I several years ago decided I wanted to be a writer. And so I started a blog and I started blogging everyday and I knew like the one thing that writers do is they get up and write everyday, so that's what I started doing. And about six months into this journey, something incredible happened to me. I was standing in line, waiting for a pork chop sandwich, as one does, it was the 4th of July, I was visiting my in-laws in Illinois, I live in Nashville, we were visiting my wife's family. And I'm standing here in the line waiting for a pork chop sandwich, and I noticed these two young women are noticing me. Now at this point I'm a happily married man, but if you know, if somebody wants to partake of this who am I stop them? (audience laughs) So, you know when somebody's staring at you and you catch them staring at you, what do they do? They turn away, they avert their eyes. And so, I noticed, I just kinda felt somebody's eyes on me, and I saw these two girls and as soon as I looked at them,...
they looked away. And so, still waiting for the pork chop sandwich, take another step, in the long line, awaiting the porky goodness. And a few minutes later I look back and I noticed these girls are staring at me again. Same deal, they look away, take another step, still waiting for the pork chop sandwich. And it happens a third time a few minutes later, except, as anybody ever caught you staring at them and you lingered a little bit too long before you turned away and you're caught, this is what happened, so they were caught like a deer in the headlights, and so they, like oh okay and they started walking over to me. And as they approached me, I was like, what is going on here? And they came up to me and I've been blogging for about six months at this point and they said, is it really you? (audience laughs) And I thought oh my god, this is it, this is my moment, I have finally arrived, I'm a professional, people are noticing me in public. And so, you know, never one to turn away attention, I said, well, you know, I guess it is, it's me, I am he. And they said, oh, I can't believe it. I said, well, you know, believe it sister. And so they started asking me questions. They said, well, you know, what are you doing here? And I said, I'm in town from Nashville, you probably read where I live on my blog, and I'm just here, pork chop sandwich, pretty self-explanatory, visiting for the holidays. And they said, but, I don't understand, what are you doing here? And I said, pork chop sandwich, you know. And they looked really confused and then finally they looked back at me, one of them said, "but where's your accent?" I said, "wait, wait, wait, who do you think I am?" And they said, "well aren't you Ron Weasley "from the Harry Potter movies?" (audience laughs) And that was my first real experience with fake fame. (audience laughs) And I've had many experiences after that. And you know, that experience taught me a lot of things and I share it here today, because I think we have these misconceptions about what it means to be a writer, an artist, an entrepreneur, whatever. And for me, I have this idea, that I was going, becoming a writer was at least, in part, about me becoming somebody significant. And I thought this was sorta the apex of success, people would start recognizing me in public. And it took several more years for me to actually succeed as a writer and be able to do it full time and I learned a lot, I'm gonna share that process with you today. But what I learned through that process, this is really not about me, it's not about us, it's about our messages, it's about the thing that we have to share with the world. I really believe that. And so, I'm gonna talk about building a platform. This term that you've heard before, how to build a tribe, an audience, and ultimately get paid for your message. But I'm also gonna be sharing some of the lessons that I've learned. And the first lesson that I learned is, we don't do this, we don't build a platform so the can make much of us, we do it so that we can change the world. And so when we talk about influence, for those of you who may be struggle with this or struggle with bringing too much attention to yourself, I want to be clear from outset, this is not about you, but you can't hide away either, you've got to be bold with your message, so that it can have the impact that it was intended to have. Secondaly, we need to get real clear on sort of this artistic struggle with money and that whole thing that a lot of writers really struggle with, which is this idea that I've got to starve for my art. I wrote a book called Real Artists Don't Starve, I believe in this message, that again, this is not about you making money, so that you can shovel gold doubloons into a bank account, and dive into it like Scrooge MacDuck, although who wouldn't want to do that? It's really about being able to do more of the work that you're supposed to do. Walt Disney once said, "We don't make movies to make money, "we make money so that we can make more movies." And this is why artists, writers, cannot starve, because if you're starving, you're not doing your best work, you're not creating, and so that's what we're gonna talk about today, how's that sound? Okay, so, back to my real story. I'm here because I did have a pretty crazy year, back in 2011 I had this incredible year, from 2011 to 2012. Here's what happened, I started the blog, got noticed in public, got knocked down a few notches, and said, okay what do I really need to do and I started studying what best selling authors, and speakers and bloggers that I was paying attention to were doing and I started to kind of unpack the things that they all had in common and I'm gonna share that process with you today. But I kind of stumbled through this process and figure it out and here's what happened. First I got over hundred thousand blog readers over the course of the year. I ended up publishing two books, one self-published, one traditionally published and really in about six months in that year, I made about $150,000, which was enough for me to quit my job, my wife who was pregnant with our first child, she was able to quit her job after we had our son and by the end of 2012, we were down to just me supporting the family with one income. I was a full time writer, I had launched this business, it was a good year, it was a crazy year. We had a kid, I published two books, quintupled my salary, I was working at a non-profit not making a ton of money and my dream was to just be able to support my wife cause she wanted to be a mom for a little while. And so when I tell people this story, it's a great story right, it's fun. This was years ago and when I tell people this story, the number one question that I get, especially now, is, is it too late? Like, did I miss out on this, cause I didn't start blogging in 2008 or I didn't start an online business in 2012, is it too late for me? And the good news for you guys is that it's not to late. Not because I had some random experience years and years ago and I'm trying to teach this thing that happened to me once, cause I got lucky, but rather because every year I see people do this. I walk hundreds of people through this process and I know it works, not because it happened to me once, that's a fun experience, but because I walk with people through this and I see them succeed. I'm gonna share with you people who are making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year off of their writing and you've never heard of their names. Like, they're not famous, they're not celebrities, they don't have millions of fans, they've just followed this process. But I'm gonna warn you, it's not easy, right. This is one of the things that I think the internet lies to us about, it's easy, it'll take seven days. This is going to take work, as one of my students likes to say, I teach online courses for writers and I'm basically gonna take the process that I teach them over the course of months and I'm gonna take you through this in a day. So, we're gonna move, but it's gonna be fun. She likes to say, "It's work, but it's good work." There's bad work, there's drudge work, and then there's good work, which at the end of the day we're exhausted, but we're also fulfilled, cause we have done the thing that only we can do. Make's our souls come alive. So, just kind of orientation around how common this is. People ask me, is it this common? Or are these people, are you cherry picking, the success stories and leaving everybody out. So, I just want to share some figures with you. How many writers are actually making a living today? And we're specifically talking about kind of the pool of published authors that we can track. One study said this, the amount of writers that are making a living, which they calculated as $100,000 a year, which would be a good to great living depending on where you live, right? So, 0.7% of self-published writers are making a living today. 1.3% of traditionally published writers are making a living today. And 5.7% of hybrid authors, meaning they're working with publishers, but they're also doing self-published things, are making a living. So, these are the figures, like these are how many people out of the millions, tens of millions, hundreds of millions, of writers there are out in the world. So, isn't this good news, doesn't this make you excited to be a writer? This isn't surprising right? That most writer's struggle, right? These are the facts. Now, here's my question to that, who cares? Who cares what's normal? Okay, first of all, most people who write a book do not do it so that they can become a full time writer. That's not what we're talking about here. Most people who consider themselves writers, don't necessarily want to do it full time. And so when people say, well is this normal? Is this common? I don't know. Do you want to be normal? Does that matter? Or are you, more importantly, just willing to do the work. So, my argument is that you don't need normal, you just need possible, okay. You're not normal, look at you, look at you, you're not normal, I'm not normal, who's normal? Let's stop trying to be normal and let's ask ourselves a question. I'm not talking about, this isn't about luck, it's just about are you willing to do the work or not and most people are not willing to do the work and that's fine. All I can do is share with you a process that works. I have literally never seen somebody do all 12 of these things that we're gonna walk you through, and not be surprised by their success. Do results vary? Sure of course, we're different people, we want different things, we have different goals. But if you do this work, it works. So, this is another question I get, Will it work, will it really work for me? You don't understand, Jeff, I'm a stay-at-home mom or I've got 18 cats or I live in the city or I live in Nebraska. And everybody thinks they're special and you are, but then again, you're not. When you start looking at the success stories, I've seen story after story after story, you just start to see a lot of the same things. Certainly you see differences and variations, but you also see repeated patterns. And so this works if you do, if you're actually willing to do the work. So, at this point if I was hearing this years ago, back to me Ron Weasley days, I'd be thinking, yeah, but, Jeff you don't understand, I'm unique. I don't have enough time, I'm not like all those other people. I've got a family, I've got a job, I've got responsibilities or I don't have enough money, I don't have the means to do this, I don't live in New York City or I don't live in San Francisco, I've got a part-time job, I can't make this work. Or I'm just not that lucky or I'm just not as good looking as you Jeff, and I go, it's true, but who is? And all of these are excuses, right? But they're also good reasons. They're not, not true. You may not have enough time, as somebody else. You may not have as much money, as somebody else. You may not be as lucky, as somebody else. We have no control over those things. So my challenge to you, before we really get into this is, what exactly are you looking for? Because if you're looking for an excuse, you're going to find one. You're gonna find a reason to not do the work and this is confirmation bias. We see it, we experience it, we do it every single day. If we don't want to do something, we will find a reason to not do it. So, if you don't want this to work, it won't. But on the other hand, if you're looking for a way to succeed, I believe you can find that too. Whatever you're looking for, this is my belief, you're going to do find. If you're looking for an excuse, you'll find that. If you're looking for a way to succeed, you're going to find that too. So, what I'm going to share with you is a proven process, and when you want it to work, it works. And when you don't want it to work, you're gonna sabotage yourself and it's not going to work. And so, I've walked thousands of people through this process and seen incredible results. And when they do the work, they see the results, and when they don't, they don't. And I wish I could control that, but I can't, so all I'm gonna to today is share with you that process. Before we get into it, my question to you, is are you willing to do the work. If you're willing to do the work, say "I'm in."
You're in, are you in? Okay, good. I'm going to be sharing with you 12 steps to becoming a full time writer. Before we do that, we're gonna talk a little bit about what type of writer you are. Cause I know in our audience, we've got fiction writers, we've probably got self-help writers, we've got people who want to write memoirs, we've got people who don't know what kind of writer they are and I'm going to show you the different types of writers and which bucket you might fit into it. And depending what type of writer you are, this process is gonna look different for you, but it's still the same process. I'll be sharing this link throughout the presentation. For those of you watching, you can just download all these slides at this link, at goinswriter.com/creative-live