Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Just do it.

Okay, I know everyone's getting a little bored of Podcast posts, but this one is only about our podcast in an oblique, tangential way.

You see, even though the feedback from our podcast so far has been almost 100% positive (in fact, the only 'negative' comment I've received is that the second one was a touch too long…something I was definitely aware of anyway), I'm under no illusions as to the overall quality of it.

It's mildly entertaining. It's something to listen to when you've got nothing better to do, or want to occupy thirty minutes or so of a long drive. I doubt that there's anyone spending all week looking forward to the next one.

However, one thing I can say is that episode 2 was better than episode 1, and episode 3 is far better than 1 or 2.

We're finding our feet, working out a format and improving all the time.

What I want to talk about today is something I've heard three or four times from different people who have listened. The words may be different each time, but it always amounts to the same thing:

"I'd love to do a podcast or something like that."

My response is always the same: "Then why don't you? All you need is a mic, computer and internet connection."

It's made me realize that the main reason people would 'love' to create something, but choose not to, basically comes down to fear. I'm not just talking about podcasts here, I'm talking about writing, painting, acting…anything that you can consider 'creative'…and that fear comes down to two separate things:

  1. Fear of Rejection

Also known as: " What if people don't like my work?" My response to that has always been to put the word 'So' in front of it. So what if people don't like your work?

Creating anything for the first time that's headed for public consumption is like the first time you asked someone for a date as a kid. It's like the world is going to end if you get turned down. Then, you finally pluck up the courage and realize it's really no big deal.

The key to getting past this is realizing the obvious. The first time you create something, it's probably going to suck. Unless you're a one in a million genius, your first painting, story or podcast isn't going to be great. I remember a comicbook artist saying once that it took him 15 years to be an overnight success. Truer words have never been spoken. Stephen King's 'overnight success' came with 'Carrie', but that wasn't his first story. 'Carrie' came along after decades of rejected short stories.

My point is your first creation won't be great, but the one thing it does give you is the experience of creating something. Basically, the idea is to work, 'fail' and then take everything you learned from your 'failure' and use it in your next piece.

For example, I can look at artwork I produced two years ago and wonder how I could have ever been proud of them when, right now, I find those early drawings downright embarrassing and don't want anyone to look at them. However, my point is that without those terrible scrawlings, I couldn't create the much better artwork I make today. If I'd been terrified of what people would think…I'd still be drawing like that…or more precisely, I wouldn't, because that fear would have stopped me picking up a pencil in the first place.

You get good at something through practice. You don't get good by wishing you could do something, but never do through fear of failure. Every ultra talented genius started off where you are now.

For example, our Podcast right now is 'okay', who knows what it'll be like in two years? The point is that by actually doing we're getting better…a lot better than if I was still sitting here thinking about how awesome our podcast was going to be when we finally got around to doing it.

  1. Fear of ruining your 'big idea'.

Ze Frank called this 'Brain Crack'. You have this amazing idea, but you never make it real because you don't think you'll do it justice. You'll do it later when things have calmed down a little and you have the time, energy and resources to really do it justice.

Ok, time for some brutal honesty. Your brilliant unique idea is neither brilliant or unique. Really, there's no such thing as a good or bad idea…just ideas that are either executed well or poorly. The simple fact is that big, amazing ideas are ten a penny…and, at least in my opinion, a poorly executed idea is still a million times better than an idea that's not executed at all…and I hate to say it, but the 'perfect time' never comes around.

In fact, I think these big 'perfect' ideas are more like mental dams than shining chunks of golden creativity, because as long as you hold onto that 'perfect idea', you're not going to have any more. Once you've executed your big idea, and whether it's a resounding success or a total failure, you'll quickly find yourself having a few more 'big ideas', only with those, you won't find yourself paralyzed with the fear of spoiling them…and taking everything you've learned from your first big idea means the second is more likely to succeed.

From Ze Frank himself:

"I run out of ideas every day! Each day I live in mortal fear that I've used up the last idea that'll ever come to me. If you don't wanna run out of ideas the best thing to do is not to execute them. You can tell yourself that you don't have the time or resources to do 'em right. Then they stay around in your head like brain crack. No matter how bad things get, at least you have those good ideas that you'll get to later.

Some people get addicted to that brain crack. And the longer they wait, the more they convince themselves of how perfectly that idea should be executed. And they imagine it on a beautiful platter with glitter and rose petals. And everyone's clapping for them. But the bummer is most ideas kinda suck when you do 'em. And no matter how much you plan you still have to do something for the first time. And you're almost guaranteed the first time you do something it'll blow. But somebody who does something bad three times still has three times the experience of that other person who's still dreaming of all the applause. When I get an idea, even a bad one, I try to get it out into the world as fast as possible, 'cause I certainly don't want to be addicted to brain crack."

So here's the plan. It's really simple: Get excited and make things. There's no better time that right now and 'next week' or 'sometime this month' never comes. Just do it, enjoy the hell out of the experience and use what you learn to make your next thing even better.

The world is full of people who would 'love to' write a novel, a song, or a screenplay…but they never do. Then they smirk at the crap other people make.

Let me end today with one of Paulius' Laws:

The absolute worst thing ever produced is still a million times more laudable and worthwhile that the best unexecuted idea.

If you're reading this, you obviously have access to the internet. Go get excited, make something and put it up for the world to see. Then do it again.


Sunny said...

True dat..it's the reason I haven't done any number of things......Fear, plain & simple.

But I'm hoping to be getting over that little problem.

MC Etcher said...

Michelle and I have been talking about doing a podcast for a couple of months now, we just need to get our asses in gear.

Also, my friend Brandon and I are in the midst of developing a podcast as well, so I have two different ones in the works!

I listened to Ep3 of WH this morning. It was odd to hear my name and blog mentioned... as if 'they' were talking about me on the radio. Hope you get some responses for the Credi-Bull. I'd play, but...