innovate or die: purification + my work credo
PART 1: INNOVATION
The most erotic word in my vocabulary right now is innovate.
It’s one of my core desired feelings – to feel, be, and live innovate.
I’m not talking about being innovative for the sake of it. (Innovation for the sake of innovation is masturbation.) I’m talking about being on my personal leading edge – where I have to deep bend to reach the fruit. Where the branches are so thin that I have to lighten my load and empty my pockets of ego, greed crumbs and the dirty pennies of mistrust – mistrust in how righteously loving and supportive the universe is.
To innovate, you need to lighten your load. Constantly.
Which brings me to my work credo. (It’s up for global adoption. Go ahead. Take it.)
MY WORK (+ SOCIAL MEDIA) CREDO – in order of priority – is:
1. Be USEFUL. If your stuff is not 100% about utility, practicality, or wisdom*, then…
2. Be INSPIRING. If you’re not flush with inspiration, passion, motivation, then at least…
3. Be ENTERTAINING.
And if you can’t at least be amusing then keep to yourself. Otherwise, you’re wasting people’s time. And when you waste people’s time – you’re not only a delusional wanker, you’re disrespectful. Once you disrespect your audience, they’ll walk.
(**Wisdom is information / experience translated into something that is useful + inspiring.)
(You can stop reading here if you got your fill. I understand, the average visitor stays 2.4 minutes on a blog. But if you want to know about some creative/business refining I’m doing, read on.)
PART 2: PURIFICATION
My intention to be useful drives my personal innovation. So, there are going to be a few changes ‘round here – subtle perhaps, but meaningful. I’m announcing this because I think it’s … useful.
As any on-line writer or seller-of-stuff will tell you, “TRAFFIC” is one of the horniest words in the Internet lexicon. Some of us “bloggers” (I put it in quotes because I loath the term) are driven by the numbers. That means amassing more-more-more visitors, users, uniques, followers, “Friends” – idealistically for influence, practically, for cash. Nothing wrong with either motivation, nothing at all. I myself am uh, highly motivated.
Making wisdom products is my living. More traffic = sell more stuff. I’d love to tip 100,000 readers so that when I release my next book (this year! in digital AND print!) a very big bunch of those readers will buy my stuff. And then I can pay my kid’s tuition, help a few friends out, and wear French linen all summer long.
Do I want to be innovative (read: true to my artistic integrity, and reeeally happy) or do I want to make lotsa coinage? Of course, the answer is both, darling. As if I’m not going to have my cake and eat it – with a scoop of Vanilla. On a chaise. In French linen. With enough cake to share with the neighborhood.
In order to innovate, you need to eat right – a diet of integrity and courage. NO FILLER.
The game for traffic (more articles = more traffic) creates a lot of filler out in the blogosphere. Gotta post post post! As my friend Jonathon Mead just put it, “It’s a churn, creating content for the sake of it, not due to a burning desire. Quotas = crap.” Uh huh.
And sometimes, this is the winning, appropriate most pure strategy. Information aggregation and high-volume content generation can be magnificent when it’s done right. Think: Huffington Post, or Feministe. Even Seth Godin, who is known for not playing the social media popularity game, pubs seven days a week.
UPPING MY GAME BY NARROWING MY FOCUS
The downside of Internet-reality is that you can write a gorgeous piece and it gets buried fast in the flurry. I want each article I compose to feel like a nourishing meal, or at least a midnight snack that sends you to bed smiling. I don’t want to just whip something up for hungry search engines.
I also want to give deeper love to the love of my (career) life: making books. Books that you can hold. Books that are compelling enough to spend some quality time with. Books that are useful, inspiring, and entertaining – and so philosophically sexy that they’ll spread like wild fire.
So, I’ve decided to post only twice week…maybe twice and half. That way, I can give each piece my whole heart. I may sprinkle in the odd truism – but only if I really feel that it’s genius.
The quality vs. quantity model is nothing new. But it remains a rarity. Authenticity is demanding business.