090: Recap (IX)

Season Two Sep 13, 2021

630 days ago, I made a promise:

To make 100 things.
And share them publicly.
Via the internet.


The rules were simple:

  • Create something (anything!)
  • Hit "publish" once a week
  • Repeat, for ~two years



I'm ten weeks away from hitting this goal.


This recap covers some lessons learned, and three themes:

  • Cadence and consistency
  • Audience and scale
  • Motivations



Cadence and Consistency

Why 100 things? Why weekly?

On some level, it was arbitrary.
I liked the idea of triple digits.

I also wanted a time-bound structure.
A forcing function.

A framework to counterbalance my perfectionism and procrastination.



By first prioritizing quantity and consistency, the hope was that I'd eventually step back and identify the patterns and themes later. Diverge, converge etc.


Recently, a More To That post got me thinking:


It made me wonder:
Am I making "content"?

I hope not...
🤦‍♂️

What rhythm makes the most sense?

The more I think about it, the more a weekly publishing schedule seems arbitrary.

I expect this newsletter cadence to evolve.

How exactly?
I'm not sure.



Audience and scale

Each week, ~100 people visit TheFireJar.com.
This number has remained fairly flat over time.

When it comes to publishing on the internet, this scale somehow feels small, embarrassing, and insignificant. The business part of my brain whispers: Shouldn't growth charts always go up and to the right?

Dec 2019 - Aug 2021

By comparison: If I produced a live weekly show and ~100 friends showed up at a theater to attend, I would be ecstatic 🙌.

In-person, this is a huge amount of support.
On the internet, it feels like "failure".

Weird, right?

What's the difference...?


Hypothesis: Overnight success stories and the buzz around the creator economy have warped my expectations and perspective. The whole "monetize your hobby" trend has produced unrealistic comparisons, strange incentives, and extra pressure.

The more I think about audience, "traffic", and scale, the worse I feel. When I focus on meaningful connections and conversations, instead, I feel gratitude and curiosity.


Still, a part of me wants to know:

"Do you like my drawings?"

Puppy Drawing
What did you think?


Motivations

When I launched The Fire Jar, I felt creatively blocked and stuck.

Early motivations:


Sage advice, tough to implement.



Over the past 90 weeks, the world has changed.

My motivations (and life) have changed, too.



Current motivations

I seek connection, learning, and dialogue.


The most rewarding part of sending a newsletter (for me) is getting your email responses. I learn a ton from the people who write back and share reactions.

In fact, my main KPI = # of quality 1:1 conversations / week.

Did publishing lead to a meaningful human interaction? Did I learn something new? Connect with a friend? Open a door to shared experience? If so, it was worth it.

Afterwards, the world feels a little bit smaller, kinder, more open etc.




As one friend explains:

In an opt-in world, where you devote your energy is a signal to others about what matters to you."


Going forward, I plan to explore the following themes:


These things matter to me. A lot.

I think they're actually connected.
I'm trying to figure out how.


Are you interested in these things too?

Maybe we can explore together.


jer@thefirejar.com




Ride along:








ICYMI

The last nine weeks:



081: Reader Mailbag (VIII)
Crowdsourced responses re: timeless knowledge.
082: Reader Mailbag (IX)
Crowdsourced responses re: movement.
083: Reader Mailbag (X)
Crowdsourced responses re: creative practice.
084: Sitting Without Furniture
Ten alternatives to sitting in chairs 🪑
085: Woodcut Prints
Hand-made art and reflections on family (guest post by Neige Christenson).
086: Setting Better Goals
How to anticipate hurdles, and develop your own systems.
087: Evergreen Skills (Takeaways)
A video response to Mailbag VIII. About timeless skills and knowledge.
88: Exercise + Movement (Takeaways)
Movement offers many physical, social, and emotional benefits.
089: Creative Practice (Takeaways)
There is great value to creative outlets and expression (a video response).






Filed under 📂

Meta - The Fire Jar
A ~quarterly reflection on process.