Working Not Waiting

Though 2018 has been hellfire in general, it’s been pretty damn good personally for me and a handful of friends. Not perfect, sure, but damn good.

For me it came down to subtraction.

The most successful people I know have a narrow focus, protect against time-wasters, say no to almost everything, and have let go of old limiting beliefs.

Derek Sivers

After seven years I ended my beloved Skull Toaster. Over 2,000 metal trivia questions, 1,000s of emails, videos, and images. It was also never ending, a perpetual extra thing on my to-do list everyday. Sure, I ramped down from three questions per day to one, and a nightly email newsletter to weekly (and back again), but it would never stop. There was always something to do. An album anniversary to honor, the passing of a legend to acknowledge, or another time stamp worth noting. And it would never end.

I wish I knew exactly how to know when to quit, when the payoff isn’t worth the effort anymore. I recall Seth Godin’s “The Dip,” which touches on this. About the effort needed to get to where you’re going.

Investing all the hours leads to what exactly? Perhaps money, oppurtunties, new gigs? I haven’t done something in a long time that didn’t see those things as the goal. Skull Toaster’s purpose was to get me a job doing social media for some unknown media outlet, doing audience growth and community management.

And then I learned I really didn’t want to do any of that.

Was it a waste? Not one bit. But I wouldn’t have learned any of the lessons had I just sat around and waited for a sign, looking skyward for some divine guidance.

Being Friends with the World

Found this bit from ‘F You Money, & Don’t Release Your First Font,’ which on a surface level doesn’t really apply to me since I’m not a designer, but holy moly, I’m glad I kept reading (and a nod to Nina Stössinger for RT’ing it in the first place here):

No matter what you’re interested in, the world will not know how to help you unless you scream from the mountaintops what it is you like to do, and how you like to do it.

James Edmondson

In recent years I got a lot of people asking me what I do, and I’d usually inhale and list a bunch of things, from email marketing to website updates, some audio and video work, writing, transcribing, content strategy… zzzz… quite a pitch, right?

Now?

I work with independent music publicists, managing their websites, social media, and back end operations. 

Like James says, “the world will not know how to help you.” The world  didn’t know how to help me out when I just did “everything.” Now that I know what I like to do, the world and I are now good friends.

Shirley Manson has Nerve

Shirley Manson tells a story of a man from the Garbage camp, being upset with her for having the nerve to hire her own lawyer. Her realization in that moment is wonderful and you should listen to the entire interview.

Search, find, discover, rebuild… whatever you have to do, find your nerve. Know that you’re fabulous, your feelings matter, and you’ve got the right to take care of yourself.

WORKING LESS

The internet may lead you to believe that the only way to live is hustle. Do everything yourself, all the time.

“When folks ask me what I do, the answer is, ‘As little as possible.'”

Chris Glass

Now, Chris Glass isn’t doing nothing, of course, but not working all the time sure is pretty awesome.

Then, while listening to The Process podcast (done by Shannon Lee Byrne), she spoke with two guests in Ep #36 that about “how they’ve designed a life to work less.” They’re pretty frugal (give a listen), but they also own property and lead a creative and fulfilling life.

In my line of work, music publicists offload their busy work (or “digital dirty work” as I like to call it), so they get to work less. They can then use that time to meet a client, organize bigger projects, or just (GASP) not work. On the flip side, I’m not trying to work all the time, either, but I’m focused on just a few, well defined tasks each day, across a handful of clients.

It’s a wild time in 2018, for sure, and it’s bound to get even more bumpy. I think a lot of us are figuring it out as we go, but it’s always reassuring to hear about people who aspire to work less.

That this music is stuck on cartridges played on ancient video game consoles is a shame. I hope these songs never disappear.

The goal of the project is to expose listeners to the musical masterpieces that have been overlooked – mostly because of the 16bit instrumentation. 

Switched On SNES

(via Yewknee)

Guitars in the Atlantic Ocean

I haven’t stood next to an ocean in awhile. The last time was in NYC, with some booze, and dancing to ‘Party Hard’ on my phone.

Just recently got to see CHON and LITE (from Japan) as Asbury Lanes in NJ. Great area. Good food, coffee, record shop. The venue had its own diner, with $4 tots and plenty of good adult beverages. It was just a two band bill (the best), an entirely instrumental affair, and it was (I think) sold out.  I really liked the energy from LITE, and the crowd overall was fantastic. Rock ain’t dead.

Headspace has a 40% off sale for all of 2019 (as of Dec 11, 2018). They have some free meditations you can check out, and I got hooked on their sleep courses, which you give you nice little wind-downs with fun ambient settings to fall asleep to (hopefully).

My Favorite Album of 2018

Not metal, but totally metal. Dark, moody, and ‘Under the World’ absolutely infected my brain for this entire year. You don’t need 500 words from me to tell you about it. Click play for yourself.

My First 30 Days of Push Ups

I credit the book “Atomic Habits” for getting me going in the right direction. “You do not rise to the level of your goals—you fall to the level of your systems.”

It’s nice to have a goal – “I WANT A STRONG UPPER BODY!” Sure. But as author James Clear lays out, you need a system.

My new system starts the night before.

I plug in my phone, and it stays on the other side of the room. This way I’m not tempted to wake up and start scrolling.

Next, I cover my phone with a note written from the previous night. At night I got goals, strength, power! In the morning, ahhh, I just want to crawl back under the covers. But with a note on my phone that says, “HEY! DO YOUR PUSHUPS,” it’s snaps me back to the system.

Oh, another part of my system is I can’t do my push ups until I stretch for 15 minutes. That’s another goal – stretching for 30 minutes a day. That, and launching right into push ups probably isn’t too good on the muscles anyways, so yeah, I get down on my mat and go through a stretch routine.

After my timer goes off at 15 minutes, then I can finally do my push ups. I started at five (don’t start your habit off by making it too difficult), but now I’m up to 10. They’re still not easy, but I’m building a habit, not training for a competition.

Once I’ve stretched and done my push ups, I really have no desire to crawl back into bed now with my phone. The blood is flowing, heart is pumping – let’s go! Make that bed! Make breakfast! Drink coffee!

Then, all without too much effort, my day is off to a great start. That’s my system.

 

Social Media is Not Rare

From “Quit Social Media. Your Career May Depend on It,” by Cal Newport, Associate Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University, over at the NYTimes:

“In a capitalist economy, the market rewards things that are rare and valuable. Social media use is decidedly not rare or valuable. Any 16-year-old with a smartphone can invent a hashtag or repost a viral article.”

I’ve met great people via social media in recent years, but so much of the amazing dialogue got washed away in the river, never to be seen again.

Compare that to an article on a website, an interview in a magazine, an EP… these things are increasingly rare. A catalog came in the mail yesterday that, yes, it wanted to sell me a new puffy jacket for $300. But the catalog has stuck around for a few days now. It hasn’t washed away in a sea of other catalogs because catalogs cost money to send, which makes them rare compared to a Tweet.