A funny thing happened this week. I got cold feet about this blog. Major, pull the covers over my head, I don't want to think about it, cold feet.
What was that about?
I had gotten so excited about my plans for the new direction of this site, and those plans just kept growing bigger in my mind, and technical issues were piling up, and pretty quickly I was all caught up in the what and had lost sight of the why.
The 'what' is almost certain death to any creative project. As soon as you let the 'what' take over, you can kiss your motivation good-bye. That's my experience anyway. The 'what' trips me up with endless possibilities, including the big FAILURE. It trips the perfection switch. It becomes a THING in my head and takes up all the space.
The why, on the other hand, keeps the great motivator 'purpose' in the game. The why leads me to think about the who and keeps me on some kind of purpose track. Purpose is so much kinder than perfection. And so much more useful to the world.
Last night after I had powered through some technical issues, but was feeling pretty lousy about it all - frustrated really - I came across two important articles that knocked the sense back into me. The first by a web designer talking about the Gift Economy, and the second - writing advice from John Green featured on Brain Pickings. His advice:
Every single day, I get emails from aspiring writers asking my advice about how to become a writer, and here is the only advice I can give: Don’t make stuff because you want to make money — it will never make you enough money. And don’t make stuff because you want to get famous — because you will never feel famous enough. Make gifts for people — and work hard on making those gifts in the hope that those people will notice and like the gifts.
Maybe they will notice how hard you worked, and maybe they won’t — and if they don’t notice, I know it’s frustrating. But, ultimately, that doesn’t change anything — because your responsibility is not to the people you’re making the gift for, but to the gift itself.
Back to back I got slapped with the reminder that I started this whole idea from that place of the gift. The best work we do in life comes from that place, not the place of perfection, or making something to be something, but from wanting to delight others.
Of course! So now that I've come back to my purpose, it's time to unveil it.
In other words, a visual and intellectual feast of the Literary Lifestyle.
Literary Lifestyle? As defined by me, thus far, aside from a dedication to reading and writing, it is also about a blend of old values and new technologies. A virtual playground to support a movement from snark to eloquence, from fact-accumulation to wisdom, from entertainment overload to living a rich (as in full, not wealthy), cultured life.
It is also a place for me to play this out as an experiment in my own life, to let this unfold and be defined as we go. There will be visits to bookstores and libraries, food, drink, books, illustrations, how-to's, maybe featured guests, clothing with elbow patches, advice on the creative life, and of course, of course, the 100 Word Challenge will continue. In fact, it's long been on my mind to create a book of the best 100 Word entries, perhaps at the end of every year, if y'all would like to see that.
This is going to take a lot more commitment on my end, and in the spirit of gift culture I'll offer you ways to support me in creating this gift. Those will be coming soon.
That's all I want to say about this at this point. I have my list of ideas, but it changes and evolves daily, and then there is still the list of technical issues I'm working out, and the equipment still needed, so let's just do this thing and see what happens next, ok?
100 Word Writing Prompt #362
Your word this week is again from: Still Writing: The Pleasures and Perils of a Creative Life.
See you soon Velveteers!