"There'll be sad songs, to make you cry," said Billy Ocean

BLBO: There’ll be sad songs

"There'll be sad songs, to make you cry," said Billy Ocean
JEALOUSY
There’ll be sad songs to make you cry

One of the feelings that squash collaboration is Jealousy. And there’s no better place to see jealousy run rampant than in personal publishing.

I talk about the crippling effects of online jealousy a lot because I think it’s something we all wrestle with.

I think the problem is far more insidious than any of us let on.

Like I said, we work in isolation on our egos — it’s nigh impossible to follow the trite advice to ‘keep your eyes on your own work.” It’s in our faces, under the guise of community and “just keeping up.”

It comes in sneaky ways that don’t immediately read as jealousy, and instead bubble up as irritation, hate reading, asking questions in your head like
Why wasn’t I invited?
Why do they hate me?
Who does she think she is?

It’s jumping to conclusions like
She/He thinks he’s too good for this.
They didn’t have it as hard as I did, that’s why they’re successful.
Hey! That was MY idea! He stole it!

It’s even worse when money and fame get into it. What else is the current monetized internet other than traffic numbers and competition for limited opportunities?
(Not much).

I’ve talked about this before, but I have been helped immensely by not assuming my jealousy as the end game. I use it as a tool – when I’m jealous of someone (and quite honestly, I’ve been jealous of most of the people in this room) I’ll make a jealousy map, where I write out Who, Why and Now What. It sounds too easy to work, but it quickly quells that downward spiral. I learned this from the great book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron – a creativity course I do once a year to help me identify blocks and ruts in my creative processes.

This is embarrassing but I’m going to share 3 of the people I’m jealous of in the room and my jealousy map about them:

Did you know that Billy Ocean was never jealous? Never once. We have no recorded content of Billy Ocean being jealous of another artist. Do you care if that’s a lie? Does it matter?

Who? Why? Now What?
Joy the Baker She works with Michael Find my own supportive collaborators
Oh Sweet Basil Younger, cuter Work with younger and cuter people more – to discover why I’m thrilled to be as experienced in this medium as I am.
Two Peas and their Pod Bigger Audience Either grow my audience, or focus on a message I’m proud of. There’s a sweet spot there I can find for myself.
"You'll never be a stranger out there on your own in the love zone," said Billy Ocean

BLBO: In the love zone

"You'll never be a stranger out there on your own in the love zone," said Billy Ocean

COLLABORATION
You’ll never be a stranger out there on your own in the Love Zone

Speaking of it being all about us… It’s not.

This kind of work is so strange. We consume this media in isolation, so it seems like it’s about us. We think people’s choices were somehow affected by us or a result from us.

We THINK we’re social but we work alone.
And very few people get what we do.

Events like these [Speaking at the Big Traveling Potluck] are where we get with people who understand and honor our creativity. We have to.

Being here is much different than the internet that lives in my head – where everyone is competition and sponsor dollars are rare treats to be wrestled over and I’m going to be famous forever.

Yes, you have friends who RT you or that otherwise stroke your ego — but that’s not collaborating.

This internet can facilitate collaboration. We can work with each other instead of against each other. Sandy from the Reluctant Entertainer is great with this – she works hard to build a community of creative collaborators, sharing her opportunities to make them even stronger.

As we forge this medium’s future together for the first time, we HAVE to be in it together. Out of all the other content verticals, parenting, lifestyle, tech — food bloggers understand this inherently. It might be about the communal nature of a meal, I don’t know.

What I do know, is that you won’t succeed alone.

Even Billy Ocean wrote songs for LaToya Jackson.

BLBO: When the going gets tough

CREATIVITY
When the Going gets Tough, the tough get ready.

Here’s the deal, this version of our visual, personal narrative-based storytelling is less than [five] years old. And somehow, we bloggers are trapped in the belief that everything, every thing we write or share has to be either a certain way or grounded in real life.

 

There’s a theory from the great Paul Ford at ftrain.com and @ftrain on Twitter. He talks about what makes the internet different from all other media. His theory is that the internet is actually the perfect Customer Service media – whereas radio can be enjoyed while washing dishes, or you kick back to watch tv at the night – the internet brings about the new mindset — WWIC — which stands for why wasn’t I consulted.

“Why wasn’t I consulted,” which I abbreviate as WWIC, is the fundamental question of the web. It is the rule from which other rules are derived. Humans have a fundamental need to be consulted, engaged, to exercise their knowledge (and thus power), and no other medium that came before has been able to tap into that as effectively.

Brace yourself for the initial angry wave of criticism: How dare you, I hate it, it’s ugly, you’re stupid. The Internet runs on knee-jerk reactions. People will test your work against their pet theories: It is not free, and thus has no value; it lacks community features; I can’t believe you don’t use dotcaps, lampsheets, or pixel scrims; it is not written in Rusp or Erskell; my cat is displeased. The ultimate question lurks beneath these curses: why wasn’t I consulted?

WWIC is the thing people talk about when they talk about nicer-sounding things like “the wisdom of crowds” or “cognitive surplus.”
“How do we deal with the WWIC problem?” Everything else comes after.

It’s what we get by opening up comments. Those rare and beautiful gems that say, “Why isn’t this gluten free?” or “That’s an AWFUL lot of nutmeg.”

Taken in the wrong context, those are creativity killers. Anticipating WWIC ahead of time will save you from a bunch of heartache.

You know this.

I assume you’re all highly creative. And creativity is the juice that runs this business of digital publishing. The creative stuff is what has that amplification – that social juice.

And brain science to help with creativity.

In studying the brains of highly creative people like you all, they’ve found that there are 7 different brain activation processes based on the different phase of creativity you’re in. By identifying these processes, and maximizing your environment for each of them, you can blow up your creativity at each level (for more on this, find the book “Mindset” by Carol Dweck)

We can do this. We can amp up our own creativity.

We’re going to talk about 2 of these right now.

The first, is the Absorb brainset. And it’s much more successful than what passes for inspiration these days – the cursory pinterest romp.

When we open our minds to new experiences and uncritically take in ideas, we can take in more knowledge that we can combine in different ways thereby increasing our creativity.

We’re going to get in the absorb mindset right now.
Take in a deep breath.
Close your eyes (it’s cool, I promise).
Let go some of that unconscious tension and start to recognize what’s going on through all your senses.

Feel your feet touching the floor – your shoes. Feel how your body is touching the furniture, how your clothing feels in a nonjudgmental way. What are you smelling? What’s the temperature like? Move through each of your senses.

Now you’re quieting your sensors – open your eyes and continue this feeling of absorption. See how colors have become brighter, notice angles and shadows and all of a sudden you’re aware of more stimuli coming in from your senses.

Basically, you’re priming your brain to accept better and more information. As soon as you’re not filtering out this information, you have more available to you to recombine in creative and original ways.

Another brainset to maximize your creativity is the Envision brainset.

You’re thinking visually rather than verbally. You can see and manipulate objects in your minds’ eye. You’ll see comparisons between 2 things that seem far removed from them originally.

Play WHAT IF.

Look around you in your environment. And think about the consequences if something were changed. What if – avocados grew hair. What if you had six arms instead of 2.

How would the world change?

Once you see these consequences, you’re actually forging pathways in the brain that allow you to activate this Envision brainset in the future.
These are things that children do all day long.

Kids aren’t filtering out what we adults need to filter out — our prefrontal cortex helps us plan for the future and it does this by judging the rest of what’s coming in.

This helps us increase the signal to noise ration. We grown ups have goals, and our goals keep our brains on track.

Therefore we only notice what’s in line with our goals or what we need to survive.

Kids don’t have this level of prefrontal cortex development — they’re still getting this information and they wonder about it – they have the freedom to play WHAT IF all day long, because their brains are built for it.

But to be creative — we need to turn down that prefrontal activator so we can have better ideas, combinations, new creative thoughts. Right now, things are changing so rapidly, we need to be able to adapt and take the next step rather than following an already delimited pathway.

Absorb and envision.

No more love on the run, said Billy Ocean

BLBO: No more love on the run

No more love on the run, said Billy Ocean
THE LONG GAME
No more love on the run

There’s a strange misperception of success in this digital medium — somehow, we’re supposed to start out and grow and grow and grow our sites until we have a powerhouse audience in the millions every month. And then we have book deals and magazines and we’re all Rachael Ray and we just get bigger and bigger and bigger.

But if we look at the jobs in other creative industries like musicians or actors, we’ll find that the successes are more cyclical maybe even hit or miss over time. That perception of fame is separate from creating your best work.

People fall in and out of favor with a fickle public.
That’s okay. We’re fickle too.

Fame is separate from getting paid,
Fame is separate from personal satisfaction in the work.

A lifetime of creative success, where you invest time in learning more about your craft as well as sharing what you’ve learned, is the path for a great majority of us.

And that’s okay!

Since we’re exploring a new medium for the first time, it’s easy to feel confused and unsure.
That’s normal.

Strangely enough, in digital media, we assume that popularity should grow steadily over time, but we have no evidence in any kind of related arts business that would prove this — it’s cyclical, it’s random.

Music, movies, they have hits, they have misses, but best of all, their creators have artistic growth over time. They’re stretching and growing their work.

This digital culture is mad wonky. We accidentally believe that creating is about ego when in fact the opposite is true.

It’s not about ego and fame.
It’s about the opposite. It’s about humility and sacrifice.
It’s about appetite.
It’s about your audience.

It’s about doing work that challenges us each and every day.
It’s about taking the time to check in with ourselves to remember the big message we’re trying to get across.

It feels even more ego driven as we work in isolation behind our lighted boxes. IT FEELS LIKE IT IS ALL ON US TO BE ALL ABOUT US.

And you all know, the best way to get out of our heads is to help other people. And your experience is such that there is someone you can help, generously.

Did you know that Billy Ocean teaches at the Tech Music Schools in London regularly holding seminars and clinics? How are you teaching the skills you’ve developed, working on this new medium forward?

Having another job helps too.
As Billy Ocean said, “I’m a qualified tailor, and the reason for that is my mother. She knew I loved music – I’d sing with her when she was ironing in the evening – and academically I wasn’t very bright. So when I left school with no qualifications, she said I must take a course in something to fall back on.”

No really.
There are a lot of bloggers in the world.
And a day job can help take the pressure off of you having to sell your story.

Billy Ocean’s 1989 Greatest Hits collection sold steadily over the past 34 years. His Greatest Hits was his biggest commercial success so far.

He’s still creating work, he even went on tour with his daughter Cherie as a backup singer last week.

What does your greatest hits look like? Do you want to sell it now? Or in 34 years? How can you continue to add to your greatest hits? How can you make sure your greatest hits really IS your greatest hits?