Did you know about Brain Pickings? I’m almost positive that you did. It’s actually pretty astonishing and inspiring. Back in 2010, Flipboard interviewed Maria Popova, its sole creator, after awarding it Favorite Feed 2010. Popova calls herself a “curiosity guide” and I don’t think there’s ever been a more enchanting or apt title. What started as a newsletter emailed every Friday to co-workers evolved into a highly personalized and public collection of cross-disciplinary points of interest. This is, in my opinion, where its strengths lie, and what I find so inspiring about it.
Popova told Flipbook two years ago that the “founding principle remains the same – the belief that our creativity is merely our ability to combine different pieces of knowledge, memory, ideas, inspiration and other bits from our mental reservoir into remarkable new thoughts, new ideas, new creations.”
As I read her eloquent responses to Flipbook’s piercing questions, I found myself falling into a rhythmic pattern of head-nodding and brow-raising. Until now, every tip, snippet and article I’ve ever read about blogging has been a horrifying rerun of the same advice: Write to a niche audience about a narrow subject field. This was a hard pill to swallow, because I find myself gravitating to so many different things, seemingly without rhyme or reason. I love baking and finding recipes online. I love photography and reading tips from experienced photographers across various different specialities. I love embracing a television fandom by viewing reappropriated tumblr graphics. If I’m reading about all of these topics, why can’t I comment on or respond to them? Why can’t I present a muddled collection of varying different topics to someone and have them respond positively? Why is this so frowned upon? No, I won’t be seen as an expert. But who cares? I never would have been anyway, even if I did pick a topic and decide to memorize others’ words and research, and invest all my time in it. It won’t fulfil me. Keeping myself interested in everything (or seemingly everything) does, and will. Instead of fighting against this knowledge, I’m choosing to embrace it.
1) The 99% Article: “Why Flat Organizations Don’t Create Leaders”
I’m one pay-check in to my new, big-girl job. Though that moment couldn’t have come soon enough for my wallet, it also meant opportunity for the endless research and advice I’ve been gathering the past few months. It was only recently that I discovered (and fell in love with) The 99 Percent. Its daily dose of productivity and business savvy, catered specifically to creative types working within creative industries, is a refreshing format. Though I don’t work in a “creative industry” (by which I mean I’m not working for an ad agency or graphic design firm) I am working on projects, specifically project management, all day every day. Articles like this are seemingly written for the folks that create and manage an organization, rather than the cogs that make it run. That being said, The 99 Percent will be the first to shout from the rooftops that it’s you, the reader, that can take on this advice. If that means you’re unemployed or just starting out, you’re able to take these lessons to heart. New ways of thinking can be found anywhere within an organization. Having the chance to read about the ways in which many businesses are running means I can maximize my reality. According to the sources, this is how things are done, compared to how they used to be run. In between the lines, I get to decide how I’ll save these topics for a rainy day when I’m king of the castle, and how I’ll try to make these tips and tricks my present.
For many of the same reasons above, I’ve found myself watching this video over and over. Career analyst Dan Pink’s TED Talks audio is brought to life by the folks at RSAnimate. If you’re not a boss or manager today, who’s to say you can’t start preparing to be one?
Last summer I stumbled across Annie Manning’s stunning lifestyle photography completely by accident. It was one of those days where you just click through every link you see, not really sure where you came from, and not really caring to keep track. Pain The Moon is her whimsical photography business, focused around portraits of young children and their doting families. A mother of two, she completely captured my eye with her photos and my mind with her Mommy Blog. Her family is her life, and she is one of those people who are willing to lay all the cards on the table in order to find solutions. She embraces the online community for its positive powers of support. Though this means her entire life is on display, it’s an empowering and heart-warming message from someone I deeply respect and admire. Manning is the administrator of a year-long weekly photography challenge, called Let’s Do 52. It’s a refreshing take on the onerous Project 365, a challenge I have often attempted but never completed. I’ve already submitted an entry for Week 1. I’m currently trying to figure out how to tackle Week 2’s theme, and suggest you do the same!
When asked about her curating style, and what it meant to be a social curator, Popova replied, “I like looking for patterns across different disciplines, different formats, different time periods – I think patterns are fundamental to the human brain and to how we make sense of the world.” I don’t know what patterns I’ll be finding throughout this curator project I’ve tasked myself with, but I’ve always found the most interesting experiences are the ones with a sense of wonder.