Audience of One

Your “audience” starts with you. Make the thing you wanna see first. In my latest episode of LATER, I talk about how your creative endeavors need to satisfy that audience of one; YOU. No clicks, or likes, or whatever. But you have to be stoked when doing it.

I did Skull Toaster for seven years and quit it because it wasn’t serving the audience of one anymore. Never-mind that it built up a $200/mo Patreon / Memberful support network, or that 30+ people a day replied to metal trivia, and a solid nightly email newsletter that I produced and sent every night.

Wasn’t enough. The audience of one – me – wasn’t loving it anymore. Shut it down.

But also, life and work and relationships and all that – guess what? You’re still the audience, and last I checked you get to walk out of bad movies.

That doesn’t mean you just tell your boss off, or leave your family, or burn down the farm. No, it was tiny decisions made over decades that landed us where we are. Now it takes a series of tiny decisions over the next decade or two to course correct.

It’s not black and white. It doesn’t go from misery to utopia in a day.

Seek to entertain that audience of one in all that you do.

Listen to Vanessa Kingori on the Unsubscribe Podcast

Came across this podcast from the @podcastdotco Twitter feed, a fantastic interview with Vanessa Kingori, the publishing director of British Vogue, “the first black female to ever be in this role.”

Great ideas and thoughts on work / wife balance, toxic masculinity, relationships, and so much more. Excellent production and tone throughout! It’s just the first episode, but I’m subscribed to Unsubscribe.

Nothing is New

Ramping up my video / audio production means facing some fears. Like, there’s already Andrew W.K., the beacon of motivation and party vibes. Who am I in comparison?

Gary Vee pushes and prods, surely I don’t have anything to add.

Seth Godin, who I’ve been following devoutly since the early 2000s, has a blog, and multiple books filled with ideas, inspiration, and hard truths.

Why should I even bother?

But in the music world, do we need anything beyond Radiohead? Pearl Jam? Dillinger Escape Plan? Converge? Don’t we have all the music we need?

Not by a long shot.

If we stop, completely content with what’s avaibale, we don’t grow. We need to push, and pull, and remix. Copies of copies. Over and over again, we do this, and the world is a better place for it.

So don’t worry that you’re work isn’t breaking new ground. Your work is coming from your perspective, and that’s what makes it fresh, because you’re unique, and that’s more that enough.

To note: this video was done in one take. No edits. This blog post was done in one take. No time to bake. No edits (except for spelling and such). No second guessing. This is my continuing exercise in producing rather than procrastinating.  Done, versus perfect.

Dealing with Writers Block

Reading a handful of books by Steven Pressfield sort of kicked my ass in this department, the main point being this; sit down and work.

Don’t wait for inspiration to show up, that’s for amateurs. Turn pro (the title of another one of his books), and get to work. Work on your craft by working on your craft, not reading more tips on Medium or scrolling for inspiration on Instagram (or watching my videos).

My best work comes at an almost unconscious level. I sit down, usually completely uninspired to do anything, and start, let’s say, recording a dumb bass riff.

Before I know it, I’ve layered a few lines, maybe added in some keys, and now I’m dancing in front of my computer. There was no plan, no agenda, it just happened.

By showing up, being available, these energies can flow. Again, not by looking up more hints and tips on using a particular program, or downloading another book on the Kindle, or watching more YouTube videos – no – just putting in the work to get somewhere.

How I Freelance

Since I’ve been freelancing since 2011, and haven’t had a “full time” job since 2006, I figured I’d share some of strategies for staying focused while working from home (or anywhere, really).

  1. Get out of your inbox. There’s too many distractions in there. Get the info you need, then close it down and focus on your work. Check back when the task at hand is done.
  2. Track your time. Don’t let all the hours get away from you, driving your hourly rate down. This also lets you gauge how busy your day will be, since you’ll know how much time it usually takes to complete a task.
  3. Parkinson’s Law. If you’ve got all day and night to get something done, it can take that long. Don’t let that happen. Commit to completing tasks in a timely manner so you’re not working around the clock!

Get in touch if you have questions about freelancing and remote work!

Don’t Sweat Streaks

So I missed publishing a video the other day. My 10-day streak of posting gone just like that. No excuses, but it is what it is.

The challenge now is getting back on that horse, and not letting “not posting” to become the streak, which can easily happen! Getting back to recording, editing, and publishing, even when not inspired, or not feeling well – that’s the battle!

My reasoning behind all this posting is learning. If I only posted once a week, I wouldn’t learn much. But this way I get a feel for how to share them effectivley, what subjects to hit, and so much more. Each video hopefully gets better than the last, and now at #15 I feel like they are! There’s a small bit of growth, and I’m okay with that.

If I had taken the last two weeks and only made two episodes, I would not have learned nearly as much, which I why I believe it’s a good idea to just keep making content, no matter what you’re doing.

Worried that you’ll be annoying? People post about which TV shows they’re watching, and complain about the weather, and they do that 50 times a day. You’re posting one thing a day, a thing you made and built and created from NOTHING.

Don’t worry about being annoying, focus on putting more of YOU out there into the world.

Ten Years

I love this bit from a recent Creative Mornings interview:

My illustrations have evolved stylistically in the past 10 years. Originally, my work was heavily influenced by low brow art and depicted a grungier aesthetic. I was very determined to create a career out of illustration and came to the realisation that I would need to refine my style into an aesthetic that was more commercially viable. With this came a long period of experimentation and research into different styles and techniques. Today, my illustration style is light-hearted in nature, playful and vibrant.

Sofia Varano

Every overnight success is ten years in the making, right? And probably longer. Hell, I turn 43 this year and I’m still trying to figure things out.

What Do You Do?

You know the dreaded question at parties, “so what do you do?”

Worse, if you’re a photographer or musician or writer, you don’t want people on the internet to wonder the same thing.

If someone looked at your social media profiles today, or god forbid your website, would they know what you do. Like, really, do you spell it out?

It took me awhile to get this, too, so I’m finally getting around to taking my own advice here, but honestly… take a step back and think about it.

I bring this up because I’ve had these talks lately with friends, about what we want to do, yet we don’t really put it out there. We talk about it, sure, but we have a hard time asking for it, much less displaying what it is we want.

Find Your Dreamers

Be around the people who are on the same “dream wave length.”

There are probably plenty of people in your life that probably don’t want to hear your dream talk. They don’t want to hear about your art, or how you want to tour, or make photographs. That’s okay, they’re not dreamers.

Save your dream talk for fellow dreamers, the folks who dare have lofty goals and ambitions. Those need to be your people, your tribe.

You find them by putting your dreams out into the universe.

You publish that poem, post that song, upload that art, start that podcast… you shoot them into the sky like a rocket, over and over again, waiting for other dreamers to find you. Friendships are built, bonds are made.

That dream DNA seeks out that dream DNA. That’s where I believe that yearning comes from. The feeling that something isn’t quite right. You’re unsettled.

You need to dream, and put those dreams out there.

That may not mean “making it” in the short term, but surrounding yourself with dreamers, people who want your dreams just as bad as you do, you’ll make it in your own way.

Positivity is a Strategy

I’ve played the victim, and throw some serious pity parties over the last decade, but things changed in 2016 when I started running.

“I really really really think positivity is a strategy.”

Gary Vaynerchuk from his podcast

Gary Vee goes on to illustrate the opposite of this, about “keeping it real.” To me, that’s the doom and gloom. That’s having your eyes glued to the 24/7 click bait news cycle. That’s just not for me anymore.

Stay informed, but don’t stay drowning.

Today I got some good work done. I was in the flow, where time just sort of whizzes by and before you know it two hours have passed.

After that adrenaline high went away, I could feel the stress in my shoulders. Like, stress is REAL, folks.

So I went to the gym. For me, gym is a strategy, as it gets me towards posisitivity. Yes, snacks and a beer are nice, too, but I knew that after this work day I needed to go towards something positive, and tonight that was 40 minutes on the bike (I ran 7.8 miles yesterday, so running wasn’t an option).

Positivity is a strategy. Period.