Discover more from Act Two
22. You are not lucky, you are good
The good news is I am starting to create again.
Not quickly or obsessively or particularly passionately.
Whatever it is, I am creating stuff again and liking it.
Is it good stuff I am creating? Life changing? Impactful?
I do not yet know.
It feels in some way like I am a beginner again.
It feels like Day 1.
I also think I am gradually falling in love with my work again, with the process of creation. With the edit, the interview, and the nervousness that comes just right before each one. I am finding it all again.
Amidst all of this, there is a sentiment.
A distinct feeling that reads as an attempt to find my way back.
There is still a struggle I cannot deny. I struggle to string these feelings together in a way that they become consistent. A struggle to string the moments and efforts together in a way that brings me satisfaction. I am almost obsessing over it - and that is at least a little bit encouraging. I have always liked to think of myself as someone with the superpower of obsession. That I could stay on an idea, lost in the dark forest, until I saw a satisfying end to it. I think this type of obsession is the friend of creativity. It used to be my friend.
Used to be.
In finding my way back, that is one thing I am also trying to find- the obsessive drive to take a rough idea to a place where it provides a satisfying release. To a place where I let that idea go - usually into the world to meet other people and to provide them with a feeling. A feeling that I now know is some sort of antidote to loneliness.
I spent the past three months thinking about purpose, looking for it and finding it in things I had said to myself in the past.
”My job is to lead people to moments of vulnerability because that is where empathy is strongest… to lead people to moments of conflict because that’s where learning is most likely to happen”
And finding it in things people have said to me.
“Your work makes me feel less alone”
I have a purpose, this is not my problem. This is not why I have been unable to work.
I lack something else. Obsession maybe?
Incase you are new here: My name is Mo Isu. I am an audio producer based in Lagos, Nigeria. I am currently attempting to build a career in audio journalism. I have taught myself most things I know so far. You are reading issue 22 of my newsletter detailing this segment of my journey. Read the about page for more
Less about obsession, more about being good
I immediately liked it as an idea because I felt like it did two things.
1. Provided Assurance
There is a small assurance present in the sentence ‘you are not lucky, you are good.’
It is a little reminder that you are in the place you are not because you are lucky; you are here because you earned this place. It would have been a timely thing for me to have heard at different points last year. Perhaps it’s a timely thing for you to hear right now.
You earned your place, you are not lucky, you are good.
I love to make this argument for Tems, the rock star Oscar and Grammy-nominated musician who only 4 years ago was barely known and had released only one song.
Someone made a tweet a while ago that I don’t remember verbatim but goes something along the lines of.
Tems is the representation of when grace meets preparedness.
To emphasise, she could not have been more prepared for any of the opportunities that have found her. She was so well placed at every single moment.
What you see on the outside is what she has achieved but to achieve that, she has had to be good enough. She’s not lucky.
2. It’s an instruction
My desktop background reads ‘be so good they can’t ignore you’. Every time I switch on my laptop, it instructs me to remember what I need to be = Good.
On Tuesday last week, I was on a call with two people at the company where I currently clock in daily and we were preparing for a pre-interview with someone. We were mapping out our questions.
We wrote one question we wanted to ask him and then I said.
‘What kind of answers are we expecting him to give us? I want us to anticipate where this line of conversation might go so we can be ready for it.’
As I said it, I remembered this instruction and I remembered the episode of Out on the wire with this title. This had essentially been the message of that episode. You don’t wait to be lucky, you go out and you make your luck by being good.
Looking for a story? A good story? Anticipate it and then find it.
It’s luck when it happens to rain the day you go out with an umbrella. It’s not luck if you checked the weather forecast that morning.
The future of me, the newsletter and my anxiety
Yes, I am looking to become obsessed with my work. A positive obsession. I am looking to do things that I do not need to motivate myself to do.
This year, I am moving back into the freelance market. I will be honest with you, I don’t yet have a plan for that except to pitch and pitch.
Some parts of me are worried about this decision. I am taking on more adult responsibilities so perhaps this is not the time to be letting go of stability. Alas, letting go I shall. At least for a little while. A part of me believes it will help me.
I think this choice is necessary. I haven’t been excited enough about what I am making for a while. I need to be more excited and I think this will get me some of that excitement, although it will also bring a lot of fear.
That’s what’s coming to me in the immediate future.,
To the newsletter, I will be bringing some more dynamism.
The way these issues currently happen involves a lot of waiting. Things need to happen in my life before I write about them and so I often spend a lot of time waiting - the newsletter spends a lot of time waiting. Perhaps you spend a lot of time waiting.
The process of writing any issue takes maybe 6 ish weeks from the time when I first create a draft and start dropping little nuggets and ideas into it. The actual sitting down to craft a draft takes maybe 90 minutes but I wait a while for the idea to be formed in my head.
In some way, it’s like I am waiting for luck. Which goes against the spirit of today’s issue.
This waiting is why there is often so much time between issues in the newsletter. I want to change that.
I have been thinking that having access to so many people’s inboxes means I have a responsibility to take the newsletter more seriously. I should care that you have given me your attention and I should more actively seek ways to positively use that attention.
In this light, I am bringing some new ideas and styles to the newsletter. I will not always wait for my life to make narrative sense before I write to you. I will let my curiosity, obsession and taste lead me to other ideas that you will hopefully also enjoy.
Sometimes I will perform interviews. I will not publish interview pieces- that is not the format I want for this newsletter. I will talk to people and I will write stories about people and I will hopefully, continue to say things that feel like lessons.
With this change will hopefully come more regular issues of the newsletter. I hope you will stay with me and I hope I will not stop sounding genuine to you.
I am nervous about bringing these changes to the newsletter and so if you have the time and the investment in what I write, please write back to me and tell me what you think about this. I would appreciate the reassurance.
Thank you for reading to the end.
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3 cups of coffee were drunk during the making of this essay. You can help me write my next issue by buying me a cup of coffee