How I Approach my Product

By Product I mean: Anything I myself produce. Something that was once inside my brain but is now fully fleshed out and dancing around the sphere of Earth entertainment with a life of it’s own.

There is something so personal about a product you come up with 100% by yourself and then BAM all of a sudden it’s available for all to ingest. What I realized after I started doing that cycle of events more often was that once that product is it’s own entity, it is no longer just yours. Yes, you own a part of it because on the top it says your name – but at the same time it also now belongs to anyone who has had any emotional response to it as well.

Even if someone hates it, it is an idea within them and not yourself. No one will ever see the product exactly like you did. They will make their own assumptions and craft their conscious/subconscious responses around their own life experiences and belief systems.

Everything you create has the ability to be someones favorite thing or someones most hated thing – but most likely it will be thrown into the pool of, “things I have consumed and subsequently not been changed significantly by.” No matter what the reaction though, it is now theirs as much as it is yours.

For me my product is usually my writing, and I have found it to be the toughest medium to convey exactly what I wanted too initially. Some people very much understand my ideas as I lay them out and others downright hate them – but that will be true for anything you ever do. You have to almost detach yourself from the product and see it as it’s own entity outside of your creation bubble. Talk about it like it’s an ever changing person. Think of it like a child your have fostered and then let out into the big bad world. If it sustains consensus then so be it. If not, then so be it as well. Letting the product speak for itself is incredibly important to me.

I’ve had so many conversations with other people that started off as constructive criticisms and ended up as a full blown product defense. Unless what you just produced was your dissertation, you should never have to defend anything you create. That would be like someone yelling at your 30 year old son and then you stepping in screaming, “DON’T YELL AT MY BABY!!!”

Your product, just like your fake 30 year old son is not your baby anymore. It must now travel through the same hardships you have always struggled with. The matter of whether it survives is another story – but once you hit the real/metaphorical publishing button, that product is public property, and your stock is ever diminishing over time.

Why I Will Always Relate to a Good Writer

When I say “Good” that just means that when I read someone’s work am I interested in reading more? You might have another definition of what makes something good, but that is mine. Something that is “Great” to me is when I read someones work and I become mildly obsessed with reading and understanding everything they have ever done. To this day I have read 4 to 5 peoples work and thought it was “Great.”

That sounds pretentious…because it is…but I can’t help it. Most of what I read I find to be good and there is nothing at all wrong with that – hell, when I read my own work my most common response is, “This guy has a good idea of where he is going, but is not so incredibly interesting that I can’t put this down.” I’m my own biggest critic and in my opinion that can be as healthy a problem as any.

When I read or watch any creative/insightful product I always think back to what the writing process might have been like. I love the idea that at one point every product I take in was non existent. Someone had to create and produce that piece of entertainment.

I say this often, but I feel it is worth reiterating. My favorite quote of all time is: “look, I made a hat — where there never was a hat.” Those words were written by Stephen Sondheim within a musical setting but it applies to absolutely everything we create. Some of the greatest joy I feel these days is when I produce something I know to be a full representation of myself. Something that I can be proud to have my name on because I created it out of thin air and now it is a fully formed product. That feeling of creation is euphoric to me. So, when I see something out in this world – and it can be anything: a fantastic billboard, a gif online, a moving photograph, or a novel that changes my life – I get this extra sense of joy from it because I am always genuinely curious as to it’s roots and it’s creator.

It’s for this reason that I don’t know why every one isn’t dating a writer. Granted they can be melodramatic, anxiety ridden, and an overall depressing person to be around – but that well of creativity is in there somewhere. You just have to dig around to find it.

Roller Coaster

I hope to one day look back on this weekend while sitting around a fire with a pipe in hand and be able to say, “Kids, I had indigestion for weeks, but it was totally worth it.” Aside from the sheer amount of pain killers and antacids I ingested this weekend, the actual spotlight was not on any physical intake. Sure, the beer, steak, and vodka helped help move things along a bit – but the real star this weekend was the roller coaster emotional adventure that I could barely keep up with.

But I guess I prefer it that way…no wait, I don’t guess…I know I prefer it that way. I say “I guess” because I’d like to refrain from being so incredibly forceful with my decision making words, especially when it comes to my own behavior – but I know for fact at this point that I would rather have extreme ups and downs than just a steady plateau of nothingness. That was not always the case, but that’s a story for another time.

Here is a succinct list of the emotions/descriptive words I felt this weekend, just for some reference: extreme happiness followed by extreme sadness, joy, genuine surprise, self pride, soul stripping anxiety, refreshingly enamored, a sudden and over dramatic emptiness, real live mental exercise euphoria, and suffocating fear. Kind of all over the spectrum, and only 5 of them were surface emotions. As for the rest of them, they all happened while everyone else was none the wiser, which is the way I usually enjoy living life. If someone needs to be shared it will. I don’t have the mental capacity to keep everything trivial down and I definitely don’t have the capacity to keep the extreme spectrum emotions in check anymore – which in reality is a good thing, except that I hate it, but having to deal with it seems to be healthier than the way I did before…which was not at all.

The backdrop for all of this was a party at which I started drinking very early in the day. Early enough in fact that my hangover happened at 12pm, went away at 2am, and I woke up feeling a bit sluggish but other than that absolutely fine. Originally it was supposed to be 8 to 10 people showing up. Through events unknown to me more people found out and came, which did not end up being terrible – in fact that was most of my surprise factor. Not surprised that it happened, because this is in fact a common occurrence, but surprised that I wasn’t angry that it happened. I was actually happy to be surrounded by that many people, which if you know me at all is extraordinarily out of my comfort zone.

If I am subscribing to that learn something new every day philosophy still, which I believe that I am, it is that I have to start meeting new people again. I love my friends beyond measure but my comfort zone is getting smaller and smaller. I need to shock the system. That’s what this weekend was; a surprise system shock designed to shake me to the core so hard that change fell out of my pockets. Next step is learning to pick that change back up and follow through, I guess. No wait…

I know.