How does it feel to hold back?

How does it feel to hold back?

Holding back from serving what you make
because you need to add another ingredient,
because more should try it,
because more should see it,
because of what critics will say,
because you’re not good enough,
because you will run out of ideas,
because this is your best idea,
because its not perfect,
because you will fault,
because it might land out of bounds,
because it’s not the way to do it,
because you might be proven wrong,
is nothing but the sure fire way to be wrong. 

Bob Dylan didn’t let any of these excuses stop him from serving up ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ to Newtown Folk Festival in 1965. Imagine if he hadn’t. Think openly, create your best and serve it up before it goes cold. 

Learning to write

Learning to write

Not overly inspired to write but forcing the action to build the habit. Not just dedicating a block of time in the day but for imprinting the muscle memory. Lack of inspiration seemed to stem from rigidity of the agenda. Setting out to pursue a set path of what is next seemed to misalign with what the creative side wanted to pursue now. You then realise that if you had to talk about it with someone, there would not be a problem. You may have a few double backs, some silences, others may even encourage the train of thought along, but you will get out what you have to say.

There is no reason writing should be any different but we pull back, we compromise, we overthink, we plan to implement rather than act to develop. I am a big fan of Seth Godin who emphasises we should  “Write like you talk, everyday“. So herein lies my third core driver for #30daysofwriting and that is develop an authentic voice, to encourage the creative machine, to develop the muscle and stop hiding behind the talk. In summary, it is to write better.

Supplementry to this, I am a visual person and will also use this opportunity to create visual models to help explain ideas. See Exhibit A.

Exhibit A: Learning Cycle

I will sign this next day off with the spoken word of Seth Godin, so well put that it could easily be mistaken for writing that has gone through multiple drafts:

“Improving your work is a hundred times easier than getting a guarantee that your work will be fine. So, do bad work. Do it often, do it generously, and then work to improve it. That’s how you learned how to walk. It’s how you learned how to talk. It’s how you learn how to do everything that matters to you. But now suddenly you’re waiting for a guarantee. It doesn’t work that way. It’s so easy now to blog every day. So easy now to put up a video. So easy now to put your work into the world. And if you’re willing to do it poorly, then you could probably learn how to do it better.”

Entering the jungle

Entering the jungle

Taking a step further into the jungle of reason is better than looking at it from within the comfort of the Land Cruiser. Taking logic into the public domain, forces the hand to open the door of the door of the vehicle and step out. By this, I mean pushing one or more iterations along our own logic framework. What we are writing may not be any more right or wrong but at least it can go beyond the fleeting stage. Who knows, maybe we will be lucky enough to encounter a tiger along the way.

In my first post I mentioned ‘skin’ as one of the reasons I started writing this blog. Skin, here refers to two things. It is the outer shell and also an extremely durable organ which is quick to let us know when we encounter something dangerous. Breaking down the barriers of our outer shell sounds counterintuitive but gives opportunity for us to show some scar tissue from the past. The process of healing some of these battle wounds is tough and comes back to the vulnerability journey that I am trying to lean into. There is a healing that comes from finding the battle scars of our past and exposing them. Sure, there are those best kept to our closest people but there are many more that are not. Reinvigorating the dead skin makes us more receptive to be more connected to those around us.

My second motion for skin, if we are lucky enough to spread beyond our ‘safe circles’, are the innveitable claw swipes. Different from scar tissue, a thicker skin makes us more able to tackle the adversisty around us. We can glide past the brush which would previously have caused us to bleed. Without sounding like a broken record, ‘Skin in the Game‘ means “how much of your neck you are putting on the line”.

It is a lot easier to keep what we ‘know’ to be true to ourselves. Only just harder is to throw them against the wall in fleeting conversations. Writing them for the public to see takes them from fleeting to forming. Our greatest ideas may be completely wrong when we take them out of the cone of silence of our own heads – all for the better.

Putting our ideas out into the world makes us accountable to them. We need to have the courage to be honest about them with ourselves and then with others.

Be curious, be thoughtful, be courageous and write.