Create Cool Shit

I’m a creator and a storyteller

My retirement goal is now clear in my mind.

Create Cool Shit

What’s cool to me now?

  • Stone walls
  • Wonderful gardens
  • Stories (how I deliver them is still up in the air but multimedia is a leading contender)

Note I reserve the right to change my mind about what’s cool at any time.

But More Importantly

What’s cool to you now?

Doing Stupid Things Deliberately

I’ve been interested (and somewhat involved) in a variety of activities and research into fitness and life extension for the past few years.

In that time, I’ve run across some seriously smart people trying really dumb things.

On the stupid-front, I just read a post from an individual who decided to try some cold water activities.    Note, that after he does it, he says you shouldn’t. Then why…

But instead of doing a 5-minute cold treatment in a river in a shower or at the edge of a natural watercourse, this individual decided he’d go swimming out in the freezing water for a full twenty minutes against a strong current.

And then celebrated because his body went into shock, with bowel releases etc etc, the marks of full body temperature collapse.

In short, medically-speaking, it was a good try to kill himself.

There’s dumb and there’s just plain stupid. This was both.

For the uninitiated, cold water immersion has some very interesting and positive effects on human metabolism and telomere length. 

But there’s cold and then there’s just plain stupid.

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Do you think this kind of thing is stupid or would you do it?

Trees and Writers Keep Growing Or Rot Inside

One of the hardest things for writers to do is constantly outgrow their world.

The hard reality is it is only by recognizing multiple paths forward in both craft and creativity and abandoning old visions will writers have room for innovation.

But the fan base you’ve built, those who’ve bought your work and paid the bills, those people don’t want you to change. Nope. Not a bit of it.

Here’s my dilemma, I can stay in the old way of doing things to make my fans happy or I can go all creative and make myself happy.

Staying In A Safe Place

My guess is that by staying in one place — a safe place —I’m going to have to tell myself a story about how creative I am or how my work is “growing” somehow or how it’s helping so many people.

But deep down, in the corner of my soul, I’ll know I’ve compromised.

I like to tease my children about being on my 9th (or is this the 12th?) midlife crisis. But as my children also know, I reinvent myself with each change. From consultant to nurseryman, to award-winning, garden-writer to writing fiction to… (maybe stone carving or sculpture) I try to live the advice I pass along.

Bread of Life or Soul Of Life

Note this is not the same thing as taking a job to pay the bills or writing at something while I create in other spaces. Those things are bread-of-life.

When I talk about taking creative leaps, I’m talking about soul-of-life.

Another way to imagine a creative career is to imagine a tree. A tree is an interesting life form and I like to think of an artistic career as a multi-branched tree with tons of big branches leading to smaller ones. When you get to the end of one, you get to find another, walking out the new branch to the very end as well.

Creativity Is Like A Tree

But creativity, like a tree, is either growing or it is dying. And like a tree, it is either balanced in its growth or it falls over in a storm.

I also note trees take many years to die once they stop growing — mostly rotting from the inside. You see where I’m going with this?

I grow or I die as a creative person and without that active, visible growth showing in my work, I’m rotting away from the inside.

By the way, this is a tough one because there’s a real world out there where the bills have to be paid. But — nobody said writers following a creative dream was easy.

I wouldn’t want to do it if it were.

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You Want Free Beer or Free Speech With That?

Let’s look very briefly at free beer versus free speech concept where it’s applied to online content.

A brief summary is the concept of free speech (where you have access to a “right”) versus free beer (where you have open access to a “product”).

Net users have to decide if they’re happy with “free” all the time where the accuracy, honesty and availability is variable.

Or, whether they’ll look for good resources and pay for the information.

So What’s Free Speech or Free Beer Really Mean?

In the real world, any relationship only works when it’s a mutually helpful one.

If you choose to only use the “free” from a person without some reciprocation – (be it free online, always using the neighbour’s lawn mower, borrowing a tool without filling up the gas tank or cleaning it after use, hesitating to do the driving to hockey or basketball, never doing your share with neighbourhood cleanup, or never sharing really good wine with friends but always buying the cheap stuff) – then the relationship will weaken.

You’re a taker and not a giver. And we all know people like this.

Why Would This Differ In The Online World

The difference between the two is the online world is so much wider, with so many more resources you can find to use without paying anything for it – you’re getting free beer.

You can skip from resource to resource, always taking and never giving back.

But if you land on a resource and take advantage of it, then you run the risk of burning out the resource.  If enough people do this, the resource will simply pack up and move on.

We all know websites that have simply disappeared. They’re full of good advice one day and “site not found” the next.

But then again, that’s not your problem if you’re a taker.

You can simply move on to another free resource in the almost-limitless online world.

Bottom line:

Takers continue to take without regard for the resource.  The move on always looking for the free beer.

And the survival of those who create those resources are not their concern.

Hell of a way to live.

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How do you support the creators you enjoy? Or do you? Let’s talk about it in the comments below.

Five Online Writing Lessons I Learned The Hard Way

Here are five online writing lessons I really did learn the hard way – by making the mistakes and doing my best to learn from them.

1st Writing Lesson: There is so much online for free, it seems most people will only take the free. p.s. I get it – I like free as much as the next person.

2nd Lesson: I only need 1000 True Fans who will buy everything I create to make a living.

3rd Lesson: I don’t have the above even after a lifetime of garden writing.

4th Lesson: #3 being accurate, I am free to do whatever the hell I want.

5th Lesson: I now do what I do – whatever that is – because it makes me happy. And not to make anyone else happy.

And there they are. Five writing lessons I learned the hard way.

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Facebook Wants To Host Your Blog

Facebook just announced they want to host your blog. Oh great news! Not only do they want to drive news outlets out of business, you can bet the small guys are going to struggle with this as well. They seem to be focussed on the big news operations so far but you know it’s just a question of time before they unroll this feature out to every “page” owner.

It’s called digital sharecropping.

When a creator builds a website on their own, they own the website and all the content.

When a creator builds a property on a site they don’t own (Facebook, Youtube, Medium, etc) then they’re at the mercy of the property owner.

But this is the way things seem to be going.

And frankly, I don’t see a way forward around this given the power of Facebook and Youtube (and others).

On the surface there are two options

You can 1) stay independent or 2) you can go with the big boys and their dictates.

But I’m thinking of a third option

Or, as I’m going to explore, you might be able to combine the two by publishing your own work on your own site and then republishing it on Facebook or Medium with a link to the original published post. This link (including the date stamp) tells Google which is the original and which the copy.

This “may” allow readers to choose (current readers will choose the most convenient – Facebook) but also allow Google to rank your content on the search engines so that non-Facebook searches will continue to deliver traffic.

Advertising on Facebook

Naturally, once Facebook has your content, they will want to charge you to share it to your audience just as they do now with sharing links. “Boost this post” offers will abound.

And in conclusion ladies and gentlemen

This ain’t your grandmother’s Net anymore. It’s owned by the big boyz. This is the same thing that happened when Walmart took out the downtown stores.

And the same thing when the big breweries took out the smaller, when the bigger…

You get the picture I’m sure.

But also consider that smart specialty retailers and craft breweries are thriving.

The challenge now

The challenge now is to create interesting and compelling content that draws people away from these big sites.

To be the craft brewery of the writing and creating world.

Or not.

My decision about Facebook’s content grab

I’ll go with option three above for the near future.

But I’m also considering that content on the Net isn’t a profit centre for me anymore.

Ads on my gardening sites generally pay the hosting costs while ebooks are the profit centre. My fiction sites have a similar function.

Whichever way individual creators go, it’s an interesting world out there.

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