Boredom (Or Binging On Breaking Bad)

Here it is, Day 2. Well, guess I’m doing okay so far!

In the Tim Ferriss – Seth Godin I was listening to the other day, Neil Gaiman, one of my favorite contemporary fiction authors, gets brought up. Turns out Gaiman is respected by both Ferriss and Godin – no surprise to me, considering how good he is at what he does. Godin brings up an interesting fact about Gaiman:

Neil famously had said that the way he writes a book is he makes himself extremely bored. And, if he’s bored enough, a book’s gonna come out, because he needs to entertain himself!

This is brought up in the context of what Godin calls “conservation of Fear” and the “cognitive load.” Basically, he’s talking about why he doesn’t use Twitter because, although it would offer some extra hits of engagement with his readers, it would take up mental energy that would be better spent writing his blog. If this were to happen, he wouldn’t be abled to get bored enough to do what really matters to him!

I wanted to bring this up because yesterday, I was feeling quite bored. But instead of catching myself, I started binge-watching the show Breaking Bad. This is something I occasionally do when I am feeling Resistance and don’t want to own up to it. Today, I am getting back on track, but I still feel a pang of regret for having wasted my time and mental energy.

Being an impresario requires a lot of self-awareness, yes. But more than that, it requires the courage to Act. The hardest thing for me to do last night was pick up the pen and write, or sit down at my piano and start to play, and I failed the test (and now I am punishing myself by posting a public confession for all to see). The good news is that these occasions are actually our friends, because they show us when it’s time to Act, when it’s time to get down to business – to “get better at the things we want to get better at”, as Godin puts it.

This, for me, anyway, an Impresario in the embryonic stages, may be the first step. The step is two-fold: recognizing my Resistance (when I’m bored, can’t sleep, etc.), and taking a definite Action to overcome it. Although I love Breaking Bad, I’ve seen it before (well, except the final season, which I am not-so-secretly itching to get my hands on), and know for sure that it’s not exactly going to help me become a better Impresario.

The Impresario’s time is precious and he must be very wise with it. Neil Gaiman allows himself to get bored because he knows that he will sit down at his word processor and start writing.

What “techniques” do you use to get your own creative juices flowing? I’d like to hear about them. Just send me an email: piersonkeatingmusic@gmail.com. And thanks for reading.

Oh, and here’s the episode of the podcast I’ve been citing in this post and also the previous one.

Daily Blogging: Dream or Discipline?

I’ve been thinking a lot about the term “impresario,” and what that means in today’s culture of web 2.0, social media, and hyper-connectivity. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, an “impresario” originally meant, simply, someone who organizes, and sometimes funds, operas. The guy who really took that term and brought it back into popular consciousness is Seth Godin, known widely as the most popular marketing guru, well, of this century (so far). Mr. Godin is one of my favorite authors and fountains of wisdom, and I derive a lot of my attitudes and ideologies from him. (His book Tribes is a must read.)

In any event, I was driving along, really feeling quite bored, as I tend to do on long drives, and decided to search for “seth godin impresarios” on YouTube. The first result that came up was an episode of Tim Ferriss’ podcast, where he interviews Mr. Godin. Of course, I ate it up. I am sure that a series of re-listens will be in order for this one, but the biggest thing I got out of it was actually Seth’s dedication to daily blogging, and his view that anyone with a blog should be similarly dedicated. Seth’s words:

Everyone should blog, even if it’s not under their own name, every single day. If you are in public, making predictions and noticing things, your life gets better, because you find a discipline that can’t help but benefit you.

This got my wheels going a bit – huh? Every single day? C’mon, Seth, do you actually see that as attainable? I mean, obviously, it’s attainable for you, but what about the rest of us? But then I realized: Wait a second! What if, just what if, I were to actually start blogging every day?

The power of this question was, and is, seductive to me. I love to write, and I love to blog. I believe in blogging because it provides a forum where someone who’s “making predictions and noticing things” can bring his ideas into consciousness – without having to publish an entire book. Of course, we can still write books, but why hold off?

Things like “Thirty Day Challenges” rarely work for me. One of the ironic dilemmas I face as someone who really believes in the act of blogging is that I may not always be in line, twenty-four hours later, with the values, or the desires, or the convictions, I put my forth in any given blog post. This being the case, I will simply ask the question,

“Boy, how cool would it be if I were to write a blog post every day?”

Why would I write a blog post every day? How would such a practice serve me? More importantly, how would it serve you, the reader? These are all questions worth asking. After all, doing anything every day is a Big Life Decision – actually, it’s a decision that has to be made repeatedly, every twenty-four hours. In Stephen Pressfield’s War of Art, he unceasingly drives home the conviction that the true artist, or, “professional,” shows up “seven days a week.” This is the central tenet of Seth Godin’s Impresario. Godin talks about the Impresario as being the next, higher level from the Entrepreneur because the Impresario really is an Artist at heart – somebody who’s not afraid to put himself and his ideas out there, day after day.

Probably the biggest reason I’m inspired to start blogging daily is because I have so many ideas about this Impresario and what he or she could mean for the world. For me personally, Artistry extends so far beyond just the Art, and this has becoming increasingly obvious to me in recent years. Blogging daily would, for me, be a way to consolidate my ideas, in a much more organized, trackable, chronological way. It would allow me to explore even further the implications of the Impresario, and to allow such explorations to be made public, so readers like you could follow the trajectory and offer outside experience. And it would, hopefully, offer value to the growing litany of resources and conversations about the Impresario.

The subject of Impresarios is so breathtakingly huge and has so many implications in virtually every area of modern life, that I feel a responsibility to explore it in some capacity. Blogging about it every day could be just one way to start to explore this New World. But do I have it in me to be a Daily Blogger? I guess we’ll see tomorrow.

If any of my emotionally-charged musings provoke a desire to interact with me, the best way to do that is to send an email to piersonkeatingmusic@gmail.com. Thanks for reading!