I was laying on my bed winding down to go to sleep (and yes, you’re right, I shouldn’t be on my phone before bed) when I came across a Youtube video Ali Abdaal posted.
The gist of the video? Begin (and more importantly sustain) writing a blog and good things will start to happen.
At the end of the clip, a sudden blast of insights from thought leaders I admire rushed through me. It was like a scene from “A Beautiful Mind” or “The Da Vinci Code.”
“If you want to be useful, you can always start now, with only 1% of what you have in your grand vision.”– Derek Sivers, “Anything You Want”
“The only choice we have is to begin. And the only place to begin is where we are. Simply begin.”– Seth Godin, “The Practice”
“You’re ready. Start making stuff.”– Austin Kleon, “Steal Like an Artist”
For the last 3 months, I’ve been searching for a creative outlet. The question was…what? Often, I’m guilty of falling into cycle after cycle of analysis paralysis, prolonging the making of a decision and taking action. And here I was again, caught in a web of my own making.
So. Write a blog. I can do this. The questions and doubts are still there in the back of my mind, but I want to move forward and figure it out. I should’ve started 15 years ago. But I’m reminded of a quote from Karen Lamb, “A year from now you’ll wish you started today.”
When I woke up this morning to tell my wife, her first response was, “Does anyone still read blogs? Who still reads blogs?!”
I can’t say it was the response I was hoping for…but in some ways, it was the ideal response. Everyone needs a check and balance. Time is the most valuable resource anyone can have, and when you’re married with children, you better have a good justification for how you spend your time.
Writing is hard. It takes focus, cognitive energy, and that oh so precious resource, time, to write anything of value. If I am to do this, it needs to be more than a late night whim. It has to be a commitment. A long term one at that.
My wife and I talked it through, to determine how practical this was. We have two young children who we love dearly and I want to make sure that, in the quest to self-actualization, they stay a major part of my day-to-day life. We spent most of the day talking about how I could logistically do it in a meaningful way. I think realistically speaking, I’d need to devote at least three hours a day.
We wondered together if it is even possible for someone who’s middle-aged with a family and a career to start, and more importantly, sustain any long-term creative endeavor along with their career? A “side-hustle “as the kids like to call it these days (though I’m not a huge fan of that term).
I hope it’s possible. And if you’re in the same boat, maybe I can chart the waters for you a little before you set sail.
When doing anything, it’s important to know your ‘why?’ Why is this something I feel that I need to do?
I’ve thought about this a lot and it boils down to two scenarios. Both of which seem like a win in my book.
Scenario 1: No one outside of a couple close friends ever visit this blog.
What outcomes would still make it worth my time?
- I become a better writer.
- I learn to convey my ideas more clearly and precisely.
- I understand myself more deeply.
- I create a record of my thoughts and learning.
Scenario 2: After a period of time of sustained upkeep of the blog, people discover and explore what I’ve written.
What outcomes would be nice?
- An idea I’ve written about or brought attention to brings value to a single person’s life.
- I meet people who are interested in the same things I’m interested in and we build a community.
- [The dream] To have conversations with the people I admire and have been learning from for years.
I’ll wrap up this first post with a quote from the video that sparked this blog into motion.
“Writing is not just a way of communicating with the world, it’s actually a way of communicating with yourself…
“I have more to say [to the world], because I sit down and write every day and I figure out what I’m thinking…” — Austin Kleon, author of “Show Your Work” and “Steal Like an Artist”
If you’ve gotten this far, chances are you’re a close friend. If you’re not, there’s a slight chance we may one day be friends. Please say hello.
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Every other Tuesday, I share 4 Visuals: Interesting | Design | Enchanting | Analogy.