Artistic Endeavors as Sung By Billy Ocean

I spoke to the fine people of the Big Traveling Potluck in April 2013 about how to invest in their creativity — with some tips from 80s pop/R&B sensation Billy Ocean.

It was a long talk (near 40 minutes). I spoke before Ree Drummond. Yeah. Her. And after Matt Bites, someone I’ve obsessively followed online for at least 5 years. So, no small pressure to make the magic happen, HJ.

Here’s a portion of my presentation:

Get out of my dreams and into my car.
And by car, I mean, into your best creative work.

And here, by your best creative work, I mean, consistently creating images, moving pictures and words in combination to publish on the internet.

It’s no small responsibility, to have the chance for the world to bear witness to your work.
It’s no small disappointment when no one seems to take notice.

It’s strange too, in all of human history; we didn’t have this kind of work. We worked in small groups satisfying our basic needs. And now we’re alone, bearing witness to our perceived competition.

Based on human history, this is a strange activity we signed up for.
We need some guidance.

And who can guide us into a long creative life?
Billy Ocean.
That’s right. Billy Ocean.
The eighties singer with a few top 40 hits under his belt?


Singer of hits,
Get out of my dreams and into my car,
Suddenly and
There’ll Be Sad Songs (to Make You Cry).

Or better yet, Leslie Sebastian Charles,
Born in Fyzabad, Trinidad.
1985 Grammy award winner for Caribbean Queen.
Current Rastafarian.
Billy Ocean.

Now where the heck has Billy Ocean been all these years? What in the heck does he have to do with blogging? What does this have to do with me making more money from my internet website?

(Hush, we’ll get to all of that.)

So like I said, Billy Ocean wasn’t always Billy Ocean. That’s his POWER NAME. You have a Power Name too. You might be The Pioneer Woman. You might be Shutterbean.

Billy Ocean took the name from a football team he had followed in Trinidad called Oceans Eleven, then added Billy. Or maybe he took the name from the apartments he lived in, the Oceans Estates. He was born in the ocean, he emerged from the ocean. He is not Frank Ocean’s uncle, or he may be. Wikipedia is unclear.

That’s okay, it’s part of his mythology. We’ll talk more about that too.

(Graphics: Kat Borosky/

Are you a digital publisher? You have a different name too. It’s your Billy Ocean. Your superhero name.

All too often I meet publishers at blogging conferences who hide behind the perceived lameness of their names.

Hi I’m and yeah, apologies, I thought it’d be funny in college, but it’s my name and I couldn’t get it on Twitter and well, I’m internetfoodie 420 there, and…

Hold that train.

Your online name is your POWER NAME. It’s your Billy Ocean, and you’re not going to win a 1985 Grammy for that kind of thinking.

Make a list of all the ways your Billy Ocean is better than the real you. How is that name more likable, smarter, more creative?

More importantly, how does your Billy Ocean HELP more people than you do?

Your Billy Ocean has powers you don’t have. And it’s best you lean into it and squeeze all the juice (or delicious Trinidadian Rum) you can from it.

Stop apologizing for your blog name. There’s power there.

This article was originally posted on

Tell Us in the Comments

What do you think?

One Response

  1. Songs We Actually Worked Out To in the ’80s (If We Worked Out At All) | Tue Night

    […] “Caribbean Queen” — Billy Ocean We have some other thoughts on Billy Ocean. […]


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.