Steve Jobs famously said that “real artists ship.” That phrase has really stuck with me over the last few years as I have put some of my work into the public. It is easy to hide behind an idea; it’s harder to actually put something into the world.
A few years ago I decided to write a novel during National Novel Writing Month. I had not written more than a blog post or an outline to a sermon since writing college papers. Even at the height of college work, there were only a few papers that added up to more than 10 pages. So, why did I decide that I should write a book in a month? Well, mainly to just see if I could.
I felt like if I could write 50,000 words in a month, then anything was possible. And, to my own personal shock, I actually did it. I wrote a work of fiction called A Moment In Time that was all about the ways that technology could shape our future and our past. I had a great time writing the book and it gave me a huge confidence boost. I shared the work with a handful of friends for feedback and several have asked for more content in the storyline.
Last year, I wrote a 30-day devotional build around the book of Proverbs. I took highlights from a chapter of Proverbs a day and put them into a small book. Then, I decided to put the book out in the world. I created an account with Kindle Direct Publishing and put my book into the world. It was surreal to hold my words in my hand. Now people from anywhere in the world can buy my book, either in paperback or for their Kindle device. It’s also free to read if you have Kindle Unlimited. If you want take a month and read the devotional, you can search for 30 Days of Wisdom: A Proverbs Devotional on the Kindle store.
Why did I publish the book? Well, because I kept thinking about that Steve Jobs quote and I decided to put my work out in the world. It’s easy to hold ideas inside where they are safe and free from criticism. Taking the plunge and putting those words into the void is... scary. Putting your content out in the world is a leap of faith. I did not make a huge deal about the book, but there have still been some orders and people are reading that writing on their own time. It’s honestly kind of weird to consider that I have words that are printed and documented that could live on without electricity. I have put thousands and thousands of words on the internet, but this was the first time that I have a work that lives in the physical world.
That same idea is why I am sharing these posts right now. It’s being sent to a blog site online where I can’t even see how many people read my words. There are no stats on this site, there is nothing other than text. BUT, it’s in the world. It is documented and shipped and these ideas don’t just live in my head. I’m writing for the benefit of others in a secondary kind of way (I do hope that what I write brings some kind of encouragement or provokes thought) because the primary reason for typing these words is to get them out of my head and “shipped” online.
When I let go of one set of ideas, I am allowing that part of my mind to form new ideas. So, I guess I’m putting out my worst work into the world so better work can come. I’m battling that fear inside that says “you’re not that good” by making the routine of writing the goal. I’m shipping something now so I can do greater work in the future.