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!