Theresa O’Connor

Get Excited and Make Things

It's absolutely true. There's all these people sitting around, and if you read these blogs and the comments, it's like—I got so many nasty notes from "fans" about how I wasn't feeding their need for more tips. I'm grateful that people like what I do, but I'm also becoming increasingly confrontational with people who go, "I can't wait 'til this new thing comes out!" Whether that's an Apple tablet or a new release of a text editor or whatever. I increasingly will say to them, "What are you unable to make today with what you've got?" Or, put differently, "What's the best thing you [made] last year that you're really proud of and how will this help you do that again?"

You're absolutely right. You're gonna die. You're gonna die. And nobody's gonna care which version of the iPhone you used to make something on Twitter, or to go and post about your bowel movement on Facebook. And I'm not even talking about legacy; I'm talking about the fact that I personally feel most alive when I'm making something, and I feel least alive when I'm being led around by some obnoxious use of my attention that I wasn't aware of. To me, that's the thing. You can buy the jogging shoes and you can buy the Runner's World, but until you put them on and walk out the door every day, you're just a fat man.

There's no amount of information that's going to take the place of putting on the shoes and starting to move a little bit. And you're not really doing Tae Kwan Do unless you're kicking people. Reading all the sex manuals in the world is not going to do anything unless you're touching genitals. Otherwise, you're just reading. But it's painful. People get mad when you say that, because we derive a lot of our self-esteem and satisfaction out of these things that we choose to consume. I'm not even talking about Pepsi. I'm talking about blogs, and I'm talking about Facebook. I'm talking about MySpace and what widgets you put where. We form our identity through all these alliances we build, and for a lot of people to say to them, "Well, what are you making as a result of that?", what they're making is a different version of their personality every day. That's fine as long as that's what they want to do, but when you're 60, are you going to be happy that that's where your youth went?

Merlin Mann