I'm happy to announce the new name for this podcast: The Creative Shift with Dan Blank. Last week I asked for your feedback, and was blown away by all of the response I received. In this episode, I reflect on what I heard from you, and what you can expect in this podcast moving forward.
It occurred to me that even though I started this podcast back in 2012, and have published more than 60 episodes, I never properly launched it. In todays episode I reflect on what this podcast is, why I do it, and where it is going. And I ask for your help in that process.
In today's podcast, I dig into a book launch case study with author Dr. Beth Ricanati. Last year she released her book, Braided: A Journey of a Thousand Challahs, and we dig into the entire process of writing, publishing, and promoting the book. When I asked her to summarize the book launch, she said: "It was so wonderfully overwhelming."
Today I share my interview with Emma Dryden, who in the course of her career has edited more than 1,000 books for children and young readers. She spent more than 25 years working in traditional publishing as an editor and publisher, working within Simon & Schuster and Random House. A decade ago, she founded her own company, drydenbks, where she is a children’s book editorial and publishing consultant. We dig into every aspect of her career, but the part that really touched me is how she describes the massive creative shift in her career. At that moment, she asked herself a simple question that changed everything: “What could that look like?” when dreaming of her next act. You can find Emma at http://drydenbks.com.
In this conversation with New York Times Bestselling Author Joseph Finder, we dig into the value of a writer connecting with their audience, how he got his agent and made writing his full-time career, his experience having his books turned into major motion pictures, and what his creative process looks like today. I loved how he underscored the incredible power that writers have: "It takes one person to write a book. To make a movie it takes 500." His new thriller, Judgement, hits stores later this month.
In today's episode, I share specific strategies to define goals for your creative work, and practices to actually achieve them. If you feel like you have hit a plateau with your craft or are in a rut, these are the steps I would recommend you take to create momentum.
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.
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
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.
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
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:
You can find Jessica in the following places:
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 share so much amazing advice about how she writer, managers her publishing career, and attends to her author platform.
I'm so excited to share my interview with author and editorial director of WriterUnboxed.com, Therese Walsh. In our chat, we dig into:
You can find Therese in the following places:
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.
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.
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:
Other topics we dig into:
You can find Meera Lee Patel in the following places:
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:
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:
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:
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
I recently spoke to author, book blogger, and school librarian Travis Jonker about three aspects how he became an author:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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."
"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."
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:
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:
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:
Click "play" above or listen to the podcast on iTunes.
You can also check out my Creative Shift Mastermind which begins July 1.
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:
You can find Michael in the following places:
The 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:
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: