Hit Publish

Have an opinion. Defend it. It will make you smarter. – Seth Godin

I can offer you all the tips in the world. I can tell you everything that I’ve learned from writing this site. I can dig deeper and try to unearth whatever insights1 I’ve managed to extract from 31 years of bumping into and breaking things. I can pour my soul out to you. But if I am really being honest, it won’t do you much good. Not if you are looking to make something meaningful. Unfortunately, there is only one way to get better at creating anything at all. Frightening as it might be, you have to let your ideas live in the world. You have to hit publish.

This doesn’t mean you need to blog2. Hell, you don’t even need to know how to write3. You just have to be willing to open your mouth or move your fingers long enough to get your ideas out there. You need to find the courage to let your ideas mate with the world, to go in unexpected directions and to possibly change altogether.

Now, I know what you are thinking: But if I put my ideas out there someone will copy me or tell me they are stupid. Chances are both will happen. Suck it up and hit publish.

Until you put your thoughts out there, they mean nothing. Until you put your ideas where strangers can find them, they ring hollow. Until your ideas face adversity, they are incomplete. It’s going to be scary4 and it is going to be hard. If you’ve started, you know just how truly daunting it can be to press a silly button.

The more you put yourself out there, the more you get in return. When your ideas are tested, they get stronger. As soon as you realize that people are going to copy any good ideas they come across, the faster you learn that one good idea will never be enough. You have to cultivate a mindset of critical thinking and the best way to do that… you guessed it: hit publish.

You are going to be wrong. You are going to say something stupid. You are going to hurt someone. You are probably going to flat-out embarrass yourself at some point. But with every step and misstep you take, you are going to get better.

If you don’t hesitate, you aren’t pushing hard enough. If you don’t seriously consider scrapping the whole damn post every time you’re done, you didn’t go far enough. If you don’t look back at your older stuff and want to punch yourself in the face, you aren’t growing. It will always be easy to find a reason not to put something out there. You can stall as long as you want, but if you really want to make something, you are going to have to cut the crap and hit publish.

Hat tip to John Falchetto for the inspiration on this post!

  1. Little as they might be.  

  2. Although it helps.  

  3. But you may want to work on that.  

  4. If it isn’t, you’re doing it wrong.  

8 Responses to Hit Publish

  1. I have a client who is an artist (I wont’ say which field). He just won’t setup a website. Exactly for the reasons you mention. Why not? Fear of being rejected by some ‘influential’ gallery or festival curators. You just can’t please everyone, and if you are well that’s just lame :) 

    • I see so much of that in my industry. Jewelers who are afraid to put their designs on the web for fear of them getting copied… so silly. If you can’t get copied, you can’t get discovered either. If you are getting copied, you are doing something right. And most important of all, if that is the only thing you can do, you were always going to be screwed anyway. Copying has always been the indication of one thing for us… that it is time to move on. 

      Thankfully, I don’t think either of us is looking to please everyone… I’ll even settle for only pleasing a few.

  2. Fear of being copied or foolish? Here’s another: fear of discovering many others said or did it 1) better 2) funnier 3) smarter and 4) 3 years ago. Get out here enough you’ll discover some hard truths: your ideas may not always be unique or special, someone else may have done it better; or someone else will write what you wrote a year ago and their post will be the one that gets all the reaction. That’s how it goes. I am nervous when I hit publish, never know if it it’s too much, not enough or just plain dumb; I’m looking back – not to smack myself – but to see if I’ve learned anything yet. Putting my thoughts out there, starting with hitting send, print, post or publish. FWIW. Oh and BTW, the footnote linkbacks are different, hadn’t noticed those before.

    • Totally great and totally valid fear. Then again I’ve always seen that as a good thing (then again, I literally assume that every person I meet is smarter than I am :) ). No idea is original, for example, I’m sure I am not the first or even the 5,000,000th person to talk about hitting publish.

      The bottom line, if you care as much as you clearly do, you get better and you end up reading and meeting some super smart folks… nothing bad about that, even if what you said was derivative, terrible or even flat out wrong.Hope you like the footnotes, they are just a good way for me to get my ADHD ramblings out of the parenthesis and onto the bottom :)

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