Why am I doing this?
Because I want to be perfect and I want you to like me.
By doing this, writing every day—originally the idea was to do it for a year but it has since been suggested to me to try it for a week (this being day five)—it forces me to be imperfect and vulnerable, two places I have a very hard time sitting in.
After all, who wants to be imperfect and vulnerable? Isn’t that what I spent the majority of my life pushing back against? Haven’t I been striving to rise above the rest, to show myself as strong and impenetrable, a veritable force to be reckoned with?
The irony of all of this isn’t lost on me. A blog. Every day. Pithy journal entries. How… unique.
Hopefully you’re getting the joke here.
But maybe this isn’t for you. Or, at least, not entirely. Maybe this is for me, a way to (re)discover what the fuck I’m doing here in the first place. A way to find and nurture that inner voice I (we) had as a child that instinctually told us to draw, play, sing, dance, create in whatever medium that looked like for us… before all the judgement and self-criticism came in effectively arresting our creative development.
This is about the process of discovery and surrendering fully to that.
I won’t lie. I’m still editing this, checking it for spelling errors, trying to make some kind of point hidden in the text that hopefully makes you go “ohhh that’s interesting, isn’t it?”
I haven’t surrendered fully to the process yet. But I’m trying. I’m trying to write without self-editing. This isn’t to say I’m trying to write badly, quite the opposite in fact. I’m simply trying to create without worries of perfection or people pleasing.
And of course to confront that voice that says, “I’m not good enough.”
In Brian Koppelman’s (co-writer/creator of Showtime’s Billions) recent podcast The Moment, he discusses this creative process with Marcus Samuelsson (chef and owner of Red Rooster in Harlem). (The entire podcast is so inspiring, please give it a listen. He has an episode with Seth Godin that is unreal.)
In fact, I’m seeing a pattern almost everywhere I look when I study other successful artists, business owners, thought leaders, etc. They—maybe even on accident—hit on it in Netflix’s Chef’s Table… this pattern.
Maybe an easy way to illustrate it is to think of Miles Davis. The seminal album Kind of Blue came out in 1959. Eleven years later he came out with Bitches Brew, an entirely different kind of jazz that can be much harder to digest for the average jazz fan.
What happened in those eleven years? Why didn’t he sound the same? The Rolling Stones will always be the Rolling Stones, no matter what year or what album it is.
The answer is this: The Process.
In Koppelman’s interview with Samuelsson, in Netflix’s Chef’s Table (check out the Ivan Ramen episode), Miles Davis… the list goes on endlessly. Each of these creative leaders courageously stepped out into the unknown, searching for answers they didn’t even have questions for. They leapt out into the darkness because something inside them told them they had to, that no matter what. They could no longer stay “safe.”
And I’m starting to see this pattern everywhere.
Discovery, whether it’s creative or not, begins with a willingness to say to one’s self, “I don’t know what’s out there, but I’m going anyway.”
Aubrey Marcus (founder of Onnit) talks about this a lot in his podcast. Another must listen if you’re into some form of self-improvement and discovery.
The point is this—and I’m sorry I went on a little long today—that I have no idea where this [blog] is going, what purpose it is supposed to serve, or even if I’ll continue writing after day seven. But I do know that I’ve kept myself inside a self-imposed cage for much of my life waiting for the perfect story or picture, the perfect opportunity for which to gamble on with one hundred percent confidence on profitable returns.
I told myself, for as long as I can remember, that one day someone’ll just pick me out of a crowd and say “You! You seem talented and creative! Here’s a million dollars. Go make the movie of your dreams!” And everything would be right with the world.
Today I can understand that no such gamble or situation exists.
And that, for me to achieve any kind of discovery, personal or creative, I first have to be willing to step out into the fear and say, “I have no fucking clue what I’m doing.”