Yup, once again, welcome to my latest post for #JCarn. #JCarn

The Carnival of Journalism is a loose collection of journalism thinkers (and people like me) who get together to post on their blogs with their reflections on a given prompt.

This month I had the opportunity to host and asked folks to write themselves a letter. As it’s the end of the year, it felt like the right time to look inward. Plus we spend so much time looking outside of ourselves at the industry/government/tech trends/government that self-reflection becomes that icky no-no that we seldom tackle.

I know it’s scary, but come’on, let’s do this thing! Why? Because YOLO?


“Write a letter to your younger self.”


Dear Me,

I’m writing to you from 2013, a little wiser, a little slower and probably still confused about why more people don’t do the right thing, but don’t let that stop you from trying. We’ve always been stubborn.

I’m packing for a trip to India right now as I write this– don’t worry, you’re not married and yup, you’ll eventually leave California and actually get to fly in a plane– it’s been a wild couple of days. The last 10 or so years have also been pretty crazy. I don’t want to spoil it, but just keep saying yes to new things and it’ll be a fun ride.

So I only have a short amount of time and I wanted to talk to you about something that will hold you back as you grow up. Don’t be so humble. I know that sounds crazy, but trust me, it’s not the American way and it will hold you back.

I know mom always tells you that it’s bad to toot your own horn, and she’s right, but this is America and those old world ideas of hard work without the expectation of praise or recognition do not fit in here. I know you’ll want to reject this idea and find it un-agreeable with your palette, believe me I’m a little conflicted writing to right now, but it’s a cold hard fact.

Especially as a photojournalist in a field that is shrinking (oh yeah, you change majors from Architecture and you’ll learn more about this later, but the media landscape is ransacked by corporate bean counters and jobs become scarce. But don’t worry, you will enjoy the ride)

Mom tells us not to beat our own drum, to let others recognize our efforts, but the problem is you have to promote yourself and make opportunities happen. Think about it, if no one knows you’re doing great work, then how will they ever give you more work to keep you doing more great work? And it is possible to beat your own drum, just beat it softly, enough to let others know that you are in the room.

It’s the middle ground between the humble and the self-absorbed, watch this video from one of the most awesome movies ever made, it’ll make sense:

The whole idea of finding that happy medium must keep others mixed up as well; in fact we have a concept called a humble brag in the future that’s used everyday on Twitter (it’s an online service that’s like a text message that you send out to the public and post online). Once can deduct that it comes from people who want to brag about what they’re doing, but also don’t want to be labeled as people who grab. It’s the catch-22 of the new century (oh, by the way, not flying cars or hover boards yet).

So let others see your work, put yourself out there, and if you want to, it’s okay to tell people what you’ve been up to and why your work matters.

Also, a note of rejection

You  are going to see a lot of it. There’s no way around it so just embrace it. As an adult I learned that it’s okay to fail, in fact failing is a good thing, it means progress and it also means you’re trying things that aren’t completely comfortable. So you know those sketchbooks you keep with ideas for comics, short stories, t-shirts, film scripts, drawing and pictures? Don’t hide those ideas, just try them and see what happens, you might be surprised to learn what comes of them.



One more thing

Also, in the future, little loops of images called Gifs become very popular. There will be a debate over if they’re called “jifs” like the peanut butter or “gifs” with a hard g like in graphic. This debate is stupid, but it gives me an excuse to post this zebra. Enjoy!