It matters that you start

It matters that I start something. I don’t have to start everything; That’d be tragic. I don’t have to start many things, nor even more than one thing. But it matters that I start something. The knowledge is in the doing of that something. It matters that I go through contemplation (choosing just the right something), then into commitment, and then… that’s where I often struggle.

I’d like to propose a different view: that struggle is the place of growth, learning, curiosity, love, creativity. Struggle is an incredible opportunity for being creative.

~ Leo Babauta from,

I struggle when there’s a huge gap between the know-naught starting point, and my being one of those effortless creatives who get stuff done. Those who get stuff done well and demonstrate craftsmanship and care and pride and joy! (Gazing at the horizon,) there’s the thing. I know what it can be. I see how to begin, but I see hills and I know there will be challenges. Don’t turn away. (Gazing at the horizon,) if there’s somewhere I want to be, I need to start walking.


On creativity

A writer—and, I believe, generally all persons—must think that whatever happens to him or her is a resource. All things have been given to us for a purpose, and an artist must feel this more intensely. All this happens to us, including our humiliations, our misfortunes, our embarrassments, all is given to us as raw material, as clay, so that we may sharpen our art.

~ Jorge Luis Borges


Somewhat wacky

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,

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.



Vulnerable is the only way we can feel when we truly share the art we’ve made. When we share it, when we connect, we have shifted the power and made ourselves naked in front of the person we’ve given the gift of our art to. We have no excuses, no manual to point to, no standard operating procedures to protect us. And that is part of our gift.

~ Seth Godin



Effort isn’t the point, impact is. If you solve the problem in three seconds but have the guts to share it with me, it’s still art. And if you move ten thousand pounds of granite but the result doesn’t connect with me, I’m sorry for your calluses, but you haven’t made art, at least not art for me.

~ Seth Godin



If you have decided that you can’t do art until you quiet the voice of resistance, you will never do art. Art is the act of doing work that matters while dancing with the voice in your head that screams for you to stop. We can befriend the lizard, lull it into stupor, or merely face it down, but it’s there, always. As soon as you embrace the lizard (not merely tolerate it but engage it as a partner in your art), then you are free.

~ Seth Godin


What we see

…we see what we believe, not the other way around. Rarely do we see the world as it is. Most of the time we are so busy compartmentalizing, judging, and ignoring what we can’t abide that we see almost nothing. We don’t see opportunities. We fail to see pain. And most of all, we refuse to see the danger in doing nothing. If you can’t see, you will never make art successfully.

~ Seth Godin


The resistance

When the resistance shows up, I know that I’m winning. Not my fight against it, but my fight to make art. […] The resistance is a symptom that you’re on the right track. The resistance is not something to be avoided; it’s something to seek out.

~ Seth Godin



While you can still avoid shame by hiding, you won’t find happiness or even stability that way. The thing is, shame is a choice. It’s worth repeating: Shame can’t be forced on you; it must be accepted. The artist, then, combines courage with a fierce willingness to refuse to accept shame. Blame, sure. Shame, never. Where is the shame in using our best intent to make art for those we care about?

~ Seth Godin



On any project I can quickly get to the doing. Nearly as quickly I start thinking about how to improve whatever it is I’m doing. Sometimes whatever-it-is has a clear end; I can spend many hours (thank you ADHD) laser-focused on an immense number of trivial steps knowing it will mean I can remove something from a to-should list. But with open-ended stuff, like “publish conversations as podcasts”, it doesn’t take long for my urge to fiddle to get the better of me.

I recently went to a Picasso exhibition. What impressed me the most was not any individual piece of art, but rather his remarkably prolific output. Researchers have catalogued 26,075 pieces of art created by Picasso and some people believe the total number is closer to 50,000.

~ James Clear from,

I think it comes down to motivation. (And I find reading about others’ huge accomplishments to be crushingly de-motivating.) If I have the intrinsic motivation, then the iteration happens; only by great effort could the iteration not happen! Clear points out that Picasso had a very dark side which presented in his interpersonal relationships. I don’t think that dark side—anyone’s dark side—motivates iteration. And a dark side is not a necessary feature either. I really believe one can be a decent human being and be motivated and get great stuff done.



I’m often paused, even paralyzed, by uncertainty. My hope is that this is a sign that I’ve developed some (originally absent, apparently) humility. I swing wildly between feeling confident in simply doing “the work” simply for the sake of experiencing the process, and panicking in the face of self-criticism for wasting my talents and resources. Literally, the only thing which saves me is the knowledge that it takes a significant amount of self-awareness to even think to write a paragraph such as this.

Never play to the gallery… Always remember that the reason that you initially started working is that there was something inside yourself that you felt that if you could manifest in some way, you would understand more about yourself and how you coexist with the rest of society. I think it’s terribly dangerous for an artist to fulfill other people’s expectations — they generally produce their worst work when they do that.

~ David Bowie from,

I’m not sure it’s terribly dangerous. But it’s certain that I get twitchy and restless if I go searching for others’ approval. It feels far better to sit down, shut up, and start. Actually, it’s really a double-negative: It feels far less worse to sit down, shut up, and start than it does to seek others’ approval for whatever it is I have the urge to work on.


The choice

It’s a choice. The choice between being the linchpin (the one people can’t live without) and the cog (who does what she’s told). The choice between doing art (and forging your own path, on your own terms, and owning what happens) and merely doing your job (which pushes all the power and all the responsibility to someone else).

The good news is that it’s your choice, no one else’s.

~ Seth Godin