J.K. Riki

Overnight Success Guaranteed!

I can think of no better way to begin this new website than with a post on how, on Day 1, this website is twelve years old.

Time and again I come across people looking for instant success. Heck, I look for it myself. After all, “The World” presents you with stories on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis describing people who shot straight to the top. Generally this happens because of one of two reasons:

  • A great idea or invention, brilliantly executed
  • Pure dumb luck

Whatever the case, these people have been given a fast track to fame and fortune that the rest of us only dare to sit and daydream about. We see these stories of overnight success because that’s the way The World presents them to us.

The World, frankly, is a big fat liar.

In October of 2003, I took a deep breath and clicked the button that caused a site called FredtheMonkey.com to go live. It was terrifying. Fred the Monkey had been a pet project of mine for nearly a decade, originally scribbles in a math class notebook. Suddenly, with one click, I had gone past the boundaries of my quaint little school audience and onto the world’s stage. I was launching a website of animated cartoons shortly after flunking out of animation school. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.

What I did know, though, was that I was on the cusp of something huge. With just a few animated cartoons, I stood at the edge of the instant-success we all long for. I had watched other online cartoons explode in popularity, and Fred was next in line. I struck while the iron was hot, and overnight the website became a phenomenon across the globe, bringing in millions upon millions of viewers.

Wait, wait. My mistake. What I meant to type was “The first month twelve people visited the site and seven of those people were me on different computers.”

Also at least one of the remaining five was my mother.

I was introduced to a lesson every person on this planet will learn if they step outside their comfort zone and try to create something new: Instant success is a fairy tale. It’s something The World tells you exists, and then “proves” it to you by showing you stories of times that it has happened. Stories with the details of hard work and late nights conveniently cut for the sake of brevity. Mistruths at best, bold-faced lies at worst.

This website is the result of twelve years of work on something entirely different. It did not just appear out of the blue, with fans lining up to visit or arriving by accident. Did you arrive here by typing random letters into the address bar and getting lucky a site of that name existed? I bet not.

In the coming weeks and months, I’ll be sharing more about the story of the creation and creative process. The goal will be to let you in behind the scenes so that you are no longer lied to by The World that any of this is easy. Being creative isn’t easy, writing isn’t easy, art isn’t easy, LIFE isn’t easy. What these things are, though, is worthwhile. The effort it takes is meaningful, and the end result can change lives. Sound interesting? Then I hope you’ll join me on this adventure as we all work through the process, and keep striving to be better today than we were yesterday.

Every Monday you’ll find inspiration and encouragement here, along with training and insights for being more creative and stretching your imagination. You can also subscribe to the monthly “Be Alive, Inspired, and Creative” newsletter right below.

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