I spend the last few months of every year reassessing what I create, and how I can better serve writers and creators. Every single year, I go back to the well to reconnect with my deeper purpose for this work. My goal is to help people share their creative work in a meaningful way, one that leads to fulfillment and success. Today I talk about that process and ask for your help.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what singer/songwriter Mike Mattison told me in our recent interview, about what it means to become a professional in your craft. Some of his advice can be challenging to those who go into the arts for the love of it. If you are a writer looking to get to the “next level” in your career, so much of what Mike shares may be useful. In this episode, I share five powerful lessons on how to connect with your audience.
Today, Mike Mattison dives deep into what it means to find fulfillment in what you create, as well as navigating the professional side of your work. He discusses balancing audience expectations with your own creative vision, and so much else. He has played with the Derek Trucks band and a part of the Tedeschi Trucks Band, along with his solo work. He is the author of the new book: Poetic Song Verse: Blues-Based Popular Music and Poetry, with co-author Ernest Suarez.
Today I reflect on how success in what we create and share can be dependent on the decisions we make. That it is our choice for where we put our attention, the creative risks we take, and how hard we work to create more and ensure that work connects with others. Of course, so much else goes into success, but today I reflect on what I heard when I recently spoke with author Jasmin Darznik on the previous episode of The Creative Shift.
When I asked author Jasmin Darznik if she had a sense of permission to create when growing up, she replied: "Not at all. It's not even that I didn't feel permission, I felt prohibition.” In today’s interview, we dive deep into her journey, emigrating from Iran, how she gave herself permission to pursue writing, and how she found a supportive community along the way. It’s an incredible story, filled with details about how she launches her books and connects with readers today.
As you consider what it is to create and share your work, I encourage you to focus on the individuals who support what you do. The names, the faces, and connect with them in a manner that develops meaningful experiences, not just social media stats. In today's episode I share some stories that illustrate this concept.
Last year Janae Marks had her first novel published to an incredible reception: 900+ reviews on Amazon, starred reviews, and selected as a must-read book by many organizations. In our interview, Janae shares the road to that book, which included writing three books that didn't get published, and how she queried 70+ agents before getting her book deal. She shares so many inspiring lessons.
I recently spoke with New York Times bestselling author Jessica Lahey, who shared what is essentially a masterclass on the topic of launching a book. In this episode, I reflect on some key areas that Jess shared in my most recent podcast with her. Themes I discuss on today's episode: why books that continue to sell are books that the author continues to talk about; how generosity factors into developing your platform; why give away content; and how to think about building a team around a book launch.
In today’s episode, New York Times bestselling author Jessica Lahey takes us behind the scenes to how she promotes a book. She gets into the details about the hundreds of letters she sends out; the importance of gift-giving and thank you notes; why she hired a publicist; the surprising answer she gave to a “massive philanthropist” when he asked how he can support her work; and so much more! What permeates through every aspect of her methodology is generosity and the personal touch.
Would you take this risk? Let’s say you write you very first novel and get a book deal with a major publisher — it’s your dream come true. Then, you come up with an idea to self-publish a free prequel short story to that book, six months before the novel is released. Your publisher is nervous about the idea and pushes back. Would you proceed with publishing that prequel story? In today's episode I share reflections on creativity and risk that are inspired by my conversation with Livia Blackburne.
Livia Blackburne studied biochemical sciences at Harvard, and then went on to earn her PhD in cognitive neuroscience from MIT. What did she do next? She gave up that career to become a New York Times Bestselling author pursue writing full-time. In our interview, share shares her journey to becoming a writer, and the unusual marketing tactic she used just before the launch of her first novel.
Writers and creators tend to feel pressure to get followers, subscribers, reviews, make bestseller lists, and win awards. In the process, this can reduce the concept of engaging with readers to a simple number. It’s not uncommon for me to hear someone say: “I only have 100 followers.” But I want to emphasize this: Every reader counts. If you want your career as a writer to grow, spend more time focused on the people who are engaging with you and what you create.
Moments like this are why this podcast exists: "When the book came out, I left my job, and went freelance. That was my last job-job." Today, author Nicole Blades shares her initial inspiration to become a writer, how she navigated other careers until she found her path into writing, and how she got a book deal. She also takes us behind the scenes of her amazing social media videos.
In studying how to effectively share what we create to develop an audience for our work, something I think a lot about is frequency. The act of creating and sharing often. This can be especially effective for a writer or artist who hopes to develop their platform, grow their audience, and ensure their work truly connects with people. Today I want to share the stories of a few writers and creators who are finding success by doubling-down on their craft.
Today I'm excited to welcome back onto the podcast author Miranda Beverly-Whittemore. She gets really honest about how she navigated multiple book launches, changing editors and publishers, and what she considers when making a book deal. She also talks about her creative process and the road that lead to her latest novel: Fierce Little Thing. You can find Miranda at MirandaBW.com.
So much of the work I do with writers and creators is to help understand how they can effectively share their creative work and their mission with the world. To those who will be moved by it. Helped by it. Feel less alone because of it. Today, I simply want to reflect on the journey between those things. How what we create and how we share helps us become who we are. I’ll share this through the stories of writers and performers I have been thinking about this week.
The title of this podcast is The Creative Shift, and today I am excited to share the story of one author whose life has been filled with creative shifts! Yang Huang grew up in China, came to America and moved to four corners of the country as she trained to become a computer engineer at University of California, Berkeley. But then, she pursued her lifelong passion to become a writer. She has published two novels, a short story collection, as well as essays. Her journey is an inspiring story.
Today I want to talk about the value of having collaborators and mentors as a part of how you create and share. This week I have been considering something I think is critical to how we find success as writers and artists: that we tend to thrive when we collaborate with others, and failure is more likely when we try to go it alone. What this means is that having colleagues and mentors is something I encourage in terms of how you create and share your writing and art.
Welcome to a new season of The Creative Shift podcast. Today, I want to share what to expect this season, and how I'm doubling down on the podcast. This is a process of challenging myself to give more creative energy to the things that matter most, and consider how this podcast can be most useful to you, the listener. You can find a video of this podcast at WeGrowMedia.com/thepodcast and you can find me on social media at @DanBlank.
When I asked Nikki Grimes if she had a sense of permission to create as a child, she replied, “It wasn’t a question of permission, I was compelled. I was in and out of foster care, yet there were things I needed to say.” Writing, poetry, and visual arts were her way of doing that. Nikki is the New York Times bestselling author of more than 80 books. In our conversation, we discuss the surrounding yourself with like-minded creators, of finding your creative path, and dealing with rejection. Show notes: https://wegrowmedia.com/thepodcast/
Today I want to talk about the concept of a creative reset, and share advice on how to make incremental improvements to your work. I will frame this all in my own creative reset, which I last shared on this podcast in December. You can find out more about my work at wegrowmedia.com and on Instagram and Twitter at @DanBlank.
This is the third time I've interviewed artist and writer Rebecca Green, and each time we have tracked how she is transitioning her career to find more personal fulfillment in the creative process, as well as greater success. Today we talk about the risks she is taking in focusing more on certain kinds of artwork, the pros and cons of social media, why she loves her email newsletter, and the importance of an artistic community.
Angela Abreu is a writer, and founder of the Dominican Writers Association. She shares her own story of launching her poetry book, and how she turned it into a performance, selling 100 tickets with huge support from her network. She talked about the value of being a part of a literary community and how that forges the relationships you need to share your own work in a meaningful way. She also shares how she created the Dominican Writers Association and how that has grown to support so many writers.
Emma Gannon is an author and host of the podcast Ctrl Alt Delete. She shares her journey to becoming a writer, and what it is like to switch to writing novels after a successful nonfiction career. Along the way, she was "rejected once a day" from magazines she submitted work to, only to find people loved her writing that she shared on her blog. She explains how that platform grew into an amazing career, and how she manages her time in order to write novels, nonfiction, host her podcast, and so much more!
Donna Hemans' first two books were published nearly 20 years apart, and in our interview, she describes the difference in launching each. She also shares the journey between them, where she began two manuscripts that are still unpublished, only to find that her next idea was the one ready to be finished and shared with the world. We also discuss her getting her MFA, balancing a day job and writing, and why she now owns a co-working studio for writers. Her latest novel is Tea By the Sea.