Making the Most of the Final 30 Days of the Year
Why your creative work deserves to be shipped and how to finish what you've started
Cold trail run outside Park City last weekend - wintry!
Jono here. And I couldn’t resist a chance to say “Happy December!”
We are accelerating toward the New Year’s countdown with a gravity befitting of a moon. (Or wait, the moon pulls tides and creates enormous waves but on its surface gravity feels low. What?)
Last weekend I snuck in a few ski turns at a resort in Utah. This weekend I’m hunkered down at home swhile the weatherman predicts two feet of snow in the mountains.
My creative energies are gushing, so I wanted to share some inspiration.
Your creative work deserves to be shipped
I didn’t expect to enjoy the book Big Magic: Creative Living Without Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. But the author of the enormously successful Eat, Pray, Love surprised me with a unique perspective on creative work and not being too precious about it.
In her first years as a writer Elizabeth received rejection after rejection. She would parade the responses like birthday cards before turning around and submitting her story to the next publication.
When she finally landed her big fish, an opportunity to publish a 10-page story in Esquire, she felt the relief of success. But then she got a call that an automobile ad was pulled and she either needed to cut 30% or shelve it until the next publication.
Instead of rolling the dice on a future issue, Gilbert cut like something that already felt perfectly trimmed, finding a new voice and writing style she didn’t know she was capable of.
For Elizabeth Gilbert done is better than perfect and once you release something it means you can move on to the next thing. Most people don’t finish things. Learn from the process and bring that to your next creation.
She kept other jobs while writing on the side, from farmhand in Wyoming to waiting tables, all the way up through her best-selling memoir.
Gilbert says she would still be waiting tables and writing in her spare time if lightning hadn’t struck with her book’s success. For her, creativity flows much better when you aren’t trying to strangle an income out of it.
She explains that even Herman Melville wrote a letter lamenting that needed a larger chunk of time to write but he couldn’t carve out the space for it. Well, ultimately he published one of literature’s most famous books, Moby Dick, so clearly he managed alright.
And John Updike says that some of your favorite books have been written in one hour chunks. Even fifteen minute blocks of focus can yield remarkable results.
You can get the compressed version of this inspiration by just watching her TED talk.
Worthy & Remarkable
In case you were looking for a way to add more style to your winter, Snowfeet ski skates appear both ludicrous and merrymaking ($61k raised)
This ChatGPT-enabled Audio Dock raises $500k on Kickstarter
Here’s a short climbing video to make your palms sweaty — Will Anglin sends "Variant" V14 at Lincoln Lake
Two Italian climbers make an attempt on the Fitz Roy traverse in Patagonia with inspiring footage (but unforgiving weather)
One Thing from Me
There’s nothing like an arbitrary deadline to help me get projects out the door. I’ve finished things like a self-driving whale robot or handmade downhill skis with the push of Next Year looming large.
One little note keeps coming to mind as I channel enthusiasm on the final stretch of twenty twenty three. I revised the number in Joseph Awuah-Darko’s post on Instagram (from Nov 1) to reflect today’s date:
There are 31 days left in the year.
Finish what you started.
You got this. You really do.”
What tiny idea or creative endeavor have you been waiting to finish?