Once you’ve read a little of Seth Godin, you feel like anything new he writes is something you could have written. There are just two problems:
- You didn’t write it
- You’re not Seth Godin
Here’s my latest “I’m not Seth Godin so all I can do is comment” thought on his recent post “Workaholics“:
In high school, I had to write a lot of essays (thanks, Dr Yarborough. No really, I don’t remember much I learned in high school but I’m a good writer because of all those stupid essays about iconoclasm and stuff). They started us small with 500 words and worked up to where we wrote one or two 1,500 word essays a week. It was like torture. I hated it. 1,500 words seemed like was writing the entire Encyclopedia Britannica! When we had our final Extended Essay that had to be 4,000 words, I thought I was going to die. (I didn’t.)
Fast forward a decade or so and now I’m writing for fun on the internet. And now I find out that I can’t write under 1,000 words to save my life. Even this post, which was supposed to be one sentence tacked onto the end of another post, is quickly growing. My last post, which was supposed to be a simple response to some comments, weighed in at about 1,400 words and I wrote it in under an hour (including rewriting one part that got lost in a WordPress accident). What’s the difference? I enjoy the heck out of what I’m writing about!!! I’ve had thoughts like these swirling around inside me with no one to say them to. Let’s face it, you’d have a hard time having that Lisp past/present/future conversation at most university CS departments, let alone at most workplaces. Now that I realized that the internet gives me an easy way to express all these thoughts, and that people will actually listen and respond, it’s exhilirating! I feel like my hands (and wakefulness) are the limiting factor, not my mind. I have so much I want to say that I have to try to limit myself to under 2,000 words one each topic just so I can write more of them. Granted, no one has offered to pay me a living wage to do this, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
Seth Godin’s right. Just because the stuff that makes you happy looks like the stuff other people do for work, doesn’t mean it’s work to you.