Making it Matter—P6

6 Steps to creating something that matters: Find other people who care about the same things, and work with them: 

Nothing fuels synergy like a common passion. Working with someone who loves the same thing as you not only gives energy, but also fuels creativity. There are twice as many ideas, twice as much excitement, twice the brain power to catch errors and mistakes. Usually the creator has blind spots—working on something long and hard takes concentration and effort, and by the time you've completed a project, you've made it as perfect as you can. Someone else who comes along can spot a problem from a mile away, and if you're humble and willing to accept correction, they can help brainstorm a solution.

Sometimes it's hard to work with people who are just like you; they might remind you of yourself, and it's not always pleasant to be confronted with all of your qualities (both positive and negative) mirrored in another. But the extra vantage point and different maturity levels are indispensable. You may feel like you're alone in your passion—but you'd be surprised how many people care about the same things, if you just look for them.

There are several benefits to creating together. We can create more, faster. We don't burn out from isolation. We think of different ideas, bigger ideas, ideas that one person can't do alone but two can do together.

Create together. Though it may be scary, it's worth it.

Making it Matter—P3

6 steps to creating something that matters: Create for yourself: When something matter deeply, it's hard not to talk about. The artists that make a difference (the ones who create things that last) do their best because they care. They write the song, but don't produce it until they've rewritten and sung it over and over and over, to catch the tones, the pitch, the melodies and harmonies, to perfect the riffs and all the minute details that make a good song great.

At the end of the day, the first (and really only) person who needs to like your piece is you. If you're creating for meaning (not to get rich quick), you are the one who makes the decisions, who puts the finishing touches on it, who creates it as the master (even if you want to get rich quick, this is recommended). If you don't like it, even if the entire world does, you'll have the nagging voice in the back of your heart telling you it could have been better.

Writing is used for all kinds of things; catharsis, communication, and entertainment are the big three. Writing for catharsis is almost entirely for self. Writing for communication is two-fold, both for your good and for others, and writing for entertainment is mostly for the audience. When you're writing for catharsis, you're not thinking about the reader—in many cases, it's likely it won't be read by anyone besides yourself.

What if all of the writing we did was catharsis style: honest, open, genuine. Rather than trying to be something or impress someone, it is just simple communication of ideas that mean something to you. Then, if your life work fell into the ocean tomorrow and all the ink washed off, though it would be a terrible pain and travesty, you would still have written. And that is the goal (also, be sure to back up or copy your writing, just in case of force majeure).

*Note: This would seem to disagree with the previous point about writing to your audience, but it's really just capturing two different stages; write for yourself first and foremost, always. But, after you've established writing something that's your passion, then consider who you're writing to, so that they can also benefit from your work.


Making it Matter—P1

6 steps to creating something that matters: Create by passion: If you are passionate about what you're making, it will matter. If you're passionate about coffee, become a specialist and learn to create the best cup of coffee you can. If you're passionate about carpentry, practice, tirelessly and endlessly until your reputation precedes you and people can't stop talking about your work. If business is your passion, never stop researching, learning, innovating, growing. Often it isn't the passion alone that brings the meaning—it's the repeated practicing, learning, and growth, over and over and over again.

What's even better is, that if something is your passion, you don't lose it. Don't confuse losing it with the burn outs, dry outs, and disillusionment that come with creativity. Low spells happen to everyone; without them, we'd have no fuel. In the dark times, in the low times, in the hard times, keep track of them—how you feel, what you see, what it's like.

Then, when you wake up one morning and the passion has woken up too, create with the hard times in mind. The depth of feeling and emotion is what gives art the extra fuel, what brings it from good to great. And your passion is what makes it matter; first to you, then to others.


The Importance of Creating Curiosity

A writer's main goal is clear communication. Even if you have the most excellent point in the world, if you can't communicate it clearly, no one will understand it. Writers will intentionally leave some things bare, so that it can be clearly understood the first time, and strikes up a healthy desire to do further research. Belaboring a point doesn't provoke deep interest with the average uninterested target.

Promotional writing is a good example of this. An advertisement is not supposed to be a long explanation of every facet and value of a product. The potential buyer doesn't want to know everything about the product in the 'information collection' phase. One of the most enticing pieces of product advertisement for the consumer is the option to do his or her own research. An advertisement is simply the enticement to learn more, the invitation to be curious.

If you bore your audience with details, their curiosity has nothing to latch onto. Over-explanation is the death of wonder, and the birth of boredom. And a bored audience doesn't buy your project (or support your kickstarter, or subscribe to your magazine), they look for something else that better entertains them (or interests them, or validates them, or just isn't boring).

It isn't always easy to write clearly and provide adequate information while still provoking interest and curiosity, but if writing weren't a challenge, there would be no satisfaction in the victory of success.

Why Real Life is the Best—Part 2

See yesterday to understand today. Fiction is great, but it isn't the best. Instead, real life. Not because everything that happens is wonderful; it's surely not. Bad things happen all the time, and having an escape is good, as long as it doesn't become an addiction. But sometimes escape and refuge aren't necessary. Real life is the best, because, no matter how far technology goes—no matter how it makes us feel we are experiencing something simulated, no matter how dramatic and drastic our 'fiction' can be—nothing holds a candle to the size of the earth, to the warmth of the sun, to embrace from a friend or the warm release of a real tear slipping down a cheek.

Following that real life is the best, that is why the best fiction is about real life. We want to read things that we can understand, we want to read about people like us, we want to grasp insight from someone we're not prejudiced against or intimidated by so we can actually respect it.

The message is twofold:

#) whatever you write, write real life into it. It has greater allure, wider depth, and deeper purpose.

#) really nothing beats real life; so take time in the rush to stop and appreciate it. It's not hard to do—step outside in any season, and you'll immediately be barraged by whatever reality is happening with the weather; then go from there.


It's easy to spend a lot of time wasting time to justify being too busy to do the things that matter; focusing on the bells and whistles instead of the engine and the brakes. And when the time comes, excuses, even though they don't satisfy anyone, are still always allowed. But, at the end of the day, having a real product to show for your work is better than a pocketful of accessories that you spent time putting in order. Like this blog. It's easy to choose a hundred different templates, fonts, colors. The look is an easy way to avoid focusing on the content. But, when it boils down, what's valuable is what it's all about and what it does, rather than what it looks like.

Introducing: A blog about what it's like to be a self-published and always publishing author, striving for success, but working towards significance.

Join me on the challenging journey of creating something that matters.