Info

The Creative Shift with Dan Blank

Dan Blank interviews writers and artists who have taken the leap from merely dabbling with their creative vision, to becoming successful doers whose work has a positive impact on others.
RSS Feed
The Creative Shift with Dan Blank
2022
July
June
May
April
February
January


2021
December
November
October
September
August
July
May
April
March
February
January


2020
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2019
December
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2018
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2017
December
November
October
September
August
July
June


2015
September
May
April
March
February
January


Categories

All Episodes
Archives
Categories
Now displaying: 2018
Dec 24, 2018

Today I'm excited to share my interview with New York Times bestselling author Thomas Greanias. What jumped out at me the most was his advice to writers, and how they have a power that they often don't fully understand. Unlike screenwriters and filmmakers in Hollywood, writers have greenlight authority on their own ideas, and also have final cut. He encourages you to use that power. 

Dec 18, 2018

For 25 years, I failed at learning how to play the guitar. One year ago I set a goal for myself: finally learn how to properly play the guitar by practicing every single day for a year. Today I want to share what that process has taught me about what it takes to establish a creative habit, reach your goals, and share your work. The insights below be applied to any creative craft, including writing. In the podcast, I mention my Creative Shift Mastermind, which you can find here: http://wegrowmedia.com/mm

Dec 12, 2018

Today I talk with author and book coach Jennie Nash. She shares some inspiring stories, and super practical insights about what it takes to write, publish, and ensure your work truly has an impact on readers. She runs Author Accelerator where her team of coaches provide accountability, feedback and support to writers. Oh, and Jennie is kind of a genius. 

Dec 4, 2018

Three years ago I stopped teaching online courses. Today I want to talk about why that is, and what I think does work for writers and artists who want to truly move ahead with their craft and their career. In the episode I mention my Creative Shift Mastermind group: http://wegrowmedia.com/mm

Nov 27, 2018

On the surface, one would think that Jessica Strawser was perfectly placed to easily become a novelist. She was the Editorial Director of Writer's Digest magazine -- someone who had incredible connections in the publishing world, and understood it inside and out.

But her reality is different than the fairy tale that we tell ourselves about how a writer succeeds.

Today, we are going to dig into her creative shift to becoming a full-time author. I can't even express to you how excited I am to share my interview with her, it is filled with insights and inspiration that will help you on your own path in your writing life.

You can listen to the podcast by clicking 'play' below, or in the following places:

Here are some highlights from our conversation:

  • She describes her early days of attempting to write a novel: "I was the queen of having things that I started, and then would lose interest in them really quickly. I had so many false starts. I never stuck with it."
  • She developed a serious writing habit once she was married, had a full-time job and kids. I loved her response when she was thinking back on her youth, "I think back on all those nights where it was just me, in my apartment, with a bottle of wine, and I squandered it. I would start half a chapter and then watch Allie McBeal reruns."
  • What changed for her: "Wanting to be a writer is not the same thing as having a story that you want to tell. I don't think I had a story that I felt compelled to tell"
  • On writing her first novel: "I rewrote that thing for six years, and it never sold. But I learned so much while I was doing that."
  • To my surprise, she purposefully didn't use any of her connections that she had through Writer's Digest. In fact, she did the opposite! She hid her writing from everyone around her and purposefully submitted to agents that she did NOT know, instead of agents she did know. She described it as "a completely backwards approach."
  • She spent half a year submitting it to agents, and when she got a 'revise and resubmit' request from one agent, this is what she did: "I opened up a brand new document and I rewrote the entire novel. I took about 9 months to do that. Then he signed me on the revision."
  • She did sign with that agent. He started shopping it, "I slowly collected rejections on that novel for 18 months. While I collected those, I wrote another novel." This is such a reminder of the sometimes glacial pace of a writing career.
  • When that book failed to sell, this is how she describes her situation: "I had two novels and no agent. I actually thought about stopping -- taking a break. It was really exhausting. I thought, maybe I should put this dream on hold for awhile."
  • When she signed with a new agent, they decided to not seek publication on Jessica's first novel, and instead she went out with the second novel. "She sold it in less than two weeks in a pre-emp. It was the exact same manuscript that had been sitting on my hard drive for months while I tried to figure out what to do with it."
  • Her story of when she received the news of her book getting sold is the embodiment of how complex it is to raise a family, work a full-time job, and have a writing career on the side. I asked her about the moment when she found out her book sold to a publisher. She says, "Do you want to know reality? My daughter was one, she had fallen and tripped the carpet at daycare, and knocked out one of her four teeth. I get this call from daycare that my daughter knocked out a tooth and is gushing blood. I flew out of work, frantically calling dentists. She was okay, but she was just going to not have a tooth in that spot for about 8 years. When I got home, I was cleaning blood out of shirt, and my agent called and said, "What did I catch ya doin?" She then told me we had an offer. It was one of those days that you are caught up in the disaster that is your every day life. [To celebrate], we were going mattress shopping that night, so we bought a king instead of a queen. That was our splurge. It was very glamorous."
  • We talk about her experience in marketing promoting her books. "No one should underestimate the amount of attention and time that goes into marketing and publicity. It is a big undertaking and it is as much a part of the career as the actual writing is."
  • She describes this time when she was publishing one book, writing another, and working a full-time job as: "I think I was existing on the smallest possible amount of sleep that anyone possibly could."
  • When she left her full-time job to become a full-time author, it was not easy to shift her creative process from being an evening writer to a daytime writing. "It took me 6 hours to do what I used to do in 2 hours. I used to be able to use my day to prepare myself for those 2 hours that I was going to write after my kids were in bed. I would know what chapter I was going to work on, I would jot down notes, I would dictate to myself in my car on my commute. I would psyche myself up for it. I lost that [when I had all day to write.] I ended up clicking around on Facebook and the next thing you know, it's lunchtime. I do have self-discipline, but I had to recalibrate, and there was a learning curve."
  • Her advice for writers: "One of the things I would see so often at Writer's Digest is that so many people just want someone to tell them the way, the steps to take, the path to follow to get it done. But it really is different for everyone. Even if you head down a wrong path for awhile, that is what needs to happen to get you to where you are trying to go. It's smart to be aware of how other people find their way, and how it usually works, while at the same time, don't get too get caught up in it. You can get distracted by what other people are doing and if you aren't careful, you can spend the whole day feeling like you are doing it wrong. But there is no such thing as doing it wrong. If you just keep at it -- persistence is huge. You have to be bullheaded about believing in yourself, while also being open-minded and flexible in how you get it done.

You can find Jessica in the following places:

jessicastrawser.com

Her books on Amazon

Twitter: @jessicastrawser

Facebook

Nov 21, 2018

Today I’m excited to share my interview with author Elizabeth Spann Craig. Okay, let’s get the impressive stats out of the way first:

  • She writes 3.5 books per year.
  • She has written 27 books since 2009.

She share so much amazing advice about how she writer, managers her publishing career, and attends to her author platform.

Nov 13, 2018

I'm so excited to share my interview with author and editorial director of WriterUnboxed.com, Therese Walsh. In our chat, we dig into:

  • How she co-founded a blog that turned into a thriving online community for writers.
  • The realities of the book publishing business, and how to develop the right mindset to navigate it.
  • What she has learned from the writing community through years of engaging with thousands of writers.

You can find Therese in the following places:

 

Nov 5, 2018

Today, author Cathey Nickell shares details of how -- two years after release date -- she has ensured her book gets in front of readers, and has sold thousands of copies. Cathey is the author of Arthur Zarr's Amazing Art Car, and she recently finished her 50th school visit, presenting the book to kids. Everything that Cathey shares illustrates the practical aspects of how how to ensure your book finds new readers. 

Oct 31, 2018

In this podcast I speak to illustrator, author, and art director Samantha Hahn about why -- and how -- she made a huge creative shift in her career. How, even though she had a thriving career as a full-time illustrator and author, she wanted to expand her work and her creative process. She shares details about exactly how she redefined her professional identity, got early clients, found collaborators, and infused her daily creative process with energy and inspiration.

Oct 25, 2018

Last Spring, I spoke to writer and artist Meera Lee Patel, and the conversation was filled with so many practical tips and deep wisdom that I reached out to her again to record a second podcast. To my total delight, she said yes! So three huge things jumped out at me in this conversation that I think will deeply resonate with writers:

  1. I asked her if she gets feedback from her audience that discourages her to pursue new artistic paths and she replied that she does and the result is: "You feel do discouraged that it makes you not like that work that you made. The internet and social media makes you addicted to attention, and it really warps your sense of value. They become really twisted, where you’ve lost your values, and they are being dictated by all these people that you’ve never met and probably will never meet. Then I know that most of these people don’t know what they like because they are being told what to like by other people, and society and culture. It’s almost like everything is a total facade.
  2. I rely on my creative community to feel sane. To know that I’m not crazy, and to know that other people are having the same experience and feeling the same way, and they also feel stuck, or feel scared about losing an audience and not being able to support themselves with work if they change. Community helps you not feel isolated and alone. That is what I rely on community for, along with encouragement. To feed off of their bravery and know that we are doing it together, and that they feel I’m doing the right thing and not making this big scary decision all by myself.”
  3. When I asked if work (commissions, licensing, business opportunities) comes to her, or if she has to seek it out, she replied, “I don’t have anybody emailing me asking me to do things for them. I reach out constantly. I used to reach out to just anybody, because I was like, ‘I just need work, and I need to pay the bills. I’m lucky enough that I get to be a little choosier now. I’m like, ‘What are my dream companies? Where does my work fit in? Do I believe in them and their products? Is my work ready.” Then I reach out to them, but nobody emails me back, ever.” When I asked her how she reached out to these companies, she explained how she just goes to the contact page on their websites, and uses that. She explains what she pitches. “I pitch myself so often, where I forget to where I reach out to, so it’s nice because I get to forgo that feeling of rejection.” “When I get rejected from somebody, and I feel really bummed about it, I have a rule, that for every rejection that I feel down about, I have to reach out to three more companies or people. That action of forging ahead anyway makes me feel like I am doing something to change the current state that I’m in. So that action changes my attitude, and I always feel better knowing that I already tried again.” For every 10 people I reach out to, I probably get three responses, and usually all three are rejections. But sometimes one is positive and two are rejections. Or two are rejections and one is ‘not right now, but try again in a year.’ So the acceptance rate is very very low. And I think that is across the board for most people, unless they are highly coveted, just because there are so many artists out there, and there is so much amazing work, that I don’t think companies and brands could possibly hire everybody. I don’t take it personally anymore, but it took awhile to get there.” What’s amazing to me is even with all of this rejection, this is the work it takes to create a full-time career as an artist. This process actually works! “I do know that people look at me and they are like, ‘I would like to be where you are,’ and people do not come to me, even now. And really any work I’ve gotten has been from me reaching and saying, ‘Hey, can I do this with you.”

Other topics we dig into:

  • Her assessment of her most recent book launch, and how it was different from her previous two book launches. Hint: this launch was filled with much less pressure and anxiety for her.
  • How she thinks about her role as a writer and the purpose of a book. She describes it as “I see myself as drawing a door. Now you walk through it and you see what is on the other side. I’m making a door appear for you.”
  • Her struggling in balancing creating and marketing.
  • How she sums up the importance of talking about your books: “Sharing with one person or five people or ten people is a start.”
  • Her thoughts on how having an audience is just as difficult — if not more so — than having no audience at all: “Everybody wants a large audience, but with that comes responsibility, pressure, and expectation."
  • The challenges she has in managing social media, and dealing with expectations when people reach out to her for deep interactions.
  • The ways she sustains herself as a full-time writer and illustrator.
  • The different revenue streams that support her career as a full-time artist, and how she is adjusting them.
  • How she manages anxiety around her career.

You can find Meera Lee Patel in the following places:

Oct 10, 2018

In my interview with writer Sean McCabe, we dig into the reality of what it means to run your own business. He shares the behind the scenes decisions that have sometimes cost him tens of thousands of dollars, or more than a year of his time going down a path that he later reversed. Sean shares something amazing, and highly useful in the process: how he runs his business based on a set of clear principles. This was an amazing conversation -- if you are a writer or artist looking to develop a career that feels meaningful and fulfilling, I think you are going to love it. You can find Sean at: 

Sep 12, 2018

I first met Robert Fieseler, who I know as Bobby, when he was working at an ad agency. Then, to my astonishment, I saw him make some big changes in his life. Even though he was on a great career track in advertising, he began taking classes in the evenings and weekends to get his journalism degree. Then, he quit his well-paying job in order to have the time to write a book proposal.

In our discussion today, we dig into every detail of that story, of how Bobby risked it all to make a creative shift from a full-time job to a full-time author. In the process, he redefined himself in many profound ways.

When I invited him to do this interview, he said that this is stuff that no one else wanted to talk to him about. But this is ALL I care about because day in and day out, I work with writers and artists who want to realize their creative vision, and need to hear the stories of others who have leaned into that challenge.

In our chat, we track his career path:

  • He started out as a bookseller.
  • He then turned his experience writing poetry into a career in writing advertisements for brands such as Dominos pizza, Philip Morris and many others.
  • Why he went back to get his degree in journalism.
  • The reasons he made a huge career switch, even as he moved up the corporate ladder. He left his job to pursue an opportunity and spent his time working on a book proposal , with no guarantee that it would turn into anything. Everyone told him this was the worst thing he could possibly do from a financial or career perspective.
  • How he got his first big book deal and the process for creating that book.
  • The reception to the book and the difference in his life since being a published author.

You can hear the moment in the interview when Bobby describes getting the offer for a book deal -- he gets emotional just talking about it. That is how big that moment is for a writer. He says, "It made me feel like I was real. I had hidden my aspirations for a long time."

He also talks about fears he has had as an author, and we end with a big discussion on impostor's syndrome for writers.

Bobby is the author of Tinderbox: The Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation.

You can find him at:
https://www.rwfieseler.com

https://twitter.com/wordbobby 

Sep 5, 2018

In today's episode, I take you through the three steps of my Creative Shift process. I have honed this after working with hundreds of writers who wanted a sense of clarity to move their creative work to the next level and truly reach people. I also talk about my next Creative Shift Mastermind program, which begins October 1: http://wegrowmedia.com/mm

Aug 16, 2018

I recently spoke to author, book blogger, and school librarian Travis Jonker about three aspects how he became an author:

  • How he got his literary agent through his blog.
  • How he developed courage to share his creative work by “failing in public” by creating a series of zines that he would mail to friends and colleagues in the book world.
  • A clever idea he had for marketing his new book that riffed off those zines: an illustrated comic that told the behind-the-scenes story of his book, which would be mailed directly to people those who may appreciate the book.

For each instance, Travis was clear about sharing something that was unique and represented what he cared about most; He did so consistently (his blog is more than 10 years old, and in that entire time, he posted 15-30 posts per month); and he found ways to connect with his audience in way that were personal and meaningful.

You can listen to the entire interview by clicking ‘play’ below or on iTunes:

Travis’ kidlit book blog, 100 Scope Notes, can be found here, and please check out his upcoming book: The Very Last Castle. Travis also has a podcast where he takes you behind the scenes in children’s literature called The Yarn.

You can find Dan Blank at:
http://wegrowmedia.com 
Be the Gateway: http://a.co/evyrsjw 
https://www.instagram.com/DanBlank
https://twitter.com/danblank

Jul 25, 2018

Author Allison Leotta made an incredible career transition. After spending 12 years as a federal prosecutor who specialized in sex crimes, domestic violence, crimes against children, she became an full-time novelist. She now has five books published, one being prepared for publication, and another being written.

In our conversation we dig into her incredible career path and cover a lot along the way! Some highlights:

How She Got Her Literary Agent

So many authors hide their writing from their friends and family. But Allison shows how your existing network is one of the most powerful assets you have. She found her literary agent by reaching out to a former college classmate. That classmate introduced Allison to her agent, who signed her. Allison says that the writing community is incredibly generous, kind, and welcoming.

Why Writing a Novel is Harder Than Law School

She said this of writing her first book "Writing the novel was the hardest thing I've ever done in terms of self-discipline. I went to law school, I've climbed mountains, I've run marathons, but the discipline that it took to keep going [on writing the novel] for two years, is the biggest accomplishment. Because there is just such a temptation to sleeping in." She gave up working out and TV for two years for those 2 years while she wrote the first book.

What She Has Learned About the Writing Process

During the writing process for each book, Allison says there is a point where she hits a wall and feels that she can't go on with it. But now she knows that is a part of the process -- a phase you work through. That never goes away no matter how many books you write, you simply learn to work through it.

 

How being a prosecutor prepared her for being a storyteller:
"I've always loved a good story, and I think there are few jobs that can compete with the amount of fascinating stories you can bring home as a prosecutor. You just see everything."

How She Got Started Writing

"Being a prosecutor,] he things you see are so painful and upsetting, that it really does change your view of the world a little bit. At the same time, there are some real heroes. It was also really inspiring."

She said she started writing her first novel because it was cheaper than therapy. Real life is more complicated, but in a novel she can tie things up in a nice little bow, solving every mystery.

She says, "It was almost a physical need to sit down and write." This is how she got started: "I went up to a little cottage in upstate NY. I had a week, and I was going to write my novel in that week. Not a single word typed that week made it to the novel, but I established momentum. Two years later I had a novel."

A Career Shift Requires Difficult Choices

Allison shared the story of the exact moment when she decided to make a big shift in her career from being a prosecutor to being a writer. The moment she said, "Some choices have to be made here."

You can find Allison in the following places:

You can find Dan Blank at:
http://wegrowmedia.com
Be the Gatewayhttp://a.co/evyrsjw
https://www.instagram.com/DanBlank/
https://twitter.com/danblank 

Jul 9, 2018

I invited author/illustrator Lori Richmond to talk about what we wish we knew when we first started in our creative careers.

Both Lori and I made big creative shifts midway through life: we left safe corporate jobs to start our own companies that focus on creative work. In her case, she became a children's author/illustrator. For me, I became a writer who also works with writers and artists.

What we share today is advice we give to people who are looking to jump to the next level in their creative work or in their businesses. we mention our upcoming live workshop in New York City on July 27th: Creative Business Boost (http://wegrowmedia.com/boost). Here you will join Lori, me, and 10 other writers and artists to:

  • Get Radical Clarity: What you create and why. You will be reinvigorated and laser focused on your creative vision.
  • Find Your True Fans: Who will love your work, why, and how to reach them.
  • Create Marketing & Sales Planning: How to market your work, package it, and promote it in a way that feels meaningful and effective.

Thanks!

-Dan

 

P.S. You can find Lori here. You can also listen to an earlier interview I did with Lori here.

Jun 12, 2018

Today I want to share with you the four essential ingredients to making a creative shift in your life. What is a creative shift? It is about taking a leap forward to get unstuck and ensure that your creative work -- your writing and art -- has an impact on the world.

This is what you have to do in order to make a creative shift:

  • Get radical clarity on what you create and why.
  • Develop strong creative practices. 
  • Understand how your work can change someone's world -- that it truly connects authentically with those who will love it.
  • Create a support system to ensure you stay accountable and on track.

Click "play" above or listen to the podcast on iTunes. 

You can also check out my Creative Shift Mastermind which begins July 1.

Thanks!

-Dan

May 22, 2018

How can one man write 10 books per year, while working a full-time job, going to law school in the evenings, and raising a young family? Today we find out. I am so excited to share my interview with author Michael La Ronn. He has published more than 40 books in the past six years: science fiction, fantasy, and nonfiction books on writing.

In our discussion we dig into:

  • How he eliminated everything life that isn't writing or reading. Gave up TV, videogames, movies, and even friends who are not productive. Instead, he stays focused, saying, "I'm always thinking about writing and reading."
  • How a 2012 bout with food poisoning put him in the hospital for a month, where he decided, "I swore on my hospital bed that I would be a writer."
  • How he writes 3,000-5,000 words per day. Okay, I just did math, and that potentially adds up to a million words per year.
  • How he increased his writing output by 40% simply by writing 100 words in small moments on his phone. If he is on line at the foodstore, he writes. If he is waiting for his wife at the store, he writes. In the small moments where most of us check social media or the news, he writes.
  • How he deals the demands of his day job, and how he manages the job, instead of letting it manage him.
  • Why he is able to say, "When i wake up every morning, I'm doing my life's work," and (I love this one), "I'm going to be successful being myself."
  • She shares lots of time management, productivity, and mindset tips.

You can find Michael in the following places:

You can find Dan Blank at:
http://wegrowmedia.com
Be the Gatewayhttp://a.co/evyrsjw
https://www.instagram.com/DanBlank/
https://twitter.com/danblank 

May 9, 2018

Megan CartyThe other day I was looking at Instagram, and I saw a series of videos from an artist I follow, Megan Carty. She was in her studio, working on a series of paintings for a gallery show she is preparing for. She looked directly in the camera and said this:

“I feel like I’m having a nervous breakdown. My heart is racing, I’m panicking, it’s hard to breathe. Resistance is hitting me so hard right now. I have a lot of work to do, I have a lot of money invested in materials for the show I’m working on, and I’m freaking out. Something inside me says, “What if this isn’t right.” I’m being hit with all the what ifs, the scaries, the freak outs. I feel like I’m going to cry. It’s not always easy to paint and come out how you want. It can be really stressful. The fear is real. It’s just nastiness.”

I immediately messaged her and asked if I could interview her to talk about this place that nearly all artists and writers encounter. To dig into the moment, as it is happening. She was kind enough to agree, and I am so excited to share our conversation with you! In our chat we discuss:

  • How the time, energy and money you put into your creative work is an investment, even when it can feel terrifying to put so much into it. How you never know how or when this investment will pay off. This is not a sure thing, but it is a necessary steps.
  • How building her art studio was symbolic of her art becoming a career instead of a hobby.
  • The jump from dabbling to doing: “[When I began], I dabbled, but I wasn’t all in. I didn’t full believe in myself.”
  • How it only takes a little problem, or a little bit of doubt to cause a nervous breakdown: “Sometimes it can feel like a house of cards that can come down. It’s my job now to not let that happen. I have to manage it.”
  • How social media can become “a rabbit-hole of self-pity,” and how she actively manages how she uses social media to resist this.
  • How one’s creative career is not about a specific outcome, but about appreciating the journey itself.
  • How self-doubt can sabotage someone’s career: “There is an energy flow to it (your career) Where you block that energy flow with your doubts, you aren’t going to go anywhere. It’s about shutting off the valve to the doubt.”
  • Why she shared her anxiety in such a public manner: “When you share the struggle, you create a connection to others who need to hear that.”
  • Why shame accompanies the work that artists do: “You are sharing something so personal, that when you aren’t sharing it the way you want to, its as if you are letting yourself down, and you beat yourself up about it. Instead you need to forgive yourself and be your own best friend.”
  • How one’s mindset is critical to making progress: “If you are feeling frustrated in the moment, that is okay, but coach yourself through it. Encourage yourself speak more nicely to yourself.”
  • On managing depression and her art: “I’ve had depression for a long time. i’ve had a lot of time to learn how to manage it. How to flip the script so your thoughts are working for you and not against you. I coach myself and change the dialogue in my brain.”
  • Why people get stuck because they give up their own sense of control to improve their situation, and her advice on how to fix it.
  • Why failure is an essential part of success: “You can’t make good work without waddling through the bad work. You have to go through the muck. Remember this was investment in getting to the good stuff.”
  • How she relies on a mastermind with a friend to help keep each other motivated and focused.
  • The danger of focusing too much on posting on social media: looking for praise instead of doing the hard work.

You can listen to the entire interview by clicking ‘play’ above, or you can find it on iTunes.

You can find Megan in the following places:

And I would highly recommend her deeply honest posts about creating art while managing depression and thoughts of suicide:

 

You can find Dan Blank at:
http://wegrowmedia.com
Be the Gatewayhttp://a.co/evyrsjw
https://www.instagram.com/DanBlank/
https://twitter.com/danblank 

Apr 18, 2018

Meera Lee PatelIllustrator and writer Meera Lee Patel describes why she began painting soon after she began working a day job:

"I started painting as a way to find myself, as a way to remind myself of who I was when I was a little bit happier. Who I was when I was making things. When I started painting, I felt so connected to myself and felt connect to other living things, just by being somebody who was making something from nothing and putting it out in the world. I decided that is what I wanted to do."

In my latest podcast interview, Meera and I dig into her journey as an artist, and how she made a profound creative shift to become a full-time artist and writer. You can listen to the full interview above or here on iTunes.

My Friend FearHer latest book, My Friend Fear, is an amazing work that turns fear into something beautiful.

In our discussion we cover some deeply important topics for any artist or writer:

  • The specific ways that her parents and her high school gave her permission to create, even as they also instilled a clear sense of responsibility.
  • How she devoted 40 hours per week to her craft, on top of her 40 hour per week day job. When I asked how she approached painting on the side, her answer was immediate: ""Aggressively. Super aggressively. I did not care about anything else. I worked all the time."
  • She describes how she found clarity and focus, and the specific steps she took to invest in her craft, earn money for it, and try new things.
  • When success seemed distant and she considered giving up, this is how she stayed on track: "I always thought, 'have I exhausted every possibility?' There was always something I hadn't tried. That meant there was always the possibility for me to try, so I always took that possibility, even when I didn't want to."
  • We discuss the importance of money to artists and writers. How she frames it: "Its really important to have a sustainable business so you can have the luxury and the freedom to not have to compromise your art."
  • How she found success not through a big break, but many small moments of success: "I will say that nothing has 'taken off.' I have had small moments, but my whole trajectory has been very slow, very steady and very incremental. A lot of slow growth. That is frustrating as the person who is in it. It's probably frustrating for listeners because nobody wants to hear that. But it is dependable to know that you can always take a tiny step forward each day each week and eventually you will be somewhere new because you took all of those small steps."
  • How social media is both a wonderful gift, but also an incredible challenge. She describes how, the more successful she becomes, the more complex her relationship to social media is because there are so many expectations placed upon her. How she navigates it: "Social media is responsible for making me that accessible to the world. I'm realizing that I'm going to have to have the limits and boundaries if I'm going to keep making the work."
  • When I asked her if she deals with comparisonitis, she replied, "It is an absolute daily struggle... You have to push it aside and make the work you want to make."
  • She talks about the turning point for no longer ruling her life by fear. She says: "Being scared is not a good enough reason to do things."

You can find Meera in the following places:

Her books:

As well as:
Her Etsy shop.
Her website: https://www.meeralee.com
Instagram: @merelymeeralee
Twitter: @meeralee
Facebook

You can find Dan Blank at:
http://wegrowmedia.com
Be the Gatewayhttp://a.co/evyrsjw
https://www.instagram.com/DanBlank/
https://twitter.com/danblank 

Apr 11, 2018

Today I speak with writer Jocelyn K. Glei about how digital media and technology has created a crisis for many writers and artists. Their days are spent running on the treadmill of digital and social media, chained to their computers and phones, and increasingly unable to break away in order to complete bigger creative projects. 

We dig into the neuroscience behind why this is, and she shares a wide range of strategies and tactics to take back your attention. 

You can find Jocelyn in the following places:

http://jkglei.com
Hurry Slowy podcast: http://hurryslowly.co/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jkglei

Her books:

You can find Dan Blank at:
http://wegrowmedia.com
Be the Gateway: http://a.co/evyrsjw
https://www.instagram.com/DanBlank/
https://twitter.com/danblank 

Mar 28, 2018

In this podcast, I chat with Brooklyn-based artist and designer, Kelli Anderson. We dig into 

  • The value of stubbornness in the creative process
  • How her career path had her quit a safe full-time job for a part-time job that allowed her to do creative side-project with the rest of her time
  • The importance of collaboration in developing your craft and developing an audience
  • The power of communication: when you are 100% clear on what you love and you let people know, it empowers them to help you get it
  • How she gained her social media following of 60,000 followers from sharing innovative projects like a paper record player
  • Why she is so enamored by analog, lo-fi, and mechanical things
  • How she has constructed her life around this: artistic growth is not always about financial growth
  • The importance of keeping a sketchbook

You can find Kelli in the following places:

http://kellianderson.com

https://www.instagram.com/kellianderson/

You can find Dan Blank at:
http://wegrowmedia.com
Be the Gateway: http://a.co/evyrsjw
https://www.instagram.com/DanBlank/
https://twitter.com/danblank 

Mar 14, 2018

Today I'm excited to share my interview with author and publishing expert Jane Friedman. In our discussion, we dig into the nuts and bolts on how to earn a living as a writer.

We frame the conversation around her new book, The Business of Being a Writer, which shatters romantic assumptions around publishing, but then arms you with practical advice on how to develop your career.

We dig into:

  • The dream that writers have and how it matches to reality.
  • The business side of what it is like working with agents and publishers.
  • How agents and publishers earn money (and how much they earn)
  • Why great work simply rise to the top.
  • The effort it takes to market a book and reach readers.
  • The importance to get outside of your comfort zone to ensure your book finds its audience.
  • ...and so much more!

We also explore Jane's own career path. Okay, perhaps my favorite quote from our discussion is how she expressed the challenge of selling a book in the age of distraction:

"It's so easy to not read a book"

Click 'play' above to listen to our conversation, or find the podcast on iTunes.

You can find Janes book here: The Business of Being a Writer

You can find her online in the following places:
https://www.janefriedman.com
https://twitter.com/janefriedman
https://www.facebook.com/jane.friedman

Mar 5, 2018

In my latest podcast, I interview psychologist Ellen Hendriksen, who helps millions calm their anxiety and be their authentic selves. In our chat, we dig into topics that writers and artists constantly struggle with, including:

  • Impostors Syndrome
  • Permission
  • Comparison to others
  • Seeking validation
  • Sharing your work publicly
  • Collaboration
  • Entrepreneurship

We talk about her new book, How to Be Yourself: Quiet Your Inner Critic and Rise Above Social Anxiety, which Susan Cain calls "a groundbreaking roadmap to finally being your true, authentic self."

About Ellen: Ellen Hendriksen is a clinical psychologist who helps millions calm their anxiety and be their authentic selves through her award-winning Savvy Psychologist podcast, which has been downloaded over 5 million times, and in her clinic at Boston University’s Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders (CARD). Her scientifically-based, zero-judgment approach is regularly featured in Psychology Today, Scientific American, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Quiet Revolution, and many other media outlets.

You can find Dan Blank at:
http://wegrowmedia.com
Be the Gateway: http://a.co/evyrsjw
https://www.instagram.com/DanBlank/
https://twitter.com/danblank 

 

Feb 27, 2018

In this podcast episode, I talk to illustrator Will Terry. We dig deep into how he went from freelance gigs as an illustrator to developing a sustainable career with multiple revenue streams.

Will illustrates children's books, sells his art at conventions, and is the co-founder of an online art school called The School of Visual Storytelling.

In our chat, he share specifics about how he got his first jobs in illustration, and how he developed his network with other professionals, even though he worked alone from home. His story reminded me of what I hear from so many successful artists and writers: even though he is an introvert, he has spent years developing collaborations and sharing his work in public.

Will opens up about the downs of his career too. He recalled a time when his financial situation looked so bad that he thought, "All of this financial mess will go away when I die."

What was most astounding from this story was how he turned down financial help from a relative when he desperately needed the money. He concluded that all of his later success came from that single decision to dig his way out on his own. He says,
"If I had taken that money, I don't think I would be doing the things I'm doing today. Today my life feels so much better and happier, almost zero stress."

Will share such practical advice, including how he grew his business. He talks about how he got more work, with a pretty incredible insight: "You actually have to ask for it." He assume that if he turned in freelance work to a client, that they would reach out to him if they wanted more work. It turns out, they were ready to hire him again, but were waiting for him to tell them. You have to ask.

You can find will at the following places:

http://willterry.comhttps://www.svslearn.com
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCA-iu9bp3mT9JgsUGCFIzZAhttps://www.instagram.com/willterryart/
https://twitter.com/willterry333

You can find Dan Blank at:

http://wegrowmedia.com
Be the Gateway: http://a.co/evyrsjw
https://www.instagram.com/DanBlank/
https://twitter.com/danblank 

1 2 Next »