the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Paradigm Shift

I want you to read my post.

I want you to buy my book.

I want you to vote for me in a contest.

I want you to come to my seminar.

I want you to help my friend in need.

I want you to listen to my political beliefs.

But BEFORE you do any of these things, I want you to write something great. I want you to go outside and take some beautiful photographs.

Because I am touched and inspired by YOUR creativity. It is as important for me to partake of your work as it is knowing that you are spending time with mine. Your work feeds my soul and makes me a better person.


I was chatting with Schmutzie on IM. It was a typical IM conversation. I was bitching about Twitter, and how it felt like there were a hundred voices shouting at me to read, listen, or do something.

“So ignore them,” she said. “Your priority is your own work.”

Schmutzie has a passion for quality work. It is why she started Five Star Friday as an outlet for the best posts of the week.

I had another question for her.

“If I truly focused on quality work, I will have less time for everyone else in the community, including READING YOUR POSTS. Does that bother you?”

“Not at all. I respect those that focus on their own work. I’d rather you write something of quality that enhances MY life than having YOU read one of my so-so posts.”

In my nearly seven years of blogging, no one has ever said anything like this to me. It was so counter-intuitive to the economic marketplace that we have created for ourselves.

It was as if Quality was the God, and was bigger than both of us, and it didn’t matter which one of us connected to it, because it was to everyone’s benefit when it was reached.

Can you imagine someone coming onto to Twitter and typing, “Hey folks, my post today is a rush job, so instead of you spending too much time reading it, why don’t you go focus on making YOUR post as good as possible!”

I’m not sure Schmutzie meant to be inspirational, but it felt as if there was a paradigm shift inside my head about the artist’s life, like Gallileo’s first sensing that the the planet revolved around the sun, and not the Earth.

The power of CREATIVITY was our God, and it was available to all..

Don’t bother to comment today. Spend that time writing your own post. Or, if you do want to comment, tell me about a creative act that you plan to do today, even if it is just making lunch.


  1. schmutzie

    This post excites me, because this was a revelation for me, too, this seeing a creative community inside blogging and not just self-promotion, and someone else gets it, so it must be true 🙂

  2. Megan

    I completely agree, although you’ll see me promote my posts a couple of times a day. Because apparently no one’s coming to see my pictures!

    • Neil

      I didn’t do a great job explaining the conversation. Maybe she can do better. Schmutzie herself writes at several places and is a giant pimp of her material online. We have to promote our work. What interested me was her interest in the creativity of others. Most of our social media life is about pushing our stuff on others. We tend to forget that everyone is trying to connect to their creativity. There is very little of the nurturing creative spirit online, or the feeling of encouragement. It feels competitive.

      • Megan

        I don’t sense the competitiveness so much. Maybe I’m just not tuned in.

  3. Yuliya

    Well my question is this, why on earth do we all feel we have to put out mediocre posts just to get eyeballs on them and then spend time promoting them…wouldn’t it be better if we all just agreed to post less but post better?

  4. Chrisy

    Saw the title of your post on FB and it hooked me. Thumbs up, Like!, head nodding in agreement, etc. Had an email exchange with a blog friend this morning about our desire to share our innermost creative parts more freely and feel encouraged, safe and supported to do so. Regardless of our styles, comfort-levels with intimacy, I definitely feel bloggers need to be more encouraging and accepting (not competitive) of one another. Schumtzie is that person. I believe you are, too, Neil.

  5. Lizardek

    Bravo and thanks for the double inspiration

  6. Titanium

    This ones strikes a powerful, resonant chord with me. Thanks for writing this, for saying it out loud. I can comment freely on this one, because this is EXACTLY why I write. Always.

    Also, come on over for a visit. Who knows? You might get inspired to use that gym membership. Or something. 🙂

  7. Kim

    Yes, I understand. This is one reason I’m excited for Reverb11 to come back next month, both for the investment in the work of others and for the astonishing creativity. The community from Reverb is a significant part of what kept me blogging over the past year and encouraged me to write better posts. Sometimes those better posts are widely seen and other times they languish in obscurity. But at least I wrote them instead of not doing so.

    So much of what you called “the economic marketplace” has escaped me. As for twitter promotion… well, I filter people often.

    And now I will traipse off and creatively create a lobster bisque.

  8. Amie aka MammaLoves

    You know my feeling on this. I would much prefer quality over quantity. Unfortunately, from my perspective in this space for the past six years, quantity seems to be rewarded more than quality.

    So many posts that contribute nothing, start no conversation, provoke no thought and yet the readers keep coming back. I have no idea why, but I’ve found more and more bloggers lately who are committed to going back to the quality and it is with them that I will stay.

  9. magpie

    To twist what Schmutzie said a tiny bit – the reason I write is to enhance MY life. I love it when people read and comment, but I write for me. It’s a way of getting the clutter out of my head. I’m doing – forgive me – NaBloPoMo this year, and my comments are way down, but I don’t care – I’ve thoroughly enjoyed nearly every post I’ve written. Sure, there were a couple that were basically filler – gotta get in the one post a day! But that was just game-playing.

  10. Lindsey

    I loved this post. I am still very very new to the twitter game and it feels counter-intuitive to “promote” myself and yet I know it is kind of a necessary evil. But I liked reading this. It felt like I had permission to just get back to being creative, focusing on my writing which is really the point of all this anyway. I always take something away from your posts. Thanks, Neil!

  11. Sandi

    I like this. I’ve felt ambivalent about blogging lately. I’m not in this to make money so why am I doing it? Really, it felt like I was wasting everyone’s time until I remembered that I like it. I like doing it for myself, not worrying about how many hits (or really how few hits) I’m getting. Your prompting me to sign up for Instagram has inspired me to remember that I like creating so I will continue to write inconsistently and take pictures because I like doing it. Thank you Neil! And thank you Schmutzie too!

  12. sweetney

    Wise. Both of you.

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