Something I see all the time on the internet is people saying “They should have a…” or “They should make a…” and then sharing some idea, platform, service, movement, or cause that the commenter wants, and believes “they” should create.
A few years ago, this made sense. The request was legitimate and necessary.
There were gatekeepers in every industry — from arts to activism to commerce to community-building — who were the “They.” It was They who had to approve our appeal to create a new thing.
You couldn’t just make that thing, or build that platform, or create that movement, release that show, or host that community yourself.
You needed Their permission. You needed Them to make it for you.Continue reading → “You Can Stop Saying “They Should Make A…””
For the past 7 days, my life was consumed by the flu. Technically, I was more couch-ridden than bedridden, but I was decidedly horizontal. Luckily, I had a faithful guardian who didn’t leave my side, so I survived.
This is the first time I’ve had the flu in as long as I can remember. I don’t get sick often. The last time I was even “take a day off work” sick was over a year ago (and I don’t even have to get a doctor’s note to call in — I have lenient bosses).
Yesterday, as I was catching up on the SNL I missed, I realized I didn’t get most of the jokes because I hadn’t been keeping up with politics or the news (or even trying).
Today, something else hit me, as I started to dive back into work and catch up with life, that I can attribute entirely to the flu:Continue reading → “The Big Thing Being Bedridden with the Flu for a Week Made Me Realize”
Are you thinking about creating a website? Or a blog? Or an app? Do you want to be “in the cloud,” but you’re not really sure what that is? Have you been talking with colleagues about this idea, or received direction from your boss, and started figuring out how to do it yourself, or looking into hiring a designer/developer to build it for you?
Great! Good on you. Making things is really exciting, and it’s really fun to hit the ground running.
The natural next step you might make is to start price shopping around, looking for an agency or creative you can afford.
Not great! But no fault to you: this is what most people do next. And it’s something that results in a lot of wasted money in the long run.
Before you start designing or building something that you have in mind, and definitely before you start paying someone else to, there are a few things you need to figure out.Continue reading → “A Checklist to Work Through Before Creating Any New Website, Blog, or App”
For several years, my “day job” (the one paying my bills) has been performing comedy shows. Meanwhile, my hobby has been creating online resources, tools, and organizations for justice.
If you think that’s a weird combo, you’re not alone. I’m with you: it’s hard to wrap my mind around the truth that the way I make money is comedy, then I use that money to pay to do administrative-paperwork-email-non-profit-type stuff.
Usually, it’s the other way around.
What’s even weirder? Switching things up — and starting to fund my online advocacy work directly, not via comedy shows — seems less likely to succeed than continuing to be a working comedian.
And yes — I’ve heard of Patreon. People have told me about it hundreds of times, for years and years, every time I made that point.
A lot of the work I do is a great fit for Patreon. But I’ve been resistant to the idea of funding it that way. The reasons are a mix of ethics and personal discomforts, and are all tied directly to my work, and the change I hope it effects.
So why haven’t I done it?Continue reading → “Why I Hadn’t Funded My Work with Patreon”
For the past almost-decade, I’ve checked the “self-employed” box lots of times: when opening bank accounts, on lease applications for apartments, and it’s how the IRS sees me.
But it’s a lie. I’m not “self-employed.”
Nobody is.Continue reading → “You’re Not “Self-Employed””
There’s a modern scourge upon us, and every get-together, plan, and social event is vulnerable.
I don’t know when it started, who’s to blame, or if it can be defeated, but I’ve begun vaccinating myself against it. And if you or your social circle have caught a case of the Maybes, or you want to prevent an outbreak, here’s what you can do.
The first step with any epidemic is understanding the problem: What is the Maybes, how does it spread, and why is it harmful?Continue reading → “Breaking the Chain of “Maybe””
I haven’t meditated in over a week.
I’ve become increasingly aware of this every day that passes. It’s become so big in my day, that, right now, Not Meditating feels like all I’ve accomplished.
And yet, here I am writing this instead of doing the damn thing. What is wrong with me?
I know that I’ll appreciate my time sitting — both while it’s happening (even if I know it’ll be more fitful than usual) and after. It’ll give my day more focus, give me a breath between the world and my reactions to it, and I’ll feel happier, healthier, calmer, and whole-er.
The benefits of meditating, when I haven’t been, are always more obvious to me in the negative: the list of things I’ve been doing, thinking, eating, etc. that were not mindful, but were instead short-sighted comforts that led to longer-term pains. The things I wouldn’t be doing if I had been meditating.
And my recent memory is full of such things. My body and mind are weighed down with their aftermath.
Yet here I am, still Not Meditating.
I know that all that’s standing between me getting back on that path or me continuing to flounder is a few minutes on the cushion. I’ve known that every day.
And yet I didn’t. I still haven’t.
So what’s getting in my way? If you’ve ever experienced this — or currently are — what’s getting in our way?Continue reading → “Falling Off the Daily Meditation Path”
I’m really thrilled about this. As a poor person who creates tons of websites that have a ton of traffic but are totally free and make negative dollars, I feel like I’ve found the Holy Grail. But before I get into the details, two quick things:
One, none of the following links are affiliates/sponsored (I don’t abide that sort of thing here).
Two, this path isn’t for everyone, but I’m going to lay it out for those of you who want to walk it.
Just wanted to get that out of the way, because I know that the excitement that’s bubbling out of me might be misread as a sales pitch or proselytizing. It’s not.
We good? Good. Omg. Can I tell you how excited I am?!Continue reading → “How I Made A WordPress Site with a 100 Score on Google Pagespeed Insights”
I have a confession to make: I’m an Overthinker.
I think I’ve always been this way, but my condition has worsened with age. And my chosen profession didn’t help.
I overthink as a matter of work, often. And I always overthink my work. Not just the things I make themselves, but how to describe what I do, and what unites it all.
Lately, I’ve come to think that the best way to describe my job is “overthinking everything so you don’t have to.” That’s no surprise, I’m sure, if you’ve popped around this site, or read my books, or seen anything else I’ve made.
But, ironically, I’m also driven, fundamentally, to empower people to not need me, via my work. I always endeavor to remove myself from the picture. Making myself irrelevant is one of my primary goals in everything I make, and it’s often the question that leads to the improvements or further work: “How can I create something that is freely available to prevent a person from needing to hire me to do it?”
That’s why, for example, I released my copyright on my work back in 2013: I didn’t want people to have to keep asking me to use it, license it, or reprint it. I removed myself from the middle.
So this creates a bit of a conundrum. No surprise: me finding a conundrum. That’s Overthinking 101.
Recently, I’ve been [over-]thinking about that conundrum a lot. And I’ve felt a growing urge to reconcile it, which brings us here. To the how-to I never suspected I would write: A list of ways that I overthink everything, for those of you who want to DIY (OIY?).
Following is the process I generally follow as I overthink everything in my life and work.
I apply it to everything I create, to the social justice and human rights advocacy I engage in, to how I organize and operate on a “business” level, and even to how I do things in my “personal” life (relationships, puppy training, cooking, etc.).
This is the not-so-secret sauce.
But I suggest you proceed with caution. Overthinking is addictive. I wonder why that is.Continue reading → “Overthinking Everything So You Don’t Have To”
Policing Voting vs. Nuance
You can complain about politics if you don’t vote.
You’re not a bad human if you don’t vote.
You can still be my friend if you don’t vote.
And voting is an exceptional way to complain.
And it’s a perfect way to stake a claim in your humanity.
And it’s a wonderful way to show up for your friends.
Mistakes don’t guarantee learning, but learning requires mistakes.