We work, then we ship

This blog is shipping. It’s a continuous reminder to me to get the work done. I’m at a point where I can now write every morning. I write here, and I write in my other media (at this time a novel, which I started during NaNoWriMo, but which has been a holdover).

Work completed isn’t much until we get it out. Really, it isn’t completed until you put it out. And it’s scary to put it out. There are times when I’d rather not see the finished product.

I do some work in improvisational acting, and that’s instantaneous shipping. That’s getting up, creating a scene (doing the work) and performing it in front of an audience (shipping), all in one moment. Terrifying!

But doing that, it’s helping me here. It’s helping me everywhere. Because in improv, as in any other work, it’s okay to fail. Maybe one project lands flat. Flatter than flat. Just put it in the dungheap and move on.

Seth Godin has a graph of shipping that looks like this:

6a00d83451b31569e2017ee8407661970d-500wi.jpgOriginal post here.

This is specifically for the publication of a book. But it applies to any artistic medium. The Y-axis is the joy you feel for the project, and the X-axis shows time passing with each milestone. I think data point 6 is even lower than what’s shown because fear can take hold. That resistance.

But it’s so important to ship. To accept that fear. That fear is a gift. It’s your body telling you that what you’re doing may very well be important. So don’t stop now. Accept the gift, and get your idea out there.

Rearranging

After three years, I’ve changed my tagline. No longer am I trying to keep it together. Now it’s all about exploration. I’ll be changing the look and feel of the blog as well, though I’m still committed to daily postings.

That’s been a challenge, but one that’s kept me focused these past couple of months. I’m planning on some positive changes to complement some other of the other projects that I am working on. Hopefully I’ll have more to say on that before the end of the year.

And that’s coming up soon!

Letting Go

As I progress in my blogging, I start to think I’ve used titles before. Like Letting Go. I search. I don’t find it. Maybe the search bar doesn’t work like I mean it to. Or I actually haven’t titled one Letting Go. I don’t know for sure.

Either way, I’ve been thinking about it a lot. Letting go. Of the past. Of stuff. Of the personal baggage that I hang on to. It’s little things.

This item went to the trash tonight:

coconut crow
Jamaican-made bird feeder from coconut.

I had purchased it from a street vendor in Jamaica – exactly which area I don’t recall. I was in Jamaica for a mission trip with my significant other. She and I are no longer together. I also have no relationship to speak of with any of the church members that went on the trip.

I think I paid $10. I could have gotten it for cheaper. But the words of a very persuasive priest came back to me.

“While talking with a parishioner,” he said in his homily, “she was bragging about how she had talked the seller down on some item she purchased on vacation.” [I believe it was in Mexico, but it could have been anywhere].

He proceeded to ask her, “Are you saying that you’re proud of taking away the money the this person needs to care for the family, put food on the table, and keep a roof over their heads?” This particular priest is an odd, joy-filled individual.

He then said, “I guess I shouldn’t go on vacation there. I’d be haggling the price up.”

So in looking at this strange coconut bird feeder, an authentic carved item from Jamaica, I couldn’t bring myself to haggle the price down.

But it no longer serves me. I took this picture of it to have the memory, but item itself has been let go.

Where’d you go?

Took a few extra days (false start) after my trip. There was a lot going on, and some things I’ve been thinking about. 

For instance, why posting every day is a silly strategy. Now I’m not necessarily using this blog to drive traffic or strum up business, but the thought did occur to me – what am I writing for?

The answer I came up with is I write because I have to. So if no one reads it, or doesn’t follow the latest post, it’s not really a big deal. When I started writing, it was about being accountable. Going to the daily (until the Alaska trip) postings, that was about accountability and productivity.

Getting back into the swing of being productive hasn’t been easy. I realize that everything I say in defense of not writing daily becomes just an excuse. That I could find time to sit and post. I could make time.

The truth is, though, sometimes you need to step back. It’s impossible to just keep moving along, everyday. In The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz writes, “Always do your best… Your best is going to change from moment to moment, it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self judgment, self- abuse, and regret.”

So I can start each morning stating I will do my best.

I can end each night asking Have I done my best?

And that’s all anyone can ever really do.

Keeping it going

I am behind. I know, it happens. But it seems that this week, and last, has kept me more busy than I’ve been in several months.

Trying to create time to write, to read, to produce other work, and to sell, has been a juggling act like little I’ve had to do before. So how do I do it?

Writing I am just eking out, one post at a time. Reading, less so. A stack of books is piled by my bed, and other stacks on and around the bookshelf. Other work? Well, that’s another story.

I guess the silver lining is I’m selling well, and should be making enough pay to finance my trip to Alaska next week. Hard to believe it’s less than seven days away. I’m looking forward to writing from there.

Deleted content

While updating some posts on my phone, I thumbpressed trash rather than update on a post. So everything I’d scribed was now lost. No big deal, as it’s only one post a was just a few paragraphs. But it is an annoyance.

One downside to the digital world is the likelihood of deletion of content. When you consider how hard it is to delete handwriting from notebooks, it certainly gives that column a plus. However, it’s much more difficult to disseminate notebooks than it is a blog.

Production Coordinators

In a phone conversation recently, I was tentatively offered a POC position. I suppose it was more feeling out my interest level, but it holds potential. I’ve only been relying on a limited amount of my creative fields-experience, and other than the occasional theatrical gig I’m not doing much with either my resume or my degree. While sales can be challenging and educational, it sometimes feels less-than-rewarding.

So now I look towards the future – the mountain I’ve neglected in recent years. What my friend a few weeks ago called my three-year wake-up call. Perhaps that’s exactly what it was. And now that I’m producing – this blog, the nascent video-game media company, and a couple of other projects, for example – it’s important to remember that like begets like.