Just Starting with The Copy Workshop

I signed up for the Copy Workshop, sort of at the last minute. It’s a “cohort based learning” set up, meaning most of the magic comes from the other people involved in the class. My first foray into this was the Freelancers Workshop, back in 2019, and that seriously changed everything for me (and continues to have an impact two years later).

It’s a nice mix of message board back and forth, with the guide posts being a weekly lesson which is mostly text, some videos, and som links for reference. Then it’s sort of like, okay, GO. And everyone runs off and writes their answers for everyone to see, and then a bunch of people chime in and offer suggestions, make comments. It’s very chill, but puts some focus on really writing in a space where that takes place.

If you sometimes feel like you’re hitting your head against the wall, you should check it out.

Keep Taking Shots

From @fortelabs:

My advice to almost every creator: you’re being way, WAY too strategic

Until you’re making a million dollars on the internet you’re in beta

Take all the time & energy you’re spending strategizing and iterate as fast as you possibly can

Every piece of content is a shot on goal

You can practice your jump shot everyday, but until you get into some pick up games every day, you’re missing out on valuable lessons.

That’s something I’m going to stress in my HEAVY METAL EMAIL community – make a plan, and send an email every week to your fans.

Ship something every month. Send that newsletter. If you want to write music, you don’t pick up your guitar once a month. You spend time with it everyday. You don’t get better at taking photographs by spending all your time on camera sites and forums – you’ve got to get out there and make some photos!

There’s a time for book learning, but there’s also a time for rolling up the sleeves and getting your hands dirty.

Stop Handing Out Flyers

There was a time when we didn’t spray a firehose of images, videos, and words into our eyeballs for multiple hours, every day. Around the clock.

During that time we still made albums, published magazines, made videos, and everything else.

The thing I hear a lot, if we abandon social media, is how will we be found? How will our music get heard? How will our videos get watched?

Look, they will.

Back in the day you’d hand out flyers for the show you were playing that night. Put the flyers in the local music shop. Hand them to anyone wearing Chuck Taylors or a nose ring.

Social media is where you hand out flyers, but at a certain point you gotta head back to the venue and play a show.

We’ve all bought into the 24/7 social media marketing life style, heading both directions; both as the consumer and the advertiser.

But there comes a time when you gotta put the phone down and work. You’re going to have to miss that meme, or that person who did the thing, or that random video.

Trust that the wonderful people in your life will send you some of the highlights. Also be okay with missing shit.

Like, how many memes have you missed when they first came out? Then you discovered it three months later. Still funny, right? Great. What’d you lose? Nothing.

Get into your studio, your space, put on your headphones and make your art. That’s the thing that people will discover three months from now. That clever Tweet or funny IG story is nice and all, but it’s gone in a day. Poof.

Put your top stuff on a site. Your writing, your photos, your music, your whatever. Give it a home where people can find it. And keeping filling it up. Keep adding. Make it your home.

People will find you when they find you, and it’ll probably be for your art, the magic you bring to the world.

Photo by Mick Haupt from Pexels

Go Outside

I’ve stared at my inbox, or my laptop screen in general, trying to think, forcing myself to be creative, to fix a problem, come up with a solution, and rarely does that method work.

Before you make a big decision, walk around the block.
If it’s raining out, take the dog for a run.
End the meeting a few minutes early and go for a stroll with the team.
Instead of an afternoon snack, consider some sunshine.
The less convenient, the more it pays.

A hard habit to create, but definitely worth it.
When in doubt, go outside. Especially when it’s inconvenient.

Seth Godin

Grabbing a jacket (or running shoes) and heading outside is very less convenient, yet I know, from experience, it’s usually the right course of action.

Writing a Blog Again

I had no problem blogging, er… writing back in 2005. That was before Twitter!

Maybe you’re thinking about blogging again on the open web, and have difficulty in getting started.

My advice – instead of retweeting something on Twitter, write about it on your website.

Copy and paste a nice quote, provide a link, and offer your take. We all come from a different angle, show yours. Fill in the gaps with your unique experience, maybe it’ll resonate with someone else, and you never know where that could lead.

Blogging More

As I spend less time on social media networks, I find I’m reading more of the open web.

If you are frustrated with the state of social networks, I recommend blogging more.

Manton Reece

I miss the tiny updates from friends of course, because I’m not refreshing Twitter as much as I have in the past, but it’s why I’ve been saving my own tiny updates and forming them into blog posts here.

Instead of reaching for Twitter whenever I have a quick idea, I’ll throw it into WordPress, which then give me more space to stretch my legs. Before I know it, I’ve written a paragraph or two, and now that quick update has become something bigger.

Maybe not better, but it’s bigger. A little more heft. And maybe somebody gets something from that, or maybe I look back at it two years from now and wonder what the heck I was thinking.

I just know that two years from now I’m probably not going to remember that quick update on Twitter, and will definitely not ever find it, really.

Please, Just Blog

(Twitter source)

Social media gave us LIKES, a quick number to show that people saw, they clicked, the engaged. But remember, the LIKE or FAVE is simple. It’s not a of effort.

So now we set up our blogs again, after years of neglecting them. Of course the traffic isn’t there. Why write a 200 word blog post when a Tweet can get 10,000 likes?

Why? Because that Tweet will be “gone” tomorrow. Another Tweet will come along, and we’ll keep feeding the Twitter beast, pouring our work and our attention into a social media website filled with nazis and trolls and Russian operatives.

Just write, share, blog, whatever. It’s yours. Get a few people and write about music. Congrats, you’re now a music blog (and we can honestly use some more of those these days)!

Why Even Bother?

From 2001 to 2018 I published something every day. From Buzzgrinder to Noise Creep to Skull Toaster, I was always putting something out, publishing something, scheduling something.

Up to 20 posts a day with Noise Creep (sometimes more), a nightly email newsletter with Skull Toaster.

Now I can go weeks without writing anything, or posting anything to Twitter.

What’s the point, though? Why even write this? Why hit publish?

Because there are other writers, artists, photographers, videographers struggling with the same thing.

Why post? Why “ship?”

And I think it’s my old thinking about street art. I used to think what’s the point? There’s no URL attached for more info! Why even bother?

It all comes back to permission.

Being a weird band like Presidents of the United States of America “gave permission” for other bands to be weird.

This meandering writing I’m doing right now is just kindling, a conversation starter. It’s energy that isn’t fully formed or captured, but it can go somewhere.

Podcasts and Blog Posts

I wish more podcasts had blogs, and vice versa.

It doesn’t have to be a site with 14 updates a day, but it’d so nice to read some of the highlights of an episode before diving in.

I’m thinking beyond “show notes,” too. Podcasts are hidden and out of sight. It’s hard to stumble into an episode, whereas social media makes it easy to randomly find interesting ideas, or stories.

It would make sense, too, for weekly shows to post daily, because that just builds the brand. What news items do you cover? Maybe reviews, or instructional posts? Blogs get sticky, and when you have repeat visitors, whammo, you have a new episode up, and people click play (especially people who aren’t quite into podcasts, yet, and that’s a lot of people).

And how many quotable items are inside a podcast? The stories and insider information are just tucked away in an audio file, and maybe the episode gets one post of like, “hey, here’s our new episode.”

Pull out two items, that’s two more posts, that’s two more items to post to socials, and include in your email newsletter. One podcast could practically get you five posts that you can spread out over 2-3 weeks.

Call Yourself an Artist

Yes, yes, a million times yes.

You can be a writer and not have a published book. You can be a song writer and not have an album.

There’s no requirement to beat end-level bosses and clear chronological checkpoints to be anything.

Sure, having published by-lines and music on Bandcamp helps you get to other levels down the road, but again, they are not required check boxes on your creative journey.