Square Peg, Round Hole: Avoid The Box

I love podcasts. I use them for a variety of purposes. Sometimes they are used to entertain, and sometimes they are used to educate. But the best is when these two purposes intersect and that is how I often feel about The Nerdist Podcast. For those not familiar, Chris Hardwick is an American born actor (sort of), tv host (occasionally) and stand up comedian (professionally) but over the past few years he has become particularly well known as the founder of the Nerdist network, a network that seemingly knows no bounds. His focus seems to be “if you want to make something, make something”. He is a believer that the current landscape of media and internet allows for anyone to produce anything they want. I’vactore always loved this concept because I think it is indicative of the entrepreneurial spirit that I think is so important in todays culture and economy.

Never have I found this to be more prevalent than in the Demetri Martin episode of The Nerdist Podcast, which can be found here. For those who are unfamiliar with Martin (we probably can’t be friends) he is an actor, writer, comedian, singer, artist, illustrator…zzzzz… sorry, I must have dozed off. I’m not bored of Demetri Martin, but I am astounded at the sheer number of titles he commands. And he specifically talks about this in the episode. I’m going to paraphrase, so I hope I get it relatively close;

“Sooner or later, people are going to try to put you in a box. My goal is to create for myself the weirdest, most oddly shaped huge box so that when they do, it won’t matter”

It is, to me, an inspiring thought. His point is that he has kept himself so erratic, so fluid that the masses are unable to limit him through labels and boxes. I urge you to live like Demetri Martin. Maybe not exactly like Demetri Martin but try to get as close as possible. Especially in your writing. An overarching theme is important but do not ever limit yourself to one small corner of the written world. When I write, the topics range from children to startups to writing to fonts to sports with frequent and varied stops in between. There is an overarching theme (I’m not going to tell you what it is, you’ll have to look for yourself) but I do not limit myself too closely as I believe that you’re simply building a cage for yourself.

In one of my previous posts I recommended that you write whatever you want to write and let your audience come to you. This advice goes hand in hand with that. Write about what you know but don’t always limit yourself to writing about ONE aspect of yourself. We are all universes of interests and knowledge and it would be a shame to share only one or two of those stars with the world. Be a square peg in a round hole. Don’t let anyone tell you who you are.

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