For those about to create...

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As you may or may not know, I am currently working on my first novel. I have published books before, as well as poetry, but this will be the first long form narrative fiction that I have created.

Now look, this isn't a missive about the next Great American Novel. Trust me, I am well aware this is going to be a terrible novel. So very terrible.

And that's okay. What is important is that we live in a time and place where the only thing that stops you from creating the work you want is you.

Do you have a burning desire to release an album of alt-folk rock with a aboriginal twist? Grab a copy of garage band and get to work. When you are ready to release that shiz to the world, Distrokid has your back.

Ready to wow the world with your short film? Rad. Go grab your cell phone and get busy. Once you've edited it with the app of your choice (I recommend HitFilm 2017), upload your masterpiece to YouTube or Vimeo and let your vision be enjoyed.

I think you see where I am going. The only thing stopping you is you. For the most part.

No, in this little diatribe I want to talk not about the creation of art, but of the village that should grow around you & your art, to make it the best it can be. And for this to happen, people, including you, need to be willing to step up and be there when asked.

As simple as this seems in theory, in practice, it can prove to be quite hard to find.

Look I get it, we have busy, hectic lives. If you are singled out to be part of the "village" for someones work, it means you are a maker too more often than not, and geez, you are working on your own stuff.

Where do I find the time to help someone else work on their stuff?

Honestly, I get it. I do. I am working on a thousand projects myself, trying to be the best father I can to my two sons, the best husband to my wife, and the best co-founder I can for my company & fellow co-founders.

The thing is, if someone asks me to read their words, view their images or hear their music, it means two things, both vitally important.

  1. They respect me and my opinion. It means they see me as someone whose opinion on the subject at hand matters.
  2. They care about their work. They care enough that they are willing to invite criticism and critique. Even good feedback can be painful, and yet this person reached out to me and said, "Tell me what you think".

It might be the fact that I am now as old as dirt, but I feel honor bound to show up when someone asks me for help.

Will it delay my own work? Possibly.

Will it help another piece of art be honed to an even sharper point, making its impact on the world that much greater? I hope so.

Will it make me a better person, a better friend/peer and ultimately a better creator? Absolutely.

So the next time someone says "hey, can you look at these chapters I am writing for my novel?" or "hey, I am having trouble with this design, could you take a quick peek and give me your thoughts?"

Try not to think about what they are taking away from you, but what you are giving to them.