How to Make your Mess Your Message.

by Lisa Rothstein on 01/09/2011

Struggling with writer’s block? Feeling foolish because you’re not sure what business to start? Trying to look smart, talented and like you’ve got it all together and failing miserably? Have you actually messed up spectacularly at least once or twice in your life?

Rejoice! Your challenges are probably the most marketable thing you’ve got.

Face it, we’re all secretly insecure. Doesn’t it entertain and inspire and engage you more to experience stories of other people’s struggles and foibles, than to read a magazine spread about some attractive smug couple with thriving careers, perfect kids and 4% body fat between them? It doesn’t sell! As one of my screenwriting teachers said, “No one wants to go see a movie called The Village of the Nice, Happy People’.” It’s why people tune in to see The Biggest Loser. It’s why when you’re a US state governor who gets caught with a prostitute and destroys your political career, you get a TV talk show.

Woody Allen has made a life’s career out of his neuroses. Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings may indeed be beautiful, but his life of wending his way in and out of the insane asylum lends them a specificity, meaning and depth —a story –that is really what made them famous. It hasn’t yet cost me an ear, or my mind (I think) but this entire blog, and the book that’s on the way, was born of my (and my co-author’s) own challenges and frustrations with our own brand of “creative ADD” that we’ve dubbed The DaVinci Dilemma™.

Today’s technology makes it easy to dissemminate and share your mishegas (Yiddish for “craziness”) with people everywhere, and use your creative talents to do it. Below, find the latest in the “Tales of Mere Existence” series by Levni Yumaz, self-described Ambassador to the Alienated. His videos use his writing, voice and cartoons to express an angst that is at once universal and his alone.

Think being a whiny, neurotic geek makes you unpopular?  At this writing, this video had been posted on YouTube for only five days and already had almost 75,000 views. Yumaz’ video on procrastination from last year has almost 2 million views and counting. No wonder he’s raking in the dough from companies vying to advertise on his YouTube channel. All from hanging his dirty laundry out to dry.

Now it’ s your turn.  Take stock. What are your failures, foibles, follies and f*ck-ups that you could celebrate in words, pictures, song or a whole new business? They’re the world’s best creative fodder, and they’re what makes you human, special and could even make you famous. At the very least, they can be the key to connecting with and helping others like you.

Activity: Fill in the following sentences. (Put in as many answers as apply.)

“One thing I would never want anyone to know about me is____________.”

“It’s always frustrated me that I can’t ________________.”

“I’m ashamed that I _________________.”

“I’ve never been able to get over ____________________.”

By now you should have plenty of raw material for any number of creative projects and business ideas. Brainstorm as many as you can and put them in your journal.

Want to re-publish this article? Go for it – just include the author’s name, a link to this original post and the following text blurb:

Are you struggling with too many talents, skills, ideas? You may have The DaVinci Dilemma™! Find tools, fun quizzes, coaching, inspiration and solutions for multi-talented people at .

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Hannah Roi January 10, 2011 at 4:58 am

Love your post Lisa! I’m not quite ready to post my stuff for the world to see on Youtube, but I might tell a few friends about what I want to let go of this year!

Hannah Roi recently posted..Announcement From- Project Safe Girls

Catherine January 10, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Everyone wants to know that their screwed up self is just like every one else’s screwed up self. Great questions and I love that you encourage people to be real, with flaws and all.

Robert Britt February 1, 2011 at 10:03 am

Very interesting. I am really going to have to think about this one. When you try many things, you have many failures, so I have a couple to re-visit. : )
Robert Britt recently posted..Education Entertainment Edu-tainment

Ketutar April 29, 2015 at 1:54 am

Two things on my list are
– I can’t sell anything
– I never finish anything

I have all the qualities of a great entrepreneur except that about selling. I can’t sell my work nor ideas. I just don’t know how to package it in a way that it becomes desirable, or how to believe in it so strongly others just have to believe with me.

Having a blog, vlog, any other such thing… I know how to make them. What I don’t know is how to stuck with it and keep posting, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. I don’t know how to commit. I can’t keep my promises.

I am sloppy, lazy, unorganized bum. I want my comfortable bed and my sensual pleasures. I am not a bee, I’m a butterfly, and not very pretty one either.

So – it seems to me that I lack the necessary qualities to actually turn my mess into a message.

Any ideas about that?

Lisa Rothstein November 12, 2015 at 10:02 am

First of all — you are not alone. Creatives love excitement, drama, originality! Routine task like posting to a blog on a regular basis don’t really float most creatives boats. Just know that you are NOT special — publishing regular content is the way every online entrepreneur get successful. BUT it does not have to be routine. Mix it up. Blogs don’t have to be written. Why not try “Talking” your thoughts into your smartphone notes app, and sending the transcribed words to yourself as an email for a quick edit? Or doing live video like Periscope, then posting the recorded video. As far as packaging your ideas or services, first ask yourself how you have helped people in the past and also how you LIKE helping them. What to do people often come to you for advice or assistance? Then figure out how you might like to deliver this service on purpose. As a product like a course or a book? Live workshops? Retreats? Working with someone who coaches/consults in the online entrepreneur space can help with both identifying profitable ideas, and the accountability it sounds like you may need to keep you on track. Finally be kind to yourself. Calling yourself a lazy bum doesn’t sound very motivating to me! I know all too well that the temptation to judge yourself is there… but just take some baby steps in the right direction and catch yourself doing things right instead.

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