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The Song is Done

A Conversation with Roanna Flowers and Jason Molin

“Jason is not only a talented songwriter and musician (and great person), he’s also the inspiration behind my starting a blog in the first place. So I asked my favorite local musician and creative person to talk with me about creative blocks.”

When I started the interview series on for Improv Wins, I really wanted it to be a conversation with creative people — not just improvisers or actors, but writers, teachers, musicians, and other entrepreneurs and explorers — to talk about their process and to understand improvisation from different points of view.I started out with seven questions to lead and frame the conversation. It was good — and my first interviewees (Taylor Overstreet and Michele Campbell) were wonderful and interesting and fun and I loved hearing their stories. But the idea of the framing questions just didn’t hold up after two rounds. I knew I wanted to change my approach, and I knew that I wanted my third interview to be with another creative in Austin. And that I wanted to talk to a musician or songwriter. I know. Austin. Songwriter/musician.

How was I ever going to make that happen?!

I didn’t have to think about my next interviewee too hard. In fact, took less than a second. I wanted to talk to my friend (and I’m honored to have the pleasure of calling him that), Jason Molin.


Jason is not only a talented songwriter and musician (and great person), he’s also the inspiration behind my starting a blog in the first place. So I asked my favorite local musician and creative person to talk with me about creative blocks.

Where Are We:

In transit on The University of Texas at Austin campus, somewhere near a Starbucks. I am sipping on a skinny vanilla latte (per my usual). It is a sunny day in February.

Roanna: Your post, This Song Is Done, really inspired me, Jason, and it got me thinking about creative blocks and how to get out of them if you’re in them. Sometimes it’s just writing a song called This Song Is Done! Or script, or scene, or whatever. I’d like to talk about that theme and just see where it goes.

Jason: That’s a great theme. I’d love to talk about that. Let me just say at the outset that my point of view has been informed by reading Seth Godin. Particularly his books Linchpin and The Icarus Deception. This is a theme that he talks about a lot. You have to ship your product. You have to practice your art, but you have to have a deadline and ship it. It’s not art unless you connect with people. What you do in your basement is great, but it’s not art until it creates some sort of reaction, connection, meaning, and the more you do this — the more that you fail, the more that you learn, the more that you connect, the more gifts you give — the better you get. It’s a cycle of try something, put it out there, repeat. I’m a resolution junkie; so New Year’s is always my favorite holiday. And also my birthday for the same reason…

Roanna: Yes! It’s like a national Set Your Intention Day to me.

Jason: Exactly. I’m always focusing on the future and it’s a great opportunity for me to think about turning over a new leaf. Another piece in the puzzle for me was another book called The Power of Habit, which is on the New York Times Best Sellers list. It’s a great book about personal habits, group habits, cultural habits… at every level. So New Year’s Eve came around and I wanted to be as wise as possible about how many resolutions I made. I tried to only make one, one that I could stick to. And as always, I started out too ambitious. I now know, because we’re now three weeks into the new year. But my resolution was to write a song a week. It was actually to finish a song a week, which is very, very difficult.


Roanna: I have on my list: 1) starting, 2) slugging through (“ass + chair = whatever”), 3) FINISHING. Sometimes when I’m writing — I’ll be a few chapters in and I’ll think: “Man, I am sick of this project.” It is real easy to stop. I have developed a really bad habit of not going Rocky on the novel. So my big thing is slugging through. And finishing.


Jason: Finishing is the hardest part. It involves putting it out there in the world and saying, “Look, I did this.” You know this, I know this: anyone who has ever tried to be an artist long enough, especially a writer, people want to know how do you do it, what’s your routine, do you get up in the morning and spend four hours doing it, what? But the theme that always runs through every successful artist’s routine is they just put the time in. It is ass + chair = art.

Roanna: I learned that phrase from Tom Booker, who was my improv instructor at The Institution Theater here in Austin. He tells the story about the guy who wrote Urinetown (Greg Kotis) whose motto was ass + chair = script. That’s the formula. Kotis also said: “When you’re stuck, make the worst decision possible.” That’s how he got Urinetown. Whenever he found himself at a crossroads or stuck, he made the worst decision possible, and that freed him up to keep moving.

Jason: Lower the bar! You can always walk over.

Roanna: Exactly. Fix it in post. So from my two years of improv training and sketch writing those were my two biggest takeaways.

Jason: I love that. I hadn’t heard that but there is a verse in This Song Is Done: “This song is for all my artists who don’t know the muse will sing. If you just get up and practice, finish one goddamned thing.”

Roanna: I guess that’s why it really just jumped out at me. It was just so much about what I was thinking.

Jason: It ends up saying: “Show up and do your worst.” But I love even better, when you don’t know what to do just make the worst decision. Fail quickly. Get it over with!

Roanna: And that was something that resonated with me in improv training: there is no wrong decision. Keep moving. Momentum. Momentum is everything. Inertia is a killer. A pause can be turned into something, but there has to be momentum. You have to move eventually! So I’ve been trying to apply that to my writing. Sometimes I do well at it, sometimes I don’t. Time management is certainly a part of it. Can you speak to that? You’re trying to do something every day, every week. So, let me now ask: what ARE your habits?

Jason: I started out the year…ok, here’s how it went. I decided that I was going to turn myself from a night owl to a morning person…

Roanna: Ok, I need this transition…

Jason: Spoiler alert: it didn’t work.

Roanna: Dammit!

Jason: I decided I have to do music every day. Ass + chair = art. There’s this great quote by Chuck Close: “Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us show up and work.”

Roanna: Very popular quote on Twitter. [Insert Irony]

Jason: That really hit me between the eyes. Starting out, and certainly when I was younger, it was all about waiting for inspiration. And of course there would be long, long stretches where you’re waiting for the muse to sing to you and it’s just so ass-backwards. And so amateur. I love having some distance on this and being able to say: I’m not an amateur anymore; I’m someone who does the work. So I said I would finish a song a week, which made me look at my habits and why I was not doing it. Some of it was the practicing and the letting go, for it not to be done done and to be okay with that so I can move on. Another part of it was time management. I’m a night owl. I have a busy day job and a family. I would get to, say, ten o’clock every night and that was supposed to be the time where I would turn everything else off, tune everything else out, and work on my music business. And it just wasn’t happening. Mostly it was because it was the end of the day. I was tired. It was hard to focus. I really wanted to veg, watch silly videos, check Facebook, go through email, and then the life administrative stuff like pay bills. But I had to make it happen. I had to make sure I was in bed by eleven (not midnight), so I could get up by 6:00 or 6:30. I started doing that and it did tip things in the right direction. I did start establishing a rhythm. I would get up at six, do a faux meditation — sitting still and clearing my head — and then launch into some creative stuff. Playing chords, writing things down, fill a page, etc. And it was very easy once I made time for it. Like you, I’ve written a million scraps, I’ve started a thousand things, I have all these little sound files on my phone, lots of ideas. I did get some momentum. That was a great habit to establish. I have to do a little bit of art every day, or I can’t keep up the lie that I’m an artist, I get depressed about it — being an artist is my identity — and I feel like a fraud. So I made the choice to get up every morning and work on a song. Luckily, my schedule righted itself. The habit of focusing allowed me to cut out the BS. And then because of the attention to that goal of writing a song per week, I started to cut stuff loose. I said no to projects. Once I cleared the space, I was able to clear everything off, work for that hour at 10:00. If things get unbalanced again, then I will have to get up in the morning and do it. As soon as you’re not able to work it into your daily routine, then you have to do it first thing so you ensure it happens.

Roanna: I took a look at my daily routine and started to give some thought to when I felt most creative. It was like 9:00am – 2:00pm. So if I could go to work at 7:00 and work until 9:00, then leave work and from 10:00 – 2:00 to write, and then come BACK to work from 2:00 until 8:00, that would work the best for me.

Jason: Wow, I haven’t thought about that kind of schedule. Have you tried that?

Roanna: I don’t know that my job would allow me to do that. It’s the middle of the day. Folks expect stuff.

Jason: You might be able to start a modified version, where you came in an hour early, left an hour early for lunch.

Roanna: I already have a flex schedule, where I have every other Friday off. So far, that day just gets filled with personal appointments, visits to family. That gimme time needs to become ass + chair = writing time. I’m working on that.

Jason: One thing I learned from the habit book — it’s very anecdotal but it brings in a lot of research — is that you can’t get rid of habits but you can replace them. There is a trigger-habit-reward cycle, and you can’t just not do a habit. The triggers are still happening, you still want the reward, but you can replace the routine with a different routine. And you can’t just figure out what your triggers are — they’re not always apparent. There is a whole chapter on AA in that book. The success of AA is that it replaces the habit of drinking with the habit of AA. You get all of the other stuff you got out of drinking (social, catharsis, etc.) with AA. It takes a lot of experimenting and trying things to find out what your triggers are and to replace your habit or routine. That is great permission not to have to get it right. Keep hacking at it.

Roanna: I’m trying to think of it like life hacking. I tried to get up at 5:00am, and there’s just no way. I don’t have consciousness at 5:00am, let alone any creativity. I’ve tried this with both exercise and writing. I have a daily habit of working out, and I make myself do it. If I screw around and I look up and it’s 11:00 and I haven’t worked out? I work out. It has to happen. If I do it later, then it’s not going to feel as good and I’m not going to be able to go to bed on time. But that’s both sort of a reward and a punishment. You waited! Now look what you have to do: kickboxing at midnight. And now you gotta do it tired. What I need to do — and I’ve had some success at it but I need to push on it — is at 8:00pm – 9:30pm …if I can focus in on that time for the writing, before I’m too tired… and then stop at 9:30 with still time to workout, I can get to bed by 11:00. Like you, I’m a night owl. If I’m not careful, I could stay up until 2:00am, and my next day is fried. I still have to go to work and I actually have to think about what I’m doing…

Jason: Yeah, you’ve just sabotaged your routine. There’s a Seinfeld bit about Morning Guy, Night Guy. Have you heard that? About how Night Guy is always screwing Morning Guy over and there’s nothing he can do about it? That’s what was happening to me. Every night. I feared sleep like death. I gotta hold onto life!

Roanna: I have some of the same impulses. I just started paying attention to my creative circadian rhythm and noticed that between 10:00am and 2:00pm I could focus and just felt at a creative peak. I don’t want to work – I want to CREATE during that time. I was taking time for a while to work on my novel at lunch. What I found was that I have to have about a five-minute time where I transition my way of thinking and being back to where I normally exist. What I have to do to myself to work my day job is to flip myself in a completely different space. I discovered that I would have a great hour of writing and being creative, but had a very difficult time getting back into my work. It was hard to flip back from where I’d rather be.

Jason: It’s such an important switch to be able to flip but it’s so hard. I can see how doing it in the middle of the day would be a challenge.

Roanna: Unless you could have a two- to four-hour window in the middle of the day. If you could work, say, from 6:00 – 10:00 in the morning and then have break, carve out that middle time where it’s easy to shut off the world… I mean, nothing good is on from 10:00 – 2:00, so TV wouldn’t be a distraction…it’s also daylight, you can be outside! I would like to experiment with that to see if it would work. I have no idea if my employer is ready to be that open-minded.

Jason: That brings up other things I learned from working on campus was in order to survive a day job as an artist, especially a state day job, you have to have a switch that you can flip and leave the place behind.


Roanna: I learned that skill a long time ago. And I’ve talked to some of my co-workers about it. When I leave my job, I do not think about it. It is a different life. It’s like Sliders, only with better dialog.

Jason: That’s very difficult to do. You have to have something else in your life, to do, in order to really replace that. This Song Is Done came out of the resolution to finish a song every week. It was right around New Years. And I was so high on the idea that I was going to start finishing songs. Ok, so first song was This Song Is Done, it’s already finished! I haven’t even started it but it’s done! All it takes to finish is to have no standards whatsoever. The hard part about being creative and finishing things in particular is turning off the editor while you’re creating.

[I'm going to repeat this because it's terribly significant: ALL IT TAKES TO FINISH IS TO HAVE NO STANDARDS WHATSOEVER. Turn off your editor.]

Roanna: And turning off the editor is really hard to do.

Jason: I said: we’re going to lower this bar so far down. I just started typing: I don’t care if it’s good, I don’t care if it makes any sense, I don’t have the time for fancy rhymes, it’s gotta be fast, I’m cranking out the lines, if I turn it in on time, it’s fine. THE SONG IS DONE. And it was such a victory cry. And it turns out that the second two verses were cool because they were about artists and perfectionism. Here’s my confession: the next week I started a new song called Change Myself that started out with my mantra of I’m not going to change anyone but myself, more along the lines of recovery from addiction to bad habits. And I got a great chorus and wrote out lots of verses. I wasn’t really happy with any of the verses. I get to the end of the week and was struggling with finishing it. I wasn’t happy with it but it was time to turn the page. And then the next week, it happened again. I picked out an idea from my notes bin about no more shitty gigs. I’m not going to set myself up to play a shitty gig again. Just say no! No more shitty gigs. Make a good, interesting event. Same thing happened; I got a chorus, a bunch of verses, 60-80% there, but not finished. And it was the start of another week. And I’m not done again! And I should say; earlier I mentioned recovery. I started going to Al-Anon during that period and it was really helping me, at least with this, to be easier on myself, forgiving of myself, and not so black-and-white about my failure. To be flexible, and to try to take care of myself and do what makes me happy. I was so caught up in things I thought I had to do for people. And also from that Power of Habit book, which says the same thing but in more clinical terms — with experimentation, you’re not going to get it right at first. So I just said to myself that it’s okay to adjust the resolution. So from Al-Anon I got — and it’s Cliché 101 – it’s the journey not the destination. You don’t have to finish a song every week, but you do have to do the daily practice of spending at least 30 minutes working on a song, and that’s the success. You do have to practice finishing, so I’m trying to not let myself off that hook. But you don’t want to sabotage yourself in the attempt. You don’t want to be the guy who falls down all the time on Sesame Street! Remember that guy?

Roanna: Yes! Myself, I really try to aim to be more Grover. That’s my motto for 2013: More Grover. I want at least 30% more Grover in my life.

Jason: That’s great! Yes! More Grover.

Roanna: My resolution really focused on just being in a loving space. And by that I do mean forgiving, but also being open. And love for me is creativity, it is me expressing myself – to other people, with other people, helping other people, whatever, it’s all the same expression. And to take time to sit with that and feel that.

Jason: And I think what you’re doing well with your resolution, and something I didn’t do and am having to adjust, was you gave yourself a direction to go in and not with a lock-step.

Roanna: Not to be meta, but I was trying to be meta this year. I feel much better about thinking about things in a big picture sort of way. It’s where I’m most comfortable. When I get down in the weeds …man, for me it’s just hard. I’ve learned how to do it. But it’s work. The Rocky Fight nature, when you’re in the middle and you’re stuck. Learning how to punch through that even when 1) you’re not having a good time or 2) you’re not sure what the pay-off is going to be is hard. And I’m having to work on that, make myself fight through that moment, put on my gloves, and yell: “Adrian!” I want to be able to finish that with: “Yo, Adrian — I DID IT!” I will say that the improv classes have helped me identify just how strong my editorial brain had become and how to start to turn it off. And it’s hard to turn it off.

Jason: And it can be a way of life, and I know people who live that sort of life. Constantly criticizing other people. What I had to do was be a little flexible with the idea of being finished or what finished meant. So I got a little creative with the second week. I got a great chorus, it’s kind of a mantra. I could develop this into a song later, but for now it’s a mantra. I recorded that, and I posted it. For me, that was done enough. If I can share it, then that’s finished — I finished something. And the week after that, with No More Shitty Gigs, I had posted a bit of the chorus. And some musicians chimed in and shared their experiences of shitty gigs. One was: Oh yeah, I played a petting zoo one time! Playing under a wall of TVs? That’s the worst. So I got the idea: I can’t finish this on my own. I need to send this to my musician friends and let THEM help me finish it. Again, being flexible with yourself and allowing creative ways of finishing.

Roanna: And it’s a great way to start a conversation about that and to move the idea ahead. In our sketch writing classes, we went through a process of What Ifs, which focuses on ideas instead of criticism. When I started working on my latest script, the one that I’m finishing the second draft of tonight, I kicked it out to a few folks from my sketch writing class and asked them to What If it. They gave me some stuff — some of which I will use and some I won’t. But opening it up to that is helpful. Where I struggle is on novel writing. It’s hard to get folks to What If a novel, because they’re not privy to the other stuff still in my head or how I’m seeing it, and it’s a long-term project.

Jason: Right. Can you read these 300 pages…

Roanna: Right! Or even if it’s just the first 30 pages, it’s difficult. So I struggle with that. For me, writing a novel is just going to have to be a daily grind. I’ve tried it other ways, and it just isn’t working. It needs to be every day. It doesn’t have to be NaNoWriMo crazy, but it has to be every day. NaNoWriMo SO didn’t work for me. Way too competitive for that. Falling behind isn’t an option! Yeah, not my scene.


Jason: The equivalent for me was planning big gigs. Writing a song is something I can do in a relatively short amount of time. But planning a big gig, or any event like that, has so many working parts, so many dependencies from band members to event logistics. I hit a wall with that last week. It ended up being good that I failed as quickly as I did because I was pinning all my hopes on playing a gig in the park near my house. Well, it’s a public park so I had to go to the neighborhood committee and ask for a letter of sponsorship, to then go to the Parks Department for a permit, and there were all of these gatekeepers who I realized while going through this were all cranks. And the whole system was built on NOT letting people do these things because they’re afraid. I get it. But after I realized that it was going to take a lot of coalition building to happen, it freed me up to say: but I can just go do a guerilla gig on Lamar Street bridge, etc. And what I’m going to do around UT is I’m just going to play a lunch-time gig and not ask permission. Just show up some place and play, tell folks you’re going to be there, and if you get shut down after three songs then you got to play three songs and you try someplace new the next time. If you’re flexible and forgiving of yourself, you will find creative ways of redefining what success means. Keep practicing starting, keep practicing finishing. That’s how you build momentum. So we’re six weeks into the new year! I do feel like I’ve strayed a bit too far from my original goal, or maybe I haven’t redefined it enough to be as helpful to myself. But! I have the momentum going in the right direction. I’m not reaching for the goal as a reminder to do something or looking for something to do because I’m busy doing. I was so often in a disappointed-with-myself-failing-at-this mindset. Being there, you fall prey to motivational life-hacks. But if you get in the flow of it, and you’re doing it, and you get good at starting and good at finishing, good at failing, good at recovering, then you really don’t need those motivational life-hacks as much as you thought you did. It becomes a self-fulfilling activity. You’re learning to love failing! You can always fail; that’s dependable.

Roanna: Exactly! Hell, that’s a given. I think that part of it, too, comes from the fact that I am driven. I have an A-student complex. To allow myself the ability to fall down and fail was difficult. I mean, I only sort of failed trigonometry (I got a D). So that was another valuable thing from improv: it’s ok to fail. Even though improv is a very expensive hobby — both in money and time — there is a lot of value I’ve gained from it that I have applied to my writing. So now I have to weigh do I take a class a month as a drop-in just to break down the things that I’ve built up in that month. In that way, almost like a gym. It’s like pilates for the soul, right?

Jason: Work your core!

Roanna: Feel the burn! I’ve been thinking about that and if I can do that. I don’t want to do full-on classes at this point, because it just takes too much time. And I’m behind where I want to be. And I’ve also been saying Yes to every possible opportunity. And I’m going to have to watch that, too. I have to learn that even though those opportunities are cool, I can’t take them all.

Jason: And that’s a sign of progress. When you’re not taking them, you have to practice seeing the opportunities so you can take them at a later time. Once you’re seeing them, you have to start filtering them or you’re spreading yourself too thin. And now we get to the last stage of where I am right now, which touches on time management and habit. The latest piece in the puzzle for me is something I found through Quora. It was a post about the best time management skills, or something to that effect. And a guy responded to that post, using a Star Wars metaphor:

Princess Leia has been captured and you have to make it through the Storm Troopers and rescue her. If you just concentrate on the Storm Troopers, you can take your eye off the fact that you have to make progress toward Princess Leia.

He had this phrase: systematically focus on importance while suppressing urgency. In my musical mind, I had to turn that into a mantra. I taped that on my monitor. I run that through my head. It is two parts: you have to constantly be focusing on the most important things — and this helps at work, too, when everything is urgent and you don’t have time to really do your job — and you have to remind yourself to focus on importance. That is your job. And create a mechanism for which and with which to suppress the urgency of every other little thing that comes in. Sometimes the most important thing is to write a song. Sometimes it’s planning for the next gig. That was enough for me to navigate that: the knowledge of what’s important and the permission to take all of the distractions and say “It is your job to ignore those other things.” It is your job to turn off the notifications on your fucking phone. It is your job to stop looking at your inbox, stop checking Facebook and/or Twitter long enough to pick a date and write out a set list, or write another verse for a song. That is really, really hard. Unsubscribe from everything you can. Turn off whatever digital notification device that is in your power to turn off. It started how I spent time with my daughter and I’m now applying it when spending my time with my music. Put your phone away. You do not have to have it with you. In fact, it’s a distraction machine. That’s my mantra right now.

Systematically focus on importance while suppressing urgency.

Build your whole system — your information capture, your process, your time during the day — to focus on what’s important and suppress what is distracting. Emergencies are everywhere. That doesn’t mean you have to jump. I think it is so easy, both given the amount of digital information not to mention all of the people in our lives, to get distracted. And this comes back to recovery. How do you expect to take care of all of those other people and you can’t take care of yourself? Who do you think you are? The most important way you have of helping is by doing the thing you were put on earth to do.

Roanna: There is power in saying No. There was a blog article by Tolly (Austin Eavesdropper) on the problem of being a Yes girl. So I started trying to be a No girl. And that is so hard! I’m like an experience slut. I want to do all of the things!

Jason: There’s a song in ‘Oklahoma’ — I’m just a girl who cain’t say no!

Roanna: Exactly! That’s my song! I’m learning to say No, or at least Not Right Now. And being okay with turning down some opportunities to let other opportunities come.


Jason: There’s another thing that Seth Godin says over and over again. We need you to do your thing. We need your art. If you’re not going to do it, who can? No one can do your art. We need you to do that. We do not need you to watch another YouTube video. We do not need you to rush to the aid of the drama queens in your life.

Roanna: And there are always plenty of those. One reason I did a clean slate gift to myself — and I called it a gift — was I realized in the summer that my relationship with Facebook was donuts and castor oil. I realized it was a consumption. What am I consuming? It was either kitten videos or angry-ass-opinions. There was little in between and there certainly wasn’t any learning. It wasn’t giving me anything. So on New Year’s Eve, at 11:00pm that night, I left. I didn’t go out with a bang, I didn’t tell many people other than some family and friends in private messages, and I left. I quit. I didn’t say I’d write. I didn’t say I’d call. I just disappeared. And it was glorious.

Jason: I want to hear more about that because I’m really struggling with that right now. How’s it going? How do you feel about it?

Roanna: It’s great. I felt my IQ jump about 30 points in a day.

Jason: It’s like the TV of the 21st Century…

Roanna: It’s worse than that. At least with TV, you had to have PBS. You have Grover with TV! There is NO Grover on Facebook. So I left. And felt immediately happier, immediately smarter, and I’m still on Twitter and I post about the same amount I’ve always posted on Twitter.

Jason: Man, RESPECT.

Roanna: At least with Twitter, there’s actual information. I’ve gotten more people supporting me on my art from London and India than I have from my own local folks. And they’re not selling anything. We’re talking about art, sharing our work. It’s not opinion; it’s information. It’s different. I’ve learned things and I’m super specific about who I follow. The difference was stunning.

Jason: I am really struggling with it. I have such a Facebook habit. And I also have ethical problems with Zuck. I don’t like getting fucked by Zuck.

Roanna: WORD. I have a lot of issues with Facebook.

Jason: At the same time, it’s such an effective promotion tool — especially for creating events and getting folks to come out and sharing things. I need a Facebook mantra. Only your art should be on there.

Roanna: And that’s the conclusion I have come to. I took a blogging 101 class recently with Lauren Modery (@Hipstercrite on Twitter). She is a freelance writer. She’s making money, writing for a living, blogging for a living. She’s awesome. She figured that out in her 20s. I did not. She said Facebook is a must. I wrestle with it because, well, I don’t like Facebook. I don’t like what they stand for, I don’t like their philosophy, their business…

Jason: If it’s killing your creativity, if it’s the bad habit undermining good habits, then what good is it as a promotion tool?

Roanna: What I think I would have to do is, if I go back I would go back as a page for this blog. And that’s all the interaction I would have. All that you would see is Twitter feed or blog posts, and that’s it. No personal page. I would have personal interaction with folks who visited it, but I wouldn’t maintain a personal identity. It would be the voice of the blog, period. I haven’t figured out how to do that yet, and I’m not coming back until I do.

Jason: Power to you. You have totally challenged me. I did a little talk to some AmeriCorps Vista volunteers and asked for a show of hands for who wasn’t on Facebook. Only one person. I just said: respect, more power to you, I’m not there yet.

Roanna: This has been so helpful, Jason. I have three or four books to read! I have to look at life-hacking my schedule. This has been awesome.

Jason: Thank you. I really appreciate it. Seth Godin is the man. I’ll just say his latest (Icarus) is the best one to start with because it’s just so focused on the message of practicing your art. Be bold. You gotta do your art and you gotta give it away. And that’s what starts everything. We need you to do your art! I need YOU to do your art.

Roanna: And I need YOU to do yours.

For more information about Jason Molin and his work, visit his site at You can also follow him on Twitter @jasonmolin.

[Update: I did return to Facebook -- very reluctantly -- in March 2013 after a glorious three-month break. My URL was already in use, so I rejoined with a personal site. I'm constantly on the edge of quitting. One of you needs to develop a better system to keep up with friends across country. My Portlanders, I am there only for you, kids. Only for you.]

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