Day 2 and already a swirl of doubt? Absolutely. The mind is a fickle thing. As I suspected, starting is generally easier than sustaining. The well of motivation dries out at the start of every morning. And I’m not a morning person.
Today brought some tech challenges, which slowed down the momentum. For now, this all lives inside a text editor till I can get the site up and running. In the meantime some plaguing questions keep popping up in my head. I’ll try to address a few of them.
If you’re trying to do something creative, why not do a YouTube channel or a podcast?
Crawl before you walk. Walk before you run.
If I created a YouTube channel (as much as I hate to say it) I’d be too preoccupied with the metrics. How many people watched my video? How many subscribers am I at now? I’d also be relying on the infamous YouTube algorithm, which I’m not ready to engage with just yet.
It’s more or less the same with a podcast. I fear I’d be too concerned with how many people downloaded it. Also, the podcast format I’m most interested in is an interview style. Unfortunately, I haven’t offered enough value to the people I’d like to interview to make the ask of them to lend me their valuable time. I’m probably one of hundreds, if not thousands, who are trying to do the same thing.
Even though the skillsets for both podcasting and maintaining a YouTube channel are valuable to develop, I’m currently more interested in figuring out what I have to say.
It’s like the advice I give my students who want to go to film school to keep making movies. I tell them, DON’T GO TO FILM SCHOOL. If you want to tell good stories, you have to learn about yourself, the world, and the human condition much more than you need a film degree. Meaningful art comes from having something worthwhile to say. It’s not automatic that we understand what we really think and believe. Get a strong liberal arts or humanities education, study abroad, volunteer for a year…umm…write a blog? Okay, maybe I didn’t recommend that last part.
I believe if I show up every day on this blog to discover the foundation of what I think and value, I can eventually build more on top of it. A podcast, a YouTube channel, and maybe more. But first, I gotta learn to crawl.
What value do you add to the world by writing a blog?
I might go so far as to say that the main goal of writing a blog is to find the answer to this question. I hope through the practice of sitting down to write more deliberately, I can uncover the value I might add.
Right now, it feels like everything I’m interested in has already been articulated by someone more experienced than me. But then again, maybe that’s a familiar sentiment a lot of people hold. New ideas and innovations still manage to find their way out of the ether.
I also suppose that there’s an underlying assumption in my thinking that the value I have to add has to be from something original. Austin Kleon said in one of my favorite books, Steal Like an Artist,
“All creative work builds on what came before. Nothing is completely original.”
This is a liberating idea. So liberating that I might even come up with something original? Maybe? Just maybe.
Aren’t you too old to start something like this?
Over 40 years old, a full-time career, and married with children. I’m at the point in my life where if I come upon something that I haven’t completed or achieved yet, I need to take a serious moment to reflect. If I don’t do this now, am I okay with the realization that I will never do this?
The luxury of putting my hopes on the shoulders of my future self to make up for my today-self’s lack of initiative is quickly eroding. As Tim Ferris said,
“‘Someday’ is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you.”
The concept of being “too old” to do something implies one or all of the following three assumptions:
- There is an ideal physical and mental capacity for the activity, where the older you are, the greater the disadvantage.
- Performing the activity is prohibitively difficult after a set age.
- The activity provides less benefit because the time horizon may not be long enough for the seeds to bear fruit.
Even if these assumptions hold true, they shouldn’t dissuade anyone from trying out something they’ve always wanted to, unless performing the given activity may cause harm to themselves or others.
There are pockets of my life where I know I didn’t spend the gift of time wisely. It feels like the young waste their time and the old waste their wisdom. One of my favorite pieces of insight from the Stoics comes from Seneca, On The Shortness of Life:
“It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested.”– Seneca