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Fake stakes of unfinished creative work


Tony and his girlfriend Anna sit across from each other with their laptops open. Anna is typing on her computer. Tony stares at Anna. 

        (without looking up)
        Your family

        What about my family?

        Add your family to your email list. Will you have 100 then?

Anna looks up, bored. Tony stares back, vacantly. 

        No. I mean, yes. But I won’t add them.

Anna rolls her eyes and looks back down at her computer. Tony continues to stare for a minute, looks down, and adds his family to his email list. 



An unexpected new feeling since employing myself is feeling like the stakes are enormously high all the time. A month ago, this decision to add my family to my newsletter (aside: thanks for reading it! <3) seemed like an impossible decision with enormous consequences. I’d originally written about the Malibu Cafe exchange in ponderous prose that belabored the sensation of writing and sharing something—Working Jobs—that felt very personal, very unpolished, and potentially upsetting to some readers. The last paragraph of the original draft:
So I learned something that day: we seed a new project with friends and family first not despite how incomplete and embarrassing the project is, we seed a new project with them precisely because of how incomplete and embarrassing the project is. And it’s the process of improving your work to eventually meet their expectations that slowly inches it closer to a level of quality appropriate for more people.
This is true, but not complicated and certainly not profound. I imagined that sharing my imperfect and raw attempts might have horrible consequences, but the truth is most people aren’t paying that much attention. Those that are will either encourage you or give you indispensable feedback that will guide your work towards good.

I believe that you can learn anything, and sharing your work is an important part of that learning process. The uncomfortable limbo that you experience is a gap between what your limited capabilities allow you to share at any given point in time and the vision of what you’d like to share. Your taste outpaces your abilities until they don’t.

I just started a podcast about people who love what they do. Really cool guests and it gets better every week so check it out on iTunes here