Today’s post is an overview of what publishing looks like today for the Rebel Writer. It’s 2017 and the options for publishing today are as wide open as the ocean. If you’re a writer, especially a Rebel Writer, you’d better get busy because as you’ll see, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be publishing…and getting paid to write. [Read more…] about The Gatekeeper Is Dead
In the third musical number in Lin-Manual Miranda’s extraordinary musical, Hamilton, the lead character forcefully makes his case for his own ambition by repeatedly using these words. An immigrant to the American colonies from the British West Indies, Alexander Hamilton understood he had an uphill climb toward acceptance and realizing success. He had a talent for writing, but even more importantly, he had ambition and knew what he wanted to achieve.
Throughout the unbelievably stunning performance by the cast last night at San Francisco’s Orpheum Theater, I keep thinking about my own sense of ambition. My goals as a writer today are the same as they were when I first surrendered to that which I can’t-not-do: to write content that makes a difference in the world and in the lives of others. [Read more…] about 5 Ways to Not Throw Away Your … Shot
I was raised in the 60’s and 70’s by two post-world War II ration-conscious, supply-stocking parents. Their earliest years were in the midst of the Great Depression and the realities of a world at war. They knew the value of hard work and sacrifice.
Given my dad was the sole-provider, we didn’t have everything we with wanted, but we did have everything we needed. It was against this backdrop that the foundational concepts of opportunity were presented, essentially that I could:
- have anything I wanted
- be anything I wanted to become
- achieve anything I set my mind to
- …if I was willing to work hard enough
What my parents didn’t tell me
As great as these overtures of opportunity were, they weren’t the whole truth. What was missing from the seemingly magic formula for success was the cost factors involved in having everything I desired, becoming anything I wanted, and achieving anything I set my mind to.
What my parents omitted from their encouraging reach for the stars rah-rah-rah type of parenting was the fact that in order to reach the stars, you needed a spaceship and spaceships cost a lot of money.
Which was sort of ironic considering my dad was an actual rocket scientist.
The cost of getting what you want
There is a cost for everything in life. Even a free lunch has a hidden cost. That BOGO deal on tortilla chips at the supermarket that you like so much? It’s actually paid for by raising the prices on other items.
Successfully achieving your dreams of being a writer, a business owner, anything really….involves cost. There are obvious costs for education, training, and equipment, but there’s also the one most people don’t ever mention…
The cost of what you have to give up in order to succeed
Pick any person who has worked to become successful, and they’ll tell you that it hasn’t been without significant cost or sacrifice.
Do me a favor? Take an honest look at your life and identify what’s getting in the way of you doing the rock and achieving your dreams.
Then ask yourself, what part of my life can I do without in order to achieve my dream of becoming a ________?
For some, it’s giving up their addiction to their television or 24/7 media streaming. For others it might be the shadow career they’re pursuing in order to not turn pro.
What holds you back from making it?
If you feel so inclined, please tell me in the comments. Or just say hello and share this post using the social media button below -it’s really good karma-. Thanks!
The inevitable question
You’re at a party or a gathering of some sort and you’re flexing your extrovert muscles. Small talk is the worst, but you know it’s necessary at times and can, on occasion, lead to some deeper conversation and perhaps a connection with a new friend.
Then, like a car careening around a corner at breakneck speed, it happens. The question that most writers and introverts dread more than dental work is thrust into the conversation and you’re faced with choosing one of a dozen practiced responses.
Even before you stumble through the best one you already know it’s going to sound lame.
I’m a writer?
Holy career gaffe, Batman— what have you done?
You’ve just opened the subterranean gates of terror and released the Cracken of all opportunistic follow-up questions.
Really? What have you written?
Anything I’ve read?
Do you have a book deal?
Who’s your publisher?
Did you put on fresh underwear today?
Ok, maybe that last question is over the top personal but so are the others. Outing ourselves as writers invites all kinds of questions that we introverted creators would quite happily never choose to willingly address.
We write. We create. Leave us alone, but buy a book or something before you go. Thanks!
But there you are anyway. Fresh meat on the altar of interrogation with your conversational partner salivating as he awaits your response.
He sniffs the sweet aroma of the coming kill like a lioness hunting her prey. Soon, you both know, it will be over and you’ll feel worse about yourself than ever before…if you survive at all.
Wait, wait…wait… It doesn’t have to be this way
You don’t have to offer yourself as a sacrifice to the sadistic gods of small talk any longer. There are better ways to respond to this question of all questions that evokes considerably less agitation and reduces the intestinal rumbling that often accompanies just such a situation.
The problem for most writers is the term: writer
Saying you’re a writer is like saying you’re a human. There is so much more to being a writer -and a human for that matter- than simply labeling yourself as such.
You’re a male or female human with various roles. You’re a mother or father; You’re an introvert or you pretend not to be; You’re a compassionate person who is moved by the suffering of others.
See what I mean? You’ve created a framework around your humanity.
How to create a framework around your role as a writer
Let’s look at how to create this framework using the writer’s framework below:
- Genre & Specialty
- Relevant Role(s)
Lead with your title. It establishes a broad heading under which you will list the other aspects of what being a writer means in your case.
Mention your genre and your specialty. Your genre is one of the typical one we all know, poetry, fiction, non-fiction. Then drill down and call out your specialty. Your specialty could be historical or how-to non-fiction, biographical or mystery novels, romantic or modern poetry, etc.
Now specify where you publish. Almost everyone publishes on Amazon, Apple iBooks, or on their own website. Call it out and plant your flag.
Mention a relevant role that naturally accompanies your writing. You might offer coaching, consulting, or mentoring; If so, mention it.
Putting it all together
- You’re a writer, blogger, author, etc. (title)
- You write poetry, fiction, novels, non-fiction, whatever (genre& specialty)
- You publish your writing on a blog, on Amazon, or Apple iBooks, Medium, etc. (publisher)
- You do something else around your writing: coaching, teaching, mentoring, etc. (relevant roles)
I was at a brunch on Sunday with some new friends. Specifically, they are the family of my girlfriend’s brother. It was my first time I was being introduced to them and in talking with a nice fellow, Tom, the question invariably came up.
Here’s how I responded, more or less:
I’m a writer. (pause for reaction). I write mainly non-fiction books and publish them on Amazon or sell them directly via my website, BarryMorris.net. I offer coaching and I teach a subscription course for writers who want to make more money from their writing.”
In those few sentences, I hit all four elements in the writer’s framework and in so doing, answered questions before Tom formulated them in his head. In my book, Becoming Irresistible, I talk about ‘sacrificing objections on the altar of the sale.’ By this, I mean that if you can bring up the objections a reader might have to your offer -and fully answer them- before they think of them, the sale goes forward.
In conversing with Tom, I answered all the objections/follow-up questions he most like would’ve asked. The writer’s framework allowed me to hit all these points and eliminate a situation where I might’ve flubbed up my response and appeared uncertain or confused, neither of which appealed to me.
Going forward, here’s what you need to do
Work through the writer’s framework and see how succinctly and naturally you can answer the question. Try out a few versions and if you’d like, drop it into a comment below. I’d love to hear from you and hear how the framework works for you!
Forget ‘finding your passion’
I’ve been reading Cal Newport’s book, So Good They Can’t Ignore You. In it, Newport makes a methodical case for undermining the find your passion in order to do what you love approach to work.
I generally support his view as I’ve written on the topic of finding your most meaningful work by looking not at where your passion lies, but at what you know you do well already.
It takes a bit of explanation, but I maintain that what we do well is determined by our genetic material, namely our DNA.
Here’s how I see it:
- We are predetermined via our DNA toward doing certain things well
- If we engage these natural talents and abilities and nurture them via practice and training, we can learn to do these well
- There are some abilities that come more naturally to us than others, again via our genetics
- Those activities that place us in a sense of flow where we lose all track of time and space (for me it’s writing and teaching) can be labeled as our most meaningful work
Newport doesn’t get into this level of detail, but he does agree that passion is developed over time via what he calls deliberate practice.
Newport’s book is an assault on workplace mediocrity
I applaud him for writing this book; for so meticulously setting out for anyone willing to read this important book just how to create a career that you feel passionate about.
It’s not via an inborn passion, but rather the deliberate result of working to obtain master status like champion chess players.
I think this is very important, especially now in this time of political upheaval. I’m writing about this because I think it’s important for each of us to strive daily to do what we do best better than anything or anyone else.
There is no such thing as a safe job, a lifetime employer, or even a pension plan (with rare exception). Now is the time to wake up to the fact that the state, your employer, nor your family is going to take care of you in the long-term.
If you truly want to the security of a lifetime plan, then you need to become so good they can’t ignore you.