The Advice We Give Others

We always give other people the best advice which we’re ignoring ourselves. Last night my friend, Charlotte, asked for feedback on her website.  

Here’s what I said: 

I concur with everyone who’s asked what the main action you want someone to take is. (I’d argue that action should be to sign up for a mailing list; mailing list sign-up = potential “True Fan”).

I continued: 

Whatever you choose to do, remember all the Seth Godin lessons of the past 100 days. The group of fans you correspond with regularly isn’t your email list, they are potential true fans. You aren’t asking them to sign up for a newsletter, you’re inviting them into a tribe you’re creating which “paints a world . . . unified through a love of music, culture and community.” Aspire to create something idiosyncratic. Aspire to create something identifiably yours. Then ship it (when it’s ready, but ship it).

All the while thinking back on “” and saying to myself, “Self, you should be getting on top of this too.”  

So here’s a reminder; when you offer someone else great advice remember you’re may also be offering to yourself.  

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Hubbub in the Living World

Silence isn’t really a part of the living world. On a “quiet” morning when I walk in the woods there’s quite the hubbub going. Finches, doves, frogs, sparrows, muskrats, squirrels. They all furrow and murmur. That’s before accounting what other humans, canines and I add to the ruckus.  

If a person hears nothing it’s either because they happen to be a predator afoot in the world and all god’s creatures have tensed to escape the notice of hungry eyes and ears that. Or, it’s because that person has fortified themselves in some a manmade thing, (edifice or transport), that shutters out the sounds of the living world. That old cliché of where someone says; “It’s silent, too silent,” reflects a truth; out in nature silence is evidence of a world on edge.  

I suspect the same holds true in our big, busy simian brains. Silence, the cessation of thoughts, isn’t an achievable constant in the wilds of our minds. We might scan our minds with our predator’s eyes and scare the fauna of our mind into petrification for a moment or two.  But soon enough they’re back to the business at hand.   

As a writer this is good news. All you have to do to write is be attentive and listen. Give your mind a moment and it will babble like a brook or tweet like a bird.  

Go ahead and join the rest of nature. Make some noise.   

Every Saturday I post a prompt in “The Fearless Songwriter” group on Facebook. There’s a great little community of songwriters growing over there. Join in. (The best way to keep track of all I do is to sign up for my mailing list).

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The Creative’s Workshop

The first thing I discovered after joining “The Creative’s Workshop” is I was expected to post something—everyday—for 100 days. Seth, the workshops creator calls this “The Dailies.”  The Dailies are sort of like Morning Pages in the Artist’s Way, except Morning Pages are private. This would was to be public, (at least public to the group). I hadn’t signed up for that. I didn’t know what I’d signed up for. I liked the workshop’s name and I liked Seth’s work.   

The Daily commitment is ten minutes. Spend ten minutes creating something and post it. This is an example of a low bar and a head fake. The low bar?  Even on a hard day, most people can find 10 minutes in which to post something. (A post about how it was a hard day would count if you decided it did). The head fake? Once most people sit down to start a daily more than ten minutes will be spent, I sure did.   

100 days after joining, this was the tally of things in my dailies:   

Songs Written: 31 (Song Co-written: 4)

Instrumentals started: 1

Explanations of my songwriting process: 3

Blogs blogged: 23

BEAD One Sheets: 22

BEAD Videos: 12

Song Videos: 3

Theory Worksheets Created: 2

Days spent as a hair care professional: 1

Old poems posted: 5

New poems posted: 5

Things submitted for approval: 2

Sketched posted: 4

Coaching Clients Recruited: 2

Weekly Songwriting Groups held: 5

Fearless Songwriting Weeks: 2

Songwriting Prompts Created: 19

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The Edge of the Unknown

The unknown always comes with an edge. Today I finished The Creative’s Workshop. When I started the workshop, it was the unknown.  

An introductory instruction was to tag strangers in our posts. Everyone was a stranger. It felt scary. The administrators insisted tagging people was generous and soon tagging people was as natural as signing onto Facebook when I’m bored. 

Now that the workshop is complete and its end is the edge of the unknown. What’s next? If I don’t post on the website, who am I? That edge will be dull soon too, and some other unknown will present itself.   

It’s hard to dampen my fear of the pulse of the unknown. Fear is taken seriously when it arises with good reason. As I’m moving out of the workshop, I aspire to recognize the false fear of the creative edge more quickly, and move forward with it.  

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In the movie “Spirited Away,” there is a hungry ghost called No Face. It offers of coins and eats those who partake. It’s not really explained why he eats the partakers. 

He starts as wraith, hardly malevolent; he seems to pang for attention, not food. The character who won’t take what he offers is Chihiro, the protagonist. She asks what he wants. He can’t seem to say. It seems his mood fouls only after she declines the coin he offers.  

Offering and asking is sometimes like that. Offering is easier than asking. It requires humility and vulnerability. An asker cedes an amount of control and safety. Yet asking is as important as offering. An eye level relationship requires asking and offering, give and take.  

I’ve just finished 100 days of shipping which more offering than asking. My aspiration for the next hundred is to embrace the vulnerability of asking. I’m not much sure what it will look like, but today my first ask is, would you like to sign up for my email list? I promise I’ll not to eat you, (or anyone else), if you decline.  

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