I finally did it. I set up a Patreon account. I don't expect a lot of people to sign up, because I've yet to launch much of what is planned for the coming year, but those who do join this early will get a free advance copy of the second edition of the A Lesser Photographer ebook, with a limited edition cover by renowned minimalist designer Daniel Benneworth-Gray!
Patrick Rhone appeared on Anthony Ongaro’s podcast and right away the conversation focused on why Patrick Rhone ended his blog, Minimal Mac, when he did after 5 years and about 3000 posts:
Anthony: “And then you stopped.”
Patrick: “I stopped at almost the very height of its popularity.”
Anthony: “Why did you stop?”
Patrick: “I had nothing more to say.”
This is also why I stopped blogging at A Lesser Photographer. I had said it all and I felt that to say any more would be to dilute what the site had taught me and my readers about photography.
I curated the best essays from the site into a book. Patrick did the same for his blog. Now we have neat little packages of what we learned on the topics we studied.
This is important, because people need to hear the solutions to complex problems over and over until it sinks in. Concise, clear books fulfill this need better than blogs.
We both went on blogging at our personal sites. That doesn’t mean we never write about the niche topic again, but it does mean we approach it from different (healthier?) point of view.
After months of work, I’m about to click publish on a new edition of A Lesser Photographer at Amazon and a few other places. I’ve sent review copies out to several websites, so you may see those articles soon. The book has been out of print for a while, which has given me a lot of time to contemplate its value.
I love being able to say that I have nothing more to say about a topic, and this book will make that possible once again.
James Altucher recently posted about the smartest piece of financial advice he'd ever received:
"Everyone has to be smarter than me for me to get involved."
The whole post is a great story of ups and downs that's all about having a beginner's mind at all times.
Read the post, then watch Jeremy Irons perform this very idea below. In this scene, from the movie Margin Call, he's the CEO of a large investment bank on the brink of the housing collapse a decade ago. In my career I've dealt with many high-level executives in banking and other industries. The best of them approach meetings exactly like this (even with very small problems).
It’s never been easier to find better system for solving our problems. What we should be doing is finding better problems to solve.
Anything requiring intense thought and risk is naturally avoided for easy answers, safe bets, and “clever” strategies. “Clever” doesn’t change things. It’s a pat on the head.
We’ve made a bubble for ourselves of courses, books, and gurus to guide us through the lowest risk creative endeavors. It’s time to place more value on the things that might fail in spectacular ways.
Seth Godin has moved to Wordpress, which has prompted him once again to tell us about the importance of blogging daily on his podcast.
“I’m encouraging each one of you to have (a blog). Not to have a blog to make money, because you probably won’t. Not to have a blog, because you’ll have millions and millions of readers, because you probably won’t. But to have a blog because of the discipline it gives you, to know that you’re going to write something tomorrow. Something that might not be read by many people—it doesn’t matter—it will be read by you. If you can build that up, you will begin to think more clearly. You will make predictions. You will make assertions. You will make connections. And there they will be, in type, for you to look at a month or a year later. This practice of sharing your ideas to people who will then choose or not choose to share them helps us get out of our own head, because it’s no longer the narrative inside. It’s the narrative outside, the narrative that you’ve typed up, that you’ve cared enough to share.”
To find this even more inspirational, you may have shrug off the fact that Seth spends hours every day coming up with a single post to publish (no one I know has that kind of free time). But what really gets to me after hearing this podcast a few times is that thought about the “narrative." I can’t deny the truth in that.
Nothing has been healthier for my idea generation than to throw out ideas. Once they’re in the public, they feel completely gone. I’m free to come up with new and better ideas. And I do.
When I don’t put those ideas out into the public, they fester. They cause uncertainty and anxiety. They kill the possibility of new and better ideas.
Maybe I need to create the time, even at great cost, to blog more often if it means I can regularly free my brain of festering ideas. Maybe I shouldn’t say maybe: it seems like an invitation for this idea to fester.
Last week I was on vacation when the chance to write something for Club MacStories popped up. Needless to say, I left my wife and son at the beach and found a suitable office to write 1400 words about the most hallowed ground for any geek, my home screen.
Here’s the example published:
Here’s the “office” I used to write the article:
If you’d like to know about the hows or whys behind my home screen, think about joining up with Club MacStories and you’ll get their full archive of goodies.
MacStories is one of many publications and creators I support through subscriptions and/or patronage. I think this form of support is becoming incredibly important as “traditional” forms of publishing continue to fracture. It’s something I haven’t implemented for myself yet, but I’m thinking more about it now.