Quite some time ago, my friend Drew called me with a question about his business. The details aren’t important, but he thought that I might have the answers he was looking for…
“I need some Craig Brain,” he said.
I laughed at that and then — in addition to the hundreds of other domain names I’ve registered for could-be projects throughout the years — purchased the URL.
That’s how “Craig’s brain” — my brain — works. I hear something I like, or happen upon an idea that excites me, and in the bat of an eye, I’m already envisioning the product, brand, business, ministry, or project that it could eventually inspire.
Then, I forgot about the whole thing.
I went to a meeting, came back home to forty-five emails and whatever else was going on that day, and thought nothing of Craig Brain for months.
On December 20, 2018, while sitting in silence at a spa I frequent around the corner from my family’s home in Huntington, I felt as though the Lord reminded me of this idea.
I took it as a green light.
For what it’s worth, I don’t really think the Lord cares about my podcast, or my book, or the absurd number of domains I purchase. What I mean by “a green light,” then, is that I came to believe that the Lord was giving me permission (or making me ready) to share some of the things that I had been sitting with, wrestling through and praying about over the course of the past two years.
I felt as though He told me that, while I had been working hard on publishing everyone else’s content for so long, it was time to share some of mine.
Time to talk about more of what I care most deeply about.
Time to talk about the clarity — the grounding — that I had finally begun to feel after too much of life spent hovering in unknowns.
Time to talk about the calming of the storms that had been raging inside of me.
Time to talk about some of my honest, sometimes-simple-and-sometimes-complicated, sometimes-offensive-and-sometimes-compassionate, practical, real and down to earth Craig Brain shit.
For you? Sure.
But just as much for me.
Over the course of the past seventeen years, I’ve written thirteen books, but none that have been published in the last five. That’s a long time for a writer to… not write. Frankly, I didn’t know if I’d ever write again. On the one hand, that’s because I’ve simply shifted focus with the natural growth of life and ministry, but on the other hand, it’s because actually getting your work out there once one has written something is a huge hassle.
The publishing world sucks. It is slow. It is old school. The entire process is wholly uninspiring.
Three years ago, a friend and I began a side business wherein we helped independent authors that we wanted to work with shortcut the publishing world. Since then, we’ve released fourteen-plus books, and some of them have sold hundreds of thousands of copies.
Two years ago, I started journaling. At first, I wrote almost exclusively in the Notes app on my iPhone. Come year two, someone had given me a fancy journal with a fancy pen to go along with it… and I filled up three more of them.
What you are about to read (or listen to, or watch, if you’re following along elsewhere) is a collection of those writings.
Some of what is to follow, I’ve already shared publicly. Perhaps you’ve seen the “fruit” of these “seeds” rolled out through various projects you’re familiar with.
Some of what is to follow are thoughts and ideas that I’ve only ever shared with my wife and family, and a few friends.
And some of what is to follow are journal entries that — up until now — have remained exclusively mine.
To be clear, I never intended to write anything that you’re about to read for anyone but myself, family or friends these entries were addressed to… Perhaps that’s why I’ve come to believe that I can share these entries with a sense of freedom, and abandon. I’m not writing to influence or persuade an audience — I’m simply inviting you into my world — and after nearly twenty years of life spent in a ministry that has sought to champion openness and vulnerability, I know what kind of power simply sharing a journal entry can be to someone who needs it.
Maybe that’s you. And if it isn’t? Well — as I’ve already said — it’s certainly me, and that’s enough.
Yesterday, at a mastermind event that I attended, Blake Mycoskie — founder of TOMS Shoes — shared his company’s origin story. He said that the organization began out of an experience that moved him… which he then journaled about… which he then shared with a friend…
His friend responded that someone must do something about the need Blake saw in our world, and Blake decided to answer his own call — to create his own solution — simultaneously founding what has since become a half-billion dollar business.
To be clear, I don’t think anything you are about to read is going to turn into 500 million dollars, but that’s not the point. The point is that what I’ve chosen to share here — the things that I’ve been writing about and processing and considering over the course of the past two years — have taken my life down a trajectory that I never could have imagined, let alone thought possible.
Perhaps the most exciting aspect of this project, for me, is that these entries are nothing new. I haven’t been contractually obliged to sit down and force them out. Most authors lock themselves in an office, sweating over anxiety-inducing deadlines and word counts until the day they can pick up their first check. After that, they wait a year for the publisher’s release, and do interviews about a book they wrote but have since forgotten what it was about. At least, if I’m honest, that’s how it was for me.
But these entries are reflections, naturally given the time and space to become something I’m proud to release without the pressure of hoping they’re good enough to satisfy an employer (or — for that matter — you).
These writings weren’t forced.
This book was never pitched.
I never signed a contract, received an advance, or freaked out before a deadline.
These are, quite simply, pieces of life that I don’t want to forget. I chose to invite you into them, if it suits you, and decided that I would spend 2019 pulling back together all that I poured out during the past two years. Who knows…? Maybe whatever it is that I have to offer will have some sort of impact on those of you who choose to follow these meanderings. Reflecting upon them has certainly had an impact on me.
I couldn’t do this without Levi. He is the younger brother I didn’t have growing up, and I consider him one of my best friends. On paper, we couldn’t be more opposite, but we share similar interests and passions, and both of us lost our fathers way too early in life. He is a wordsmith and a poet — two words that no one would ever use to describe me. Levi has been a significant part of my journey, and the details that you’ll hear more about in the coming months. He’s familiar with much of what I’ve chosen to divulge. What’s more, he’s familiar with me and my brain, and so I asked him to help me bring this project to life.
I won’t lie, that part was scary. Uploading journal entries that had only ever been mine for someone else to see — in all of their private rawness — and make sense of…? That’s a vulnerability that has only come to me through practice, but being known is worth the risk. I asked Levi to write the equivalent of a Foreword for this project, and you’ll be able to read it next week.
With his help, we’ve chosen to organize this year’s worth of Craig Brain content into five separate categories:
- On Balance & Being
- On Family & Friends
- On Marriage & Making It
- On Work & Workmanship
- On Life & Living It
In each category, we will include roughly five-to-eight entries that seem to fit best beneath their respective titles. Every Monday, I will share the long-form entry on my website, alongside an accompanying video that summarizes the new post in what will likely be a lighter and/or shorter visual medium. Many of the journal entries are long, and my thought on including the companion video is simply to unpack a story or two — perhaps a highlight or overview — from each release.
Throughout the week, I will share additional clips and snippets throughout the good-ole World Wide Web. Each entry will also be available as a podcast, YouTube video, Facebook update, etc… hell, I’ll even post it to MySpace and throw Tom a bone if he can help me find my login information.
At the end of the year, or once we have edited each release, I will use these entries to compile a book which will be made available to whomever wants it, and tie a bow on Season One.
There may or may not be a Season Two. I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself. Like I mentioned already, this year is about reflection and looking back… not jumping ahead.
There you have it.
This is Craig Brain.