Bringing the blog back, making good art
I used to blog a lot.
Okay, that is probably (definitely and objectively) not true. I did not blog “a lot.” I did not blog “well.” But when I did blog… oh boy did I have fun. I ran this little WordPress site and got a whole 50(ish) visitors per post, which translated into a whole 200–250 views per month. I was a kind of a big deal, is what I’m saying.
…I don’t know how to now say that that was sarcasm without a) sounding like a pretentious joke-explainer or b) no, yeah, pretty much just the first part applies here. LET IT BE KNOWN THAT ON THIS DAY I DID DOTH JOKETH. DON’T TAKE IT SERIOUSLY, GEEZ.
So, for this reason or that reason, life happened and I stopped blogging even semi-regularly. What was originally a once-a-week thing became a once-a-month thing, then every two months, then three, and so on. I fell off entirely, to the point that I took down the blog itself and rerouted the domain to social media. I didn’t much see the point in continuing; nobody was reading it, anyway.
A few months later (a few weeks ago), I re-watched one of my favorite videos of all time: Neil Gaiman’s 2012 commencement speech at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA. If you haven’t seen it, you owe it to yourself to watch it in full (especially if you’re a creative-type); if you have seen it, you probably already know which part stuck out to me. Near the ending of the speech, he says:
… the old rules are crumbling, and nobody knows what the new rules are. So make up your own rules.
Someone asked me recently how to do something she thought was going to be difficult, in this case recording an audio book, and I suggested she pretend that she was someone who could do it. Not pretend to do it, but pretend she was someone who could. She put up a notice to this effect on the studio wall, and she said it helped.
So be wise, because the world needs more wisdom. And if you cannot be wise, pretend to be someone who is wise and then just behave like they would.
And now go, and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here. Make good art.
Watching this video and hearing those words again forced me, as it always does, to reflect on my decision to stop blogging. Why did I really stop? Was it because I “didn’t have the time,” because “life happened,” or was it because maybe, just maybe, my head was in the wrong place when I started blogging in the very first place? Did I start blogging because I wanted to write — to make good art — or because I wanted to get noticed?
There is nothing wrong with wanting to be noticed — or, at least, I hope there isn’t, because I still want to be published; I still want to be invited to talk at places that Neil Gaiman is invited to talk at. But wanting to be noticed is not the best reason to start writing, and it is definitely not the best reason to start writing online. This is, after all, the internet we’re talking about: itty bitty retention rates are a thing, man.
Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here. Make good art.
Break rules. Make good art.
Blogging might not be the type of art that Gaiman was thinking about when he said those words. But that’s okay. The point of my blog was never to make good art, it was to just write. A creative writing teacher of mine once told me that one should write every day, not to come up with something beautiful everyday, but to come up with shit every day. Then, every now and again, one can wade through it all — through all the shit — and find the beauty.
The point is not to make beautiful things just happen, but to make a bunch of shit happen and then carve the beauty into it.
Break rules. Make good art.
I’m bringing the blog back.
For those of you that have made it this far, thank you. I’m going to take advantage of your shocking amount of patience and kindness for just another minute and briefly introduce myself.
My name is Jordan Makant. I am a college junior studying things that very likely won’t get me a job. That is largely okay with me. I write — I have always written — because I have wanted to be published. I am not yet published. That is (surprisingly) largely okay with me. I’m learning, both in general and about myself and who I am as a writer. Over the past few months, I’ve stopped writing because I want to get published and started writing out of some combination of habit and need and love or hate.
In order to encourage my writing addiction, I will be writing posts about creativity, life, music, film, and other artsy-fartsy wordy things here (plus some rants, I’m betting), as well as regularly submitting my poetry and fiction to journals and magazines.
I want to be more creative. I want to follow my dreams. I want to make good art. This is step one. I’m looking forward to moving on to step two (consistent production of good content); I’d love to have you join me.
See you on the next post.