Today I want to remind you of something incredibly important: you get to choose. You get to choose if and how you create. You get to choose if and how you publish. You get to choose if and how you share. I want to share two stories of people taking a bold creative risk, and why these risks are so important. One story is from Dawn Downey (who you can find at dawndowneyblog.com), and the other is from the 1985 Live Aid concert.
Recently, I was speaking with a writer who described feeling stuck. They were in a rut, believing in the work they do, but just demotivated on a day-to-day basis. This conversation resonated with me for many reasons. If you are a writer or creator who sometimes wonders if you are in burnout, if you are in a rut, if you need a radical pivot, or how to chart the path forward, then please listen to today's episode. I will share a simple but deep exercise for how I have tried to navigate these questions myself, and with many writers I’ve worked with over the years. It’s this: define your values.
Today I want to talk about why we create and share. This is something I meditate on all the time, and it is why I work with writers. This week in particular I’ve been thinking about it a lot because I heard of the death of one of my favorite musicians. As I considered his legacy, I was reminded of something: Art lasts. By “art,” I mean anything we create: your writing, your illustrations, your music, your sculpture, your performance, anything creative. After we are gone, art lasts. When we leave the room, art lasts. When someone finishes your book, art lasts.
I have heard versions of this from many writers over the years: “An agent told me that if I had 10,000 followers, they would sign me.” Is that true? I don’t think so. Largely, I think this number is entirely made up. What agents and publishers may instead be seeking is a writer's ability to illustrate that they can reach readers. And sometimes “followers” is simply a convenient metric to represent that. Today, I explore this topic in-depth.
If you are a writer, why bother sharing? Why spend your time and energy sharing on social media, starting a newsletter, or vying for attention at all? Sharing is a risk. Yet, I find that sharing what we create and why opens up the possibility for so many good things. I believe that sharing deeply matters. Not just for marketing what you create, but for filling your life with moments and experiences with inspiring people, and for ensuring your work has a meaningful impact in the lives of others.
Today I want to share a step-by-step guide to publishing a bestselling book. There are just 6 steps, and I will be clear about each one. As a model for this guide, I am going to use one of all-time favorite stories of creative success. Please bear with me here… I want to use the story of Meat Loaf’s 1977 album “Bat Out of Hell” as a guide. Why? Because this story is one of my all-time favorite stories of a creator who persisted through rejection to find massive success on their own terms.
The more I see of it, the more I am understanding how AI (artificial intelligence) will change the fields of writing, art, and all creative fields in a profound way. Today I’ll share examples of what I’ve been seeing, but my first goal today is to make this episode useful to you. If you are a writer or creator who already felt that it was difficult to thrive with your creative work, I want to share specific ways that I feel you can find success and connection with your audience, even as AI reshapes your field. Let’s dig into 8 steps to do so.
If you are reading this, chances are you are a writer, illustrator, artist, or creator of some sort. You have embraced your creative craft, and work to develop it year after year. I’ve always considered how we share to be a craft as well. How we show up. How we listen. How we connect. How we engage. How we celebrate others. How we communicate what drives us. How these things blend together to form aspects of our identity.
I've sent a weekly email newsletter for 18 years. Recently, I moved it to Substack. In today's episode I want to share the story of my newsletter, and why I am finding Substack to be interesting for writers.
Last episode I talked about the potential impact that artificial intelligence will have on writing, art, and creative work. Today, I want to focus on the opposite: the value of handcrafted creative work (writing, art, etc.), that by their nature are limited edition and deeply personal. What I will cover today: 1.) Why one writer and artist is investing in handcrafted work (this is a super inspiring story) 2.) How handcrafted is a power you have that is very accessible to you (if you dare) 3.) Handcrafted vs AI (who will win?! Sentient robots or funky writers and artists? Listen on to find out!)
Maybe you may have seen a lot of headlines recently about artificial intelligence (AI) writing or art. Recently, I’ve seen things with both that are giving me pause. Today I want to share three things: 1.) Why artificial intelligence in creative work is compelling. 2.) Why AI is likely to create a crisis in creative fields, and how it may affect you. 3.) How to consider ways to thrive as a creator as these changes happen. If you are feeling you don’t understand or care for AI, I want to encourage you to listen to this podcast anyway.
Today I want to share details on how one writer I’m working with is selling more books, getting rapid growth in her audience, and increasing the revenue she earns from her writing. Melinda Wenner Moyer is a science journalist and author of the book How to Raise Kids Who Aren’t Assholes. She and I began working together more than two years ago, first preparing for the launch of her book. So often, writers consider that opportunities around their book happen only at launch, but what I’m going to share below illustrates that this is just the beginning. Your book can have an amazing life and impact well after launch.
In the work I do in helping writers connect with readers and grow their platforms, I find that there is often this pressure to “go viral.” To identify a tactic that reaches the most people with the minimum effort. And sure, that’s definitely useful. But that can also be elusive. Today I want to talk about simple ways to engage those who you hope to connect with: readers, writers, booksellers, podcasters, librarians, teachers, literary festival organizers, and so many others.
Every week, my friend Jennie Nash and I have a mini-mastermind call. On it, we discuss business challenges, creative goals, new ideas, and so much else. Today, I want to share two of the biggest and most consistent insights we have had, and how they relate to how you can approach sharing your work and developing your platform as a writer. The main phrase Jennie and I come back to again and again is this: "We don’t know what works, but doing stuff works." Today, I talk about why that is, and how you can use it.
I want to encourage you to do is be intentional about connecting with potential readers. No, I am not saying that you have to embrace networking. Instead, consider how you can regularly create moments and experiences around the kind of books or themes that inspire you. Joy should be infused in the process.