Creators' Corner #16 - dealing with feedback, creating on TikTok and mimetic theory explained

Creators' Corner #16 - dealing with feedback, creating on TikTok and mimetic theory explained
Photo of the week: coffee with Adam Tank. One of those rare opportunities to meet up "in real life" with someone from my online community.

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Line-up this week:

  1. New essay: Dealing With Feedback.
  2. Creator in the spotlight: Adam Tank
  3. Small wins
  4. My Favourites: video and thought of the week

1. New essay: Dealing With Feedback

A friend from my writing community opened up about her setback last week from receiving negative feedback on one of her essay drafts. The good thing is Catalina is an excellent writer and she'll get through this.

After experiencing a similar setback earlier this year, I realized feedback could derail me too much. I had to change my approach. I couldn't allow tough comments to hold me back from publishing, which is the ultimate goal. Here's my essay on how I handle feedback:

Dealing With Feedback
Feedback is an important part of the writing process, but it can also be disheartening when you receive negative reviews. While feedback is a valuable input for your writing, it shouldn’t hold you back from the ultimate goal, which is to publish your work. Earlier this year, I submitted

My approach when seeking feedback:

  1. Look for atomic feedback
  2. Completion over perfection
  3. Lower the stakes
  4. Write for yourself
  5. Choose your feedback partners wisely

The bottom line is feedback is important, but it shouldn't hold you back from publishing. That's a worse outcome than going ahead and posting something that's 90% perfect without feedback.

Read the full essay for more.

2. Creator in the spotlight

Our creator in the spotlight this week is Adam Tank. He is an online writer, TikTok creator and the founder of a water-tech startup called Transcend.

I first came across Adam's writing last September when he was one of the mentors for Write of Passage 7. More recently we linked up in Daniel Vassallo's Small Bets course.

Adam was in Munich this week. It was a rare opportunity to meet up IRL with someone from my online community. It was a great conversation. We spoke about overcoming limiting beliefs, the serendipity that comes from writing online, our shared struggle with niching down and his travels to my home country, South Africa. What stood out was how present Adam was throughout the chat. It was one of those interactions that leaves you with more energy and ideas than when you enter the room.

After experimenting with different platforms, Adam doubled down on creating videos on TikTok. He found that his growth on Twitter was far too slow for the effort he was putting in. He had also just taken Cam Houser's course Minimum Viable Video, so he knew his way around creating video content.

In a couple of months he shot up to 50,000(!) followers on TikTok, where he shares content on how to succeed as an introvert. Example here:


#communicationskills #socialanxiety #introvert #socialskills #makefriends

♬ Lofi - Domknowz

Small Bet. After this success, he productized his learnings and released a course teaching others how to get their first 1,000 TikTok followers. Hit the link here if you are interested in learning more.

Follow and subscribe here:

3. Small Wins

Two small wins this week:

1. 50 up! I used to admire people that had their own website with 5 essays. How would I ever get there?

Now, 8 months into my writing journey, I have hit 50 posts on my website (link to no. 50 here). And it still feels like I'm only beginning. It's been great building my Colosseum of Ideas brick by brick.

2. Motivating others to write online. A friend of mine has started writing online and he's already seeing the benefits. I love receiving messages like this.

4. My favourites

Video of the week

Interpreting Girard - Exegete of Apocalypse by David Perell and Johnathan Bi. This is part one of a series of 7 lectures on mimetic theory - a philosophy pioneered by René Girard.

Jonathan Bi and David Perell discussing mimetic theory.

Rather long at 1h43min, but completely worth it. Save this for later when you have time to watch or listen to it. Or you can read the transcript here. It's for anyone who's interested in philosophy and specifically mimesis.

Short breakdown:

Humans are brilliant at imitation.

"Most of us aren't really doing things for their own sake but out of what Girard called "mimesis" -- our natural capacity and tendency to imitate others." – Johnathan Bi

Most of us live according to what we think society wants from us. Not what we want. It determines why people study prestigious degrees, follow a career path revered by others, date certain people and drive fancy cars. We want to impress others and gain status. If left unchecked, we will continue to play status games late into our life.

I first heard of the theory in David Perell's essay, Peter Thiel's Religion. Peter Thiel tries to exit mimetic games by looking for industries where there is no competition. Where he can have a monopoly. [This was also my first taste of David's writing, which subsequently led to signing up for his newsletter, enrolling in WOP and becoming a writer myself. Lucky article.]

Thought of the week

Productize what you know.

Via Jack Butcher.

We have all spent 1,000 or 10,000 hours doing something. The thing we do for work, the thing we studied, even the place we live. We can teach others what we know by turning our experience into a product. Like what Adam Tank did with his TikTok course above.

Have a great week and happy creating.

– John


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