Create something new in the world


Make something new and the world wins.

By Leo Babauta

Blogging and writing shouldn’t be just about talking about what you did today, or rambling about things in general — at least, not in my mind, not if it’s done well.

It should be about creating something new, giving birth to something of beauty, of inspiration, of joy, of wonder, of laughter, of wisdom.

Or at least, that’s what we should strive for, and in failing, we will have learned something and perhaps others will learn in our attempt as well.

I’d like to share with you, as an example, a couple of things I’ve created in the last two weeks:

Minimalism is something I’m passionate about, and I love reading things about minimalism — unfortunately, there isn’t much out there on the topic. So I decided to create it myself.

In a couple days, I created mnmlist.com, buying the domain, setting up WordPress, creating my own mininmalist WordPress theme (which is available free), and writing a bunch of posts. I launched the site on Twitter and then Zen Habits, and within a few days had a thousand subscribers.

In the meantime, I wrote an ebook and then designed it myself, trying to keep the design pretty sparse. It took me a couple of weeks, as I was also writing Zen Habits and posts for mnmlist.com. I released the ebook a couple days ago, and it’s been downloaded many times.

None of this is to brag, but to share my story of bringing something new into the world. It was an exhilarating process, this creating, and one that consumed and excited me so that I couldn’t wait to get to work in the morning.

And when I shared it, people were enthusiastic. They were looking for this — it’s something they needed in their lives, and I’d made something that helped. That’s an amazing feeling.

Creating something new, something that people are looking for and will find useful, beautiful, inspiring … this is something that can fill your life with purpose, with joy, with passion. You don’t need to find motivation to write or create if you’re this excited.

As my story above shows, it doesn’t have to be difficult to create something new — you can do it in a day or two, or a week, if you keep things simple. And it doesn’t have to be a brand-new invention, something people have never seen before. It can just be an addition to what’s already out there, your take on things, something people want, something you’d like to see. What would you love to read? What do you need in your life? Create that!

Create something new, and the world wins. And so do you.

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25 Responses to “Create something new in the world”

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  1. naima says:

    Leo, you are such an inspiration. You’ve nailed it on the head – the difference between rambling and creating something of value.

    Keep it up!

  2. Great to see you on here, Leo. I’m always back and forth with the ideas running around in my head, but lately, I’ve had one or two really percolating to the surface. Thanks for the motivation!

  3. Lisis says:

    It never ceases to amaze me how much you get done in any given day, week, month or year. Sometimes I think your days are actually 25 hours long… is that possible?

    I feel a tremendous pressure to create something of value, and yet… between my young blog, homeschooling my son, and general life “stuff”, I never quite find my creating time. Yet you have several blogs, unschool a whole bunch of kids, and have your own life “stuff” going on, but still manage to create… constantly.

    Are your minutes longer than mine? ;)

  4. This is exactly why I feel I’m lucky to have the friends I do. I help them build websites about their passions, giving me a chance to build new things without committing to too many projects. Great post. :)

  5. Leo,
    You seem to be in a flow with your creative ideas! Of course this also involves persistence, vision, seeing the large picture and the habit of leaving time to make your ideas happen. The most important thing is to “just do it!”. You are!
    Twyla Tharp has said:
    “…you can only generate ideas when you put pencil to paper, brush to canvas…when you actually do something physical.”
    Thank you for sharing your inspiration.

  6. Hi Leo,

    I actually check out your new site the other day and I think it’s wonderful. I just wanted to take a moment and wish you well with it. I appreciate your inspiration my friend.

    All My Best – Joseph

  7. Wow Leo, seriously… I agree through and through. I’ve taken a minimalist approach on one of my sites (personal site: http://miguelwickert.com). It’s clean, one column, Thesis theme and hopefully, lite on the eyes.

    I think there’s a misconception about work, or something we and others might consider worthwhile, that is, that it has to be hard. Not so. Something meaningful, exciting, real and beautiful doesn’t require hard that only adults are capable of, there are times, when we must become like the little ones, a child. :) Cheers! Thanks for sharing,

    -Mig

  8. Kat Eden says:

    I’ve been humming and hawing as to whether to give a new blog idea a go – part of me says to hold off as I’m just getting somewhere with my current blog. And yet the other side of me is excited and passionate about the potential of the new idea.

    I think you’ve just given me my answer Leo – and I may just take you up on copying your mnmlist.com blog theme. Thanks!

  9. Patrick says:

    Leo, again you prove that steps are simple, if you wash out all the brain fog in your mind. Like your mnmlist.com my own website was ready and loaded with its initial posts within a week. But the idea was dangling in my head much, much longer. I made up a story in my head, how complicated it would be. But when I started doing the small, necessary steps – well, it was simple, and just a matter of days.

    Thank you for your inspiration – and of course being a part of your incredible bootcamp.

  10. “Minimalism is something I’m passionate about, and I love reading things about minimalism — unfortunately, there isn’t much out there on the topic.”

    Ah, but isn’t this just what you’d expect? Word minimalism. :-)

    (I like the look of the new blog.)

  11. Tom Glover says:

    Leo, you have provided me confirmation that I’m heading in the right direction. A week ago I made a decision to start a leadership blog, specifically because I interested in sharing something new that I have been creating for quite a while. Here we are one week later and I’ve got a blog site developed and I am in the process of creating some initial posts so that I can launch on 10/1.

    For the past week I’ve been getting out of bed, wide awake, an hour earlier than I had been ready to start writing. Just like you said, it’s easy when you are excited.

  12. Lisis says:

    @ Scott: Ha! Now you’ve got me thinking about the irony of a whole lot of information written about Minimalism. :)

  13. Leo,

    This was great. I’m trying to get back into writing after several years away from it. However, my first several starts had been stunted ramblings. Then I found your blog and have seen some more focused creativity in my writing. Thanks for launching mnmlist.com.

  14. Great post! I agree that creating something new is a way for you AND the world to win. Thanks for the great reminder, Leo. I’m looking forward to checking out the new site.

  15. Tedel says:

    Nice spam about your new blog amigo. Good luck.

  16. Hi Leo,

    One of the greatest things your bootcamp taught be about writing for the web is that everything you write needs to be with the mind of helping the reader.

    The thing is, as soon as you focus more on doing that, your readers begin to respond on a more engaging level. The feedback you receive from helpful posts is exciting. It inspires you to keep going.

    You ask us, “What would you love to read?” Don’t we all want to read something that helps us improve our lives in some manner? We shouldn’t have to compromise on writing what we love and writing to help others. They can be one in the same.

    Thank you for your inspiration.

  17. Mary Jaksch says:

    I’ve been reading “A Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life” and I love it!

    I hadn’t really thought of myself as a minimalist before, but this guide resonates with me.

    My sense is there are two completely different mindsets. One is the closed mindset of ‘having’. The other is the open one of ‘being’. I think that the minimalist view is focused on ‘being’ and not on ‘having’.

    When we look at everything from a perspective of having, or acquisition, we tend to look for benefits. To see how limited that view is, take a look at this question:

    What is the benefit of being alive?

    That questions is absurd, isn’t it? It just doesn’t make sense. Because being alive is – well – about being. It’s not about having.

    Because we live in a commercial age, we tend to forget about being.

    Sometimes people ask me about the benefits of meditation, for example. Doesn’t have any! Because meditation is about learning to be. It’s about letting go of the ‘have’ mentality. So, when someone approaches it from a point of searching for benefits, it doesn’t work.

    Minimalism – like meditation – is a circuit breaker that brings us back to just being.

    Thank you for your constant inspiration, Leo!

  18. JJ says:

    You have my fattitude of grattitude. I believe in creating something new to share with the world. I think we are conditioned not to. The consuming and buying gets in the way.

    Thanks for keeping it simple.

  19. Hilary says:

    Hi Leo .. great work ethic .. it is a matter of mindset – or not having one – ie starting with one idea and follow that through, the 2nd idea will be quicker and easier, then the 3rd even easier .. so opening the mind to new ideas, new thoughts .. and then finding your route and then moving forward. Minimalism is something we could all do with ..

    All the best – Hilary Melton-Butcher
    Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

  20. Eric C says:

    If someone creates something ‘new’ every time they write, well that creates a lot of new “stuff”. To phrase this more ironically, the internet is the least minimalist thing in the world. (Also, philosophically, can anything ever really be new? Can anything be written or said that hasn’t been said before?)

    Also, I disagree with your premise. Some of the best writing out there is rambling, long journeys with no real place to go. Other writing has nothing to teach us, they are just views of the world. In other words, writing can be about what someone did today, and it could be amazing. There is no standard for what makes interesting writing. I’d actually go so far to say that the blog-osphere has gotten too into teaching and tip, to the point that it is getting predictable and boring.

    I love this site, and problogger and copyblogger, but I swear some days I see “X ways to improve your blog” and I get bored, especially since those blogs teach others to write this way.

  21. Leo, I love your new blog mnmlist.com. Congrats on keeping those creative sparks flying and creating something wonderful. I love the new WordPress theme you created, too.

  22. alwaysLovely says:

    Leo, you’re simply amazing. You’re always walking the talk on the concepts & tips you write about.
    I’m working on BEING FOCUS as my primary objective and DE-CLUTTERING.
    Love reading your posts!

    alwaysLovely, Singapore

  23. Kate says:

    This article was inspiring. I am a brand new blogger and lately I’ve felt a bit adrift. This article really redirected my formerly self-centered musings and what I’ve read on your new blog mnmlist.com helped pull things into perspective for me. Thank you.

  24. Floorsander says:

    Leo, This was an excellent message and reassured me in the vision I have for my new blog. Thank you.