The 5000th post*

I’ve done this longer than any professional project I can remember, and I still consider it a joy and a privilege. I write and edit every word myself, and always have. This is me, unvarnished.

Thank you for letting me write this blog for you, and thank you for being along for the ride.

Showing up daily isn’t my challenge–it’s learning to live with the fact that I can’t say everything I want in a single post, that the trade-off of reaching people easily is that you can also lose people easily. It’s a journey, for both of us, and I’m thrilled to be taking it with you.

Here’s how I was thinking about this 3,650 days ago. And a few posts about the arc of my blog.

You can find a ton of favorites, including videos, here.

I asked my colleague, Bernadette Jiwa to nominate five other posts that have really stood out over the years:

Five years from now…

Ode: How to tell a great story

Make something happen

I spread your idea because…

Reject the tyranny of being picked: pick yourself

My biggest surprise? That more people aren’t doing this. Not just every college professor (particularly those in the humanities and business), but everyone hoping to shape opinions or spread ideas. Entrepreneurs. Senior VPs. People who work in non-profits. Frustrated poets and unknown musicians… Don’t do it because it’s your job, do it because you can.

The selfishness of the industrial age (scarcity being the thing we built demand upon, and the short-term exchange of value being the measurement) has led many people to question the value of giving away content, daily, for a decade or more. And yet… I’ve never once met a successful blogger who questioned the personal value of what she did.

For me, the privilege is sharing what I notice, without the pressure of having to nail it every time… I treasure the ability to say, “this might not work.”

While it’s tempting to swing for the fences and hit a grand slam, particularly on post 5,000, I’m going to resist, as I try to resist every day. Drip, drip, drip.

Are you soaked yet?

PS There are two inexpensive collections of my best blog posts, which some readers find a good way to catch up.

They’re not instantly searchable, but neither do they require an internet connection.

PPS My email box is now officially broken, and I’m just no longer going to be able to answer all of my incoming email. This is the curse of asymmetry, and I apologize for not being able to keep up.

*If every one of my posts was a dollar bill and you stacked them in
bundles, they’d be about 24 inches tall. Hmmm. Let me try to be more hyperbolic… That’s a post for every
floor in the Empire State Building. Fifty times.

You should buy the book

Mitch Joel is a generous and perceptive blogger. Well worth the daily read. He has a new book. You should buy it.

David Meerman Scott writes an essential blog, daily. His book is a classic. You should buy it.

Tom Asacker writes a very thoughtful blog about marketing. Worth the read. He has a new book. You should buy it, too.

Every day, Mark Frauenfelder and Corey Doctorow blog tons of goodness at Boingboing. They each have books. You should buy them and share them.

Bernadette Jiwa’s blog keeps getting better and better and you are probably already reading it. She has a new book on the way. You can guess what you should do.

There are authors and actors who only show up when they have something to sell, who hit the road to briefly entertain us, pitch us and then leave. If you love their work, then by all means, buy it! But the frequent blogger is here for another reason. He or she has something to share and is relentlessly showing up to teach and lead and connect.

If you want that to happen more, if you’re getting something out of it, buy the book.

[I actually hesitated to write, “should,” because it puts books into the same category as classical music and supporting NPR. No one says you “should” buy comic books or go to action films…

Buying books is actually scary for many people, so they make up excuses about not having enough time or money. The reason that books are frightening is that they might make us feel stupid, or we might get a lousy one or we might end up feeling like a failure for not finishing it. This is pretty common, actually.

I think buying books from consistent bloggers is a little different, though. First, you’re probably not going to be disappointed with what you get. Second, it’s almost always their best work, because it doesn’t feel as ephemeral as a blog post to the writer or reader–it’s a far more focused and direct shot to your neocortex. And third, most important, because it’s a very concrete form of encouragement (not just for the writer! but for the reader too), one that will selfishly make it likely you get more blogging from the very people you’d like to hear from more often as well as reminding you, the reader, that you’re worth the effort and investment.

Plus, when you’re done reading, it’s a generous act to share one.]