My partner gave me a slice of banana bread this morning. It’s her birthday banana bread. I’ve eaten the majority of that loaf, but she says that’s ok because someone needs to eat it before it goes bad.
I saved it for a while and then unwrapped it at 11 to eat a little.
I was thinking this morning about most of the stuff one does never has a result. Most of the books you read won’t change your life. You won’t remember them. Most of the people you see — you’ll never see them again. I find that a little sad.
I was also thinking about storytelling. Specifically, the question of how we create intentionally. I can’t seem to find my way out of a crossroads in creating. The crossroads at which I recognize that the way to grow as a creator is to publish formulaic pieces daily. Keep churning out the same stuff that you know will grab attention.
I remember reading a book on online writing and one chapter provided the four different types of posts one would need to publish in order to be successful.
I can’t help but be a little pessimistic. I don’t remember the majority of the videos I watch. I don’t remember the majority of what I read online. I remember the banana bread.
I like creating things. I like slowing down.
I work for a company called Napkin. The best way I can describe it is a thought playground. You have a swarm of thoughts that come together to provide serendipitous connections. It makes me excited, and it makes me want to slow down.
Sometimes in conversation, people will throw the word “commodified” around as if it’s the worst thing that could ever happen. And I agree — it can be pretty bad. The commodification of the creator economy has led me to my dilemma. But commodities are about utility. I want to provide utility.
I think it’s a little pretentious of me to say that I don’t want to appeal to everyone, but it’s how I feel. When I create something, I don’t want it to be massively popular. The truth is that when I look at what I, as a human, am naturally drawn towards and what other humans are drawn to, I don’t want to fulfill those needs.
I don’t want to create a bright, colorful app that keeps people hooked despite degrading their quality of life. I want to make something that makes people think, that makes them slow down in a world that is moving a little too fast.
I feel like my work at Napkin is doing that. I feel my writing online wasn’t — and for me to succeed as a writer (in the sense of making some sort of income that enables me to keep doing it), I’m not sure that I can achieve these lofty ideals.
I have hope that I’m wrong
I was watching a video by Ryan Ng about his mission to create sustainable, impactful content that is counter to the Mr. Beast era fast-paced, big-money style of videos.
The thing about Ryan and the creators he works with is that they seem to be doing ok. They don’t publish every day, but they have a pretty loyal following. They remind me of early-day Yes Theory — although, I have to admit that even Yes Theory has seemed to take a turn to the Mr. Beast style content. I have a smidgeon of hope.
A smidgeon of hope that I can be a creator and create content that is meaningful to myself and others — to create the type of content that makes people put away their phone and go for a walk because they need to think.
And so, as I consider what habits I want to keep and which I want to let go, I’m going to keep the writing one. Because I don’t want to look back and think that maybe things could’ve worked out even if I didn’t play by the rules.