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Day 06/02/2014

{ rethinkers …* unite } Jesse Thorn’s Make Your Thing Manifesto & Conference

Make Your Thing is a conference for independent creators October 17th-19th in Los Angeles.

Make Your Thing will help you navigate the future of small-scale independent creation with speakers, exhibitions, and the Make Your Thing Bazaar, along with other exclusive entertainment. Whether you’re a creative person just starting out or a seasoned veteran, you can come to Make Your Thing to meet other like-minded people, share stories, and be inspired. Hear how some of the best & brightest have made their own way. Learn from and connect with your creative peers. Join us!

The Make Your Thing conference was inspired by Jesse Thorn‘s lovely Transom Make Your Thing Manifesto. If you don’t have time to get through the whole piece just yet, here are some highlights:

{ S T A R T  N O W }

You will never accomplish anything unless you start making stuff now.

Plans are great, but making stuff is how you build an audience, get better, and most importantly, get closer to making a living.

Most important, though, was that she started. She actually made stuff, regularly. Not just a one-off thing. She started, refined, got better, and made more of what made sense to make more of.

{  M A K E   A   D E A D L I N E  }

You can’t afford to be too precious about your work. Caring is important, but preciousness is the opposite of making stuff. There is no room on the internet for Special Snowflakes who want to procrastinate all day and then drink themselves to sleep and dream about their unwritten novel. To build an audience, you have to be consistently good and often surprising.

{  K E E P   Y O U R   L E G S   M O V I N G  }

The essential lesson seems to be that there is no such thing as an insurmountable adversity. When you have children to feed, you have to find a way to feed them.

{ D O N ‘ T   C O N F U S E   M E D I U M   &  C O N T E N T  } 

 in the digital world, it pays to be medium-agnostic.

Rather than defining yourself by the medium you create, define yourself by what you offer to your audience.

{ B E  A U T H E N T I C } 

 

{ F O L L O W   Y O U R    P A S S I O N } 

 

{ F O C U S   O N   G R E A T   W O R K  } 

Sometimes not doing something shitty is the only way to do something good.

{ C O N N E C T   W I T H   P E O P L E   Y O U   L I K E  }

You don’t have to have an agenda. When you find someone whose work you like, tell them. When you meet someone you think is interesting, meet them again. The internet is built on community and conversation. That is expected. Engage that back-and-forth. Offer someone a hand, and expect nothing in return. Do something cool with someone you think is cool because the thing will end up cool. You never know what you might end up with.

{ O W N   W H A T   Y O U   C R E A T E } 

Ultimately, when you own your work, you are always building equity. When you work for hire, you’re building equity for someone else.

{ F I N D   T H E   M O N E Y } 

One of the odd things about the new way of doing business is that the money doesn’t always come where you expect it. Blog advertising might not pan out, but speaker’s fees do. Your notoriety as a podcaster might get you a gig as a television host (it happened to me). One of my best friends owes his entire career not to the iPhone app he created, but to the video he made to promote the iPhone app he created. If you keep your eyes open and do great work, you can find places to make money.

{  B U I L D   A   C O M M U N I T Y  } 

No matter what you make, it will become part of someone’s identity, and if you can help them share that identity with others, that identity will become a community. And connecting with other people is the most important thing we can do. It’s where babies come from! People will gladly pay you for that service.

{ D O   A   G O O D   J O B } 

I don’t really think that most of what you need is born into you, though. Mostly, you just need to care, and try. You need to make something, and then make it again, a little better. You need to look around for money. You need to reach your hand out to meet someone when it would be easier to keep to yourself. You need to make something for you when it would be easier just do what someone else tells you to. All of these things are hard, but none of them require anything more than gumption. Which I bet you have.

So: make your thing.

Source: Jesse Thorn: Make Your Thing Manifesto via Transom.org, published April 11, 2012.

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