At this point I’m resigned to my nature being unchangeable. I need structure to work within, and I cannot suffer long stretches of boredom. I’m comfortable knowing that at least some of what I do makes the world a better place; I’m comfy with my internal validation. I also know that if I start to focus too much on making money I lose my spark. What I’m left wondering is wether there is some thing focused enough that people could dig in and follow (in the sense of deeply understanding the thing, my motivations, and my goal.) I’m certain however, that without that clear thing I must continue to explore and satisfy my curiosity, and not focus overly on monetization.
If you’re thinking about running a membership program, you’re probably a bit wacky. Everything I write about membership programs should be filtered through the lens that: I live a somewhat uncommon, sometimes extremely wacky life. It’s good to keep that in mind. My work is mostly, inherently, non-commercial. Or less commercial than it might be “optimized” for. When people ask me: Who are you? What do you do? And I tell them — I walk, I write, I photograph, I make books, I run a membership program. Their suspicion is plainly visible: No, but what do you do to survive? As if the soul itself wasn’t a thing to be nourished. This is survival, I want to say.
~ Craig Mod from, https://craigmod.com/essays/memberships_year_four/
I’ve tried several times to create membership systems around passion projects. The core problem I encounter is that bolting on a membership system creates in- and out-groups. Any passion project I’ve had feeds that passion through my connections to the other people who engage. The in-group has always been too small to sustain my passion. If you wish you can support my work. But for the foreseeable future, I’m focusing on the passion and not the monetization.
I’ve too-recently discovered the value of perambulation. Although, I can walk great distances when I’m going somewhere specific, I find a simple stroll is so much better for my mental flossing.
I once walked the distance covered by the Hobbits, from the Shire to Mt. Doom in Mordor. It was an engaging challenge (and the Hobbits did it much more quickly that I managed—which gave me new found respect for those little people) but it eventually became just a thing I was ticking off. Each time I walked one of a very small few routes that I’d measured, I simply added to the tally. Somehow, having a destination made the walks (those whereupon it occurred to me that I was getting closer to Mordor) not feel like perambulation.
That “life affirming” element lives in the rigor of the act. The days are rigorous if nothing else.
~ Craig Mod from, https://craigmod.com/ridgeline/150/
Maybe my problem is simply my work ethic. I have a crushing work ethic and it’s taken me a great deal of effort to let go of feeling guilty when I’m not working. If I’m on a journey—a walk or a project—if there’s a destination, then my work ethic rears its ugly head and tries to suck the perambulation out of it.
The first time I rode one was nearly a decade ago, in Kyoto. The electric bike I rented was huge and unwieldy, but that tug of its motor never left my mind. I went to climb a hill and it felt as if a giant had gently placed his hand on my back and pushed me forward. That stupid smile has been on my face ever since.
~ Craig Mod from, https://craigmod.com/essays/electric_bikes/
With that name, this guy is clearly awesome, right? If you want to go down a fun rabbit hole, do some searching for “how popular is” and “usage of” with your first name. Yikes, statistics. But I also like this piece because it’s about bicycles. In particular, it’s about electric bicycles which I have been very intentionally ignoring the existence of, for fear of developing a yearning for another bicycle.
*ahem* I digress.
What I really love about Mod is that a few years ago he took down everything he was doing, which was all free to read with a “hey please support me” …and he said, “hey guys, please support me, I’ll go write and photograph and I share it with you.” And it worked.