What does better mean? It used to mean, “meets spec.” It used to mean, “more reliable.” It used to mean that you successfully complied, created something scarce and could profit from it. Today better means more connected. Something we would miss if it were gone. In the connection economy, better means more human, more vulnerable, the thing that embraces the tension of works/might not work. We can always do better. Sometimes people ask why they should create or contribute if they’re not going to get paid for it. They hesitate to write a novel if no publisher will pay them for it, and they sneer at the mere amateur who does what he does for love, not for money. We’ve commercialized all the things that used to be passions. You’re supposed to get paid to be a sculptor or a golfer, a writer or an impresario, the creator of projects. And if we’re getting paid for these intellectual pursuits, then we’re taught we ought to treat them the way workers in the industrialized world have been trained to treat their jobs with disdain, with an awareness that we ought to do less for more. What a shame, what a foolish way to dishonor our humanity. Instead, just for a moment, imagine what would happen if we decided to and create and connect merely because we love it. It turns out that acting as if we love it creates the environment where that might actually happen. What does the market say? It’s pretty easy to focus on the story that the market tells us about our work. The story of criticism or rejection or even success More important, I think, is the story we tell ourselves. A story of mattering, of resilience, of daring to take a turn. Sure, the external story matters, mostly because it has an impact on the story we tell ourselves. But the narrative belongs to you, and it’s up to you to create and live a story that works. Write until you are not afraid to write Perhaps you will always be afraid. How about this: write until you are able to write words you are proud enough to share. Don’t hesitate. Don’t decide the words aren’t good enough yet. Write. Then write more. After that, after you’ve written and written, then you get to decide. And if it’s not good enough to share, write again. Isaac Asimov got up every morning at down and wrote until noon. Every day. He published 400 books in his lifetime, by showing up on a regular basis. His best work surprised him, every time.