Burn It With Fire

I have a habit of breaking things.

Really, it’s more like burning them in effigy when I get tired of doing them.

I’m trying to be better about this because I realize now that I’m not the only one invested in the things I create and share.

When I killed off all things Fresh Rag, a lot of people were disenfranchised, understandably so. I essentially poured a 5-gallon tank of gasoline on the pile, dropped the match, and walked away. It was not pretty.

Ok, that might be a bit over-dramatic, but there were many who just couldn’t wrap their heads around the idea of me bailing on what was an essential aspect of their lives, whether it was the newsletter, the blog, or the podcast.

Killing it was selfish on my part, and I understand that now, but I also understand that I had to do it in order for me to fully appreciate what Fresh Rag stood for.

The Redux

One of the things I was doing with the Fresh Rag newsletter was weekly shares of things I found interesting. Let’s be real, I was straight-up stealing the idea from Austin Kleon, but if you know Austin, then you know he practically dared me to do it (read the book).

Long story short, I want to bring that idea back here, for a couple reasons. First, I like the idea of sharing creative projects, ideas, and links to neat things that you may not find on your own.

Second, I’m feeling a need to write more these days, but not 100% sure how that’s going to manifest itself, but the only way I know how to get there is to write about things and keep writing until something really special comes about. Keeping the wheels greased is a great way to find momentum.

So here we go…

10 Creative Things You Need in Your Life (working title)

These are presented in no particular order and mostly came to me at random. Also, many of these things I’ve talked about recently on the podcast (in fact, it will be the sole content for the upcoming episode), but I figured this would be a good time to get them all together in a list that you can use to your advantage.

  • PODCAST: Creative Pep Talk, Episodes 192-194 - In this mini-series, Andy J. Miller talks about using creative “side quests” as a way to build up your work, as well as your creative clout within your community. Some really great ideas were generated from these episodes, including this newsletter update.
  • BOOK: Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain - This book is now nearly two decades old, but the Bourdain’s insight on the world doesn’t just relate to restaurants and kitchens, but to many things in all our lives. I’m sad it took me this long to read this book, but I cannot recommend it enough. I also recommend the audiobook version, just to hear Anthony's voice one more time (RIP).
  • TOOL: Uniball Signo Bold 1mm - I’m very particular about which pens I use, because I don’t just see them as a utility, but an instrument which can help me craft notes, but also make interesting work. The Uniball Signo Bold is my go-to pen for all my doodling, and you’ll often see it present in my artworks. I wrote the bullet points for this newsletter with a Signo on a coffee shop napkin.
  • BOOK: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k, Mark Manson - If you have read this one already, congrats. If you haven’t, I believe this will go down as one of the most important books of our generation. Before you judge, this isn’t about giving a middle-finger to all the things, but more importantly, understanding why it is we care so much about certain things that really shouldn’t matter to us and knowing which things deserve our attention more.
  • INSTAGRAM: @AshworthChris - Growing up as a young artist and designer, I found most of my inspiration in the pages of music magazines like Rolling Stone, SPIN, and Raygun. David Carson was a hero (even if he is a bit of an asshat to people), but after he left Raygun, an outstanding art director took his place; Chris Ashworth. I stumbled across him on Instagram recently, and his account has become one of my most favorite ever.
  • RESOURCE: Unsplash - This site has been around for a while, but I’ve only started using it more recently. The truth is, I couldn’t have done some of my recent design projects without it. Free, high-quality stock photography with no obligation for its use? Yes, please! (ps - don’t be a jerk about it. Give credit where it’s due whenever possible.)
  • NEWSLETTER: Austin Kleon - Yes, his email newsletter is basically a list of things just like this, but his list is different and filled with great things that might also enrich your life, as I hope to do. You never know which sparks will start a fire, so why not get all the sparks you can. Subscribe to Austin’s newsletter.
  • INSTAGRAM: @madebystudioJQ - Jonathan Quintin is a dynamo, who creates new design projects daily, on a level I’ve rarely seen anywhere else. He puts out daily poster designs, while sharing his process, and creating multitudes of social media content in the process. He’s a wonder to behold.
  • BOOK: So Good They Can’t Ignore You, Cal Newport - That part at the top, where I said I regret that I burned down all the things, but I respect the lesson it taught me? My presence of mind to make that realization came courtesy of what I learned from this book.
  • RANDOM: Hunter Fans - There’s not much creative about a ceiling fan, but we recently had one installed in our main room, where I spend much of my working time. It’s been remarkably hotter and more humid in our area this summer, but much more bearable because of the new fan in our home, so thank you, Hunter.

That’s it; your weekly dose of creative awesome. Future versions of this will be shorter because I won’t go on the initial, exploratory diatribe at the beginning. Hope you enjoyed that list. We’ll see you next time.