let the audience themselves worry about that. When you preemptively don’t publish things, you’re denying everyone else that choice.
But more importantly, you’re training that creative part of your brain that there’s a distinction between your bad stuff and your good stuff. “Hey brain, thanks for that crap idea! I’m going to write it down and lock it away for nobody else to see!”. That’s not how you inspire yourself to get better.
Your creative side is a messy toddler. Hang that goddamned macaroni art on the fridge!