Your audience and you

Image: Radek Grzybowski

Whenever things get foggy for me — like, for example, when I start to question my existence and stuff — I can almost always trace it back to one thing… Self-centeredness.

I find myself thinking thoughts like: What the hell do I want to do next? Am I going in the right direction? Does anyone even care about my work? Look at all these other cool things I could be doing. How cool would it be to write for the Onion and be a humor writer? How cool would it be to start writing fiction? I love the ads in the J. Peterman catalog — how cool would it be to write for them? Am I living a life that my 13-year old self would be proud of? How about my dad — would he be proud of me? Or my mom? Would they think I’m doing the right thing? Probably not. What time is it? I should just check Instagram again and see how happy my favorite online people look... Oh, The Rock. Maybe I could start working out and be like him. How awesome would that be?

I’m joking. Ok, no I’m not. This is the tunnel of fun my mind goes down sometimes. Notice who the center of the above drama is?…

Yep… Me. It’s all about me, me, me.

I know better than this. And when I catch myself, I realize that I need to flip it… Who am I looking to serve with my work? Who, on the other end of the internet, am I looking to set on fire with my words? What change am I looking to impart on the world?

This feels better to me. It’s more productive. It gets me moving rather than sitting in a pool of self-conscious anxiety.

So, I played with it this morning. And it turned out pretty good. It’s a work in progress, but I wanted to share what I have so far with you…

I want to open up the internet every day and see people. Real people. Not just listicles and clickbait… But people.

I write for the person who’s trying to make a creative living while enjoying their craft and living a conscious, meaningful life.

I want to live in a world with better fathers.

I want to hang out with more spiritual, (but not superstitious) people. I enjoy being around those who are incredibly self-aware and who find the world around them undyingly interesting.

I want to live in a world with people who realize that life can be kinda shitty, but who laugh, love, and live fully in the face of it.

I want people to write, not because they want to be writers, but because they realize they ARE writers by birthright.

This is the world, and the people, I write to inspire.

What’s funny is, if I invert this message, I see the change I want to make in myself (yep, always has to go back to me, doesn’t it?). Let’s see how it looks as a manifesto to myself…

I want to show my human side to people. My humanity.

I want to make a creative living while enjoying my craft and living a conscious, meaningful life.

I want to be a better father.

I want to be more spiritual, (but not superstitious). I want to be more self-aware and see the world around me as being undyingly interesting.

Even though life can be shitty, I want to laugh, love, and live fully in the face of it.

I want to write, not because I want to be a writer, but because I’m a writer by birthright.

This is the me that I write to inspire.

Now, I’ll take this one step further (thanks, Barbara, for reminding me to do this) and take out the ‘want’ part to turn this thing into a power-tool of an affirmation:

I show my human side to people. My humanity.

I make a creative living while enjoying my craft and living a conscious, meaningful life.

I am a good father.

I am spiritual, (but not superstitious). I am self-aware and see the world around me as being undyingly interesting.

Even though life can be shitty, I laugh, love, and live fully in the face of it.

I write, not because I want to be a writer, but because I’m a writer by birthright.

Pretty trippy, isn’t it? Try it yourself. Make a statement to the world. Take yourself completely out of it. Then invert it.

It never ceases to amaze me how ‘out there’ and ‘in here’ are the same damn thing.


More bits and bops from Jonas Ellison