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3 Reasons To Write

Posted on by Brian Hertzog

Putting ideas to paper is harder than it sounds.  We want to write, we fantasize about publishing that "great American novel" bouncing around somewhere in the depths of our mind, but when it comes to actually sitting down to write, suddenly there are 1000 other things that seem immediately more interesting.  I could check email, Twitter, Facebook, make a call, make a snack, talk with friends--I could go on.  Sometimes, all we need to overcome this anxiety is a good reason.

Nobody ever explained to me why reading is valuable, except for the Reading Rainbow guy, but even that didn't really make sense at the time--I was five.  Parents often plead with their beloved little ones to "eat your veggies".  I once threw peas across the living room in revolt.  Needless to say, I ended up picking up my mess pea by pea.  How many parents take the extra minute to explain that eating vegetables like broccoli and spinach will make you healthier, smarter, taller, and stronger.  Should have eaten those damn peas!

Here are three simple reasons to write. 

1.) Writing makes you a better thinker. 

If working out builds your abs and biceps, writing sculpts and tones your mind.  Not only will you be able to articulate your thoughts, but you will be building the muscles of imagination, decision making, and story telling.  If you can do those things--watch out world.

2.) Writing gives you a voice.

I'm usually awake from 8AM to midnight.  Which means every night for eight hours, I'm not talking, I'm not meeting new people--I'm somewhere in candyland winning the worldcup.  Writing gives you a voice even when you're sleeping!  If I'm not there, you can still jump inside my mind, experience my world, and listen to my stories.  Writing is a way to scale your thoughts.  If you believe people should experience a slice of your universe, make it easy for them and yourself.  Write it down.

3.) Writing forces you to pay attention.

"Don't bother me man, I'm tweeting."  Ah the glorious age of connection.  At all times we are never bored.  But to make the transition from consumer to creator, you have to freaking pay attention, man.  What's happening?  What story you are trying to tell?  What did it smell like?  Feel like?  Etc.  Writing forces you to be present.  Use your senses young padawan.  To tell a compelling story you must immerse your reader in your imaginary world.  They must feel what you feel.  And to do this, you better be paying attention. 

Those three reasons are enough for me.  I hope you find them persuasive--at least enough to whip out a piece of paper and a pen.  Don't hold your thoughts and ideas prisoner in your mind like Rapunzel.  Give them a chance to spread, to grow, to meet other ideas and make idea babies.  You can take these reasons, leave them, share them, whatever you want, but thanks to writing, now you have them. 

No more excuses.  No throwing your veggies across the room.  Find a place to be alone with your thoughts and write.

Subscribe vs Publish

Posted on by Brian Hertzog

Subscriber or publisher? Do you consume or do you create? Do you do both? Do you hae balance?

We're constantly being bombarded by media from all directions. It's like walking through a minefield in snowshoes, interacting with content is unavoidable. No matter how hard we try, and you have to try very hard (tin-foil hat hard), it's inevitable that at some point today, we will see an ad, read a blog, watch the latest trending craze on YouTube, check Reddit, check Facebook, check our Twitter feed, check Reddit again.

We're all consumers. And we don't have to try very hard to get what we crave today. But consuming isn't the same as subscribing. Subscribing implies trust, an investment, a commitment.

Do not oversubscribe. Be selective with the content you trust. Only when you are super selective with your content can you see and fill the gaps. Publishers fill the gaps.

When you publish, you articulate your own thoughts as an act of brave, vulnerable, unselfishness.  Here are my thoughts! Here is my wisdom! If it helps, great, if not, thats ok too!  Because when you start, you publish for an audience of one. You fill the gaps you see in the world.

We can no longer hide from content. It subtly or not so subtly touches our lives from the moment we wake to the moment we rest our head on our pillow and check our email, Twitter, and Reddit one final time before bed. We decide our position, our place, our team.

Our thoughts deserve an opportunity to fill the gaps, even our own. I hit publish because I believe the more we share, the more value we add to the minefield of media. And maybe, our minefields will one day become more like goldmines.

Subscribe or publish? What's your position, your place, your team? Where are your gaps?  Go.  Fill them.

Hold Me To It

Posted on by Brian Hertzog

I want to write. Every day. I want to ship something of value into the world. I want to make art. If you don't see a new blog post, send me an email, hold me to it. Setting a goal isn't only about getting that thing done you've always wanted to do, but also about challenging yourself and growing as a person.

Volunteering

Posted on by Brian Hertzog

The battle of life is already half won by the young man who is brought in contact with high officials; and the great aim of every boy should be to do something beyond the sphere of his duties—something which attracts the attention of those over him.
— Andrew Carnegie

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Live blogging today from Keiretsu Forum meeting in the East Bay. The past two days I have been volunteering at different events around Silicon Valley. Volunteering is a great way to meet people and get involved with some pretty amazing events. There aren't many people who turn down a willing volunteer, so sending an email to the event coordinator of a conference that you really want to attend may be your golden ticket. 

I've had the privilege of meeting some incredible people from volunteering at various events.  Even though you work for free as a volunteer, the experience is well worth the time. The quote above is from the autobiography of Andrew Carnegie and explains how a man can become superintendent of the Pittsburgh Railroad by the age of 24. Opportunities are all around, it's up to us to see the doors.